Glad Bags

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By , January 28, 2013 4:16 pm
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Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.

1 Pt 5:7 NLT

 
My mornings begin with a very large cup of coffee (so large that my family calls it a tankard) and a sit-down session with Jesus. He is my number one go-to person. I want to run everything by Him because it is His opinion that I value above all others. I’ve learned by experience that whatever perspective or direction I receive from Him is so much better than anything I could come up with on my own.
 
There is one problem with my fervent desire to hear from the Lord. It is that I often find myself 20 or 30 minutes into my time with Him and all I’ve done is verbalize my list of issues. I’ve done all the talking and have left no opening to receive His input.
 
One of my spiritual mentors has great wisdom on the subject of prayer. She recently shared a strategy with me that has truly revolutionized my time with the Lord. Because it has helped me contain all my wayward thoughts and enjoy Jesus more, I call it the Glad Bag technique. It goes something like this:

  • Generate a list of the things that are vying for your attention right now. Take a couple of minutes (no more than 2) to transfer your concerns to paper.
  • Identify the 3 items on your list that are the most pressing.
  • Choose one of these 3 high priority concerns. Bring it to the forefront of your awareness, and then let it sit in your lap. Feel the weight of this issue.
  • Picture a colored paper bag and put the item inside.
  • Repeat this weighing and bagging procedure for your top 3 issues, choosing a different color bag for each item.
  • Ask yourself which one of these 3 items is the heaviest and, therefore, in greatest need of your prayers at the moment.
  • Before going to prayer, turn your attention to the other bags and say, “Right now I’m going to talk to the Lord about something else. You are important and I will get back to you later.”

 
Once I started to practice the Glad Bag technique, I quickly realized how much anxiety I had been carrying! This strategy helped me to prioritize and deal with the things that needed my immediate attention. It also gave me permission to let other matters wait, to be handled in God’s timing. It was reassuring to remember that God knows best when and how to address every concern of my heart.
 
Why did it surprise me that the Lord is really good at getting around to dealing with the items I entrust to Him in a timely and excellent way? Worries that never materialized were forgotten and brilliant solutions were implemented for the rest.
 
One morning I approached my prayer chair, coffee in hand, after several weeks of using this strategy. In my mind’s eye I saw all my bags still sitting there in a row where I’d left them the day before. “Yes!” I exclaimed, “God’s still holding the bags!” I was glad to realize that when I give my concerns to Him they don’t automatically revert back to my care each day at dawn. What a relief!
 
Now that I understand that it isn’t necessary for me to repeat my prayers about each issue each day, I am more relaxed. Having transferred all those responsibilities to God, my mind is uncluttered. I’m ready to listen and tackle one topic at a time.
 
So nowadays, unless there is a new circumstance that needs to be addressed, I begin my day liberated from the distraction of problems to be solved and decisions to be made – those are sitting in a row awaiting the Master’s wise and loving solutions. This new practice has opened the door to deeper intimacy with Jesus. It is a joy to simply sit down with my coffee and say, “Lord, what is on Your heart today?”
 

Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Proverbs 8:34 NIV

 

DDD Start Date Reminder

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By , January 27, 2013 7:59 pm
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Hi Ladies! I know you are excited about our upcoming study of REDEMPTION in the book of Ruth. I wanted to remind you that our start date is February 12th. Get ready to dig in as Kathy leads our journey this semester into the redemptive heart of our God. See you soon!!

Nick Of Time

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By , January 14, 2013 8:10 pm
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You are my God. My times are in Your hand.

Psalm 31:14-15

 

I am a pearl girl. My sweet husband knows this, so he gave me a beautiful long strand of pearls when I gave birth to my firstborn twenty-five years ago. When my second child arrived, he bought me a pair of pearl and diamond earrings that I simply adore. So when I lost one of my pearl earrings this past summer, I was devastated.

 

I’d worn them to a funeral I attended in South Carolina. The visitation after the service had lasted longer than I expected, and I was ready to make an exit. A quick dash to the ladies room allowed me to swap my pencil skirt, pumps, and pearls for yoga pants and flip-flops. Glancing at the clock on the way out of the church, I realized I needed to get on the road now if I was going to beat rush hour traffic. I threw my things into the back seat and made a mad dash for the freeway.

 

I passed through Atlanta on my drive home. The mile markers had flown by until I reached the outskirts of this sprawling city that made my hometown of Birmingham seem like a tiny hamlet. The southbound lane of I-85 was at a standstill. As the cars inched along, I could see my goal of arriving home in 5 hours was not going to happen. By the time I traversed the heart of the city and arrived at the Six Flags exit on I-20 West, I needed a potty break and a snack. “I should be at the Anniston Starbucks right now,” I grumbled. There was no hope of getting in a bubble bath and a movie before bedtime.

