Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We'd like to take this time to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy your family, the season and most all celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Please join us on Wednesday January 2nd as we continue to study Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chapter 5: Jonathan: The Man Who Would (Not) Be King

Come, let us go over to the Philistine's garrison that is on the other side...Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us.  For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.  -  1 Samuel 14:1, 6

Then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.  And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you.  You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you."  - 1 Samuel 23:16-17

In Chapter 5 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur, we learn about Jonathan.  Jonathan is Saul's son and finds out that because of Saul's actions, he will never be king.  Imagine hearing those words.  Most people would be angry and honestly, pitch a fit.  Jonathan, however, accepted the idea of someone else being the king.  He knew that it was God's plan and he trusted God.

Below are the points in Chapter 5 that reached out to me the most:

*  ...Jonathan's response was very different-and that's what made him such an unlikely hero.  p. 96

*  Jonathan was fearless-not because he was confident in his own ability, but because he had placed his faith firmly in the promised will and power of God.  p. 96

*  The Lord responded to the faith and courage of Jonathan by sending the enemy into full retreat, thereby delivering the outmatched Israelites from death and defeat.  p. 97

*  While Saul sat under a pomegranate tree fretting about what to do next, his daring son once again took the initiative and saw the mighty power of God unleashed in victory.  p. 97

*  Jonathan willingly gave up his own claim to the throne because he understood that the Lord had chosen David instead of him.  And he had no resentment, only affection for the one who would reign in his place.  p. 104

*  Jonathan's character is evidenced most clearly in his attitude toward David.  Without question, he was a mighty warrior, a noble prince, and a loyal friend.  But it was his unwavering faith in the Lord's plan for him and his future that set him apart as an unlikely hero.  p. 104

*  David and Jonathan shared a manly commitment that was noble, loyal, and selfless-a camaraderie born out of threat and conflict and cemented by their mutual faith in the Lord.  p. 105

*  When Saul was doubtful and disobedient, Jonathan operated in faith and courage.  p. 107

*  Rather than fighting against his future, the prince embraced it-to the extent that he became a loyal friend to the man who would one day be king instead of him.  p. 107

*  Unlike his small-minded father, this noble prince was eager to obey the Lord.  p.108

*  But close to it is the sacrifice of one's life in life-gladly giving up all personal honor, power, and position for a friend who takes those things because it was the will of God to do so.  p. 108

What an amazing friend David had in Jonathan.  To not only remain faithful to God and his plan, but to be there for his friend through it all.  For me, it would seem difficult to be truly happy and want to help the person who just received a blessing that I've been waiting to receive.  I know that sounds very selfish of me but if I'm being completely honest with you, than I will tell you that it would be hard for any of us to accept.  Jonathan's faith in God is so strong and unwavering.  It really shows me where my faith needs to grow more.  I know I will always accept God's will in my life and my family's life.  However, I never stopped and thought "what would I do?" if I were in a similar situation like Jonathan was.  Could I truly be happy deep down inside and become close to someone who just received a blessing I've been praying over?  Can I remain faithful to God in situations like this?  Jonathan has taught me so much.  His faithfulness in God, his true caring towards others and most importantly his reaction to not getting what he wanted are things that we can all learn from.  I'll be honest with you, I know how I would react.  I would be truly happy for my friend who received the blessing.  However, I know I would turn and ask "what about me?"  My selfish nature would over take me and jealousy would come into play.

After reading this chapter about our unlikely hero, Jonathan, I now know what I need to pray over in my life.  I pray that God will give me faith, a heart and a reaction like Jonathan's when I am faced with similar situations in my life.   It's so easy to be tempted by jealousy, anger and fear in this world.  We need to remember that there is a much bigger picture out there that God has perfectly painted just for us.

 It's so exciting to read this book and to meet our unlikely heroes.  People whom I barely remember reading about in the Bible.  What's even more exciting is to see how God is reaching us and strengthening our faith through these heroes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Next Reading

Join us on Wednesday December 12th, as we discuss Chapter 5, Jonathan:  The Man Who Would (Not) Be King, of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chapter 4: Gideon & Samson: Stories of Weakness and Strength

(My favorite thing about John MacArthur is how successful he is at telling each Heroes story.  I encourage you all to take the time to read each chapter.  Below is just a brief synopsis of the points that meant the most to me.)

Gideon and Samson...two very unlikely heroes that couldn't be different.  One is full of fear and weakness.  The other is full of himself and strength.  Yet, God was able to use these two men and turn their faithlessness into honor for God. 

In Chapter 4 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur, we learn about Gideon and Samson.  Below are the points that the author made that meant the most to me.  (I'd love to hear the things that stuck out the most to you!)

*  Gideon and Samson were both men with serious faults and would have been rejected by wise men from any critical duty of leadership.  Yet the Lord chose them to sustain His people and to fulfill His redemptive purpose.  Their weaknesses only serve to highlight God's infinite power-which triumphed through them in spite of their imperfections.  p. 68

*  From the onset, he (Gideon) is depicted as a man whose fear was greater than his faith.  p. 68

*  But Gideon would have been even more surprised to hear the Angel speak to him and say, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!"  (v. 12).  From Gideon's perspective, both parts of that greeting were questionable.  "If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?" he asked in verse 13.  "And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about saying, "Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."  Driven by doubt, Gideon went on to deny that he was a man of bravery:  "O my Lord, how can I save Israel?  Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house" (v. 15).  Clearly, faith and fortitude were qualities Gideon sorely lacked.  p. 69

*  Yet in calling him a man of valor, the Angel of the Lord was not referring to what Gideon was, but what he would become by the strength that God provided.  p. 69-70

*  Nonetheless, he had shown a willingness to obey the Lord, and that was progress in his faith.  p. 71

*  As Christians, we do not ascertain the validity of God's Word by asking Him for miraculous confirmation.  Instead, we live according to His will by believing Him and being obedient to His Word.  p. 72

*  God had chosen timid Gideon to lead the attack so that His glorious power might be the only explanation for victory.  p. 72

*  But when he was weakest, the Lord used Samson in the mightiest act of his astonishing life.  p. 76

*  Ultimately, Samson's wild disregard for the Lord's clear commands would make his life a legendary tragedy, with his infatuation for Philistine women at the center.  p. 77

*  In spite of Samson's flagrant sin, for which he paid a terrible price, God still had a purpose for him to serve in rescuing Israel from Philistine aggression.  p. 77

*  Though he was only interested in serving himself, the Lord would superintend Samson's selfish choices to secure Israel's deliverance and ensure Philistia's demise (cf. Judges 14:4).  p. 79

*  For the first time in Samson's life, he experienced severe physical weakness and cried out to the Lord for help.  p. 82-83

*  The closing drama of Samson's life features a man who completely failed to advance from the reckless impulsiveness of his youth.  p. 83

*  To be sure, Samson's motives were not entirely pure; his faith was mixed with an unrighteous attitude of personal revenge.  Yet as with Rahab and her lie (in Joshua 2:4-5), God honored Samson's faith in spite of his sin.  p. 86

*  His final act of valor shows that, in the humiliation and brokenness of his last days, he had come to truly depend on the Lord.  He became a hero of faith by trusting God to use him in death and bring him into His presence.  p. 87

*  ...both their stories teach the same basic lesson-God's mighty power can override human weakness to accomplish His sovereign purposes.  p. 87

*  Left to ourselves, we are foolish, base, and weak.  But in Christ, we who are inherently worthless and sinful are transformed into vessels of honor, fit for the Master's use.  p. 87

*  Spiritual victory and usefulness begin with genuine humility, brokenness, and self-distrust-turning to God as the only true power.  p. 88

I have to admit, I was a little confused as to why John MacArthur would name a person full of faithlessness and a person full of pride as a hero.  I didn't get it.  How can someone who is full of fear and the other full of sin become a hero for God? Then, I realized we are all full of fear, full of sin, full of worry.  We are all sinners in this world.  God still wants to use us.  God wants to take our weakest moments and turn them into moments of praise for Him.  What makes us a true hero is when we turn our weaknesses over to God, tackle our biggest fears for Him and become that person He needs us to be for His greater plan no matter how scary it may seem.

