by Dottie Ryan

It is hard for me to believe that we are already coming to the close of our 6-Week journey together through this Fearless Discipleship Study. I am already missing each of you as your faces cross my mind’s-eye.  You have reflected the image of your Lord so beautifully.  Know that!  And I have learned so much from you.  Thank you for allowing me to join you in this part of your journey! I am blessed beyond measure.

I thought it might be sweet to just recap the titles of each chapter — then close with some of the words of encouragement and admonishing  straight from the study which we have been reading over this past week.  There is so much that can be said . . . so much that can be shared . . . but sometimes, less is more.  I trust the Spirit of God to remind each of us how He spoke specifically to our hearts each week to faithfully and courageously walk Fearless — with eyes focused on Christ!

  • The Wind and the Waves — challenged us to prayerfully consider what we really do believe and where we place our focus. Our Day of Reflection pointed us to Mark 12:28-35.
  • Lord, Are You in the Storm? — Reminded us of the Sovereignty of God. Our Day of Reflection led us to read Isaiah 45:5-6.
  • O Lord, I Am Weak — showed us that we have nothing to bring to the Lord . . . Poor in spirit . . . and guided us to Colossians 3 in our Day of Reflection.
  • Going Up the Mountain  — pointed us to the necessity of spending time alone with the Lord and had us reflect on the Love of God . . . Praying His Kingdom come, His will be done as our Day of Reflection had us consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:7-13.
  • Fear God – urged us to consider what it means to be chosen by God for a purpose…and to walk courageously in that call on our lives. Our Day of Reflection led us through numerous passages in the Book of Isaiah to hear the Lord speak sweetly some special words to His people: “FEAR NOT,” because it is all about what HE will do.
  • Fearlessly Living and Sharing the Gospel — remembering that we were created in His image, for His glory, for intimate relationship with our Creator.  This final week showed us that, although God provided Adam and Eve with all they would ever need . . . they (we) sinned and that affected their and our relationship with Him; but:You see, at just the right time,when we were still powerless,Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since we have now been justified by his blood,how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:6-10, NIV).

Our final week was a reminder to us of what our part is in working out our salvation with fear and trembling in light of the finished work of Christ:

  • We Must First Remember Who We Were (Genesis 1:26-31, Romans 5:12 and Colossians 1:21)
  • We Need Eyes to See What Christ Has Done for Us (Ephesians 2:4-10)
  • What Christ Accomplished on the Cross for Us (John 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:11, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 John 4:10, 1 Peter 1:3-4, Romans 5:8,10)

that . . .  since we have received such free GIFT OF GOD, let us think about the Lost — put aside all fear, relying wholly on God.

  • In Light of God’s Great Salvation we must:

— Confess and Proclaim (Romans 10:9-10)

—  Work Out Our Salvation (Philippians 2:12)

—  Walk in a Manner Worthy (Colossians 1:10)

—  Fulfill the Great Commission to “Go and Make Disciples!” (Matthew 28:19-20)

My prayer for each of us is that we will have learned much about our fear in these past few weeks and what has prevented us from moving forward.  That though the fellowship, corporate and personal prayers, Bible Study, accountability, Taking the Truth to Heart, Laurie’s Lectures, and most importantly through the Word of God and the power of His Holy Spirit pointing us to our sin and then to repentance and the grace of God we will have begun to see and know Him in a way we never thought possible.  That we will have begun to trust His sovereignty and His love for us (which casts out all fear). That we will boast in our weaknesses and know our total dependence on Him.  May we all leave this Discipleship Study and our small groups with certainty in the depths of our being,  that the only way we will make it this side of eternity is by keeping our eyes on Christ (not the wind and the waves).

May the friendship-and-sistership-bonds that have been formed continue.  And through them, may we will continue to encourage, support, and exhort each other (in love) until Christ returns.

by Angie Thomas

I was re-reading the lecture notes from Laurie’s teaching from last Tuesday night and was moved again as I read her words:

