In the Beginning

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By , September 14, 2010 9:37 pm

I often marvel at the power and creativity of God when I consider how I arrived at becoming a Bible teacher and leader of a discipleship ministry. After all, I was the woman who had vowed, “I’ll do anything but teach” when my father urged me to use my gifts in a classroom just as 7 of his siblings had. Instead, I pursued a degree in pharmacy and a career in pharmaceutical sales. All along, however, I was aware that God had planted a deep love for His Word in my heart and an intense longing to do something of lasting significance. I assumed that marrying and having children would quell these rumblings, but realizing these dreams only made the desire for eternal things more intense. After a yearlong wrestling match with God, I finally agreed to leave the workforce and become a full-time mom. Almost immediately, the Lord began to present me with opportunities to work for His Kingdom. To my great surprise, not only did I participate, but I actually enjoyed ministry!

I’ll never forget the day that the direction of my life was forever changed. I heard Psalm 119:65 explained for the first time. Its basic meaning is that I can expect God keep His promises and interact with me according to what He says in the Bible. Suddenly, I saw my relationship with Him in a new light that was shockingly simple. I am free to approach God (in fact I am invited to do so!) asking Him to make His Word my personal experience. All my years of acquiring Bible knowledge were about to culminate in what Jesus modeled for us—a lifestyle of discipleship. To say that I was excited is an understatement! I furiously began applying all the principles and promises of Scripture and found, to my great delight, that God is completely faithful to fulfill His Word. This discovery was too great to keep to myself. I soon had 3 other women meeting around my dining room table seeking to apply the Word of God to the issues of their lives as well. As I have continued this pursuit over the years, the Lord has not only grown me spiritually, but has called other women to join me in the journey. The ministry of Divine Design Discipleship has become a community in which many women of faith have learned to know God and experience life according to His design.

This website is offered so that you might take advantage of the testimonies, tools and techniques that have proven helpful in my journey. I pray that God will bless you as you explore them.

Enjoy the Moment

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By , September 12, 2010 3:41 pm

It is a beautiful sunny morning with promises of perfect temperatures. My plans are set for a packed Saturday…a run with a new friend, helping plant flowers, relaxing by the pool, and dinner with a treasured friend. I’m already looking ahead. But right now I am reminded to be still and enjoy Your beauty. I’m relaxing outside while the air still smells new and untouched. The birds are slowly waking up and chirping each other’s wake up call and, as it rises, the sun warms the side of my face. Ellie is content curled up at my feet while Lilly busies herself with a ball. The trees, grass, and flowers have all exploded in beauty. New and fresh. After an afternoon of being filled with teenagers, water guns, dogs, and one happy little girl, the pool is back to being peaceful and still. I wish I could bottle this up. I wish I could sit here forever, but…time moves on. In a few moments it won’t be as peaceful- lawnmowers will start humming, drowning out the chirps of the birds. The sun will rise higher so that I’ll have to squint. The warmth of the sun will intensify and steal the “new morning” smell from the air, and the dogs will become restless as squirrels scamper across the yard.

Help me to stop. Remind me to enjoy the time that You give me. Each moment, each creature, and each relationship is a gift from You. Please don’t let me miss little blessings from You in the “right now” because I am so often fixated on the “what’s next” or “what ifs.” Remind me to sit. To be still. To “enjoy the moment.” Thank You for how You lavishly pour out Your love on me through Your presence, through Your creation, and through relationships. Give me eyes to see each blessing-big or small-and each undeserved gift that You shower on me. Help me to honor You as I receive them.

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

This is Our God!

By , September 12, 2010 3:34 pm

1Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
2Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!
5Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man’s behalf!
6He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—come, let us rejoice in Him.
16Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.

The above is an excerpt from Psalm 66. In it, the psalmist is recounting the miraculous acts of God on behalf of His people which should provoke wonder, awe, and praise. Basically he is saying, “God is amazing! He deserves our praise and thanksgiving. Not convinced? Well, consider the fact that He split the red sea to save His people! Still not convinced? Well, let me tell you what He has done for me personally!” A huge point that stood out for me is this – HE IS STILL THE SAME GOD! Though I know that in my head, I was awakened afresh when I heard this again. That God who split the red sea so His people could walk across on dry land is MY GOD! That God who walked through fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and brought them out unsinged is MY GOD! If that is too difficult to wrap my brain around, then when I hear testimonies of what God has done in the lives of those here and overseas, I remind myself that THEIR GOD IS MY GOD!!

