FALL IS MY JAM

FALL IS MY JAM

Ahh, fall. Can you feel it? It's upon us. 

If you are like me, September is one of your favorite months. Our children are scurrying back to school, the rain is falling once again, leaves are changing, the smell of chili on the stove is in the air, and fall ministry is gearing up. I love summer, but fall is my jam. 

FAITH

For years I’ve looked at this verse and thought, “How do I muster up enough faith to please Him?” I mean, I want to draw closer to God, and I do believe He exists, and the Bible says that He rewards us for seeking Him, but where do I get the faith to get this whole thing going? Where does it come from?

Attitude

Vacuuming was my least favorite household chore. I decided it had to be because of my vacuum cleaner, a new vacuum would make the task enjoyable. I read reviews and planned my purchase. I was so excited to use my new vacuum!  I thought, “Problem solved! My attitude toward vacuuming has changed.” However, I was quickly back to dreading the task. The problem was not the vacuum, it was me. I needed to change my attitude, not change my vacuum. Vacuuming was bringing out the dirt in my heart. 

His Strength

Sometimes I feel like I am failing. It is a feeling that often creeps in when I look around at the laundry I haven't done and the bills I've forgotten to pay. When I notice how my heart is quick to seek foolish comfort in judging others to feel better about myself. When I hear my tone of voice harden as I allow myself to be angry with my husband. It comes when I feel my patience slipping away in my interactions with my children. I see how far I am from the woman that I want to be, and I begin to feel like a failure.

His Faithfulness

BY SARAH DIENER

Verse to Memorize: "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." 2 Thessalonians 3:3

The second verse of this chapter of Thessalonians ends with "For not all have faith." The third verse then begins, "But the LORD is faithful." God is faithful when I am not. Though I am far too often unfaithful to Him- He Who created me, saved me, and has given me new life- He continues to be faithful to me, and I have done nothing to deserve it.

Because He is faithful, He will strengthen me, for I am not strong enough on my own. I am not strong enough to face temptation without giving in to sin. It is in my nature to sin, which flies in the face of God's perfect nature. But, because He is within me, I am able to glorify and serve Him with my life.

Because He is faithful, He will protect me from the evil one, for I need protection. The adversary is not weak. He is not to be forgotten or taken lightly, for he actively seeks to drag me from my Savior. He is cunning; he tries to lull each of us into complacency, into thinking our sins are "not that bad," or that they are "not really hurting anyone."

"It's just a little harmless flirting."

"It's just a white lie."

"It's just a little gossip."

The devil will try to make us comfortable with "small" sins, "harmless" sins; but all sin breeds death. All sin is an affront to God, and so all sin ought to be equally despicable to us. And these "small" sins, the ones that we think we are okay with, will often lead to sins that have much greater consequences. God, may we never think that our sin is acceptable.

Christ has freed us from sin, freed us from death. Why then would we run back to old shackles? No! Let me never return to my chains, never pick them up and place them about my wrists again. Instead, let me run to my Lord, for it is in Him that I find strength and protection. He is faithful to love me though I am unworthy; faithful to forgive me when I stumble yet again. He faithfully sought me when I was a stranger, because of His love for me.

His Power

"Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure." Psalm 147:5  (ESV)

BY TERESA GEORGE

Do you ever feel powerless when facing the circumstances of your life? At times do you find yourself doubting that even God Himself has the power to pull you from the darkness?

If you find yourself doubting the power of God, look outside and see the beautiful world He created. It was all brought into existence with His words.

If you find yourself doubting the power of God, consider His infinite knowledge and wisdom as revealed in the Word. The Bible gives us many pictures of His power, from the parting of the Red Sea to leading the Israelites into the Promised Land.

If you find yourself doubting the power of God, remember the One who is able to redeem a lost soul, the One whose power resurrected His Son from death on the cross in order to free us from slavery and eternal judgment.

Though God’s power is strong and mighty, it is also tender and personal. If you, like me, have trials and burdens in your daily life, dear sister, consider that the power of God is on your side and take courage.

When I am discouraged and fearful that a loved one will never meet Christ personally, I remember the power that transformed Paul, the chief of all sinners, into a champion for the kingdom of Christ.

When I am fearful of the direction my culture is headed, I remember His power is mightier than any government. I know that He has the ultimate victory and in His power I find hope.

When I am tempted to follow the crowd and stain my Christian testimony, I have confidence that the power of my temptations are incomparable to the power of my Almighty God.

Some of my worst decisions have been made looking at my own ability and power, resulting in lifelong consequences. In our community of women at the Gathering, let’s encourage each other to trust in the knowledge, wisdom, and power of God to lead us through this complicated world. 

