from Rachel: My Broken Dreams

How about you? Ever sing along, hoping the song (‘When You Wish Upon a Star’) might be true? “I’ve sung the song, but I’m not sure I had any particular dreams in mind. If I did, they were probably outside of the natural order of possibilities. My favorite fantasies involve portals to other worlds: policeContinue reading “from Rachel: My Broken Dreams”

from Rachel: My Broken Relationships

Why do you suppose Proverbs says so much about relationships with fools? “Those relationships are the ones that tend to bring the most trouble into a person’s life.” Summarize in one sentence the teaching of the scriptures you just read. “Don’t hang around with fools – their foolishness is more easily transferred than your wisdom.”Continue reading “from Rachel: My Broken Relationships”

from Rachel: I Just Want Everyone to Leave Me Alone

For what other reasons to women pull back, hide, and want everyone to leave them alone? “Feeling tired and/or overwhelmed – needing some alone time, feeling hurt and vulnerable and therefore fearful of more hurt.” [starred for emphasis] a description of God’s love based on Ephesians 3:18 and John 3:16: The Breadth – For GodContinue reading “from Rachel: I Just Want Everyone to Leave Me Alone”

from Rachel: I Just Want Everyone to Love Me

Anyone else want to join me here? “Yep, I have belonged to the ‘just love me’ club too.” Looks like you agreed with the author that you are conflict-avoidant, risk-averse, and easily pushed (although you preferred the term ‘manipulated,’ for all the difference it made). You did not consider yourself easily-bullied, work-yourself-into-oblivion, or a bigContinue reading “from Rachel: I Just Want Everyone to Love Me”

from Rachel: I Think Too Much of Myself

Did you struggle with an intense focus on yourself in your teenage years? “Not like that, I was more of a Daria than a Quinn. But I was also rather a Hermione, so I definitely wanted all my work perfect to impress my teachers, and I relished in their praise and attention.” List some waysContinue reading “from Rachel: I Think Too Much of Myself”

from Rachel: God Offers a New Attitude

God can make us new women this week. Are you willing to commit to his compassionate, transforming work? “No promises yet, sorry. It’s Wednesday already, also. Added” (signature) “Thursday after day 5” Write down some other attitudes that belong to the category of “bad.” “Lazy, selfish, pleasure-seeking, comfort-loving, work-avoiding, worldly and pursuing worldly pleasures andContinue reading “from Rachel: God Offers a New Attitude”

from Rachel: (God is Stronger Than My Struggles) With Stress/Anxiety

[starred for emphasis] “Yep, we can all pretend we’re doing fine with life’s stress, but the body will usually betray you and tell the truth.” How about you? Do you have any little stressors in your life? “Of course. On Monday (10/13/14) I drive to Macomb so that I can leave Chompers with mom andContinue reading “from Rachel: (God is Stronger Than My Struggles) With Stress/Anxiety”

from Rachel: (God Is Stronger than My Struggles) With Loneliness

Remember your loneliest time? What details made it particularly difficult? “My most alone time was last August (2013) when I vacationed alone for a week, but I relished in almost every minute of it. I think the times I feel loneliest are when I’m surrounded by people, but they are already all in groups conversing.Continue reading “from Rachel: (God Is Stronger than My Struggles) With Loneliness”

from Rachel: Surrender

If God is stronger than everything, and He is, then why do so many believers still live in tragic weakness? “Some are more comfortable there, others don’t have because they don’t ask, and still others try but struggle with the ‘trust fall’ of surrendering their power and control for His.” Beside each of these… steps,Continue reading “from Rachel: Surrender”

from Rachel: Near to God

[starred for emphasis] Our God is faithful and true. He is not playing games with us or changing his mind. He loves us. Jesus died for us. The Bible speaks to us. The Holy Spirit works in us. And in all these things, God is glorified. With no worrying about right or wrong answers, howContinue reading “from Rachel: Near to God”

from Rachel (and family): Why?