While reading about Gideon when he was questioning God, I found myself getting frustrated with him.  How could he have kept questioning God?  What more proof did he need?  Then, I quickly humbled myself as I remember saying to God..."Lord, if we are to move forward with this certain therapy, please give me a sign."  "Lord, give me a sign if you want us to move."  "God, please show me a sign that we are on the right path."  It is so easy for us to do.  Yet, what we need to be doing is having faith in God and knowing that He will speak to us when we listen out for Him.  When we hear Him, we don't need to question Him as Gideon did.  This is not having faith in God.  This is us, as human beings, needing some sort of physical assurance that we heard correctly.  But that's not having faith.  Faith is believing in and trusting in God.  Not questioning Him.

I think about our journey through autism.  I've had many days were my faith was at it's weakest.  However, I've also had plenty of days where my faith is strong and unbreakable.  I can tell you that when my faith is the strongest, those are my easier days through autism. However, God was still going to use me during my moments of weakness.  I pray that you too will find the strength to remain faithful, to not question God and to move forward with God's plan for your life.  If you are unsure as to what His plan is, I encourage you to spend some time reading His Word in the Bible, pray and listen for God to speak to you.

And what more shall I say?  For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson...who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, (and) out of weakness were made strong.  -Hebrews 11:32-34A

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chapter 3 Miriam: The Leading Lady of The Exodus

For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  - Micah 6:4

One of the most fascinating things I learned about Miriam is her role in Moses' life when he was a baby.  I never realized that her job was to follow her baby brother as he floated down the river.  She played a very important role in keeping Moses in their lives without having to be afraid of what the authorities might say.  (If you have not read Chapter 3, I encourage you to do so.  John MacArthur has a way with his words of telling the story of Moses as a baby that opened my eyes to things I never new.)

Below are the points that John MacArthur writes about in Chapter 3 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes.

*  God's providence brought about a remarkable result.  Miriam's courage led to Moses' mother being paid to raise her own son!  p. 48

*  At the very beginning of Moses' life, the Lord used his older sister, Miriam, in a specific way, to watch over him and bring him safely back home.  In her willingness to bravely approach Pharaoh's daughter, Miriam played a strategic role in her baby brother's return to his family.  She was emboldened by the faith she had seen in her parents, and which she herself possessed.  Moreover, in watching the Lord rescue Moses from the Nile River, Miriam herself was being prepared for the day when she would see God deliver her people from their bondage in Egypt.  p. 49

*  As she watched and waited, she would surely have wondered when God would elevate Moses to deliver her enslaved people from Egypt.  p. 50

*  Just as Miriam and her two brothers had been instructed by their parents, now she instilled wihtin her children a longing and hope for divine deliverance.  p. 51

*  For eight long decades, Miriam had waited.  She had always known that Moses was God's chosen deliverer; yet she did not know when that deliverance would begin.  p. 51

*  Miriam lived her entire life with the confident expectation that God would deliver Israel, using her brother Moses.  Time and again she had seen God's incredible power on display.  p. 56

*  Exodus 15:20-21 summarizes her joyful response with these words:  "Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron (and Moses), took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.  And Miriam answered them:  "Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!  The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!"  p. 56

*  In a moment of sinful weakness, she had challenged his authority.  p. 60

*  As a young slave girl, she had watched over her baby brother when he floated in the Nile.  As a wife and mother, she had waited in Egypt for deliverance to come.  As an elderly woman, probably in her nineties, she had seen the power of God at the Red Sea, and she led the women of Israel in joyful celebration as a result.  p. 61

*  Though she sinfully challenged Moses' authority in the wilderness-and was severely rebuked as a result-she lived out the last four decades of her life submissively supporting Moses' authority.  p. 61

*  Miriam is rightfully regarded as a hero, not because of her own greatness, but because she rested in faith on the mighty power of God.  p.  62

*  ....her greatest triumphs came when her heart was centered on the glory of God.  p. 63

Wow...that last one really hit me.  Read it again...

*  her greatest triumphs came when her heart was centered on the glory of God.

In other words, it wasn't about what she wanted in her life.  It was about what God needed to have happen in her life for Him to be glorified. 

Think about your own life.  What is happening in your life that God can use to glorify Himself?  Shouldn't that be what we want most out of life?  That God would be glorified with our lives to help save all of the lost people around us. 

Like Miriam, our own sinful nature takes over at times.  However, like Miriam, we need to wait patiently and faithfully on the Lord to give us all of His promises that He's placed in our hearts.  When these promises come, let's be sure to praise God and give Him all of the glory.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Join us on Wednesday October 31st as we discuss Chapter 3 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chapter 3: Miriam: The Leading Lady of the Exodus

Please join us on Wednesday October 24th as we discuss Chapter 3 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chapter 2: Joseph: Because God Meant It For Good

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.  - Genesis 50:20

Joseph:  Because God Meant It For Good...I already knew Joseph's story, however for some reason the title of Chapter 2 in Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur didn't quite grab ahold of my heart until after I read the chapter.  Joseph's story is truly one that inspires us all to remain faithful in God and move forward with what He needs done in our lives and not what we want done.  In the end, we see that God's way is the way where our blessings come.

Chapter 2 tells the story of Joseph in full detail.  I highly recommend that if you haven't done so already, read Chapter 2 and learn about Joseph and his heroic life and how God did amazing things through him.  Below are the points that the author made that inspired me the most.

*  Unlike those who breed a seething hatred and desire for vengeance, Joseph treated his brothers with undeserved favor.  But how do kindness and love get cultivated in the heart of one so wickedly treated?  The answer is found in Joseph's theology-he had a clear understanding of God's providence.  p.22-23

*  God is in control and we can trust Him for the outcome.  p. 23

*  ...the Lord used Joseph's suffering to accomplish His sovereign purposes.  To be sure, God had some practical life-lessons for Joseph to learn along the way.  But He had a far bigger matter on His mind...   p. 23

*  As New Testament believers looking back on Joseph's example, we can see the principle of Romans 8:28 fleshed out in his life:  "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  p. 23

*  ...though Joseph did not suffer because God was punishing him for sin, he did suffer so that God could ultimately save sinners.  p. 23

*  ...we also know that while the Lord never condones evil, He does overrule it and accomplish His purpose out of it.  p. 27

*  The Lord was perfectly in control.  p. 30

*  But God had neither forgotten nor abandoned Joseph.  p. 31

*  He understood that God had used him to preserve his family and to bring them down to Egypt.  Everything was according to the Lord's will.  p. 37

*  Three times, Joseph emphasized that God's hand was behind it all.  p. 37

*  His trust in God's providential power outweighed any feeling of personal animosity toward his brothers.  He recognized that everything that had happened to him was part of the Lord's perfect plan.  p. 38

*  He came to understand that God had a purpose in his suffering...  p. 38

*  We may not always understand what is happening around us, but like Joseph, we can rest confidently in the fact that the Lord is in complete control.  p. 39

*  We need to be anxious for nothing because our Heavenly Father reigns over all.  He is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-present, and He has promised to work all things together for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).  We have nothing to fear because if God is for us, who can be against us?  No one can oppose His will, and nothing can thwart His plans (Isaiah 14:27).  p. 39-40

*  ...we can trust Him and wholly rest in the reality that He is on His throne.  Embracing that kind of perspective won't take our trials away, but it will enable us to find joy and peace in the midst of them (James 1:3-5).  p. 41

As parents with children on the spectrum, I think we all have a lot of those moments when we don't understand what's happening.  We have no idea what to do next.  We research, we pray, we consult each other to hopefully find the answer on what can help our children.  I think we can all take comfort in what John MacArthur pointed out in Chapter 2...We may not always understand what is happening around us, but like Joseph, we can rest confidently in the fact that the Lord is in complete control.

As I type this, I am sitting in a doctor's office with my son who not only has autism, but has PANDAS as well.  He is currently sitting beside me receiving his IVIG treatment.  Between the OCD, anxiety, speech delay, social delay, PANDAS flares, prescription meds and natural supplements, I often find myself not understanding what is going on and what I can do to help.  Through Joseph's story, I can rest assure that if I put all my faith in God and do what He needs me to do, in the end it will all work out the way He needs.  I just have to make sure I'm spending the time with Him so I can be sure that I hear Him and know what He needs for me to do next.  I have to prepare myself daily to trust in Him and know that He is in control. 

"Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.  Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little one."  And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.  - Genesis 50:19-21

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Join us next week...

Please join us on Wednesday October 3rd as we look deeper into Chapter 2 Joseph: Because God Meant It For Good of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Enoch: The Man Who Walked With God

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 1 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  Please know that we what all "learn" from a study may be different.  Therefore, we ask for you all to share your thoughts and feeling on this chapter as well.)

