Category: Prayer

Announcing a New Series: LIVING HOPE!

By , September 7, 2017 11:29 am
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Divine Design begins a new series Tuesday, September 19th. Please make plans to come and discover all the hope that you can experience in Christ! Feel free to pass along the information below to anyone who might benefit from coming to class or listening online.

 

In Jesus, we have a LIVING HOPE for every day and every situation! God is good and has good plans for your future, even in the places where you don’t feel hopeful. In this study we will learn to:

  • Connect with God and His plans for your life
  • Grasp the greatness of God’s goodness and faithfulness
  • Deal with disappointment
  • Make times of waiting peaceful and productive
  • Foster faith and hope through community
  • Hear the stories of women who have found hope even in the worst of situations

 

Tuesday mornings beginning September 19th at Covenant Presbyterian, Room 104:

10:00 – 11:15             Worship and the Word

11:15 – 12:00             Mentoring groups (optional)

 

Listen online anytime at www.DivineDesignDiscipleship.com

Can’t come on Tuesday mornings? Contact Kathy Girardeau at kyg@bellsouth.net about additional times for mentoring groups.

How Relationships Work: Finding the Father’s Favor – 11/04/14

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By , November 5, 2014 4:35 pm
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We began our time of worship with “My Inheritance” by Ronnie Freemand and “It Is Well” by Hillsongs.

Kathy shared some biblical examples from the books of 1 and 2 Kings on receiving God’s favor that provided great principles for us to follow.

* If you attend the morning class, make sure to complete the Trumpet Call Prep sheet to prepare for next week’s class.

Drawing Near

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By , October 6, 2014 9:19 am
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In the new series “How Relationships Grow” we’ve been exploring what it means to have an intimate and thriving relationship with God. I invite you to jump in and join us this Tuesday at either 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. Always feel free to drop in whenever you are able! You may also listen to the series on our website—no password needed.

 

 

DRAWING NEAR

 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

 

James 4:8

 

 

It seems so obvious that spending focused time together is necessary for any relationship to grow. Why is it that we neglect to do that with the One who is our First Love?

 

I believe that one of the big reasons for our distance from God is that we don’t know Him very well. We don’t understand what it is He wants from us and what it is we really, at the deepest level, desire from Him.

 

God wants the same thing we want—connection! He planted within us an appetite for unity, one of His most essential traits. We are made with an inborn desire to draw near to each other and intertwine our beings. This idea is exhilarating but also terrifying.

 

We need someone who is safe, who can offer us unconditional belonging. We need to be fully known and accepted despite our flaws and failures. God is exclusively able to offer that to us. And He is standing and waiting for us to open the door and fellowship with Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. What an amazing opportunity!

 

Give it a try–take God’s promise to heart and reach out to connect with Him. You’re sure to experience His nearness. I can’t think of anyone better than Andrew Murray to guide you in this process. Here is an excerpt from his article ‘The Deeper Christian Life”:

 

The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.

 

The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my (inmost being) can be strong.

 

The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.

 

To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before Him in humble faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.

… Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low before God.

 

Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus. God delights in nothing but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those who draw nigh to Him. Enter deep into God’s holy presence in the boldness which the blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most well-pleasing.

 

You have access into the very heart and love of the Father. This is the great object of fellowship with God, that I may have more of God in my life, and that God may see Christ formed in me. Be silent before God and let Him bless you.

 

This Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love, and He looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His face with trust, till His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a personal Savior and Keeper from the power of sin.

 

…Say to God, “Father, here am I for Thee to give as much in me of Christ’s likeness as I can receive.” And wait to hear Him say, “My child, I give thee as much of Christ as thy heart is open to receive.” The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh and perfected Him, will reveal Him in thee and perfect thee in Him. The Father loves the Son, and delights to work out His image and likeness in thee. Count upon it that this blessed work will be done in thee as thou waitest on thy God, and holdest fellowship with Him.

 

All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you. Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase in you the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His presence, remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God. Seek in God’s presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so truly that your whole life may every moment be spiritual.

 

As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship with the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you will feel how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to know what it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to God can mean. Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.

 

“By faith” must here, as through all Scripture, and all the spiritual life, be the keynote. As you tarry before God, let it be in a deep quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy, so mighty, so loving. In a deep, restful faith too, that all the blessings and powers of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield yourself in the faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity to work out all God’s purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, and God will be all in all to you.