 

Arriving home after more than 7 hours in transit left me too tired to unpack. The next morning, as I was emptying the contents of my suitcase, I discovered that one of my pearl earrings was missing. “Oh no, Lord! Please don’t let it be so!” I begged. But, after turning my bag inside out and searching every inch of my car, I realized what I’d done. In my haste to get on the road, I’d not put my jewelry in a secure spot. My impatience had caused me to make a costly mistake.

 

I found the number for the church and was greeted by a kind woman named Barbara when I called. She was disappointed to tell me that no pearl earring had been turned in since yesterday. “I know this is a long shot,” I began, “But is there any way that you might send someone to look for it? I can tell you exactly where I changed and where I parked.” She agreed to check on it and call me back.

 

As they searched, I prayed. Of course I asked God to restore my lost earring, but I also prayed, “Lord, will You use this experience to change the way I manage my time?” As I continued to wait in His presence, this familiar and challenging Scripture came to mind:

 

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8 NIV)

 

I opened my Bible and began to meditate on this verse. I was able to say, “Yes, Lord, that is the truth. Knowing You is worth far more than anything I could ever lose. If losing my earring, even this one that is so very special to me, allows me to know You and Your view of time better, then I am okay with whatever outcome You choose.”

 

As I surrendered to the Lord’s highest purpose for my life, I began to see how I needed to unlearn the world’s way of squeezing the most out of a minute. I had misappropriated the verse “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) I had used it to reinforce what the world had taught me–that I needed to beware lest the forces of the universe conspire and steal my precious time. In buying into the theory that the race always goes to the swift, I had misconstrued slowness with inefficiency.

 

I opened my mind and heart to the possibilities of letting God make the most of my time. It was exciting to consider seeing delays as God’s providence and interruptions as opportunities. What fun to imagine Him taking potentially frustrating situations and making them His divine appointments!

 

Just then the phone rang, and it was a South Carolina number. I braced myself for whatever news the call might bring. My new friend Barbara was pleased to report, “The custodian found your earring in the exact parking space you described.” We made appropriate celebratory noises and praised the Lord. As I thanked her over and over, she interrupted me to say, “I need to tell you that it looks like you ran over the earring with your car. The post is bent and there is a little nick on the surface of the pearl.”

 

Though I never thought it would be possible for me to love my earrings more, they are more dear to me than ever. That tiny scratch on the surface is a permanent reminder of my erroneous ideas about making the most of the time. Each time I put them on, I’m prompted to thank God that my time is in His most capable hands.

 

Please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; the day you needed me, I was there to help.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 MSG

 

Ruth: A Study of Redemption

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By , January 8, 2013 2:45 pm
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Hi Ladies!
 
I am excited about the New Year and all that God has put on my heart to share in the upcoming semester at Divine Design Discipleship. I have attached the details for Ruth: A Study of Redemption. Please plan on joining us and be sure to invite your friends.
 
Note the February 12th start date. This is due to the retreat Jan 18-20 and the CPC Missions Luncheon on Tuesday, February 5th. We will still have a full semester, so come ready for God to minister to you by using these next few weeks to prepare your heart. Meanwhile, catch up on the most recent blog posts or listen to past messages on our website at www.divinedesigndiscipleship.com.
 
Much love to you all!

Kathy

 

Ruth: A Study of Redemption

In the book of Ruth we find two women who are in the midst of barren times. As they bring their losses, disappointments, and uncertainties to God, they enter a new season of purpose, provision, and community. Join us as we seek to know God as Redeemer by studying this exciting story and applying it to our own lives.
 
If you desire to grow relationally and spiritually this year, here are some opportunities you’ll find at DDD:

  • In-depth Bible Study – We will focus on knowing Jesus as our Redeemer, discovering His restoring and renewing work in our lives.
  • Relationships – Experience body life where mature believers invest in younger ones. Find encouragement and prayer support from like-minded women.
  • Refreshment – Renew your focus as we come together for weekly times of corporate meditation, prayer, and song.
  • Application – Make the principles of Scripture personal through workshops, written resources, and prayer. See what God is doing in the lives of other women and share what He is doing in your own life.

 
Led by Kathy Girardeau
Tuesday Mornings beginning February 12th, Covenant Pres., Room C316

  • 10:00-11:15 Worship and the Word
  • 11:15-12:00 Prayer and Mentoring Groups (optional)

 

 

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