His Provision

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

BY SARAH DIENER

Provision. This word has been a theme of the past three years of my life. As much has changed, God's provision has been incredible to behold.

He has supplied our needs. Perhaps not all of our wants- but He has cared for us, mercifully and mightily. It has been a humbling reminder not only of His great love for us, but of the truth that every good and perfect thing comes from Him.

I am a planner, and so it has been good for me to learn that while it is wise to plan, it is God who will supply; there is no other source of provision in our life. Even our own ability to work for a thing is only by the grace of God, and not to our own merit. We ought to work hard, yes, but we earn nothing on our own. As believers we are not promised wealth or status, nor even the financial security to which we so often feel entitled. We are promised that God will supply- not riches, but riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • The riches of Jesus are salvation and the fruit of the Spirit.
  • He gives us love for the unlovely.
  • He gives us joy that is found only in Him.
  • He gives us peace that surpasses all understanding.
  • He gives us patience in times of trouble.
  • He gives us kindness towards all people.
  • He gives us goodness, though we are not inherently good.
  • He gives us faithfulness as we depend on His Spirit.
  • He gives us gentleness, humility, and grace that we cannot walk in on our own.
  • He gives us self-control over our thoughts, our words, and our actions.

And even more beautiful than these good gifts, these evidences of Him in our lives, is the very fact that He has supplied salvation. He has brought us out of death, out of darkness, out of sin from which we could not free ourselves...and He has made us alive! My God has adopted me as His own child, and He loves me with a love that I do not deserve. In this, He has supplied for my greatest need, a need beside which all others pale.

His Peace

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You."  Isaiah 26:3

BY KATRINA COSTALES

Last week I experienced a lack of peace. I left home in a hurry after boiling water for tea. I was miles from home when the thought went through my mind ... did I turn off the tea kettle? It's amazing how quickly I imagined all of the possible situations and scenarios that could be the result of leaving a boiling tea kettle on top of a gas stove. I was experiencing a lack of peace due to my out of control thoughts.  

This verse emphasizes the importance of our thinking. The battle is for our minds. Our behavior and emotions flow from our thinking. Peace is experienced when our mind is stayed, trusting and relying upon God.  The fact that we are at peace with and reconciled to God and the truths of the gospel steadies our minds. Our thinking needs to be correct and steadfast regarding what we think about ourselves, God, and our circumstances. Often what we think about these things is untrue, and yet we repeat those untrue thoughts to ourselves. 

We can develop a steadfast mind by meditating on scripture. Biblical meditation is a bridge between knowing what is right and doing what is right.  It involves thinking about, memorizing, and reminding ourselves of Biblical truths, and then applying them to life by asking questions like "How does this apply to me?" or "What am I to do because of this truth?" 

There is no peace for imaginary events. We must fill our minds with biblical truth, not the "what ifs" of imagination.  Thoughts about the future must be infused with hope based on the character and nature of God. He is good, kind, and holy. He has undeservedly rescued us from hell and given us every spiritual blessing in Christ, but we accuse Him of wrongdoing and mistreating us with His daily care and ordering of our lives.  

Is it possible that we don't have peace because our mind isn't steadfast on God? We're not thinking rightly about ourselves, God, and our circumstances. Is our trust and confidence in something other than God and His word?

His Presence

“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 49: 15, 16

BY TERESA GEORGE

I have several scars on my body that are unwelcome reminders of the accidents that caused them. The “scars” which leave a memory I welcome are the lines that crisscross my stomach like a road map, my stretch marks. I remember in amazement the feeling of life growing inside me and the growth that enlarged my stomach and stretched my skin. I proudly wear my ‘scars’ as a reminder of the babies, now men, my husband and I brought into the world together.

I remember nursing those precious babies and the protective love that exploded in me for them. Over the years, no matter their actions, the consequences, the pain, or the financial cost, we have not abandoned or forgotten our children.  We love them!

God chose the nation of Israel as His children. They turned from worshipping Him to worshipping idols and chose the ways of their culture over obedience to God. That led them to chaos in their culture and ultimately to slavery. Out of a restoring love, God allowed many obstacles to come their way. The Israelites felt abandoned and forgotten. Through the prophet Isaiah He tells them, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb?  Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.  Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” (Is. 49:15-16)

These prophetic words would bring Israel comfort and hope. They apply to us today. We may be involved in idolatry (loving things or people more than Him) or slavery (addictions, habits, compulsive behavior). We may love following our culture more than His commands. He is ready to restore us to Himself. He gave a figurative picture to Israel that they are inscribed on the palms of His hands.  For Christians today there is a literal picture in Jesus Christ. Consider the nails that pierced His palms leaving scars as reminders of the price it took to birth His spiritual family.

