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PASSION: Lesson 17 supplement

Passion allows endeavors of life to be enjoyable, fun, and creative.

 

 

Whether we’re thinking of the career path we choose or volunteering and leisure time activities, it’s important that we follow our passions. When we think about what is needed to be successful in life and in our work, we usually think about characteristics like value, talent, ambition, intellect, discipline, and persistence. What many of us often fail to include in this recipe for success is passion. The passion we have, or don’t have, for the life we choose should not be underestimated. Sometimes this ingredient could make the biggest difference of all.

Mother Theresa said, “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life rather He will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’”

True success is, or at least should be, primarily defined as an achievement of something desired. So, the most successful people are the ones who achieve the things they most desire. And what we desire the most is to be proud of what we do with our lives. I believe this is especially true when it comes to our work and our family. A truly successful person is one who is proud of the work she does and the care she gives to her family.

What I Mean by Passion

When I speak of passion, I don’t mean it in the romantic way. What I mean by passion is the powerful feeling of enthusiasm we all have inside of us. We are all enthusiastic and passionate about something, whether its finance, food or a favorite activity. That enthusiasm is very powerful. When we can combine it with our pursuits and our faith, we are setting ourselves up well for achieving true success.

Passion Is so Important

When we are enthusiastic and proud of the work we do, the better equipped we’ll be to overcome the many obstacles that will surely arise.  Also, the more enthusiasm we have, the more inclined we are to work harder at improving ourselves. This will allow us to continuously get better at every pursuit we are engaged in.

Where does the passion come from?

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Galatians 5: 2

As a young child, I loved Jesus. It was simple. I was excited about the decision I made to invite Jesus Christ Lord into my life.  I could not wait to share this good news with my best friend. I wanted Sara, my childhood friend, to have the blessing of eternal life in heaven too. I wanted her to love and to accept Jesus into her heart also.  So it became my daily pursuit to livbest friends3e God’s way and to share the love of Jesus. And that same desire, passion continues still to this day.

Surprisingly this passion never changed. Oh! definitely the picture has changed with each new season: I am not swinging on a playground swing telling my friends about Jesus. I am not involved any more in the high school or college campus ministry sharing the truth of the gospel. I am not even that young mom raising her young sons in the faith and leading them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or being that teacher/instructor who wanted so desperately for my students to experience the abundance of a God-centered life. Those seasons have passed but in my present season the passion continues.  God has graciously brought me to a new space to share.  I simply love Jesus; so I write, counsel, mentor, lead, speak and encourage women to live simply, passionately, and intentionally for Jesus.

This passion has brought purpose and fulfillment in my life. It has not only enriched my personal life but brought wonderful enthusiasm to my career life.  I encourage you today to really seek the passion that God has placed in your heart and run to it.

The Study: Complete in the workbook pages 83-85.   

 

 

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Promise

“He will give you the desires of your heart”

Blessing

“Be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

COURAGE: Lesson 16 supplement

God grants seasons of favor for His people in order to extend His kingdom

 

Heavenly Father, please give us the courage to walk confidently onto the stage of what you have called us to. Release all worries. In this season of favor, help us to let go and trust You.

Scripture Memorization

“Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men.” Colossians 3:23

 Strength in  Courage

Deuteronomy 31:6“Be strong  and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he  it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Joshua 1:7-9Only be thou  strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the  law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand  or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of  the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day  and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written  therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have  good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not  afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee  whithersoever thou goest.”

1 Chronicles 28:20And  David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear  not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will  not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the  service of the house of the LORD.”

Psalm 31:24Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen  your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

Isaiah 41:10-13Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be  not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;  yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.Behold, all they  that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be  as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them,  and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war  against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy  God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help  thee.”

1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be  ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as  ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 16:13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith,  quit you like men, be strong.”

Ephesians 6:10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the  Lord, and in the power of his might.

Courageous and Unafraid

Psalm 23:4Yea, though I  walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff  they comfort me.”

Psalm 27:1The LORD is my  light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life;  of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 56:3-4What time I  am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have  put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

Isaiah 54:4Fear not; for  thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put  to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember  the reproach of thy widowhood any more.”