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.  - Genesis 5:24

This week, we are introduced to our first hero, Enoch.  Why is Enoch an unlikely hero in the Bible?  What characteristics did he have to make him a hero?  What can we learn from Enoch to implement into our own lives?

Here are the main points that John MacArthur wrote which touched me the most in Chapter 1.  (Please note that these are only a few of the amazing thought provoking points that the author has made.  Therefore it is important for you to read the entire chapter.  What is listed below are the statements that made me think the most.  I'm sure that someone else was touched by things I did not mention.  I encourage you to share in the comments section below this post.)

*  Enoch is rightly regarded as a hero for the same reason: he stood strong over a long period of time. (p.2)
*  Even in the midst of a corrupt and perverse civilization (one so wicked the Lord determined to destroy it in the Flood), Enoch refused to compromise.  At time, he undoubtedly felt alone-as if the entire world were against him.  Yet he remained true to the Lord.  (p. 3)
*  Though Enoch's experiences were remarkable and unique, he still sets a compelling example for us to follow:  one of unwavering faith and uncompromising obedience.  (p. 4)
*  ...he stood against the corruption of his culture and walked with God for three centuries.  (p. 5)
*  Even so, he was able to demonstrate enduring righteousness-not because he was sinless but because he drew on divine resources.  (p. 6)
*  Thus, Enoch's righteous walk should not intimidate us.  Rather, as a witness to the life of faith (Hebrews 12:1), his example ought to motivate us to greater faithfulness and deeper resolve in our own walk with the Lord.  (p. 6)
*  Scripture, where this theme is reiterated and expanded, reveals that walking with God includes at least three component parts.  It begins with forgiveness from sin, consists of faith in the Lord, and results in fruits of righteousness.  (p. 8)
*  During his life, Enoch was characterized by intimate fellowship with God, personal integrity, and faithful preaching.  But it is his dramatic, death-free exit that sets Enoch apart.  (p. 18)
*  In the midst of a wicked generation, Enoch fellowshipped with God constantly.  For three centuries, he resisted the world's corruption, sought the Lord diligently, and lived in obedience to Him.  (p. 19)
*  In the end, God honored Enoch to show His pleasure with such faithful virtue.  (p. 19)

Enoch lived a very God-pleasing life.  How did he stay faithful and committed to God in a world that was falling apart?  He walked with God.  He constantly turned to God with everything in his life.  We can still do the same thing in today's world.  A world filled with confusion, corruption, anger, and worry.  We can live our lives like Enoch did by walking with God.

I'm sure you have days like I do.  You know, the ones were "autism" is at it's peak in your home.  The days when you felt like everything was getting so much better and in a blink of an eye, it all comes crashing down.  You feel overwhelmed.  You feel hopeless.  You feel alone.  It's in these moments that we have to turn to God.  We have to "walk with God".  We must have faith in God.  I think that's the one thing that I learned about Enoch that touched me the most.  No matter what was going on around him he trusted in God.  The only way we can do this is if we are constantly walking with Him.  Praying, talking to Him, reading His Word.  He is there with us and will help us through it all.  We just have to seek Him.

So, in the moments when you don't know what to do, you feel overwhelmed or completely alone, just stop what you are doing and find God.  Pray to Him and give Him your struggles and let Him comfort you and show you what to do next.  It's amazing what happens when you walk with God and have faith in Him.

John MacArthur writes on page 19:

As with all heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11, Enoch's life is notable not because of what he did, but because of how God's glory and greatness were displayed through him.  

We can all live a life like Enoch' where God's glory and greatness shines through us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Intro to Twelve Unlikely Heroes

Before we begin this study, I think it important that we introduce the book and the author.  I know a lot of you are probably overwhelmed with back to school/back to home schooling as well as end of the summer plans.  Therefore, I wanted to give you all another week to get prepared for this study. (Myself as well.)   I don't want to rush this study.   We may have a few weeks here and there when we take two weeks to do a chapter.  Let's begin with the introduction.

John MacArthur, author of Twelve Unlikely Heroes, writes on page XI of the introduction:

"Even though the word hero does not occur in the New Testament, believers often refer to the biblical saints (such as those listed in Hebrews 11) as the "heroes of the faith."  They are regarded as heroes for two primary reasons:  they believed in the Lord, not just for salvation but for every aspect of life; and they acted on that faith, choosing to honor Him even when it was difficult to do so.  When their circumstances seemed impossible, they depended on God's wisdom and strength rather than their own.  And they kept their eyes on Him, choosing to trust in His promises rather than pursue the passing pleasures of sin."  -John MacArthur p. xi

John MacArthur is also quick to point out that the "Hero behind the heroes is always the Lord."  On page XIII he writes:

"Their legacy of faithfulness ultimately directs our attention heavenward, to the Source of their wisdom and strength-namely the Lord Himself.  My prayer for you, as you read this book, is that you will fix your eyes firmly on Him (cf. Hebrews 12:2)-recognizing, along with all the heroes of the faith, that those who put their trust in Him will never be disappointed.  (Romans 10:11).  -John MacArthur p XIII

I am very excited to begin this study with you.  I am believing that God is really going to grab ahold of our hearts through these "heroes" and teach us how we can trust in Him not only during our good moments but our challenging moments with autism as well.  Sometimes life gives us challenges that seem to hard for us to overcome.  I pray that through this study, we will all learn how to trust in Him and bring glory to Him even when the moments seem so overwhelming.

"For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put shame the things which are mighty."  - 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Join me on Wednesday September 19th as we see how God used Enoch as one of his twelve unlikely heroes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

I'm so excited to announce that our next study will be Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  Please join us on Wednesday September 12th as we discuss Chapter 1.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Please join us in prayer as we search for what study God would like for us to do next.  We will announce our next study on Wednesday September 5th.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Part 6: A Servant Spirit

Speak, for Your servant is listening.  - 1 Samuel 3:10

Each one should us whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.  - 1 Peter 4:10

Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them...Here I am, I have come to do your will.  - Hebrews 10:8-9

He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet.  - John 13:4-5

In Part 6 of He Speaks To Me by Priscilla Shirer, we learn about the last way to position ourselves to hear from God...Having a servant spirit.  What does it mean to have a servant spirit?  Below is a list of points that Priscilla made in Part 6.  These points helped me answer this question.

*  Genuine happiness comes from fulfilling God's purpose for me.  p. 174
*  Finding and serving in your calling results in a sense of purpose, spiritual growth, and a feeling of satisfaction that you can get in no other way.  When you submit to God's assignment, you find true peace and contentment.  p. 174
*  Scripture says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).  With this in mind, let's decide to willingly go along with God's plans instead of insisting on our own.  The Lord does not and will not make us do anything.  He will invite us, and we will be blessed as we submit to His calling on our lives.  p. 175
*  A quick look at how you submit to earthly authority will indicate how you submit to divine authority.  p. 175
*  We must also understand that we have been set up to serve.  p. 175
*  God planned everything and created you with exactly what you need to complete the tasks He has for you while you're here on earth.  To walk in His plan you must simply present yourself to Him as a servant.  p. 176
*  My heart transition began when I read 2 Corinthians 4:18:  "We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  p. 177
*  When you understand an accept your God-given assignment, begin to utilize your fits to fulfill it, and present yourself to God as a servant just like Samuel did, you will find divide satisfaction-a contentment this world cannot provide.  p.  177
*  Waiting is very much a part of presenting yourself to God as a true servant.  p. 179
*  We mustn't attempt to rush God.  Rushing spoils the very reason God plans the event for us and cheats us of the joy that comes when we finally experience it.  p. 179
*  God sometimes gives us pieces of information about what may occur, but in our eagerness to see it come to pass, we rush the plans and try to tweak them to fit our desires and goals.  p. 179
*  The psalmist proclaims, "With all my heart, I am waiting, Lord, for you!  I trust your promises" (Psalm 130:5).  p. 180
*  To present ourselves to God as a true servant as Samuel did, we must accept the fact that His assignments don't come free of challenges.  p. 184
*  True servants put their feelings aside and focus on doing what God asks them to do.  p. 184
*  God may well instruct you to do something that will be hard for you to bear.  p. 186
*  Whatever He tells you to do, if you have a servant spirit, you will set aside your feelings and do it.  p. 186
*  Obedience to God always brings rewards-not the least of which is increased communication with God.  p. 187-188
*  Rest assured that behind every challenge we will find God orchestrating the circumstances to build us up and bring Himself glory.  p. 188
*  Service requires you to step out of your comfort zone, and service is other as simple as doing the mundane things of life with a smile on your face.  p. 192
*  Our Savior is the ultimate model of true servanthood.  p. 192
*  Jesus knew that Judas was about to betray Him, but He still washed his feet.  p. 194
*  When Jesus chose to teach the disciples a lesson about servanthood, He didn't preach a sermon; He did something.  p. 195
*  As God begins to speak to you, will He find someone who is busy talking about being a servant, or someone who's busy serving?  p. 196
*  If we're serious about being real servants for God, let's just show up and do.  p. 196
*  God isn't looking for people who claim to want to do what He asks.  He's looking for people who are willing to step out of their comfort zones, take on even the most menial of tasks, and do them with a smile on their face.  p. 197