Through His perfect love He promises His continual presence with His children. If we feel abandoned or forgotten perhaps we should look at our own lives and see who has shifted away, us or Him? 

His Love

BY TERESA GEORGE

Verse to Memorize: "The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:3

August 29, 1980. The day started out full of joy and hope. My husband surprised me with a new blue outfit for our son's ride home from the hospital. The pediatrician gave our baby his ‘release’ check-up. My excitement turned to sadness and fear as they hooked up our precious "Junior" to an EKG machine and told us we would have to stay while they did more tests. A pediatric cardiologist was called in. He instructed me on the potential need of a sedentary life for our child to prevent a heart attack. 

I lay back down in my hospital bed, discouraged, afraid, and crying. I wanted to ask for help, yet I felt too sinful. I had drifted so far away. I didn’t deserve to pray, let alone expect an answer. I thought about all the things in my life I needed to get in order before I would be able to talk to God.

Have you ever let your circumstances and sinful decisions cause you to doubt God’s everlasting love for you? Jeremiah 31:3 -- "The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.'" The nation of Israel experienced God's restoring love, despite all the disastrous choices they made. His unconditional love extends to His church. It extends to His people. That's those of us who have trusted in Christ's death and resurrection as the perfect payment for every past, present or future sin. 

Thankfully, our son did not have a heart problem. We went home together a day late. Unfortunately it took several years of trying for me to realize I would never have my life in order enough to approach God on my terms. It was through the blood of Christ that covered my sins that I was able to submit myself to Him in prayer. He drew me to a place of repentance and then showered me with His loving kindness. I am so thankful for His unconditional love. Aren't you?  

The Father

BY KATRINA COSTALES

Verse to Memorize: “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” Psalm 103:13,14

Have you ever found yourself repeating something important so that you will not forget? Pick up milk, pay power bill, soccer at 6:00. In Psalm 103, King David is reminding himself to praise God and rightly remember all of His attributes and blessings. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.” So much of our struggle in life and battle with sin can be traced back to a wrong view of God’s character and nature. If we are wrong about who God is and what He is like, we will be wrong in the way that we interpret and respond to the situations of life. As a result, our emotions will also be wrong, not in line with scripture. Our actions and emotions are a byproduct of our thoughts.

David reminds himself and us that God is our Heavenly Father. He describes His children as those who fear Him. One is not a child of God because God is obligated to love us, or because we are made in His image, or that He has given us physical life. A child of God is one who has been born again through the new birth of salvation. It is rooted in the gospel. We are adopted into the family of God, chosen and loved, as Father God has compassion on His children. The word compassion is to be tender or have mercy, to love deeply as only a parent can. We have a special relationship with God. He is now our Father and it is a permanent relationship of love.

We can’t look to our earthly fathers to understand our Heavenly Father. We must look to the place where He has revealed Himself to us, the Bible. The Bible tells us that because of this fatherly relationship, we have access to Him in prayer, and we can call Him Abba Father. He will answer our prayers and give us good gifts, including the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is preparing a place for us, and we will one day be with Him forever in heaven. He will also discipline us in love so we will be holy like He is holy.

As we remember God’s fatherly care for us, we will grow in trust and obedience. It will keep us from worry, fear, doubt, anger, despair and indecision.  It will motivate us to live holy lives like our Father. What we believe and what we think will flow out in how we live. That is why we need to remind ourselves that God is our Father. We are deeply loved and cared for daily by our Father.

I hope you will dig deeper into the great truth that God is Father and how that truth should impact our daily lives.

The Holy Spirit

BY DEBBIE DAVIS

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26

I was driving up Dash Point Road one night on my way to church. I admit that I was feeling a bit sorry for myself thinking ‘no one likes me.’ Out of nowhere, the verse Isaiah 43:4 came to my mind: “Since you are precious in My sight…” It goes on from there, but what grabbed me were those first 7 words. I am precious to God! Precious means an object of great value. I am of great value to God! Wow! Needless to say, I no longer had even the faintest echo of that ‘no one likes me’ thought. I was overwhelmed with God the Father’s love for me. Now while I was having my pity party, I didn’t reach over and thumb through my Bible, nor did I pop onto my phone to search my favorite Bible app for a verse about God’s love for me (as both those activities would have been hazardous to me and everyone else on the road!). This verse trumpeted itself into my thoughts spontaneously! How? Well, many years ago I memorized this verse, and I’ve reviewed it at times over the years. So it was there, in my memory, ready for the Holy Spirit to use to encourage me on that commute to church. Memorizing Scripture puts God’s Word where the Holy Spirit can pull it out to teach, reprove, correct, and train us in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16). And it’s there no matter where we are.