Matthew 10:28And fear not  them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him  which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

2 Timothy 1:7For God hath not given us the spirit of  fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Hebrews 13:5-6Let your conversation be without  covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I  will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is  my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

1 Peter 3:14-16But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But  sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to  every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and  fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of  evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in  Christ.”

1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love  casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect  in love.”

Courage  brings Freedom & Peace

John 14:27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the  world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be  afraid.”

Romans 8:15For ye have  not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the  Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

Philippians 1:12-14But I  would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me  have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in  Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the  brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak  the word without fear.”

The Study

Courage, do you possess it?

“A truth I have come to realize is that God does not care who you are, man or woman—or where you are, rural town or urban city—when He puts His call out to you. He expects an answer, followed up with perseverance and courage; for the rewards He has planned for you are unimaginable. My reward was excellence in my life in an abundance of ways,”                                                                                                                                            JENNY A. LIABENOW, Major, USAF

When obedient to God’s call, we can be assured that it leads us many times to unfamiliar where courage is required of us. In my life, I have experienced the unfamiliar. It was a place way out of my comfort zone.

We all love comfortable: sitting in the same pew on Sundays, having coffee with the same friends, vacationing in the same location, staying in the same job, volunteering in the same position…but it’s not always the best of us so God expands our horizons and leads us out of familiar to unfamiliar.

Because I made a commitment to be obedient to the task God put before me, I chose to step out of comfortable.  Even though I had done my part to be well prepared for the task, I was sure that I would fail. Lacking confidence in myself and in my ability I walked into the unfamilar and  was welcomed to a wonderful truth. God is faithful and He shows up.

In these scary moments, we have an increased awareness of needing Him. It’s a desperate need. But it is here that God blesses us with His presence, His Words and His anointing.

I like to think that embracing the challenges of the unfamiliar is God’s promotion, an opportunity to grow and to be bold for Him. As a woman of faith of 51 years, I have been so blessed to have had enough of a taste of the majesty of God to want more. More of  His love, His guidance, His strength, and His protection. It is in the unfamiliar, that leap of faith that we take, because we know it’s right, that leads us to the purpose we are meant to find; that leads us to the realization of the God-given dreams in our hearts. It is here that we see God work in a Huge way. But it requires courage.

Read the story of Esther.

This is story of a woman who possessed remarkable courage.  Her courage is even more remarkable when we consider that the name of God is not mentioned in the book of Esther. This is the author’s way of depicting the hidden hand of providence; the Lord’s sustaining power, divine guidance, and care; working in ways that are not immediately discernible to us. Esther trusted this providence even when she had no idea how things would turn out.

Complete pages 77-81 in Excellence with Simple Elegance: The Study.

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For the most part, God’s hand of providence remains hidden, and we do not always know how things will turn out for us. Trusting Him and doing the right thing even if we know it might cost us; is not an easy feat. But I do know for certainty that God is ever working for our good and His glory. God’s protection and favor is available to us just as it was for Esther.  Esther’s courage resulted in the deliverance of God’s people.

Have courage and answer His call.

 

Promise

“Do not be afraid, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Blessing

“You’re blessed when you stay the course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.”

THE INGREDIENTS OF EXCELLENCE: Lesson 15

It takes time, energy, and desire to achie1966209_10204124610488223_1004779131560953682_ove excellence and to acquire the ingredients that comprise it. Once you have established that you are on a journey, it is important to realize what it will take to get there.

Scripture Memorizations

“Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you.” Deuteronomy 6:18

The Study

Much is required of us on this journey to excellence: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48

 First it is essential that you surrender:  John 5:30 and Luke 22:42

As Jesus surrendered to The Father so we must do the same. The task that has been given us, women of faith, is to bear witness to the holiness of God. We were created for commitment to serve God. We were made to mirror and to reflect His image. Surrending our lives to God’s purpose must be our passion and desire. As woman of faith, we establish a routine that displays what God is like. But we quickly realize that we lack ability to acheive and we simply can’t do it. In sin we broke the mirror; shattered the image; blurred the reflection. Until Jesus. Jesus perfectly reflected and mirrored the character of the Father.  Jesus came to show us how to live. It’s possible because of Jesus. When we totally surrender our life, it is then we find divine strength to pursue this worthwhile journey.  So our praise and worship is inspired by the remembrance of the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for us.  We are thankful and our passion becomes to live God’s way. Take this time to worship before the heavenly Father. As you listen to worship music daily surrender every part of your life to Jesus.