“The ‘therefore’ in verse 10 is ‘dia touto,’ which is not the Greek word that refers back to the previous point; it is more like, ‘so, here’s what I’m saying… “Verses 11-13 were probably either the lyrics to an early Church hymn, or a creed the assembly would recite together. “Do I deny following JesusContinue reading “from Rachel (and family): Why?”

from Rachel: The Legend of the Dogwood

“There is a legend that at the time of the Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree, that it was chosen as the timber of the cross. “To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, andContinue reading “from Rachel: The Legend of the Dogwood”

from Rachel: Believing God Loves You

[starred] There are people in great need who decide to become great at being needy. It’s easier to stay needy than take hold of the power to change. [starred] There is no “enough” for us with God. Good enough. Kind enough. Generous enough. We do not earn His love because we have finally become enough.Continue reading “from Rachel: Believing God Loves You”

from Rachel: God All-Knowing and All-Powerful / Letter to Kerstin

How often have you wondered if God knows what’s going on in your life? Your heart? Does He see what happens in your family? Can He have any idea about the struggles you face? Tell me your thoughts. “Wow! Those questions are a foreign concept to me. Each sounds completely ludicrous to my ears.” GodContinue reading “from Rachel: God All-Knowing and All-Powerful / Letter to Kerstin”

from Rachel: God Almighty

Take a minute to remember some of the characteristics you know about God. I’ll get you started. Finish the sentence, God is… faithful, loving, “(omni-)kind, (omni-)caring, (omni-)merciful, (omni-)gracious, (omni-)glorious, (etc.) magnificent, awesome, indescribable, uncontainable, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, providing, protecting, generous, righteous, perfect, alpha and omega, holy, friend… “but also jealous, just, wrathful, vengeful.” Read [the]Continue reading “from Rachel: God Almighty”

from Rachel: Made For A Mission

Christ’s command… seems like ‘Mission Impossible,’ “but God doesn’t give the option, ‘should you choose to accept it…’ It isn’t called ‘the Great Suggestion.’ “Never bothering to share my faith is basically saying to those around me, ‘I’m in, the rest of you can all just go to Hell.’ “Wake up asking for an opportunityContinue reading “from Rachel: Made For A Mission”

from Rachel: What On Earth Am I Here For?

“Memory verse: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 “Being holy doesn’t mean a perfect ‘goody two-shoes’, but being committed and focused and skilled at showing Jesus to others (‘showing others what God is like’)” a reference toContinue reading “from Rachel: What On Earth Am I Here For?”

from Rachel: Sharing Your Life Message

Question to consider: As I reflect on my personal story, who would God want me to share it with? “5/26 “This question challenges me with the idea that I should perhaps be in one secular, worldly group (like Meg in her Wednesday morning bowling league) so that I could meet and establish friendships with womenContinue reading “from Rachel: Sharing Your Life Message”

from Rachel: Made for a Mission

Question to consider: What fears have kept me from fulfilling the mission God made me to accomplish? What keeps me from telling others the Good News? “5/25 “My fears when I consider discussing my faith start with a panicky nervousness that makes my throat feel tight like I may not be able to speak atContinue reading “from Rachel: Made for a Mission”

from Rachel: How Real Servants Act

Question to consider: Real servants make themselves available to serve; pay attention to needs; do their best with what they have; do every task with equal dedication; and are faithful to the tax they have been given. Which of the five characteristics of real servants is the most challenging for me? “(six – maintain aContinue reading “from Rachel: How Real Servants Act”

from Rachel: Using What God Gave You

Question to consider: How can I make the best use of what God has given me? “5/21 “What am I good at? (I see arguments and weaknesses in every area I think of – am I truly good, or even fair, at anything?). Shortfalls aside, here goes: Organization (when boundaries are clear – e.g., ABCs)Continue reading “from Rachel: Using What God Gave You”

from Rachel: Understanding Your Shape

Question to consider: What God given ability or personal experience could I offer to my church? “5/20 “I don’t know. I’m good at correcting grammar, but I don’t think the church needs a proofreader. I love math, but I’m not an accountant or anything. I suppose I could tutor kids but I’m not sure IContinue reading “from Rachel: Understanding Your Shape”