The Holy Spirit can’t bring Scripture to mind if the Scripture isn’t in our minds. Memorizing Scripture means that no matter where we are, sitting at a restaurant table with a friend, driving in the car with family, in a meeting, in the shower, God’s Word is accessible to us so the Holy Spirit can bring it to our remembrance. Even with our ubiquitous electronic devices, there are times when we can’t (or shouldn’t) access them to look up a verse. In those times, if we’ve memorized verses/passages, they are always available to us. I can spend my shower time, driving time, waiting time meditating on a verse. I can encourage a friend, exhort a child, praise the Lord, explain a concept, because the Spirit has brought that memorized verse to mind.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, sent by God in Jesus’ name, lives in us. Let’s be consistent to memorize Scriptures that He can use to teach us, comfort us, and encourage us.

Christ the Lord

BY TERESA GEORGE

Verse to Memorize: “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:15

What is your testimony? Were you saved as a child?  Did you walk the ‘straight and narrow’? Did you have a rough start? However it is that God called you to repentance, your conversion is a miracle! Being brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light is such an awesome thing that even the angels in heaven rejoice. When we confess our faith in Jesus Christ, accept His death and resurrection as the payment for our sins, and turn from our ways to His, He becomes our Savior and our Lord. As you go through your routines each day, remember the gospel and your story.  Remember the deliverance from hell, and equally remember the love that motivated the action. Let His love compel you to become a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Often, I am motivated to action by the things that give me the most attention, pleasure, or instant gratification. Many times I am selfish with my finances and my time. My actions show my love for me is greater than my love for Christ, even though I profess that Christ is my Lord.

Biblical love is sacrificial and unconditional. As you meditate on and memorize this verse, think about the love of Christ. He selflessly gave His life to redeem us. Imitating His love enables us to love others correctly. Living for Him will look different in each of us depending on the circumstances and the people who come into our lives. We glorify God when we filter our thoughts and actions through His commands rather than our feelings. As we serve others with His love individually, we blend together into a community of women selflessly living for Him who died and rose again for us, rather than for ourselves. What a wonderful picture of the gospel!


The refreshing and adorable Teresa George has been at Christ's Church for 28 years (also known as a "really long time"). Currently, she is faithfully working behind the scenes on women's ministry, the website and social media. In her free time, she is busy loving on her grandchildren and traveling with her husband, Tom. xoxo 

Memorization Tips

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. - Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV)

Hello there, 

We will be starting The Gathering: Summer Scripture Memorization on Sunday, May 31st. That's tomorrow! Can you believe it's almost June? We trust you are taking full advantage of this summer sun! 

Here's how it works: We will send out a weekly email on Sundays. In that email you will have the verse of the week along with a small devotional for you to meditate on throughout the week. At the end of the summer, you will have memorized 14 verses alongside of, potentially, 300 other women at Christ's Church.  

We know that Bible memorization can feel daunting; but we have pulled together some simple memorization tips to help you along the way.

  1. Write it Down. It's such a simple strategy. Write the verse you're memorizing down on paper. But don't just write it once; write it many times. Five or ten times is a good start (some of our overachievers write out their memory verses up to 50 times!).
  2. Say it Out Loud. Just as writing a verse out can help in memorizing it, so speaking the words aloud is an excellent way to burn them into your memory. One suggestion: turn the radio off while you're driving, your commute to work, playdates, to get groceries, each day and recite your memory verse out loud instead!
  3. Incorporate the Verse into Your Prayers. When you pray, include elements of the verse in your words to God. Pray that God will help you understand and apply the verse to your life. Pray for God's help in fixing the verse in your heart and mind.
  4. Put it Everywhere. Write your memory verse out on multiple index cards or sticky notes (combine this with tip #1 above!) and put them all over the place, so that you'll see the verse many times throughout your day. Tape the verse to your bathroom mirror or computer monitor. Tuck it into your purse, lunch sack, car glove compartment, pockets... anywhere you'll see it.
  5. Use Technology. There are many apps and websites available to help you memorize scripture. Here are a two of our favorites: 
      • ScriptureTyper.com - Available on the web, iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle, this app allows you to type out the verse many times, leaving out more words each time until you have the entire verse memorized. 
      • BibleMindedApp.com - Available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Kindle App. With BibleMinded you can add your own verses and memorize the Bible using their awesome study modes, track and test yourself.

You got this girls!

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