Then be committed to the renewing of  your mind daily: Psalm 51:10 and Roman 12:2

Make a clean heart in me, O God. Give me a new spirit that will not be moved. Women of faith commit to renewing your mind daily to what is good and pure. To renew is to renovate. It is a restoration to freshness. The mind is the intellect or understanding, but also includes all that is described in the word ‘mindset’. The mindset is the feelings and the will. As Romans 12:2 says being” transformed by the renewal of the mind”, this indicates a literal change in the form of thought or being.  In this scripture, it describes redemption’s provision of power to instill godliness in us–a power that transforms our thoughts, our purposes and our actions. The path to holy living is not complicated, nor is it energized by the flesh, but it does call us, women of faith, to surrender and to submit to God’s provision and ways.

In this journey to excellence, you will need three primary ingredients: courage, passion, and discipline. Complete page 74 in Excellence with Simple Elegance: The Study.

 

 

Both books can be purchased easily by copying &  pasting this website to your browser. Purchase The Study (workbook) for $8.99 and Excellence with Simple Elegance will be Free. 

 

 

 

 

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Promise

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”

Blessing

“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.”

GOAL SETTING–ISSUES OF THE HEART AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Lesson 14 supplement

PicMonkey Collage (3)A GOAL IS A SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE RELEVANT ASPIRATION IN A SPECIFIC PERIOD OF YOUR LIFE.

Scripture Memorization

“May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” Psalm 20:4

The Study

It is true that God is faithful to grant our heart’s desire. But we have a responsibility to do our part.

The Brain Research Institute reported that people’s number one desire  is to be happy. It is a mindset to be happy. Happiness is a choice.  Happiness is experienced everyday by those who choose to live at a higher level; a level of Excellence. Why? Because individuals pursuing excellence are actively committed to excelling and living intentionally every day. They set goals that lead to fulfilling their dreams.

The pursuit of excellence just like any worthy pursuit takes practice to be proficient and requires sacrifice.  Anything  that is worthy of your time; I can guarantee , there will be sacrifice. When you have made the decision to choose the high life, you are choosing to give  up the low life. My description of low life is “spending like there is no tomorrow, partying like there is no tomorrow, eating like there is no tomorrow and playing like there is no tomorrow.” It’s making choices with the sole purpose of satisfying spur of moment whims to achieve instant gratification without considering any consequence. It’s happiness short-lived. This defines ‘low life’.

The harsh reality is that your happiness is all up to You! It is not the responsibility of your family or friends. Or maybe… you carry the responsibility but have the attitude that you will postpone your happiness until.. “when I get a bigger house or when I get married or have children, or get out of debt. Then I will be happy.”  STOP!  I  encourage you to please not delay your happiness! Life is too short. The psalmist said “This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it” . 

Let’s identify the issues of the heart that hinders happiness.

Emotional brokeness includes issues of anger, anxiety, disgust, fear, unforgiveness, loneliess, insecurity and sadness, to name a few. Emotional brokeness can come from within you or be a reaction to your environment. Emotional changes can be normal, temporary responses to events; however, disproportion heart issues need your attention. Here is an opportunity for you to set goals pertaining to the issues of your heart and to emotional health. Set goals that will allow happiness to flourish in your daily routine.

GOAL ACQUISTION

How does a person accomplish a goal?

1. Look at it.

The best way to achieve any goal is to have a written plan. A goal that isn’t written down is just a dream. Here are five reasons why you commit your goal to paper.

*It will force you to clarify what you want.

*It will motivate you to take action.

*It will provide a filter for other opportunities.

*It will help you overcome resistance.

*It will enable you to see and celebrate your progress.

2. Tell people.

Telling everyone you know develops instant accountability.

3. Break it up.

Take measured steps. Long term goals of 10-20 years can be broken down into short term goals of 1-5 years and the objectives can be written out to become attainable daily acheivements.

4. Be realistic.

A good goal will take you out of your comfort zone, but it must be attainable. Do not set yourself up for failure.