Today, this week, open yourself to receive God’s immeasurable, unending, unconditional love for you.  Make Him your only ambition, your infatuation, your All In All.  May He be your EVERYTHING. May he be all you breath, all you live for, all you think, all you want, all you dream, all you desire… May you be able to confidently walk forward in the path of the beatitudes, following the way, humbly acknowledging your need for Him. Lay yourself open before Him to receive His love.  You many sense the risk–but go forward by faith; you may fear the hurt–but go forward by faith.  You may have a hard time trusting–ask Him in faith to help you.  If you just plain don’t want to be vulnerable–ask Him to release you from yourself and to make you willing to be open to Him.  Put it all down at the altar, confessing and fixing your eyes on Him.  Look to Him and hear His words to you. “Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.  The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom, they give forth fragrance.  Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” -Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Whether you feel like it or not, you are His beloved, His love.  One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 43:4. God says, you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”.  There were many years in my walk with Christ that I had a really difficult time believing this verse.  The pain and trials in my life did not make me feel precious, honored, or loved.  Instead, I often wondered what I had done wrong or why God was allowing such difficulty.  

But…there was also a part of me that wanted desperately to believe it.  I had tried to find love the world’s way and it had only left me with more scars and hurts.  I wanted to believe that this God of the Bible who I had grown up hearing stories about was real and that He really did love me.  Deep in my heart I wanted to believe there was more, more to this life than occasional worldly highs. I wanted to experience this deep abiding love I read about in the Bible.  

I cried out to Him and confessed my lack of faith, my hard heart, and my inability to trust Him.  The trials did not go away, but in a way that only He could, He gave me the grace to cling to these truths and walk forward, one day at a time, hopeful that someday He would give me the faith to believe them to the core of my being….not in a superficial, church-girl way, but in a unwavering, sweat and glory sort of way.

Cry out to Him for this faith, confess that you don’t have it and He will hear your cry.  Quit pretending that you love Him and ask for true, authentic faith.  He who has promised us life and salvation is faithful.  He will answer.  Hebrews 11:6 says that, he rewards those who seek him.” However, the same verse also says that without faith it is impossible to please Him.  IMPOSSIBLE. But faith is a gift and you can cry out to Him to give you a new heart, one that is tired of playing church and desires to truly seek Him.  Deuteronomy 4:29 promises, “you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Run to Him girls.  I can testify to His abiding love and faithfulness.  He has truly transformed my heart and I can honestly say that I believe to the core of my being that I am His beloved. He can do the same for you, and it will completely and radically change your life. 

by Susan Sampson

“Each day as a mother, you have a choice to make.  Are you going to follow your own desires, the world, your fears, or will you follow the Lord?  The choices you make will influence the choices your children make.” — from Falling in Love Again with Your Children

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:3, NASB). 

“And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NASB).

Every minute of every day we must choose.  Will we serve self or Christ?  Will we put the tennis balls in first or the rice?  Will we take a stand for Jesus or sit in the seat of scoffers?  Will we train or entertain?  Will we live for the temporal or eternal?

This is so hard for me.  Apart from Christ we can do none of this.  Apart from the grace of God we wouldn’t even want to do any of this!

My flesh does not want to stand.  My flesh prefers to sit.  Actually, my flesh prefers to lay in my bed.

As I read the Ephesians Scripture above this week I was convicted by how much I still indulge the desires of the flesh and of the mind.  I wrote a note in my book next to it saying, “I do not want to do this any more — Lord, help me repent of my sin and turn in faith to you, looking to Christ — my helper, my friend, my bridegroom, my Savior and Lord.”

We’ve been saved from this life.  Listen now to verses 4 and 5: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…” (NASB)

Because of the Gospel I want to stand.  I want to teach my children to stand.  I know this is impossible, but I believe by faith that with God all things are possible.

The Lord has provided us incredible tools from this week’s lecture!  Let us not give into our flesh, the enemy, or the world.  Let us set aside our pet projects which have no eternal value and invest in our children trusting the Lord to provide all we need!

Let us take time this summer, before school starts while we have extra time and choose to serve the Lord instead of our flesh.  Let us cry out to Him for His grace to be able to do this.  Let us not squander this divine opportunity!  Lord, have mercy on us!  Enable us to build our house on the Rock and not the sinking sand!

Father, please give us a holy and reverent fear of the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Please train us by your grace “to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives” now (Titus 2:11-12, NIV).  We want our actions, Lord, to match our words of devotion.  We want to be doers of the Word and not just hearers.  Please do in our hearts and in our children’s hearts what we cannot.  We look to you and your unfailing love.  We look to you to enable us to stand and teach our children to stand.  Thank you for loving us right where we are!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.