 

 

 

 

My Best Friend (New Teaching Series Announced)

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By , August 23, 2014 2:01 pm
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I am excited to announce a new teaching series called “How Relationships Work” that will begin September 23rd. So much of life happens in the context of relationship! See below for details on how you can join me as we explore this challenging topic.

 

MY BEST FRIEND

 
When I was a girl, having a best friend was a singular thing. “Best,” to my generation, meant that just one person held a spot reserved for no other. Not so for the millennials. I discovered this last week when my 23-year-old daughter and her friend were talking in my kitchen. In that one short encounter, they referred to 3 different individuals as Merrill Lee’s best friend. That did not add up for me.
 
When we discussed it later, I discovered that there is much wisdom in their view of the title best friend (though I still don’t think it is grammatically correct). They mean that a best friend is the best kind of friend you can have—someone who knows you well, loves you anyway, keeps your secrets, and cares about the things closest to your heart. With this new definition, I can say with integrity that my mother, my daughter, my husband, and many women in my closest circle qualify as best friends. How great is that?
 
Yet there remains a desire for a friend to occupy that one special place in my heart, someone who has no rival. To my wonder and amazement, I discovered that Jesus wants to fill that spot. He has been the perfect best friend to me! He meets me for coffee every morning and listens as I pour out the concerns of my life. He makes me laugh when I’m taking myself too seriously and He offers unsurpassed wisdom when I listen to Him.
 
Just last week I was telling Him about a relational conflict and my personal plan for handling it. When I finished unfolding my own ideas for handling things, I asked for His advice. He pointed me to a familiar Scripture and a way to apply it to my situation that was completely new to me. Not only did I feel helped, but His plan for bringing harmony back to my relationship brought me a little bit closer to becoming the kind of friend He is to me.
 
Do you want to enjoy richer relationship with God and other people? Join us this fall as we study biblical principles for satisfying, healthy relationships. We will:
 

  • Seek to develop intimate friendship with God
  • Observe how He relates to us as His people, children, bride
  • Discover how to become honest and safe people that connect deeply
  • Develop and enjoy authentic community
  • Learn God’s way of dealing with relational conflict and tension

 
We would love to have you join us in person for an amazing time of learning and fellowship. Please come and invite your friends! If that is not possible, you can take advantage of this exciting new teaching series via our website.
 
Attend the class:
Two class times available beginning September 23rd!
 
Tuesday mornings:
10:00-11:15   Worship and the Word
11:15-12:00   Prayer and Mentoring Groups (optional)
 
Tuesday evenings:
7:00-8:15       Worship and the Word
8:15-9:00       Sharing and Prayer (optional)
 
Covenant Presbyterian Church, Room 104
65 Old Montgomery Highway
Birmingham, AL 35209
 
Listen online:
The weekly message and handouts will upload on Wednesday afternoons and can be accessed 24/7 at www.divinedesigndiscipleship.com under our Resources tab. Please join us at a day and time that is convenient for you.
 

Indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

 

1 Samuel 2:2

 
 
 

 

Re-Thinking Work, Part 3 – 03/11/14

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By , March 12, 2014 9:32 pm
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We praised to 1) Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin, 2) The Lord Our God by Kristian Stanfil, and 3) Holy, Holy, Holy by Gateway Worship.

Kathy continued our mini-series this week discussing the topic of FEAR. Focusing on Jacob’s story in Genesis 32, we looked at I. Fear of Man, II. Fear of Lack, and III. Fear of Failure.

Intruder Alert!

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By , January 27, 2014 9:41 pm
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Don’t miss the new semester of Times of Refreshing: Re-Thinking Work and Rest beginning January 28th. Join us in person on Tuesday mornings at 10 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Room 104 and invite your friends! If that is not possible, you can take advantage of this teaching series via our website. The weekly message and handouts will upload on Wednesday afternoons and can be accessed 24/7 at www.divinedesigndiscipleship.com under our Resources tab. Please join us at a day and time that is convenient for you.

 

 

INTRUDER ALERT!