5. Set a date.

A goal must be measureable and have a finish date.

6. Find an accountability partner.

 You must have accountability. The accountable partner is being assigned responsibility for something you are supposed to do. Find someone who is willing to hold you responsible and is bold enough to ask you tough questions. This person will also be your best cheerleader.

7. Be committed.

Longfellow quote, “Success is doing what you can do well and doing well whatever you do.”

You can choose to set goals and realize your potential. Or you can choose not to set them. Life’s purpose and fulfillment doesn’t happen by accident.  The reality of not choosing to set goals is that the consequences more than likely are not going to be good down the road. Fulfilling the desires of the heart and fulfilling your dreams  happen when we are willing to write them down and make a plan.

Lets get started.

*Write the goal plainly.

*Engage in a personal assessment which will determine where your current status is in relation to your goal.  

*Write the objectives; the action plan.

*Develop a time frame. 

*Write down the benefits to you as a result of accomplishing these goals.

Complete p70 in Excellence with Simple Elegance companion workbook, The Study. 

Excellence with Simple EleganceBoth books can be purchased easily by copying &  pasting this website to your browser. Purchase The Study (workbook) for $8.99 and Excellence with Simple Elegance will be Free. 

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Women of faith, you will only rise to your full potential when you set goals and take action to achieve them. Have you ever baked southern biscuits? It is so disappointing when you take them out of the oven and they did not rise. They were made to rise. Those biscuits baked in the squat position. Many women wait for a perfect time to begin goalsetting. After the children are grown, when they have more money, when the weather improves, when the economy improves and after vacation…see those who wait get baked in the squat position. They are waiting for changes out there before they do the changes within themselves. God has made you to rise. Don’t wait! The rule is simple. ‘Do it now’.

Be confident that you can accomplish these goals. Scriptures says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do everything through Christ, who gives us the strength. 

Promise

“Riches and well-being are in his house. And his right-standing with God will last forever.”

Blessing

“May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”

SIMPLY FORGIVE: Lesson 13 supplement

forgiveness

“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO”  Luke 23:34
Forgiveness is not a feeling, but a decision. A life of excellence comes with a forgiving heart. Let these words that Jesus spoke on the cross resonate with you this week.
The concept that forgiveness of others is what’s best for ourselves is sometimes difficult to grasp. But not only is it healthy for us to forgive others, it is required of us.  Our heavenly Father requires us to forgive others daily. In obedience to our Father, when we forgive He forgives us.

 Scripture Memorization

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins,  too.”  Mark 11:25
 So how do we ask for help to forgive when we do not have the strength or desire? Let’s look at the model prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples found in Matthew 6. Beginning with, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus leaves no question of how often we should pray. This means we daily come to Him in prayer. In that daily prayer we are instructed according to Mark 11:25 to first forgive those that have hurt us. Then in verse 12, He continues to teach us to pray: “Forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Refusing to forgive others is too high a price to pay.  WHY? The act of forgiveness grants us the privilege of being forgiven by our heavenly Father.

How often should we forgive that person who did us wrong? Scripture spells it out in simple math:  seventy times seven times, and if I do my math right it equals 490 times. The message here isn’t to literally forgive someone 490 times—-I believe it means no matter how many times someone wrongs you, you keep on forgiving. You forgive, you forgive again and you forgive again.

Just as forgiveness sets us free, a lack of forgiveness creates resentment that will eat away at our lives. It is unhealthy to allow these feelings of resentment and bitterness to grow or before we know it, these feelings will occupy our minds. We will go to bed thinking bitter thoughts and wake up thinking bitter thoughts.These thoughts halt us from renewing our mind daily to the gifts of Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Before we realize we will begin to enjoy holding onto the offenses more than reflecting His image. This resentment truly interferes with a routine of reestablishing our commitment to God daily.

Bitterness robs us of the joy that would normally be experienced with our family, friends, or other blessings that God has for us. Unforgiveness is like carrying a 100 lb. backpack everywhere you go and while you carrying that weight everything you do is so so hard. But when you “forgive”  you are throwing that heavy backpack off .  You are removing the very weight that slows you down. Without the weight of unforgiveness everything becomes light and manageable again as you purposely keep your eyes on Jesus. Forgiveness allows you to let go of the hurtful events of the past. The act of forgiveness ushers in  freedom. This freedom will  physically, emotionally and mentally bring you to a place of health where you can Run to the very bright future that God has for you.

