Category: Revelation

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: When Trust Is Broken – 04/07/15

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By , April 8, 2015 1:37 pm
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In praise, we sang Mighty to Save by Laura Story and Great is Thy Faithfulness by Lincoln Brewster.

After a short summary and review of the biblical concepts of conflict and reconciliation in relationships, Kathy taught on what we can do when trust is broken.  She explained the reality of broken trust in all relationships and clarified the difference between unconditional love and earned trust.

How Relationships Work: Negotiating Differences, Part 2- 03/17/15

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By , March 18, 2015 2:45 pm
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We praised God singing “God of the Impossible” by Sara Reeves and “Just As I Am” by Travis Cottrell.

Kathy reviewed last weeks lesson about reconciling relationships and the importance of forgiveness.

We continued learning about negotiating differences, especially in regards to long standing relationships that are not reconciled.  She talked about the fact that out of our hollow places of pain can flow rivers of living water and guarding against the devastating affects of bitterness.

Blessed

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By , March 15, 2015 1:24 pm
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Please join us for the remaining sessions of our series “How Relationships Work.” We will meet these Tuesdays: March 17th and 24th, April 7th and 14th. Class times are 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.–or follow online anytime!

 

 

 

BLESSED

 

I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing.

 

Genesis 12:2 NRS

 

It was another gray March day, the sky threatening yet more rain. Only an occasional glimpse of sunshine had graced us these last 2 weeks here in the supposedly sunny South. My internal climate mimicked the external one. I wasn’t exactly gray inside, just lacking a bit of joy.

 

I dreaded my afternoon chore: catching up on my bills and putting my finances in order. That’s one of those tasks that I push to the bottom of the list repeatedly until the point when late notices threaten to arrive. I finished them all until I had to stamp the bills. We only had 2 in the entire house; they weren’t nearly enough for my stack of envelopes.

 

A glance at the clock told me that five o’clock was fast approaching. If I hurried, I might be able to get my bills in today’s post. To my irritation, I didn’t make it to the nearest post office before it closed, so I had to fight rush-hour traffic and head to the larger USPS downtown. I pushed through the afternoon rush hour traffic to get there.

 

I arrived and stepped into a long line of customers. I pulled out my smart phone to check messages when I heard a strange sound. It was something between a scream and a cry. My eyes followed the sound and landed on a boy sitting in what I can best describe as a large baby walker. He was pitching his head back and yelling at the top of his lungs. He seemed too old to be in a stroller; his sprawling limbs told me that he was disabled. His mom was the picture of patience as she bent down to quiet him. I noticed a Cross on the front of her t-shirt as she turned my way.

 

My mind immediately went to what the Bible teaches about blessings. I’ve been learning that we have the capacity to receive every spiritual blessing from God. (Ephesians 1:3) It immediately brightened my day to realize that I could impart a blessing to this precious family out of the overflow of God’s blessings to me. I put my phone down and under my breath began to speak blessings over the boy, his mom, and his sister. What love and mercy sprang up inside as I began to tap into the greatness of the Father’s love for them!

 

My blessing session was interrupted by the attendant who was ready to sell me my stamps. It made me smile to realize that my primary purpose for being there was not to complete this transaction and my little project for the day. How wonderful that my Sovereign Lord gave me this special Kingdom assignment. His plans for me were so much more satisfying that what I had in mind for myself that afternoon!

 

As I walked back to the car, the little boy zoomed right past me in his walker. When his mom came running after him I got a glimpse of the back of her shirt this time. It announced in a cheerful font and bright colors the message of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now it was my turn to be blessed! I blurted out without thinking, “Lady, you’ve got on the perfect shirt!” She turned to me with a smile and said, “Yes ma’am, I do.”

 

This busy mom was clearly accustomed to questions about her son. She introduced me to 5-year-old Mason and shared his story with me. Her face blazed with passion as she told me how the doctors predicted he would never survive when he was born at 24 weeks gestation. “They said he would be a vegetable if he lived, but look at him. And God is not finished with him yet!” It wasn’t hard to see that her joy surpassed all the world has brought her way and it was contagious.

 

It was all I could do to get to the car before dissolving in tears. I prayed, “Forgive me, Father, for my selfishness and ingratitude earlier today. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see this stunning example of what it looks like to be blessed and to be a blessing to others. I want the same thing I saw on that woman–a joy that comes from deep down inside and that can only come from You.” I believe God will give me that same joy even in my most difficult circumstances. In fact I’m overjoyed now as I remember that He is not finished with me yet!