My soul still remembers and sinks within me

Lamentations 3:20 NKJV

 
We dropped our suitcases at the back door, arriving home from a trip, destination now long forgotten. Home sweet home—I love that feeling of returning to the familiar, tired but refreshed, ready to get back to my regular routine. My first task was to take the dirty clothes downstairs to start a load of wash. As I made my way through the kitchen I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks. There was a piece of shutter, a slat that bore deep indentations, sitting in a pile of sawdust. Obviously we had had an intruder in our absence, one with two sharp front teeth.
 
Going directly to the room where the shutters hung, I was mortified to discover that the scoundrel had gnawed most of my windows. In the adjacent room, I found small brown pellets littering the floor. Then I turned to see the worst violation of all—my newly upholstered chair, the one with the pretty pale blue damask, wore an ugly yellow stain on its right arm.
 
Horrified, I screamed for my husband, “Bob, come here!” He stopped his unpacking to find me. “Look at this. It’s all ruined!” I said. “How in the world did this happen?” He suspected that a squirrel had gotten into the house while we were away. He went to work locating and evicting the nuisance.
 
We determined that the little creep had wriggled in through the chimney. I never again wanted to deal with a problem like this, so I promptly called a chimney sweep to close up the entry point. His services were a bargain compared with the expense it took to undo the more visible damage.
 
This little episode was not catastrophic, but it was costly and inconvenient. And it serves as a great illustration of deeper things. Countless times across the years I’ve walked into situations where intruders like fear, anger or shame seemingly came out of nowhere. I’m left wondering why these unwelcome reactions were able to barge in and leave their marks.
 
I recently put this principle to use when I noticed I was a bit anxious about my new sport of swimming. Every time I go to the pool to swim laps, it takes me a few minutes of praying and rehearsing Scripture to overcome an unpleasant sense of dread. It’s not full-blown panic, I just feel tense and anxious in a way that’s not compatible with my true desire to be there for exercise and relaxation.
 
It finally occurred to me to ask God what was going on here. No sooner did I ask than He brought to my recollection an event buried deeply in my memory: I had nearly drowned once! It’s hard to imagine that I could I forget something like that, but I did.
 
My anxiety over swimming may seem like a minor thing, but God demonstrated that He stands willing and able to help. Identifying the entry point (the near-drowning incident) was curative in itself. But God went beyond informing me and administered emotional healing as well. His healing touch came when He led me to Psalm 18:16, “He reached down from high above and took hold of me. He pulled me out of the raging water.”
 
God knew that I was in danger that day long ago, and He sent someone to rescue me. When I realized this, not only did I feel loved and protected, but dread and anxiety lost their power over me. I knew through and through that the same God that can deliver me from a scrape with death can certainly keep me safe in the swimming pool!
 
How comforting to know that I can call upon my Redeemer in prayer when events from the past have left their imprint inside of me. I am learning to ask God to examine my thoughts, feelings and experience to find out where the squirrel got in and make the needed repairs in my soul.
 

My spirit, why are you so sad? Why are you so upset deep down inside me? Put your hope in God. Once again I will have reason to praise him. He is my Savior and my God.

 

Psalms 42:11 NIRV

 
Here is a sample prayer you can use to explore entry points when you experience emotional responses you can’t explain:

 

Lord, in the places where my soul is disturbed within me, I pray that You would reach down to reveal and heal. I open the book of my life to You. Search each page of my history. I give you complete access to my memories, emotionally charged circumstances, and significant events or environments that have intruded my life. Show me where the squirrel got in and continues to rob me of peace and joy even today. I invite Your healing touch. Come quickly, Lord, and repair what’s broken. Thank You for being a God who sees, cares, and redeems. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

 

 

 

 

Tramp For The Lord

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By , November 8, 2013 7:33 pm
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 This week in class we talked about how to “number our days aright so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12) Living within the parallel boundaries of faith and love is one of the biblical strategies we discussed. This article is based on that principle (previously posted on April 22). Be sure to listen in to the Times of Refreshing series for more on this topic. It can be accessed under the resources tab of this website.

 

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:6 MSG

 

Something stirs inside me when I hear the sound of trains passing early in the morning and late at night. It brings to mind images of migrant workers in the Great Depression. I imagine them, having exhausted the resources of a place—day jobs and handouts—hopping on board, this their act of faith. They move out, believing there is something more waiting for them at the next stop.