We need to forgive because we desperately need forgiveness. For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Without a doubt, that is why God created forgiveness. God has made a way for us to start anew.

 you may fall on your knees and pray—to God’s delight!
    You’ll see God’s smile and celebrate,
    finding yourself set right with God.” Job 33:26

We all have made mistakes but we don’t have to carry it and regret it for our entire life. We can lay it at the feet of Jesus.

“You’ll sing God’s praises to everyone you meet,
    testifying, ‘I messed up my life—
    and let me tell you, it wasn’t worth it.
But God stepped in and saved me from certain death.
    I’m alive again! Once more I see the light!” Job 33:27-28

 In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God did not give us life to just endure, but to enjoy abundantly. What is holding you back from the abundant life? What are you holding onto? I believe the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. If this is your struggle, decide today to forgive yourself. There is no offense that God does not forgive.

 He will forgive you. Begin today, reading scripture and renewing your mind daily to the promise of forgiveness. Share your story here on this blog site,www.bonnieliabenow.com, and allow us to pray for you. There is such freedom in forgiveness. Allow yourself to experience it.

Take this opportunity to write your stories. Complete pages 63-66 in The Study.

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In the Act of Forgiving when someone does something wrong; don’t forget all the things they did right.
First Corinthians 13 saysLove is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
 We do not keep record of being wronged because we have forgiven ‘the wrong’ immediately! Women of faith we need to be ladies who do not take offense easily. Certainly this is not easy to do. It is true.  But many things are not easy and there are few things in life that don’t require practice to be proficient. So practice forgiveness with instant reconciliation. Understand that conflicts cause much greater damage to relationships when left unresolved. Love by choice, not by circumstance remembering to overcome each conflict with love.
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”
―    Mother Teresa

My husband is always reminding me that it is better to be righteous than right. Choosing a life of faith and living it in excellence always comes with sacrifice. Choosing to be righteous (morally upright and acting according to the holiness of God) might feel like a sacrifice when you really want to let the offender know that YOU ARE RIGHT in a situation and they are wrong!

  Please share your story where you were required to sacrifice for ‘holy living’.

Jesus understands the sacrifice you endure, because He made the first and ultimate sacrifice for you. 
While hanging on the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. His blood shed covered it all. Receive His forgiveness and live freely in His unconditionally love.
A major emphasis of Jesus’ teaching is how to build and maintain right relationships with God and others.  God views these relationships as vital components of our Christian lives. (I suggest reading Gary Smalley’s book, The DNA of Relationship. It is an excellent read) Our pursuit of excellence and personal relationship with Jesus should produce within us the qualities of character that builds and sustains all our relationships. Adopt the forgiveness of others in your prayer life as a daily discipline.

Promise

“Forgive other people and other people will forgive you. Give, and it will be given to you. You will have more than  enough. It can be pushed down and shaken together and it will still run over as it is given to you. The way you give to others is the way you will receive in return.”

Blessing

“the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

SIMPLE GRACE: Lesson 12 supplement

“GRACE is poured upon Your lips;

Therefore God has blessed You forever”   Psalm 45:2

photo

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give GRACE and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

Scripture Memorization

“For by grace you have been saved through faith and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

As a woman of faith of 51  years, I have been blessed to have had enough of a taste of the majesty of God to want more; more of His presence, His words, His anointing and His grace. I know what it means to be forgiven, to be blessed with His grace and to be loved extravagantly by His unfailing love. I have experienced His faithfulness and I am fully persuaded that the world needs to see Jesus in me. I can simply do that by extending grace.

 

Excellence with Simple EleganceComplete page 59 in Excellence with Simple Elegance companion workbook, The Study

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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

imagesHave you ever received a gift you didn’t deserve? And the treasured gift was given to you out of pure love. I have. My husband has surprised me many times with flowers and other little gifts throughout our 38 years of marriage. Oh! how delightful it is when  thoughtful gesture of love through a simple gift is given brings unexplainable joy. God also gives a gift. His gift is His grace, an abundant favor given to you in love.