How Relationships Work: Negotiating Differences – 3/10/15

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By , March 11, 2015 3:09 pm
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This week we sang “Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill and “Live Your Love” by the Katinas.

Kathy began with a review, reminding us that God’s ministry to us and for us is reconciliation.  He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus and now calls us to reconcile with others.  A heart that is for reconciliation has experienced God’s grace and forgiveness for itself, is wise and wily in response to others, desires connection, and is open to newness in relationship.

This week’s lesson focused on negotiating differences in relationships.  We looked at what God’s word says about handling offenses, whether we have sinned or have been sinned against.  We learned how to stay within Biblical boundaries when negotiating differences by 1) going to our brother in private with the goal of reconciliation, 2) going quickly but choosing our time wisely, 3) keeping our comments current,  4) not judging or accusing, 5) admitting and taking responsibility for our wrongs, and 6) speaking the truth in love.

Kathy reminded us that God is the secure foundation for all of our other relationships.

How Relationships Work: Stumbling Blocks

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By , February 24, 2015 4:35 pm
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We sang, “Christ Be All Around Me”, by Michael W. Smith and “I will Sing of My Redeemer” by Travis Cottrell.

In a review Kathy reminded us that the four building blocks of relationships are unity, intimacy, vulnerability, and love.

Today we looked intently at the stumbling block of offense. To understand offenses we need to understand forgiveness. She discussed what forgiveness is and what it is not

HOW RELATIONSHIPS WORK: More Building Blocks – 02/10/15

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By , February 10, 2015 3:46 pm
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Our songs today were “My Jesus I Love Thee” by Amy Grant and “Christ Be All Around Me” by Michael W. Smith.

Kathy opened with a review of  unity, intimacy and vulnerability in relationships. Then she added the next building block of what love looks like and what love doesn’t look like.  There is a war on love. The enemy uses our anger and our desire to use others to hinder healthy relating.

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

Identity Theft

By , April 9, 2013 9:44 pm
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How terrible it will be for anyone who argues with his Maker! He is like a broken piece of pottery lying on the ground. Does clay say to a potter, “What are you making?” Does a pot say, “You don’t have any skill”?

Isaiah 45:9 NIRV

 

I met Phyllis Hamm in the ‘80s. We were both newlyweds living in starter homes in Homewood. We shopped at the same grocery store and attended the same church. She is one of the most universally liked individuals I have ever met. I think of her as someone who is comfortable in her own skin. So it came as a surprise to learn that she struggles with her identity.

 

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. The truth is that most of us have a hard time accepting deeply that God has crafted us with a one-of-a-kind design and purpose. At some level, we all question and criticize how we’re made and, in the process, lose sight of our unique identity. These thought patterns invite all kinds of trouble.

 

Phyllis recognized this tendency in herself and expressed it well when she shared how it affected her: “I’ve been going from place to place and person for my worth and value.” Can you relate? I know I can!  When we don’t let God define our significance, we allow our identities to be shaped by sources much less reliable or loving than God.

 

Satan, who is an expert at identity theft, stands at the ready to rob us. Phyllis began to examine some of the things she believed about herself and her life. In scrutinizing her thinking, she spotted some of Satan’s lies that had slipped in because she doubted her God-given identity. Does her list sound familiar to you?

  • Left out
  • Not acceptable
  • Not important
  • Inferior, second best
  • Alone, abandoned, disconnected
  • Unwanted, not chosen, rejected
  • Judged by others
  • Not in the inner circle
  • Guilt, shame
  • Don’t belong
  • Not in the right position
  • Hurt, self pity
  • Unfair
  • Not worthy

 

Even though these thoughts and feelings were very real to Phyllis at the time, she also knew the truth: “God is my source of worth and value!” As she began to pray about her identity issues, the Lord led her to meditate on the words “positive” and “position.” As she opened her heart and mind in prayer to God and to a trusted prayer partner, here’s what God revealed to her:

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

I am not thankful or happy about my position. I want to be in the inner circle position.  During my prayer time with Martha, she asked me if there was ever a time in my life where I did not get the position I wanted.  I was reminded (had not thought about for 45 years) about the time in 6th grade I wanted to be a patrol girl. I got placed as a supply girl.

 

All the popular people were patrol girls. Not me. I got the lesser position. As I looked out the supply store window, I saw the patrol girls opening and closing the car doors. Everybody loved them–they were cool and popular.

 

Where was Jesus? As I remembered back to this time, I realized He was right there with me in the supply room. He gave me this position.   Jesus and I were serving others. We were ministering to others one-on-one through the supply window!