Think about your life.  If you are a part of this study, most likely you are a parent of a child with autism.  Or a grandparent/aunt/uncle/family friend.  Whatever the case, a child with autism is a very important part of your life.  Let me ask you this...don't you think God knew exactly what He was doing when He entrusted us with our children who have autism?  I think He knew exactly what He was doing.  You see, God does the most amazing things when we let Him.  When we actually position ourselves to hear from God and to the tasks He needs for us to do, the blessings that come afterwards are absolutely amazing.

As we wrap up this study, I pray that we all take the time to position ourselves to hear from God.  I know that we have very busy lives caring, loving and teaching our children with autism.  Take some time this week to review each main point from He Speaks To Me.  Let's really give our lives over to God so that God can do amazing things in our lives.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Part 6

Join us on Wednesday August 1st as we discuss Part 6 of He Speaks To Me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Part 5: A Sold-Out Hunger

Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.  - 1 Samuel 3:3

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  - Hebrews 4:16

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.  - Luke 6:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it."  - Isaiah 30:21

In Part 5 of He Speaks To Me by Priscilla Shirer, we learn that in order to hear from God we should yearn to be near him.  We should hunger for His presence.

Below are the points in Part 5, that Priscilla made that spoke to me the most.

*  We need to be hungry to approach God's throne of grace and receive "mercy and...grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16)  p.144

*  Luke tells many stores of how Jesus made Himself accessible to people who passionately pursued Him.  p. 145

*  ...when you are desperate to meet Jesus, reach out and touch Him.  He will stop and respond.  p. 146

*  Though the Spirit dwells in us, it is up to us to tap into the power He provides.  p. 147

*  God now manifests His awesome presence through the power of the Holy Spirit.  p. 147

*  It's in God's presence that we tap into His life-giving power.  p. 149

*  His passion was clearly to get close to God and God alone.  p. 149

*  Your consuming passion should be to get close to God... p. 149

*  God is accessible.  Reach out and touch Him.  He will stop and speak to you.  p. 150

*  God meets with those who are hungry for His presence.  He meets them where they are, satisfies their hunger, and changes their lives forever.  p. 154

*  Your friends will know what's most important to you by what you talk about.  p. 155

*  Praise God that experiencing His presence and hearing His voice is not just for the spiritual elite.  p. 156

*  The Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords makes Himself available to all of us, even beggars- no, especially beggars-when we are hungry for Him.  p. 156

*  God says you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).  p. 156

*  Experiencing the manifest presence of God doesn't satisfy your hunger; it only whets your appetite for more.  p. 156

*  When your heart is hungry for God, He will show up, He will speak to you, and He will change your life forever... p. 159

*  Our desire shouldn't be to impress God, but to have a relationship with Him.  That's how we get close to Him and learn to recognize His voice.  p. 162

*  When you have a sold-out hunger for God, you will yearn for His direction, and He will give it.  p. 162

*  The more you get to know Him by spending one-on-one time with Him, the closer you'll get to Him, and the better able you will be to recognize His voice.  p. 164

*  Isaiah gives us a basic principle for life.  He tells us that God's thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not His way (Isaiah 55.8).  When I read this verse, I'm reminded of all the times that life's busyness has blinded me to what God had for me.  God sees the big picture.  He is in control.  Sister, to continue with your plans without regarding life's interruptions is to ignore God's leading and voice.  When we desire God's best for us but become annoyed when He steps in to change the course of our lives, we refuse to accept the very thing we prayed for.  p. 165  

*  Why are we so often willing to pay the high price of doing our own thing when following God's advice is far less costly and energy consuming?  p. 165

How do we get that longing to want to be near God?  I mean, let's all be honest, not everyone reading this has that desire to be near Him every moment of the day.  Why?  Satan knows how to distract us.  He knows how to grab ahold of our minds and keep them from remembering to spend time with the Lord.  He keeps us busy.

It is important for us to remember to spend time with God.  He is the One with the answers.  He is the One that longs to spend time with us.  He is the One who truly loves us.  If we really want that sold-out hunger for God, we need to take any steps necessary to remember to spend time with Him.  Set an alarm on your phone.  Write little post it notes around your house reminding you to stop and pray.  When worry sets in, instead of calling a friend, call on God and pray to Him about it.  The desire to want to be near God is in us all.  Take the time to today to spend with God so you can clearly hear from Him.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Part 5

Join us on Wednesday July 11th as we discuss Part 5 of He Speaks To Me by Priscilla Shirer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Part 4 A Still Attentiveness

The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord.  - 1 Samuel 3:3

Be still, and know that I am God.  -Psalm 46:10

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.  -Isaiah 30:15

My soul finds rest in God alone.  -Psalm 62:1

Part 4 begins with the story of Samuel after he's done with his work for the day.  At the end of the day, Samuel rested and listened for God.  It is immediately brought to my attention what I do at the end of my day.  After my kids are in bed and I try to give my dogs that attention they crave throughout the day, I crash in front of the television.  That is my escape.  It is my way of turning off all of the chaos around me and escaping for a while.  I always tell myself "why not?  I've had an extremely busy day of homeschooling, cleaning, chauffeuring, grocery shopping, dog training, cooking and so much more.  My mind is spent and I need to escape."  And escape I do.  However, what kind of escape am I experiencing?  Is it refreshing and does it recharge me for the next day to do it all over again?  Or does it just let me escape for an hour or two?

After reading the introduction to Part 4, God immediately brings to my attention that I am not still.  I make myself too busy to actually hear from Him.  Yes, I read my Bible.  Yes, I read devotions.  However, I don't do it long enough to hear from Him.  My friends always joke around that unless it's something I can't do in a quick manner then it's too much for me.  Even so much that around Christmas time, I opted for the drive thru Live Nativity Scene.   It's not that I don't enjoy sitting back and taking my time.  It's just that I have always thought, we have a lot that we want to do therefore let's get it done quickly and move on.  Part 4 of He Speaks To Me spoke volumes to me and I'm hoping has made me slow down and be still.  

Here are the points that Priscilla Shirer made that spoke to me the most in Chapters 10, 11 & 12:

*  Now his chores were done for the day, everything was quiet, and Eli was asleep.  God was awake, however, and He had a message for Samuel.  With his thoughts quiet and his emotions stilled, Samuel positioned himself to hear God's voice.  p. 109
    How often have I missed out on hearing a life changing message from God because after my kids were asleep and the dogs were resting, I didn't keep myself still and listen for God?  
*  The One with the answer is right here, but the problem is that we won't sit still long enough for Him to give us what we need.  p. 112
    What if God just needed us to sit still for 10 minutes?  Even 5 minutes?  But we couldn't wait any longer than 3 minutes?  What could have we missed?
*  Are you too busy to hear from God?  p. 113
     What is cluttering up my life that is actually making my life that much harder?
*  We often miss out on his blessings because we just won't be still.  p.  114
     It makes me sad to think of how many times I could have disappointed God and missed out on a            blessing he wanted to give me but I couldn't be still.  
*  God asks us to be still enough so we can hear what the Great Physician has to say to us and get the medication He wants to give us.  I've discovered that God doesn't shout over my noise  He waits until I'm quiet.  A calm and composed spirit is open to divine revelation and comfort.  p. 117
Imagine what our lives would be like if we would all come to God in a quiet manner and hear what He wants for us to do.  
*  God desires to speak to us, but we are often struggling so hard to solve our problems ourselves that we can't hear Him.  Our panicky efforts keep us from hearing His calming voice, receiving His instructions, and allowing Him to do what He intended to do all along-save us when we might otherwise be lost.  p. 120
Why is it so easy for us to call a friend and tell them our problems and listen to what they have to say more than it is to call on God and listen to what He will do to help?
*  Satan knows we can find real peace and power in our lives when we turn to God and trust Him.  That's why he desires nothing more than to keep us from being still and waiting on God.  p.  121
Be alert for Satan's distractions while you are being still.
*  Our thoughts are one of the hardest areas for us to control, yet they are often the easiest for Satan to use against us....The Enemies goal is to keep our minds so occupied that we don't hear God's voice.  p. 122
When you feel like your mind is overwhelmed, give it to God.
*  The very power of God through the living words of Scripture combats the strongholds that take up residence in my mind.  p. 123
Always read the Bible.  Read your Bible during happy times, times of worry, times of sadness.  Keep his Word fresh in your mind.
*  If we want God to speak to us, we must keep our minds free of thoughts that stand in the way.  p. 123
What thoughts are taking up room in your life and keeping you from being still?
*  If we continue to allow God to fill us, sooner or later we'll find that nothing else will satisfy.  p. 131
Praying, devotions, Bible studies, attending church, watching church services online and reading your Bible are all ways of allowing God to fill us.
*  The more you trust your concerns to the Lord and see Him working in your life, the more willing you will be to depend on Him in the future.  p. 132
*  Peace is a crucial component in hearing God's voice and deciphering His will.  p. 134
*  God gives us peace as a means to discover where He is leading us.  When you and I walk in God's will, peace will rule our hearts regardless of our circumstances.  In making decisions that glorify God; we must constantly ask, "Am I experiencing God's peace regarding this decision?"  p. 137

It's amazing how God works in our lives when we let Him.  It's amazing the miracles He can still do today when we ask Him.  It's amazing how awesome peace feels in your life when you allow it to come into your life.

Let's all find at least one moment each day this week where we are still.  The tv's are turned off.  The kids are asleep.  Our minds are free of worry, things we have to do and things that happened.  The only thing that we hear is God speaking to us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Part 4

Join us on Wednesday June 13th as we discuss Part 4.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Part 3: A Set-Apart Holiness

The word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.  -1 Samuel 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to be silent and a time to speak.  - Ecclesiastes 3:1,7

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.  - 2 Corinthians 7:1

I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.  - 2 Timothy 4:7-8

In Part 3 of He Speaks To Me:  Preparing to Hear From God by Priscilla Shirer, we learn how to stand out from the crowd.  However, it's probably not that standing out that we typically imagine.  When I hear that someone stands out in a crowd, I think of an individual that is loud, making jokes, has everyone's attention.  Here we learn how God wants us to stand out in a crowd.  He wants us to remember who we are.  He wants us to remember who He is.  The set-apart holiness is the third characteristic that Priscilla Shirer describes that positioned Samuel to hear from God.  In other words, while the world around him was deep into sin and being okay with sinning, Samuel was not.  He wanted to live his life for God.  Samuel's set-apart holiness definitely helped him to hear from God more clearer than those around him.

How do we get this set-apart holiness?  How can we position ourselves like Samuel in a holy way so that we can hear from God?

The first thing we learn in chapter 7 is what is happening when God is silent.  The following are the points that stood out to me the most in this chapter.

*  ...He withholds His voice from those who consistently indulge in sin.  (p. 82)
*  The children of Israel had heard God's Word, but they had chosen not to listen, and so God finally quit speaking to them.  (p. 82)
*  Christians that don't hear from God should be on the lookout for unconfessed sin and rebellion in their lives.  (p.  84)
*...God isn't looking for sinless people.  He knows there aren't any.  He's just looking for a people who are serious about hearing His Word and obeying it.  (p. 84)
*  Although He is more than able to intervene, sometimes He shows His glory, demonstrates His power, and strengthens His children by His silence.  (p. 85)
*  God is using silence to strengthen your trust in Him and open your ears to spiritual truths.  (p. 86)
*  We know that we are becoming spiritually mature when God is silent, and, instead of asking why, we humble ourselves before Him and persevere in prayer.  (p. 86)
*  Trust that in His silence, God is speaking to you.  (p. 86)
*  Many things clamor our attention when life gets busy, and hearing God's voice in the midst of the chaos can be difficult.  (p. 87)

This chapter, obviously, touched me the most.  I never really thought that maybe the reason God isn't speaking to me is because of something I'm doing that is a sin.  It doesn't even have to be a sin that most of us would consider huge.  It could be jealousy, anger, resentment.  These are all sins in God's eyes because it's not what He wants us to feel and it keeps us from getting closer to Him.   In other words, if I am sitting around waiting for God to speak to me about my son with autism, yet I am harboring feelings of anger and jealousy, why is He going to speak to me?  He wants to confess these sins, no matter how big or small, give them to Him.  Trust in Him.  Listen for Him.

In chapter 8, we learn how we can live more of a holy life for God.  The following are the points from chapter 8 which stood out the most to me.

*  How can we expect God to speak to us when we act the same as we did before we knew Him?  (p. 92)
*  It involves a decision on our part to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so we can live a life that pleases our heavenly Father.  (p. 92)
*  We cannot live a lifestyle of perpetually  unrepentant sin and expect to hear God's voice.  The two cannot coexist.  (p. 93)
*  The closer and more intimate your relationship with God becomes, the more clearly you are going to hear Him speak.  (p. 93)

What could be going on in our lives that is clouding our ability to hear from God?

In chapter 9, we learn how we can live a life for God and not give up.  The following are the points from chapter 9 which stood out the most to me.

*  Satan knows that once you are a believer, he can't destroy you, so he's just out to distract you.  He knows he can't get you for eternity, so he just wants to make sure you're no good for the kingdom of God while you're here on earth.  (p. 100)
*  Just like me, you need to know what tempts you to sin and be intentional about dealing with it.  (p. 101)

What is weighing us down in our lives?  What sin is making it harder to live the life that Christ wants us to live?  It's so easy for us to get buried in the demands of our day to day lives.  We need to consistently be turning to God, asking Him for His strength to live the life we were made to live.

I pray that we all use what we've learned in Part 3.  Let's get rid of the sin that's taken over our lives.  Let's stand out in a crowd and stand up for what God wants and let's give Him everything that is weighing us down.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Part 3

Join us on Wednesday May 30th as we discuss Part 3.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Part 2: A Single-Minded Worship

"Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness."  -Psalm 29:1-2

"God said to Moses, "I am who I am."  -Exodus 3:14

"These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."  -Isaiah 29:13

I don't know about you, but I am excited to hear from God.  This book has already taught me so much on what I need to do in order to position myself better to hear from him.

In part 1 of He Speaks To Me by Priscilla Shirer, we learned about the first characteristic that we need to have in order to hear from God, A Simple Relationship.  We need to have a relationship with God. 

Part 2 introduces us to the second characteristic needed in order to hear from God.  It is a single-minded worship.  God loves when we worship him,however he wants us to worship him and him only.  This is why a single-minded worship is the next important characteristic we need to have to easily hear from God.  Priscilla Shirer writes on page 54:

"Single-minded worship begins when we concentrate on God's glory.  Giving God glory means giving Him the honor He deserves.  When we do this, we take our eyes off ourselves and turn them on Him.  God chooses to speak to those who focus on His glory."

There are four lessons that Priscilla Shirer teaches us about in regards to God's glory and Moses' encounter with the burning bush.  They are as follows:

Lesson #1:  God's Glory Often Appears in Desert Places
On page 55, Priscilla Shirer writes "If you are currently in a wilderness season, be encouraged.  You are in a good position to hear from God."  Are you in a wilderness season?  This is the perfect time to listen for God and focus on his glory.

Lesson #2:  God's Glory Is Beyond Our Comprehension
"God's glory is always beyond human comprehension.  An attempt to understand Him by restricting Him to the laws of nature or comparing Him to man minimizes His greatness and power."  (page 55)  Too often, we try to understand God.  We have this desire to want to "get it" and fully comprehend his power and proof behind.  When in reality, God is just so amazing that we really can't wrap our thoughts around it.  We need to accept that and fully trust in Him and His strength.

Lesson #3:  God's Glory Is Reserved for Only One
Be sure to give God all of the glory.