Grace is God showing His love to you even though you don’t deserve it. You can’t do anything to earn God’s grace. This righteousness so  undeserved saved us from our sin and blessed us with His eternal presence in our life.  God’s perfect gift given is Jesus. Our Savior brings not only grace but divine guidance, strength and power. If you know Jesus as your Savior, be thankful.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. Women of faith because of  His grace shown to us , we must be compeled to show grace to those around us.

” But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” 

Galatians 5:22 & 23 is our goal! No matter what comes in our life. No matter what life throws at us, we choose to operate in His spirit of grace.

It is His grace that makes it possible for us to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control in situations where it is humanly impossible, undeserved or during times when circumstances and character are so attacked by an ungodly world. Grace makes “holy living” possible.We embrace the idea to live in holiness not set by rules or regulations, but from a heartfelt love and respect  for our heavenly Father.

Leviticus 11:44 instructs us to be holy because  He is holy.

There is great joy in extending grace to others. This special saving grace that we have experienced as a believer should drive us to care about the general welfare of others. Feed the poor, house the homeless, love the unlovely, clothe those less fortunate, pray for the sick, and care for the orphans and widows.  Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “For sure, I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of My brothers, you have done it to Me.” Extending grace to the world should become our pursuit and passion.

Complete pages 60-61 in Excellence with Simple Elegance: The Study.

 

God’s Grace  the unmerited, undeserved and unearned favor  is the component of faith that motivates us to pursue a heart of excellence.

Promise

“the Lord is always kind, patient and loving”

Blessing

“may the God of love be with you”

PRAYER: Lesson 11 supplement

 

Prayer

 Adjusting prayer time to quiet moments alone was so out of my comfort zone.  When I came to the realization that prayer is not dictated by place and time; that it’s place is everywhere, it’s time is any time, this revelation was the beginning to a pray life of truly knowing Him and experiencing His presence in my life.

Scripture Memorization:   “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.”  Jeremiah 29:12

 I see how my life was similar to the struggle of Martha in the story of Luke 10. I was so busy serving, working and doing that I was not spending time daily preparing my heart for service by having conversation with God, listening to God, spending time in worship and singing praises, and reading God’s Word.

Read the story of Martha and Mary. Are you a Martha or a Mary? Read their story in Luke 10

Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were considered good friends of Jesus, often hosting him in their home in Bethany on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Martha is said to have run the household, although she was the middle child—Lazarus was the oldest and Mary the youngest of the three siblings.

Early historians believed Martha to be the daughter, wife, or widow of Simon the Leper, and that the house became hers when he died. This has not been substantiated, but what is clear is that Jesus did not return to his own home for rest and relaxation during his three years of ministry. It was to the warm, hospitable home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus at Bethany He retired. We also know that their home was large enough to host Jesus and his followers, and we suppose the family had means because the Bible does not mention a family trade, although they were never noted as being wealthy.

All we know about Martha and Mary come from two encounters with Jesus that were documented in all four Gospels. The first is a visit from Jesus to Martha and Mary’s home during one of his many trips to Jerusalem. We realize that because of the casualness of their visit that Jesus visited their home often. On this day Jesus arrived in time for dinner and Martha became angry that she was doing all the work in preparing for the meal while her sister was simply sitting around listening to Jesus. Martha insisted that Jesus tell Mary to get up and help her. Jesus rebuked Martha and told her that her sister had it right—she was focused on what was important (Luke 10:38-42). The next encounter comes after Martha and Mary’s brother fell ill and they’d sent word for Jesus to come, but several days had passed. Lazarus died. Martha meets Jesus outside their home—her brother had been dead four days. After complaining about his tardiness, Martha affirms her belief that even now God will do anything Jesus asks. Jesus says that he is the “resurrection and the life” and asks if she believes this. Martha confesses, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world” (John 11:27). Her words are similar Simon Peter’s reply to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15-16). Martha was a woman with managerial talents, the gift of hospitality, and a woman of means. Once she recognized Jesus as her Messiah and confessed her faith in him, her whole world changed. She found new meaning, purpose, and life.