 

In the supply room you have to be organized, have administrative skills, and be math-minded! God chose me for that position because of my strengths: I am relational, warm, open, organized. My strength is one-on-one relationships!  Anyone can open and close a car door.

 

As we were praying He showed me the meaning of “positive”—it is to have assurance, stand firm, and be sure, sure that my identity is unshakeable.  I am positive He chooses me for any position I am in. I am selected to God’s inner circle!

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Our Maker doesn’t waste a single thing in molding us. Every day was written in His book and is part of His shaping process. Often He uses seasons of seclusion to transform us into useful vessels. This was true for Joseph, Moses, Esther, and Paul. It is also true for my friend Phyllis. The time she spent in the school supply room (and more recently in the prayer closet) equipped her for her current role as Missions Coordinator at a church with a very large contingent of missionaries.

 

Now Phyllis can see that her administrative and relational gifts make her well suited for her job. She also has joy in knowing that she is doing what she was created to do: “God uses me to ‘supply’ others with their needs in the position where He has placed me. I am positive about this!!! And I am safe in this position!!!”

 

God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.

 Ephesians 2:10

Over the Top

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By , March 24, 2013 9:57 pm
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But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8 NLT

 
How did I drift so far from the central message of Easter? God goes over the top to express His love, by allowing His Son to be nailed to a cross and die in order to rescue me from death. His mind-boggling love makes me want to love like that.

 

However, my deep desire to express love to my family can sometimes turn into something bordering on ugly, a grotesque distortion. This is especially true when a holiday or birthday comes along. For example, I somehow came to believe that I love them best at Easter by putting on a celebration in which very elaborate Easter baskets take center stage. Though I’m not sure exactly how I got there, I found myself producing the most outlandish super-sized baskets full of consumer goods you’ve ever seen!

easterleft easterright

 

My quiet, but wise husband told me early on, “Once you start this, Kathy, you’re going to be expected to keep it up.” No truer words have ever been spoken. So, last year about this time, I set out to meet and exceed my own lofty standards for the Easter holiday. After gathering and assembling mass quantities of themed items (fitness for my son, kitchen for my mom, spring duds for my daughter), I wrapped them in cellophane, put a bow on top, and hefted them onto the dining table.

 

My creations were met with the usual oohs and aahs. My mother declared, “You’ve done it again!” I’m not sure she realized the depth of the truth of her statement. My insides sensed it, though. Accepting her compliment, I felt as hollow as the chocolate bunny in her basket.

 

My sinking feeling was confirmed later that afternoon as my son headed for the door. All he had in his hand was a large jar of jumbo cashews and a tee shirt. “Don’t you want to take your Easter basket things with you, Buddy?” In the sweetest way possible he said, “No thanks, Mom. I don’t need all that stuff.” He hugged me and was gone.

 

Although his words rang true at the time, it wasn’t until the following Saturday that the Lord helped me get in touch with the tension I’d been feeling over those baskets. He led me to this Scripture:

 

Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised. (Song 8:7)

 

I hadn’t specifically been seeking wisdom about the way I’d approached holidays at my house. But as I sought to understand the meaning of this passage, those Easter baskets sprang immediately to mind. I now saw the problem clearly. I had slipped into doing the very thing this passage described. I had offered up swag in place of the imperishable gift of love.

 

It sickened my heart to realize my mistake. “Lord, forgive me for losing sight of love, the only thing that never fails. Thank You for showing me that my little offerings are so much less than the real thing, the thing we all long to find and would trade all else to have. Purge away every pitiful excuse for love and remind me next time I begin to go overboard. And please, if it is Your will, give me a chance to tell Jackson what I’ve learned.”

 

About 30 minutes later, the back door swung open announcing the unexpected arrival of my son. He was taking a break from the tiny apartment where he studies, here to get his laundry done and eat some home cooking. As he ate, I was able to share with him what the Lord had just revealed. “So, Jackson, I get it now. Thank you for being a part of my breakthrough.” I couldn’t help but notice a hint of a smile as he replied, “It only took you ten years!”

 

We went on to talk about all the excuses and excesses that people use to connect with other people. We give cheap substitutes, thinking we are giving our best. It was a good conversation and, at one point I said, “I just love you guys so much, I’m always trying to find a way to let you know that.” What I heard next refreshed my heart, springing up pure and sweet and lasting: “Mom, I don’t think that was ever in doubt.”

 

Even much water cannot put out the flame of love; floods cannot drown love.

Song of Solomon 8:7a NCV

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