from Rachel: Shaped for Serving God

Question to consider: In what way could I see myself passionately serving others and loving it? “5/19 “I doubt I could feel any more passionate while serving others than when I sing in choir, especially with certain songs. I also feel a genuine love of the job in the two PTA tasks I do atContinue reading “from Rachel: Shaped for Serving God”

from Rachel: Accepting Your Assignment

Question to consider: What’s holding me back from accepting God’s call to serve Him? “5/18 “I don’t appreciate the implication that I am failing to serve Him currently. This Sunday I actually have three different roles on the platform: choir, ensemble and drama. I am just wrapping a busy schedule of Awana, babysitting, choir practiceContinue reading “from Rachel: Accepting Your Assignment”

from Rachel: It Takes Time

“May 20 “I need to be more patient and persistent in trying to establish a daily routine of spending a few minutes with Jesus first thing in the morning. I manage most days for a week or two, but it doesn’t start to immediately become a comfortable habit or something I miss if I don’tContinue reading “from Rachel: It Takes Time”

from Rachel: Defeating Temptation

Question to consider: Who could I ask to be a spiritual partner to help me defeat a persistent temptation by praying for me? “May 19 “If I really want to be sure to be held accountable and be prayed for, I tell Susie and ask her for prayer. Unfortunately, since I don’t like to feelContinue reading “from Rachel: Defeating Temptation”

from Rachel: Growing Through Temptation

Question to consider: What Christlike character quality could I develop by defeating the most common temptation I face? “May 18 “Faithfulness: my biggest temptation and pitfall is not being willing to end the evening at a reasonable hour and go to bed. Then I can’t get up at a normal time and have a fewContinue reading “from Rachel: Growing Through Temptation”

from Rachel: Transformed by Trouble

Question to consider: What problem in my life has caused the greatest growth in me? “May 17 “I feel completely stumped at this moment, and I only hope that doesn’t mean I will have to have more problems very soon to bring about some growth. “I can think of a number of trials and temptationsContinue reading “from Rachel: Transformed by Trouble”

from Rachel: Transformed by Truth

Question to consider: What has God already told me to do in His Word that I haven’t started doing yet? “May 16 (late Sunday night) “(Sure enough, ACen kept me busy all through Saturday and Sunday) “What God has been trying to drive home to me in BSF, just as in chapter 24, is theContinue reading “from Rachel: Transformed by Truth”

from Rachel: How We Grow

Question to consider: What is one area where I need to stop thinking my way and start thinking God’s way? “May 14 (or 15, because it’s 1:00 a.m.) “ I can’t think of a specific area right now.” “(Later) I suppose the area (which I really hate to admit and don’t want to surrender) wouldContinue reading “from Rachel: How We Grow”

from Rachel: Created to Become Like Christ

“May 14 “Just when I had almost caught up, I come to two days too full to do more than read a page or two. Wednesday included a trip to the DMV and finishing my last BSF lesson. Thursday was my next-to-last BSF day, and then getting ready for the weekend because ACen begins today!Continue reading “from Rachel: Created to Become Like Christ”

from Rachel: Protecting Your Church

Question to consider: What am I personally doing to protect the unity in my church family right now? “May 12 “I don’t know, I suppose being loving and compassionate to many and to a few in particular. I suppose by generally not gossiping or hanging out with women who do (Though off hand I can’tContinue reading “from Rachel: Protecting Your Church”

from Rachel: I Am Thankful…

“I am thankful… “7/21/97 “that I am a child of the King “that He has forgiven all my transgressions (Psalm 32:1) “that I’m finally keeping one of these (silly) journals Oprah keeps promoting “that I am laid back enough to not get stressed out if I miss a day sometimes (/often) “for a break inContinue reading “from Rachel: I Am Thankful…”

from Rachel: Restoring Broken Fellowship

Question to consider: Who do I need to restore a broken relationship with today? “May 11 “Today, no one (as far as I am aware, anyway). “Tomorrow, next week, or next month – Sally – definitely my EGR (extra grace required) friend, but praise God, his grace is sufficient for me: plenty left to share.Continue reading “from Rachel: Restoring Broken Fellowship”