 

Our lives as believers are not so different. We hear the call of Jesus, “Follow Me,” and onward we go. Jesus, who had no place to lay His head, certainly modeled this lifestyle for us. Early in the morning, He got His marching orders for the day and then set out to follow His instructions. Abraham, who we might say is faith personified, followed God to a place he didn’t know.

 

Do you ever feel like the life you live is little, that it can’t amount to much? How can it with so much earthly baggage to tote? It often seems that I am more like a drifter than a soldier of God. When I am in that place, I find solace in the journey of Paul. I think of him as a bit of a tramp, his tent-making supplies gathered into a knapsack and the Gospel burning in his heart. He meandered, it would seem, across Asia into Europe sewing and preaching and sowing. But he went as the Spirit bid him (see Acts 16) even when led into trouble and prison.

 

It’s not that surprising that a tramp would have a firsthand acquaintance with a jail cell. One of my spiritual role models is Corrie Ten Boom, and she did time in Auschwitz. In her story of enduring faith, she testifies, “no pit is so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.”  And, though her account about living victoriously in a prison camp is miraculous, it is her later writings that mean the most to me.  In “Tramp for the Lord,” she chronicles her life after prison, in the daily trenches of decision-making and doubt and relationships.  Corrie demonstrates, as did Paul, the powerful lifestyle of getting on board with the Lord, pressing on to know Him and His upward call.

 

Citing Galatians 5:6, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love,” my friend and teacher John Riddle explains how we can live this way. We follow Jesus on the parallel tracks of faith and love. I can have faith that wherever God leads me holds the best of all possibilities because His love for me is perfect.

 

Join me in asking God to help you live like this: Lord, I covet the joy of watching You move and the faith to simply follow. Transform my thoughts and conform my will so that I can more readily get on track with You. Wherever You lead me, God, that is where I want to be. Make me into a Tramp for You, Lord!

tramp

Rethinking Time: Part 2, 10/29/13

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By , October 30, 2013 5:37 pm
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We sang 1) Everlasting God by Passion 2) The Lord Our God by Passion and 3) How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin.

We continued to look at more characteristics of Kairos time. It is SLOW, SANCTIFYING, and can seem SUDDEN.

Signs of God’s Favor

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By , October 21, 2013 6:04 pm
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For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it.

Job 33:14 CSB

 

Nothing lifts my spirits like an unexpected note, call, or text message from someone I love. I am better, my day is brighter, because that person remembered me. I realize I am loved. What a welcome interruption!
 
As I have gotten to know God over the years, I’ve realized that He delights to communicate His love to me in very personal ways. He has used the most creative, and often humorous, means to get my attention and get His message across.
 
When God gives me a new message, I’m so excited that I want to take a picture of it! I had just taught a Bible study on John 14 the day I saw this young man:
 
Obey

“If you love me, obey my commandments.’

John 14:14 NLT

 

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.”

John 14:21

 

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”

John 14:23

 
When I was weighed down with guilt and regret, God graciously reminded me that Jesus reversed the curse of sin and paid the penalty for me:
 
reverse

Jesus reversed the curse!

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”

Galatians 3:13 NIV

 

I’ll let these pictures and the truths they represent speak for themselves:
 
feather

He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:4 NLT

 
 forgiveness

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 

Psalm 103:10,12 NAS

 
locust

I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.

Joel 2:25 KJV

 

bumper

God created human beings in his image.

Genesis 1:27 NCV

 
Isaiah40

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.

Isaiah 40:11 NIV

 
You might say that I have blessed eyes, and I would wholeheartedly agree. I say–and, more importantly, God says–that your eyes can be blessed, too (Mt 13:16). Why not ask the Lord to send His encouragement and also ask for eyes to recognize it? See for yourself that God is love and that He loves you!
 

 Send me a sign of your favor…for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.

Psalm 86:17 NLT

Due Diligence, 10/01/13

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By , October 2, 2013 10:19 am
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This week we sat and soaked in the song “Come To Me” by Bethel Worship and Jenn Johnson. Then we sang 1)  Jesus I Am Resting Resting by Tricia Brock  2) The Lord Our God by Passion (feat. Kristian Stanfill and 3) In Christ Alone by Passion (feat. Kristian Stanfill)

We continued our look into Hebrews 4, further exploring  1) AWARENESS of wandering, wanting, and winning  2) ADMISSION of the ways we are restless and 3) how APPRECIATION leads us through the gates of the Lord and into His rest.

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