Too often I act as though situations in my life are too difficult, will never change, OR will require too much work on my part for them to change. HELLO!!! I have a sea-splitting, walk through fire, walk on water, raise people from the dead GOD! I am so glad He is patient with me!

So, here is my challenge to you my friends and to myself as well. Let’s ask God to ring a bell in our ears when we are dwelling on the limitations of our situations or ourselves…a bell that rings out the question, “BUT WHO IS YOUR GOD?!!!!!” May He increase the measure of faith we all have been given so that we might boldly proclaim, “Come and listen! Let me tell you what God has done for me!”

Proud Follower

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By , September 12, 2010 3:32 pm

Matt. 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

This summer I attended a study on personality temperaments. After the first session, I went home with a test which promised to reveal my temperament according to the DISC method. Being the conscientious student that I am, I immediately took the test. I carefully considered the options before ranking myself as “mostly”, “always” or “never” on such character traits as “independent”, “loves a crowd”, “consistent”, “planner”, “talkative” and “satisfied”. When I completed the test, I tallied my scores and found myself to be primarily an S and secondarily a C temperament. As I looked further through the handouts and charts I had been given, I saw that S and C temperaments share one trait – they are both followers. Now, being a person who longs for significance in terms of influencing others, my heart sank when I saw that description. “I have a double portion of follower, Lord? But how can I be significant in Your kingdom if all I do is follow others?” At that very moment His gentle voice reminded me of His first words to His disciples: “Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Then I understood that it is only in following Jesus that I become the leader He wants me to be.

Pray: Dear Lord, please help me to make following You my number one priority. I pray that I would not make such a request flippantly, but purposefully. Following You is a costly endeavor, but it will lead me to the only place I want to be…the only place that I want to lead others to. Help me remember the price You paid so that I could call myself a proud follower.

I Asked for Life

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By , September 12, 2010 3:31 pm

“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. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.” ~ Galatians 5:22-24 TM

Recently, the lyrics to the song “I Asked For Life” by Kim Walker really got my attention. “I asked You for life, and You sent Your son to die for me. I asked You for hope, You came in the night and gave me a dream. I asked you for freedom; You broke every chain and gave me the keys.” I thought the answers to the requests made in this song were rather unexpected. We ask for life, we expect life. We ask for hope, we expect for God to give us hope, etc. Oftentimes we miss the answer God is giving us because it doesn’t come in a package we expect. What can we expect? Well, we can expect what 1 Jn. 5:14-15 tells us “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” So, if we ask God to breathe life into a dead place, we can know that God WILL do it, but it most likely won’t be an instant impartation. Most likely we will receive it as we walk through the circumstances God has prepared for us. Satan would use this time to tell us that God isn’t listening, that He doesn’t care, that we don’t deserve it, that we “missed” it somehow. Rather than giving in to Satan or to our flesh, we must choose to stand on the promises of God and EXPECT His answers. When we don’t see God at work, rather than questioning Him we declare what is true of God and question our own responses to that truth. God’s answer to the request for life was death. To give us life, He gave His Son over to death. Often He gives the same gift as we ask for life in the dead places of our heart and life…He calls for death – death to self, death to our own agenda, death to our own way, etc. We must die so that we can truly live. Death hurts, but the abundant life that comes in its place is of greater worth than anything we would seek to hold on to.

Freedom on a Short Leash

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By , September 12, 2010 3:30 pm

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. ~ James 1:25 Msg

My puppy, Riley, has become my running partner. Following the directions of a dog trainer, I threw out my retractable leash and bought a short leash with a training collar. Whereas Riley used to run ahead to greet other dogs on the trail, I now can give a quick tug of correction that brings him back to his place at my side. When I am in control of our runs, we are much less likely to trip and fall. The same is true in my own life with God and others. I am tempted to run ahead of God, chasing after the approval of others, before I have a word from God. At these times, I trip and fall, and am sometimes “bitten” by the very thing I was doing to gain approval. So, for now, God has me on a short leash with a training collar. He is teaching me to block out the other voices, and to listen to Him alone. Sometimes he has to give a quick tug of correction to get me back to my place at His side. God wants me to be a God pleaser, not a people pleaser. I gain God’s approval, or pleasure, when I live according to His word. I want to learn to come, go, wait, stay, and settle down at His word. Maybe someday I will not need the leash and the training collar, but until that day, there is freedom for me on a short leash with God.