Have you found success in this world and yet still wonder if all your hard work here amounts to anything? Have you been frustrated that God was not there when you needed him most? Martha can speak to you:

  • Martha was doing what she thought God was calling her to do—serve him with her gifts and talents, but when Jesus rebuked her, she learned a great lesson. All of her ‘doing’ needed to be balanced with time for ‘being.’ You can’t work your way into God’s favor. He is already impressed with you, so take time to sit at his feet and allow his approval to shine upon you.
  • Martha’s disappointment in Jesus was great. Have you been disappointed in God? Yet, Martha didn’t hide her disappointment from Jesus. Instead she took her anger, fear, and belief directly to him. Then, in spite of her doubts, she declared her faith. Great was her reward, and great will be yours, too, when you have the courage to share even your disappointments with God. Then declare your belief in spite of your doubts and new life will come to you, too. He is your resurrection and your life.

The Study                                                                            

study mockupComplete page 53 in Excellence with Simple Elegance: The Study. 

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If you have no format for your daily prayer life, please take the opportunity this week to use this simple format from Nehemiah. These will be the beginning steps to having a Mary heart. A.C.T.S.

Adoration

 It is a time of praising God for Who He is, His attributes, His Names, and His character.

Exalting the Name of Jesus Christ “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.”

I challenge you to select one of Jehovah’s Name each week and praise Him for that particular attribute and character.

Jehovah’s Name (prayertoday.org)

  • Jehovah – The Lord – Exodus 6:2-3
  • Jehovah-Adon Kal Ha’arets- Lord of Earth – Josh 3:13
  • Jehovah-Bara – Lord Creator – Isaiah 40:28
  • Jehovah-Chatsahi – Lord my Strength – Psalm 27:1
  • Jehovah-Chereb – Lord the Sword – Deut. 33:29
  • Jehovah-Eli – Lord my God – Psalm 18:2
  • Jehovah-Elyon – Lord Most High – Psalm 38:2
  • Jehovah-Gador Milchamah – Mighty in Battle – Ps 24:8
  • Jehovah-Ganan – Lord Our Defense – Ps 89:18
  • Jehovah-Go’el – Lord My Redeemer – Is. 49:26, 60:16
  • Jehovah-Hamelech – Lord King – Psalm 98:6
  • Jehovah-Hashopet – Lord My Judge – Judges 11:27
  • Jehovah-Helech ‘Olam – Lord King Forever Ps10:16
  • Jehovah-Hoshe’ah – Lord Saves – Psalm 20:9
  • Jehovah-Jireh – Provider – Gen. 22:14, I John 4:9, Philip 4:19
  • Jehovah-Kabodhi – Lord my Glory – Psalm 3:3
  • Jehovah-Kanna – Lord Jealous – Ex 34:14
  • Jehovah-Keren-Yish’i – Horn of Salvation – Ps 18:2
  • Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – Sanctifier – I Corinthians 1:30
  • Jehovah-Machsi – Lord my Refuge – Psalm 91:9
  • Jehovah-Magen – Lord my Shield – Deut. 33:29
  • Jehovah-Ma’oz – Lord my Fortress – Jer. 16:19
  • Jehovah-Mephalti – Lord my Deliverer – Psalm 18:2
  • Jehovah-Metshodhathi – Lord my Fortress – Psalm 18:2
  • Jehovah-Misqabbi – Lord my High Tower – Psalm 18:2
  • Jehovah-M’gaddishcem – Lord my Sanctifier – Ex 31:13
  • Jehovah-Naheh – Lord who Smites – Ezekiel 7:9
  • Jehovah-Nissi – Banner – I Chronicles 29:11-13
  • Jehovah-Rohi – Shepherd – Psalm 23
  • Jehovah-Rophe – Healer – Isaiah 53:4,5
  • Jehovah-Sabaoth – Lord of Hosts – I Sam 1:3
  • Jehovah-Sel’i – Lord my Rock – Psalm 18:2
  • Jehovah-Shalom – Peace – Isaiah 9:6, Rom 8:31-35
  • Jehovah-Shammah – Present – Hebrews 13:5
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu – Righteousness – I Cor 1:30
  • Jehovah-Tsori – Lord my Strength – Psalm 19:14
  • Jehovah-Yasha – Lord my Savior – Isaiah 49:26
  • Jehovah-‘Ez-Lami – Lord my Strength – Ps 28:7
  • Jehovah-‘Immeku – Lord Is With You – Judges 6:12
  • Jehovah-‘Izoa Hakaboth – Lord Strong -Mighty – Ps 24:8
  • Jehovah-‘Ori – Lord my Light – Psalm 27:1
  • Jehovah-‘Uzam – Lord Strength in Trouble – Is 49:26