Lesson #4:  God's Glory Demands a Response
"I shudder to think of the times I may have missed the clear direction of God because I refused to turn aside and look."  (p. 57)

In chapter 5, we learn that God is the Real Deal.  God is faithful, all-powerful, and always present

By far, I, personally, got the most out of chapter 6, The Heart of The Matter.  Priscilla Shirer starts off this chapter by sharing with us the day her child was dedicated.  She described in detail all of the preparations she made on the outside to make this day perfect.  In the end, she forgot the most important detail, the Lord.  I'm sure this, or something very similar, has happened to us all.  We spend countless hours preparing things so that they look perfect on the outside, yet the inside is a mess. It's easy to do, even with this blog.  I could spend countless hours finding the best scriptures to post, the best phrases and summaries to give you.  When really, what matters most is my heart.  By speaking from my heart, what's inside will shine through.  That's what God wants.  God doesn't care what our "outside" looks like.  He cares about our heart.  Are we doing what He's called us to do happily and eager to please Him or are our hearts screaming with frustration, anger and bitterness?  Do we come to Him in worship because we love Him so or are we doing it because we want a prayer answered?  He knows our hearts.  Oh, how He knows our hearts.  I encourage you today, if your heart is not in the right place, pray for God to help heal your heart so that you can give it fully to Him.

We also learn in chapter 6, that God wants us to be focused on His priorities and His plans.  Priscilla Shirer teaches us how easy it is to be held in bondage over what she names "pharaohs" in your life.  The three main pharaohs that may be keeping you captive are:  The Pharaoh of Past Mistakes, The Pharaoh of Present Frustrations and the Pharaoh of Future Anxiety.  For me, my pharaoh is present frustrations.  I'm sure a lot of you are also struggling with this as well.  It's hard for me to get my eyes on God's plan when my child is struggling with autism.  It's hard for me to accept that God wants me to reach out to other parents when my child isn't feeling well.  I am help captive by the Pharaoh of Present Frustations.  The following spoke volumes to me:

"One of the best things you can do to worship God single-mindedly is simply to accept where you are and what He's doing for you right now.  Be alert.  Be present.  Don't miss out on what God is doing.  Sister, if you are in bondage to the pharaoh of present frustations, here is the Lord's Word to you today:  'God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.'  (2 Corinthians 9:8) "p74

She continues on page 76:

"Satan doesn't want you praising God because he doesn't want God to show up in your life.  He knows that if you ever break free from whatever is keeping you captive, you'll worship God wiht wholehearted devotion and begin to hear His voice.  And when a woman hears God's voice and obeys Him, she's powerful."

What is keeping you in bondage from hearing from God and what He wants to do in your life?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Part 1: A Simple Relationship

"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."  -Matthew 11:25

"Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  -Matthew 18:4

"Don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing.  Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things?  Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs."  -Matthew 6:31-32

Have you ever found yourself so consumed with finding the answer to what you should do that you forget to do the obvious?  You know, the times when instead of praying and listening for God you call your neighbor, your mom or your closest friends.  Maybe even the times when you find something else to keep you "busy"  because you are not sure what to do next.

I, my friend, am in this time right now.  I am so consumed with how to help my child through his current behaviors that when I am given the opportunity to take some time to actually listen to what God needs for me to do, I use that time to clean my house, paint my walls, move furniture around and even worse, watch tv.  I've kept myself busy.  It's easy to do.  We bury ourselves in the world around us to help cope with what we should do next while we wait for God to give us the answer.

However, we can be waiting a very long time if we are not in the right position to hear from God.

I feel so fortunate that we are doing this study on He Speaks To Me by Priscilla Shirer.  This couldn't have come into my life at a better time.  After reading Part 1, I've realized that the three things I need to consistently be doing to always hearing God, I don't always do.

1.  A Childlike Simplicity
In this chapter, we learn about Ryan, a young girl with autism who is praising God with everything inside of her.  She's not concerned about what others are doing or thinking.  She is praising God because she loves Him.  She's accepted everything that God speaks to her and is excited about it.  That's how God wants us to be.  He wants us to accept what we hear from Him and move forward, excited for the possibilities.  I bet that Ryan hears from God to best while she is worshipping Him.

2.  A Humble Approach
Here, we learn that God wants us to come to Him like children do.  Children accept God for who He is and love Him for it.  They don't doubt what He can or won't do.  They trust God.  Children don't let pride get in the way.  The do things for God because they want to, not because they want the recognition.  I love how Priscilla Shirer writes the following on page 34:

"God's plan was so completely different from what the disciples expected that it didn't make any sense to them, and they couldn't accept it."

Ten years ago, if you would have told me that I would be writing a Bible study blog for parents who have children with autism I would have looked at you like you had three heads.  My relationship with Christ was no where near where it is today at that time.  If God would have told me that I would have a child with autism I wouldn't have trusted Him.  I wouldn't have had that child-like trust and humility that He needs for us all to have.  We have understand that God knows what we need in our lives.  We need to position ourselves to consistently hear from God so that we know what He needs for us to do.  Humbling ourselves is a great start.

3.  A Simple Trust
In this chapter, we learn that God wants us to rely on Him the way infants rely on their parents.  They need their parents for everything.  Here, Priscilla Shirer uses an excellent example of how most of us instead of relying on Him like an infant, we rely on Him like a toddler.  We adopt the defiant-I-want-to-do-it-my-way-I-can-do-it-by-myself attitude that most toddlers have.  Instead, God wants us to trust in Him and come to Him with everything.  Most importantly, He wants us to trust what He tells us as well.  On page 45, Priscilla Shirer writes:

"What we do need to do is believe and obey God, thus placing ourselves in a position for God to bless us fully."

It's really easy if you think about it.  We can take the hard road of trying to figure out what we should do for everything in our lives.  Or, we can trust in God and position ourselves to hear from Him.  After reading Part 1 of He Speaks To Me, I realized that the reason my last two to three weeks were so hard was because I was trying to hear from God, but I didn't have myself in the right position to hear Him speak.

At the end of each chapter, Priscilla Shirer writes a few study questions to help position you closer to God so that you may hear from Him.  I encourage you to take the time to answer these questions.  I'd love to hear some answers.  Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below this post.  You never know whom you may help position themselves to hear from God as well.

*  Join us on Wednesday May 16th for Part 2 of He Speaks To Me.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I am so sorry our study has not started on time. Like you, I have a child with autism. Like you, we have our rough weeks. The past two weeks have been very challenging for my son. Therefore, the start date of our next study will be on Wednesday May 10th. Again, I apologize and I hope you join us next week. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We will start our new study, He Speaks To Me: Preparing To Hear From God by Priscilla Shirer, on Wednesday May 2nd. We will be discussing Part 1.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Next Study

Join us on Wednesday April 25th as we begin our study of He Speaks To Me:  Preparing to Hear From God by Priscilla Shirer.  We will be discussing Part One of the book.  (Part One consists of chapters 1, 2, 3 and a brief introduction.)

Please note:  to access the blog, be sure to use the following web address.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Windows of Easter Wrap Up

"Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." -John 20:29

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.  -Romans 10:17

"..that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."  -Philippians 3:10

The Windows of Easter, by Bill Crowder, has been an excellent study to do in order to learn more about the people who experienced Jesus's death and resurrection along side of him.  Before we end this study, we have three more windows to review.

The Window of Sorrow: Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea believed Jesus, yet at first he did not stand up for Jesus in fear of being prosecuted himself.  He kept silent.  Fear overtook him and wouldn't let him stand up for what he knew was right.  However, in the end, Joseph surrendered his fear to God and gathered up the courage to do what was right.  Joseph asked to Jesus' body so that he may have a proper burial.  This is a huge step for Joseph seeing that most bodies were left on the cross for the wild to devour.  Joseph didn't want that happening to Jesus so he finally stepped forward in his faith.  The Window of Sorrow here shows us that we need to stand up for what is right and not let fear over take us.  We need to remember that God can handle all of our fears and help us through everything.

The Window of Strength:  The Women
With this window, Bill Crowder shows us that it was mostly the women who had the strength to show the most devotion and loyalty to walk with Christ through His final dark days.  They worshipped him and moved forward sharing His love and His Word.  The Window of Strength shows us that we need to remember to be like these women during our times.  There will be days that seem very dark to us.  However, we need to have the strength to worship Christ and tell/show everyone the difference He has made in our lives.