Question: What distractions cause you to run ahead of God? Ask Him to help you to identify those and to keep you listening to that one voice of truth that will set you free.

I am an Insider

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By , September 12, 2010 3:27 pm

“Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in –insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin.” ~ Colossians 2:11 Msg

Lately the Lord has been showing me that my tendency to control my loved ones is rooted in a desire to help them fit in with the world. I have bought the lie that they must blend in to be accepted. Though I thought I was protecting my people, God has recently shown me that what I am really trying to protect is my own fit with the world and my own image with others. None of us want to be rejected; we have a deep longing for love and acceptance. However, what we often fail to remember is that true love and acceptance is found in God alone. If I live my life following the patterns of this world – what is socially acceptable, or in fashion – I am doing what God tells me not to do. God tells me not to conform, but to be transformed. When everything in my flesh screams, “Blend in”, He says, “Be Separate!” This earth is not my home, so why do I keep trying to make myself fit so comfortably here? God calls me to find my sense of belonging in Him alone. He tells me I am an insider, one who belongs to Him, because of what Christ has done for me. I don’t have to go through the secret initiation rite. I don’t have to find references, write a resume, keep a list of laws, or impress the right people. I am already in!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to find my sense of belonging in people. Help me to embrace the fact that I am your precious child and that I belong to you. Help me then to see my loved ones as yours as well, and keep me from trying to mold them to the image of the world. AMEN…so be it!

Not the Fixer … Be OK with Being Quiet

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By , September 12, 2010 3:26 pm

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 TM — You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who He is; then Jesus and what He did—Jesus crucified. I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.

This one thing I want to put into practice as a wife, mother, friend, discipler, etc… It is not my responsibility to have all the right answers or solutions to every problem. I am not the fixer! When someone I am called to, comes to me for help, I need to LISTEN… then I need to take a HOLY PAUSE and give Jesus a chance to step in. Sometimes He will give me something to say. Sometimes He will have me say NOTHING, but just listen or give a hug. I am not the problem solver. HE IS!! I need to be okay with being quiet sometimes. It is not up to me to have all the answers.

Pray: Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times when I take on Your job of being the fixer. Forgive me for taking pride in getting it right or having the answers. I do a disservice to those I love when I ask them to settle for my limited knowledge and understanding rather than seeking the highest and best that can only come from You. Help me wait on You and TRUST that You love better than I ever could. Help me remember that Your ways are higher than my ways and that Your ways are ALWAYS right.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

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By , September 12, 2010 3:22 pm

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements
to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on.
If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter
who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit
—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
~ Matthew 7:24-25 Msg

Recently I was given the amazing privilege of leading about 60 Jr. and Sr. High girls through a painting project. The goal was to take the girls on a tour through the Word of God in hands on way and show them how much God loves them and who He says they are. Our theme verse was Eph. 2:10 which says that we are God’s masterpiece. We did a collage using paper, paint and all sorts of items. Each element represented a Bible verse to remind them of who God says they are.

I nearly cried as I looked at the girls’ finished projects and saw the glow on their faces as they looked at them. I was reminded that God’s word is living and active and will not return void…it will accomplish the purpose God has for it. Whether they know it or not, these girls were changed. They see themselves as a little more beautiful than they did before, and every time someone sees their collage and says, “What’s that?!” they will be further changed as they rehearse with their mouths the truths that each item represents.

This experience even further cemented my practice of keeping visible objects in my home that remind me of the work God has done in my life. There are objects all over my home that speak to me the truths of God. They might not say anything to anyone else, but they mean something significant to me. Each time I walk by I grin and say to myself (usually out loud) the truth the item represents. Previously it has just been kind of a fun “connect with Jesus” moment as I let Him know that I remember. I honestly had not thought much about the fact that every time I do that the Word of God is sinking deeper and deeper into my heart. It is becoming my experience and is moving to an unshakable place. I have only seen them as reminders and not as power tools for the Lord. They give me solid rock to stand on as I roll through my day. Rock n’ Roll!

So now my prayer for these girls is that they will rehearse these truths out loud, tell their moms and their friends, and that each time they do the Word of God will dive deeper into their hearts. That is my prayer for us as well, that we will rehearse the testimonies of God to ourselves and to others so that they might become solid rock to stand on.

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