CONFESSION

Scripture says that God is faithful in forgiving us and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

THANKSGIVING

God requires us to believe and to be thankful. Be thankful in all things. Offer a prayer of praise each morning using the words of the psalmist. Note that I have 2 categories of adapted prayers from the Psalms that you can access Worship & Praise and Petition & Blessings. Simply use these prayers daily to offer your words of admiration to our wonderful heavenly Father.

SUPPLICATION

Scripture says we have not because we ask not. Share with God your needs and your heart’s desires. As you are faithful to His call on your life, watch how He blesses you. Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” Again if you feel you lack the words, please use the adapted prayers found on this blogsite http://www.bonnieliabenow.com and http://www.facebook.com/bonnieliabenow The petitions to God is our ‘want list’ the adapted prayers from the psalms titled Petitons and Blessing will launch you into His presence and into a meaningful personal time with God.

“Pray without ceasing”

Just like many of you there are situations that we have no control. And it these life moments drive me to pray. My life as a Christmas tree farmer leads me to times of prayer often.The summer of 2013 brought extreme heat, dry weather and sunny skies  to Michigan. My fraser fir farm does not smile with these weather conditions. “No problem! I will turn on the irrigation system. Equipment breakdown. It could not be fixed for several days. Lord, what do I do? PRAY! I walked thru the fields asking God to protect these trees and to send rain Soon.”

My Psalm reading for that day– Psalms 65 “You take care of the earth and send rain to help the soil grow all kinds of crops. Your rivers never run dry, and you prepare the earth to produce much grain. You water all of its fields and level the lumpy grounds. You send showers of rain to soften the soil and help the plants sprout.”

The next day–Rain, 50 degrees and cloudy skies! Thank you Lord for taking care of my “bit of earth”.

Complete pages 54-55 in The Study.

Are you excessively critical of the language and style of your prayer? Do you find yourself stumbling along and groping for words? I always felt my language was too simple, kinda uneducated far from sophicated so I didn’t prayer much. But I have since grasped the understanding neither God nor others are concerned with eloquent words, only that genuine communication takes place. Paul assures us in Romans 8:26 that” In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us where we are weak. We do not know how to pray or what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit prays to God for us with sounds that cannot be put into words.” Many times the best prayer is the one most difficult to express,coming from the heart and reflecting genuine concern. As John Bunyon said. “In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

The Lord’s Prayer is the model of prayer that Jesus taught us, as recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke consider beginning with this prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours. Now and for ever. Amen
The Lords prayer, or the “our Father prayer” is prayed daily by thousands of Christians, and can be seen both as a model for prayer, and as to be repeated as part of our daily prayer. It starts by addressing God as our Father in heaven, that although His name is honored, and above all other names, we are His children. As such, we occupy a place of privilege, and He wants us to spend time in prayer with Him. The Lords prayer then moves on to pray that God’s Kingdom, or rule, will become the norm on earth, replacing human rules and governments, which too often are driven by greed and power. Only then do we turn to our own needs, and ask our Father for our basic human needs to be satisfied, and that He would forgive the wrong things that we have done. We ask for God’s guidance and protection as we journey through life. Finally we turn back to God, and acknowledge His supremacy and position as the Almighty ruler.
Pointers for Prayer : Pray the Lords Prayer through, and then take one of the phrases. Spend a few moments reflecting on that phrase, for example, imagining what it means for God’s Kingdom to come, or how we forgive those who sin against us. Then use these thoughts for further prayer, finally coming back to pray through the Lord’s Prayer again.

Oxeye_daisy_800Promise“Ask…, Seek…, and Knock, and it will be opened to you”

Blessing“May the LORD grant all your requests”