The Window of Scripture:  The Emmaus Road Travelers
For me, this is the most important window.  We must always remember the power of God's Word.  Bill Crowder writes in this chapter the following:
"It is in the wisdom of the Bible that we can find answers to our questions and clarity for our confusion-and it does this by giving us light for the next step of the way."
He ends the chapter with the following:
"I pray we will listen with hearts ready to hear and that, like those men on the Emmaus Road, our hearts will burn within us as the powerful Word of the living God transforms our lives into the image of Christ."

During this Holy time, I pray that all of us have in some way or form been touched and transformed by one of these windows.  There were a lot of people who had that first hand experience of what Jesus went through and how it effected them.  I pray that we will continue to push forward during our dark days, lean on Christ and see things through different windows that will motivate us to move forward.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Window of Significance: The Centurion

"When the centurion and those with I'm who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely, he was the Son of God!"  Matthew 27:54

The Window of Significance chapter took me a little longer than the previous chapters to "get".  I'm not sure if it's because I have so many different things going on that I wasn't reading with a clear head or if everyone experienced this as well.  However, after reading it twice, it hit me and it hit me hard.

The centurion was in charge of a large group of men who were keeping guard over Jesus when he died on the cross  The centurion experienced first hand the power of the cross.  You see, the centurion was one of the first to be changed by the power of the cross, to believe and be saved by professing his belief.  At first, I was saddened that this centurion didn't "get it" before Jesus died.  However, then I realized he was one of the lucky ones to "get" the significance of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins just moments after it happened.

It's amazing to me that God was able, in the horrible moment of Jesus hanging on the cross, to grab ahold of the centurion's heart.  The centurion, a very powerful soldier in charge of one hundred soldiers.  They followed him.  Imagine the impact the centurion's new belief in Jesus made on these men.  I'm sure after seeing their centurion's change of heart a lot of the soldiers were able to find Jesus as well.  The centurion and the other soldiers had been through war, tough times, and their hearts were hardened.  The most wonderful thing about this is that God was able to soften them for eternity.

For me, The Window of Significance represents the power and significance of the cross and how truly remarkable our God is.  God can take the toughest situations and help us through them all.  We just have to give him our hearts, no matter what kind of battle we are going through, and believe in the significance and power of Jesus dying for our sins.

This is the time of the year when many people think more about your sacrifice you made for us.  This is the time of the year when many people who are lost find you and believe.  Lord, we pray that you soften all of our hearts to remembering the sacrifice you made for us so that we will continue to live our lives for you and not ourselves.

*  Please join us next week as we conclude this study of The Windows of Easter.  Our goal is to briefly talk about the remaining three windows:  The Window of Sorrow, The Window of Strength and the Window of Scripture.  We would love to finish this study before Easter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Next Week's Reading

Please join us on Wednesday March 28th to discuss Windows on Easter...The Window of Significance: The Centurion.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Window of Sin: Judas Iscariot

"But Jesus said unto him, "Judas, betrays thou the Son of man with a kiss?"  Luke 22:48

I can't believe Judas betrayed Jesus like that!  How could he just turn him in and turn his back on Jesus after everything he's done with Jesus.  The healings, the teachings, the time Jesus spent with Judas.  How could he betray him?  I would never have done that.

Or would I?  The answer to this question for all of us is yes.  You see, to betray Jesus requires sin and we are all guilty of sinning.  Whether it's worrying, stealing, lying, walking away from our relationship with Jesus...we are all guilty of having a little Judas in us.  You see, in a sense, Judas' fall came from his sin.  He sinned against Jesus.  This can happen to us as well.  

We can learn a lot from Judas.  He had a pretty good life with Jesus.  He was part of "the crowd".  Judas was part of the healings.  Can you imagine witnessing these healings?  Why did he betray Jesus?  Greed.  Think of how often greed can cause us to betray Jesus as well.  Sin can overtake any of us at any part of the day, any time of our lives.  We can look like we are living the Christian life.  We go to church, we pray at every meal, we even partake in an online Bible study.  We can play the role.  Sin can build a huge wall between us and Jesus.  Sin can destroy our relationships with Jesus.  We need to make sure we are constantly confessing our sins, no matter how big or how small, to Jesus and then ask him for forgiveness.  After this, we move on.  We continue to build our relationship with Jesus and get closer to him.

My favorite thing that Bill Crowder, author of Windows on Easter, included in this chapter was the story of the artist:

The story is told of an artist who was commissioned to paint a Sicilian cathedral with a mural depicting the life of Jesus.  He discovered a twelve-year-old boy whose radiant innocence made a perfect model for the Christ child.  Years later, it was Passion Week, and the artist had completed all the major figures except Judas.  One day, a man who face showed the results of years of alcohol abuse staggered into a tavern where the artist was sitting.  Immediately the artist chose him to be the model for Judas.  Leading the man to the cathedral, he pointed to the bare space on the wall and asked him to pose as Judas.  The derelict broke down into sobs, "Don't you remember me?"  Pointing to the Christ child, the man explained, "Many years ago, I was your model for Him."

You see, it's very easy for us to point fingers and say "how could Judas betray Jesus?"  It's very easy for us to claim "I would never do that!"  We need to realize that it's also very easy for us to become like Judas.  All it takes is for Satan to grab hold of our hearts, even just a little bit, and he can have us in a downward spiral as well.  

As we continue to grow in our spiritual walk with Christ by attending church, praying, joining Bible studies, and much more, let's also make sure our relationship is continuously growing strong with Christ.  Therefore, when Satan tempts us with sin (which he definitely will), then we can rejoice in knowing that our relationship with Christ is stronger than the sin we are tempted with, no matter how big or how small.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Window of Surprise: Malchus

I am very excited to begin our study on The Window On Easter by Bill Crowder.  During this study, we will study the time leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of the people he touched.  We begin with Malchus.

Malchus?  This was the first time I'm learning of a man named Malchus.  I remember hearing the story of Peter cutting off a slave's right ear and Jesus healing him.  However, the name I couldn't place.  Then, to try to view the death and resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of Malchus was very moving to me.

Quick summary on Malchus.  Malchus, the servant of the high priest, was one of the men coming to arrest Jesus.  Peter cut off Malchus' right ear.  Jesus, with one touch, immediately healed his right ear.  Malchus moved forward with participating in the arrest.

Imagine being Malchus, a servant.  He was told how horrible of a man Jesus was and they needed to arrest him.  He believed them I'm sure, especially after Peter cut off his right ear.  However, imagine what Malchus was feeling when Jesus picked up his right ear and healed him.  Confused I'm sure.  Amazed.  Awestruck.  Thankful.  I'm sure there was even remorse for what he was about to do to repay him.  He still moved forward with supporting the high priest and doing what he was told to do.  You may be asking yourself why.  Why didn't he fall on his knees and beg for forgiveness?  Why didn't he show Jesus how much he believes in him now?  Did he really believe at that moment that Jesus is the Messiah?

Bill Crowder, the author of The Window On Easter, writes:

"I love that idea-but we just don't know.  What we do know, however, is that for the rest of his life, Malchus wore on the right side of his head the proof of an encounter with the God-man.  For the rest of his life, whenever he heard the name Jesus, his hand must have unconsciously moved to touch that restored right ear.  For the rest of his life, he would be unable to deny the love and care that he had experienced in what one poet called "the touch of the Master's hand."  For the rest of his life, he bore the evidence of the greatest surprise he would ever experience."

Bill Crowder continues with the following:

"Malchus knew what it was to be owned, and, as a result of Peter's behavior, knew what it was to be hated.  In Christ, however, he had known what it was to be cared for and loved.  That had to have been a surprise, given the nature of the circumstances under which he met the Savior."

In other words, we don't need to know why Malchus didn't follow Jesus in that moment.  We need to learn that we, especially in this day and age, are sinning against Jesus just as Malchus did.  There are moments in all of our lives where we sin.  Not one of us is perfect.  Worry, doubt, greed, lust, dishonesty, jealousy.  It all comes creeping in our lives.  God knew where we would be today.  Yet, He still sent his son to die for our sins on the cross.  Bill Crowder wraps up this chapter perfectly:

"Paul reminds us, 'But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' (Romans 5:8)  While we were yet sinners....Now that is a surprise."

I love that we can stop and compare ourselves to Malchus, the servant whose right ear was cut off by Peter and then healed by Jesus.  It's so easy for us to look at others and say "how could they?"  When God could be looking at us saying the same thing.  Yet, instead, He loves us through it all and surprises us by giving us healing in ways we couldn't ever imagine.  