from Rachel: Cultivating Community

“May 11 “I think as a group and as a church we are doing pretty well at having ‘real community.’ For my part, I need to work harder on being honest – I only like to dig so deep into myself, sharing everything is too much to ask. I also need to be humble inContinue reading “from Rachel: Cultivating Community”

from Rachel: Experiencing Life Together

“May 10 “Actually, today (Monday) would normally be my day to meet with Susie; she just had too many people and too much work in her schedule this week. Then I gave Sally the option of coming over instead. If she had, I probably should’ve asked if we could leave the TV off for aContinue reading “from Rachel: Experiencing Life Together”

from Rachel: A Place to Belong

“May 7 “Yes, I feel it does. On Monday nights I am a Sparks leader and have been the song leader. On Tuesday mornings I babysit the children of any moms who choose to attend the Bible Study. I take home all of the office’s paper trash for recycling. Wednesday night we have choir orContinue reading “from Rachel: A Place to Belong”

from Rachel: What Matters Most

“I feel the need to disagree with the author to a certain extent. I agree that relationships are very important and should be a top priority. I agree that in every situation the best way to treat everyone is with love. However I am a very social creature already and do lots of things thatContinue reading “from Rachel: What Matters Most”

from Rachel: Formed for God’s Family

“May 7 “I’m really not sure. I already feel like my church(es) are my extended family. I do everything from hugging Agnes and Eleanor down to bathroom maintenance (changing toilet paper rolls and even unclogging a toilet once). “I suppose the area where I fall way short is with believers I don’t know. I rarelyContinue reading “from Rachel: Formed for God’s Family”

from Rachel: When God Seems Distant

“May 6, 2004 “I think I’ll need to remember this chapter is here and come back to it in the future whenever this dilemma arises. At present, I can’t relate – praise God. “Lately, my own distractions and preoccupations are the only distance I have felt from God (all me). Actually, I feel He’s beenContinue reading “from Rachel: When God Seems Distant”

from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God

“May 6 (late afternoon – I’m famished and developing a headache) “As worship types go, I think I’m a combination of Naturalist, Enthusiast and (somewhat) Intellectual. “Let’s see, words other than: worship, praise, thanks, hallelujah or amen. So I should try to instead use words like: adore, exalt, magnify, glorify, extol, appreciate, honor, blessed, privileged,Continue reading “from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God”

from Rachel: Developing Your Friendship with God

“May 5, 2004 “I will try to remember to pray often, ‘Dear Jesus, more than anything else, I want to get to know you intimately.’” “I need to remember that it is very important to grow closer to God, even if my main reason to want to want to is self-preservation – I would ratherContinue reading “from Rachel: Developing Your Friendship with God”

from Rachel: Becoming Best Friends with God

“May 4 “I read this chapter first thing in the morning, so I put on my fish ring as a reminder of God’s constant presence with me. Then, I decided to go one better, and I took my purple polish with me. While we were outside with the kids (Ladies Bible Study), I painted myContinue reading “from Rachel: Becoming Best Friends with God”

from Rachel: The Heart of Worship

“4/29 “Truth be told, I am still holding back several areas of my life. “As far as early morning devotion time goes, I don’t want to move up my alarm time if I haven’t gotten to bed by 12, but to do so, I need to head upstairs with Daniel, which means I need toContinue reading “from Rachel: The Heart of Worship”

from Rachel: What Makes God Smile?