For me, what I want to learn from Malchus is to never miss a chance to thank God for the healing He sends my way.  I want to show him how grateful I am so I can follow His path and not my own.

*  Be sure to join us next week for our next chapter, The Window of Sin: Judas Iscariot.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our next study is...

Windows On Easter by Bill Crowder

Please join us on Wednesday, March 7th as we begin this new study with
The Window of Surprise: Malchus.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Be On The Lookout For Satan

"Be careful!  Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.  Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.  remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are."  1 Peter 5:8-9

The Devil, he's very sneaky.  You always have to remember this.  He knows when to attack, how to attack and even how to make it look like he's not attacking.

The Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation goes into more detail about 1 Peter 5:8-9.  Here's what it says in the footnotes:

Lions attack sick, young, or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert.  Peter warns us to watch out for Satan when we are suffering or being persecuted.  Feeling alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from other believers, so focused on our troubles that we forget to watch for danger, we are especially vulnerable to Satan's attacks.  During times of suffering, seek other Christians for support.  Keep your eyes on Christ and resist the Devil.  Then, says James, "he will flee from you."  (James 4:7)

Attacking a parent of a child with autism can be so easy for Satan.  He knows our weaknesses.  He knows how to plant that tiny little seed, aka doubt, into our heads so we give up.  He knows how powerful our God is and how at any moment of any given time God can heal our children.  Therefore, Satan will do everything in his power to keep us as far away from God's Will as possible.

Here are some examples of how Satan can plant that seed of doubt in our minds, aka lies, that grow and grow and take us further away from God:

1.  My son is not where I thought he would be at this age.  He will never get better.
2.  My child had such a wonderful week than had a huge meltdown this morning.  This will never get easier.
3.  No one knows what I'm going through.
4.  I have no one to talk to who would understand me.
5.  My marriage is failing because of autism.
6.  I am failing as a parent.
7.  My daughter will never talk.
8.  I don't understand why this happened to me?  Why us?
9.  Will my son ever have a friend?
10.  My child will never be able to "catch up" with his peers.

Satan has a way of causing mass confusion in our minds.  Do you know why?  He doesn't want us to hear God speaking to us.  He knows that as long as he has our attention and consumes us with the lies listed above and many more than we are full of worry, doubt, sadness and can't even look up to God.  You see, everything listed above are lies.  They are not true.  Satan knows our weaknesses and where to strike to get us to worry.  One little thought that comes into our head that Satan plants there can us away from God's Will.

What do we do?  How do we, as parents with children with autism, not worry?  Not doubt?  Not constantly think about the future and what it may or may not hold?  We pray.  We take these thoughts that cause worry and give them to God.  We find other Christians that "get autism" and lean on each other and lift each other up and remind each other how powerful God is and He will never, ever leave us.  We read our Bibles.  We remind Satan that he has no control over us and will not ever take control of our lives, our children's lives and the Will that God has for us.  Most importantly, we need to be on the lookout for Satan.  We need to be aware and take notes of when and how he attacks each of us personally.  That way, he can never catch us off guard.

Dear Lord,
We thank yo so much for planting this idea of studying 1 Peter.  It's been a wonderful to hear Peter encourage us all during our times of hardship.  Please help us all have eyes on the lookout for Satan and give us a heart to always lean on each other and always be there for each other.
In Your Name We Pray,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Week's Reading Is....

1 Peter 5: 1-14

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Craving The Storms

Seven years ago I joined an amazing Bible study group that was held weekly at a local church.  I looked forward to Tuesday's when I could see my "group" again and share what God has been placing on my heart.  You see, about a year and a half prior to this group, I had re-dedicated my life to Christ.  In other words, I've always been a Believer just not a really good Follower for Christ.

I'll never forget one Tuesday morning, we just sat down in our little room in the church with our Bibles open ready to share God's word. I can't remember which passage we were discussing, however, I do remember sharing with my friends the fear I was having in regards to Sean's possible diagnosis of autism.  I remember sharing my faith in God and how He will get us all through this.  I remember humbling myself in front of them all in hopes to have some encouragement.  One girl immediately spoke up and shared something that I could not understand at that time.

She said, "I know you are going through a "storm" right now.  Just remember during the storms is when you are closest to God.  He shares with you some incredible blessings during this time.  As crazy as this may sound, when I'm not in a storm or heading into one, I kind of crave the storms."

My response was, "here, take mine.  You can go through this for me."

What I didn't see at that time is what I see now.  My friend was right.  You are closest to God during your storms.  You feel His presence during your struggles more than you do any other time in your life, if you let Him in.

This week's reading reminded of the day my friend told me that she craved the storms.  

"Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.  Instead, be very glad because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world."  1 Peter 4:12-13

In that moment, my friend's faith was so much stronger than mine.  I couldn't see past my own suffering to see the blessings that will come from me getting close to God.  I was "surprised" by my trials instead of being thankful that Christ was beside me to help me through it.  It wasn't the storms themselves that she craved, it was the amazing blessing and closeness that she felt towards God during these times that she craved.

It's important for us to remember what Peter says in 1 Peter 4:12-13.  Let's not be surprised by our sufferings.  Instead, let's seek Christ during these times to help us through them.  Let's always search for that closeness to Christ whether we are in a storm or not.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Week's Reading Is...

1 Peter 4:12-19

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are you using your talent for God?

God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts.  Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you.  Are you called to be a speaker?  Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.  Are you called to help others?  Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.  Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ.  All glory and power belong to him forever and ever.  Amen.   1 Peter 4:10-11

God has blessed us all with a talent.  Some people have the gift of talking, writing or listening.  Some people can sing, dance, play football.  Some are very artsy and creative.  Some people are hard workers and succeed dramatically in the business world.  All of these talents are awesome to have, if we use these talents for God.  Nothing is more pleasing to God than for him to see us living our lives for him and using our gifts to further his Kingdom.

Tim Tebow.  Almost everyone in America is familiar with Tebow and his dedication to the Lord and strong faith in God.  It is so inspiring to not only watch him succeed on and off the football field, but also to see him give all of the glory to God.  Our world needs this today.  Our youth needs this today.  I need this today.  Tebow is a perfect example of using his talents for God.  This is living for God.

I encourage you to discover what your talent is that God has given you.  Every one of us has a special talent.  God gave us this gift to help others.  Are you using your talent to do so or are you more using it to pat yourself on the back to make you look better?  I know it's difficult to use our talents during our times of suffering.  Just know that by doing so, it will make everything else so much better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Next Week's Reading Is....

1 Peter 4:1-11

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Can People See Christ Through You?

This week's reading is 1 Peter 3:13-22.  These verses teach us about suffering while doing good.  In other words, even though we are doing what we are suppose to do, we will still go through suffering.  The importance through all of our suffering is that we show others God through our lives.

1 Peter 3:15   Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life.  And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

This verse impacted me the most this week.  Especially the first part of the verse.  "You must worship Christ as Lord of your life."  I had to stop and ask myself, "do I worship Christ as Lord of my life?"  Let's see, I attend church, I worship at church, I listen to worship music in my car, I pray.  I think I worship Him as Lord of my life.  Then, I read the footnotes in The Life Application Study Bible on 1 Peter 3:15 and it asked "Can others see your hope in Christ?  Are you prepared to tell them what Christ has done in your life?"  It's so easy for us to worship Christ when it's convenient and easy for us.  We make a decision beforehand to attend church, to pray, to listen to worship music in our cars.  What about during our times of suffering?

Can people see Christ through me on my bad days?  Do they sense His love when they see me at my breaking point?  Yes, my neighbors, friends and family can see my faith in God on Sundays while we head out to church.  They can hear my worship music in my car.  What about on the days where autism has reached it's highest?  The scripting, the anxiety, the OCD?  Can they see Christ through me during these times as well?

I like to believe the answer is yes.  However, we all are human and we live in this fallen world where temptation is all around us.  On my tough days, it's much easier for me to be a little meaner to the lady who messed up my order in the drive thru than it is for me to smile and say, "It's ok.  I hope you have a nice day."  God wants us to consistently teach the world about Him and His love for us.  There is no better way to teach this than through our actions.  Jesus went through the most suffering out of any of us.  Did He at any point behave in a way that was displeasing to God?  We all want to be more Christ-like.  We want to behave in a way that is pleasing to God.

Therefore, I ask you, can people see Christ through you during your times of suffering?  If not, I encourage you to join me as I battle to let His light shine through me especially during my stormy days.