“The smile of God is the goal of my life. “I need to trust God more whenever I have a chance to indulge in a fun leisure activity but I know it’s really not the best time for it and I ought to wait for a better time (Usually either because there are chores IContinue reading “from Rachel: What Makes God Smile?”

from Rachel: Planned For God’s Pleasure

“4/24 “I could and should start doing house work as if I were doing it for Jesus. Especially the jobs I don’t like and generally procrastinate; washing dishes, hanging up clothes, and sorting and cleaning up messy piles.” Dearest Rachel – Interesting to see this entry now, just as I’d been learning about ‘secondary losses’Continue reading “from Rachel: Planned For God’s Pleasure”

from Rachel: The Reason For Everything

“May 2” “Lately I think I’ve been doing better at this. The dog walking gets me out into nature and, more recently, I’ve begun singing a few hymns as we walk along. “As the weather warms, I would like to go out on the deck first thing every morning for a quiet time. “I shouldContinue reading “from Rachel: The Reason For Everything”

from Rachel: Hi, Ellen

“Hi, “We ate lunch here yesterday, but we didn’t get to see the goats because it was raining again. We’re having a great time, in spite of cool, wet weather. “Despite a lot of thunder, we only got a little bit wet at the Renaissance fair, Saturday, but Sunday we waited three wet hours forContinue reading “from Rachel: Hi, Ellen”

from Rachel: Life Is A Temporary Assignment

“May 1” “I should try to remember C.S. Lewis’ quote ‘All that is not eternal is eternally useless.’” “Back to my life metaphor (part five) – I am journeying through a foreign land toward my real home. “(Camp out, don’t build a house.)” “I should, today and every day, try to value work more andContinue reading “from Rachel: Life Is A Temporary Assignment”

from Rachel: Seeing Life from God’s View

“April 28 and 30” “If I were to try and give a metaphor to life, I think I would go with it being a journey. To me, this isn’t entirely worldly and unbiblical, there is A Pilgrims Progress, and, more importantly, Jesus talks of the narrow road to heaven as opposed to the wide roadContinue reading “from Rachel: Seeing Life from God’s View”

from Rachel: What Drives Your Life?

“I am chagrined to admit that my driving force would generally be the pursuit of pleasure. The second would be necessity. The latter kicks in when the former is overcome by: hunger, fear (of scoldings etc.) pride (not wanting to accept the image and all the labels I earn), nagging etc.” “I’m not sure whatContinue reading “from Rachel: What Drives Your Life?”

from Rachel: You Are Not an Accident

“April 21, 2004 “My first thought is that I’m pretty content in my skin. I can’t think of much that I still need to accept. But that sounds prideful, so let’s go deeper. I suppose as far as appearance, I love what God has given me, but I don’t like any changes – I pluckContinue reading “from Rachel: You Are Not an Accident”

from Rachel: It All Starts With God

“April 20, 2004 “Let me begin by saying that this is my second time through this book. However, this time I intend to make every effort to read one chapter a day as intended (not cram on the afternoon of the meeting). How can I remind myself today that life is really about living forContinue reading “from Rachel: It All Starts With God”

from Rachel: Stuck in Conflict

“Peace is not found in winning or avoiding conflict, but in rightly handling conflict. “1. Start with love.” Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. Philippians 4:1, English Standard Bible “Verse 4:1 is easy to pass over too quickly to getContinue reading “from Rachel: Stuck in Conflict”

from Rachel: Letter to Oprah

“Dear Oprah, “[I love your show… blah blah blah] I also love your new song. I think that was so terrific of Paul Simon to write that for you. The song is running through my head at the moment because as he sings about you ‘A story in your eye / Well, speak until yourContinue reading “from Rachel: Letter to Oprah”

from Rachel: **Gratitude

“I know I had many wonderful years with my ‘Daddy,’ but it’s never quite enough. May I be grateful for all the time I had. “I loved my car, also but I can be grateful for the chance for upgrades.” I suppose I should be saving some of these sermon notes that clearly hail fromContinue reading “from Rachel: **Gratitude”

from Rachel: Lacking Nothing

“‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.’ Psalm 23:1 (most accurate translation for the Hebrew phrase) “Surviving attempted takeovers by the enemy: Colossians 2:8 ‘See to it that no one takes you captive.’ [We have an] active responsibility to protect ourselves. “Who is the authority in my life?” Is it My Life in theContinue reading “from Rachel: Lacking Nothing”

from Rachel: Sermon Notes

“Some of us live like we have no control over our time and our schedules.” Psalm 90 – “Written by Moses – prince – shepherd – spokesperson/prophet – leader of people” Our time is “limited”, therefore we need to “limit” what we do with our time “‘From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’ (90:26)” “‘TeachContinue reading “from Rachel: Sermon Notes”

from Rachel: Soul Memoirs

(Note: Honey, this post is taken verbatim from a file found on one of your computers the other day. The file itself dates from October 2011, as you were intent on putting together an explanation of your faith journey in order to reach out to your parents, whose spiritual position you were beginning to haveContinue reading “from Rachel: Soul Memoirs”

from Rachel: Ministering to Other Mothers

Think of a time when God hinted that He desired to use you in His kingdom purposes. Describe what He laid on your heart. “I can think of several. Every ministry I’ve been involved in has a moment like that. Generally I say ‘Yes!’, occasionally ‘No!’ “One slightly different one that comes to mind wasContinue reading “from Rachel: Ministering to Other Mothers”

from Rachel: The Importance of Loving Parents

Would you describe yourself as having been filled with the knowledge of God’s love for you? Why or why not? “Yes, I’m sure largely this is easier for me than for some because I grew up with parents who were so grateful to have me and so proud of me and so open about howContinue reading “from Rachel: The Importance of Loving Parents”

from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77

I will remember my song in the night;I will meditate with my heart,And my spirit ponders: I will remember the deeds of the Lord;I will certainly remember Your wonders of old.I will meditate on all Your work,And on Your deeds with thanksgiving. Psalm 77:6,11,12, New American Standard Bible (NASB) (v.6 “I will remember my song in the night”) What song will you rememberContinue reading “from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77”

from Rachel: Spiritual Birthday

“I did so (eleven) years before my biggest sin. I know He forgave my past, present and future sins when I asked Jesus to come into me heart April 22, 1984.” “Thank You God for loving me. Thank You for always making me feel like the apple of Your eye – special and precious. ThankContinue reading “from Rachel: Spiritual Birthday”

from Rachel: Fact/Fate/Faith Labels

My fact label: I am a “brain surgery survivor” My fate label: I am “scarred, vision-impaired, weaker in both body and mind” My faith label: I am “healed, restored, blessed, protected, loved” My fact label bolsters my faith. “I would like to think I loved God and valued and appreciated life sufficiently for my firstContinue reading “from Rachel: Fact/Fate/Faith Labels”

from Rachel: A Different Perspective

How can you add God’ truth to your truth today? “This to do list is too long. But God is able to give me maximum efficiency if I’ll let Him and be willing to let do” (let go?) “of some items.” “I beg to differ” about circumstances being too much for Him. “Perhaps [they are]Continue reading “from Rachel: A Different Perspective”

from Rachel: Psalm 19:13

Dearest Rachel – There are times when I really wish I knew the context behind some of the notes you left behind for me to find – although that is surely not what you intended. Honestly, you seem to have kept a lot of secrets about yourself – things written down for nobody’s eyes butContinue reading “from Rachel: Psalm 19:13”

from Rachel: Absolution

Dearest Rachel – Normally, I would put one of your notes up on Sunday morning, as they mostly come from sermon notes and bible studies. But upon discovering this barely half an hour before Jan was to arrive this morning, I had to include it here and now: It’s as if, after the awful up-and-downContinue reading “from Rachel: Absolution”

from Rachel: Psalm 121

“(1) I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? (2) My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. “(3) He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. “(4) Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. “(5) The LordContinue reading “from Rachel: Psalm 121”

from Rachel: Prayer of Thanksgiving

“Dear Heavenly Father, “Thank You so much for all You have done and so faithfully continue to do in my life. “Thank You for my life-birth and rebirth through Your mercy and salvation. “Thank You for how you sustain Mom & Dad from day to day. “Thank You for Randy, Daniel, all the family, allContinue reading “from Rachel: Prayer of Thanksgiving”

from Rachel: On the Wisdom of Solomon

“A metaphorical thought about Solomon and his wisdom, inspired by Ecclesiastes 2:3 and 9 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven duringContinue reading “from Rachel: On the Wisdom of Solomon”