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Punky’s Blog has Moved!

October 25, 2011

Check out my NEW BLOG by clicking here!


See you there!

xo – P

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Winning the War of the Flesh

October 13, 2011

Temptation happens. It’s the big hook that tries to trip us up again and again. But it most definitely is not God who’s trying to trip us up; it’s Satan. Temptation is his false advertising of a better way to get what we want… an easier and more pleasurable way of reaching our goal, fixing our problem, and satisfying our own desires- always in an inappropriate way that is outside of the will of God. But while Satan sends the cleverly disguised temptation, all dressed up in the bait that appeals to us most, he does not force it into our hands. No, we are the ones who work the process and take the bait designed to trap us. Temptation is a process: The allure of the lure draws us in; taking the bait hooks us and drags us away, and it never, ever ends well.

But the Good News is that God has provided a way of escape from temptation’s trap through the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ in us. God knows that our flesh is weak, but He’s made provision for us and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. The key is to remember the consequences, remember God’s goodness, take your eyes off the bait and turn toward to the Word of God for strength in our weakness. It’s Jesus who makes us stronger than we think we are. It’s Jesus who makes us smarter than we think we are. It’s Jesus who makes us braver than we think we are. Apart from Jesus we can do absolutely nothing to win the war of the flesh (John 15:5b). But we can do all things through the resurrection power of Jesus who gives us strength in our weaknesses (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

Sweet sister, don’t let the enemy play you for a fool another moment. Be wise to his disguise. Don’t take his phony bait! You have life in Jesus Christ; you are a child of the King… the best of His creation. You don’t need what that bait is offering you; you have everything you need in Christ! And…

…you are greatly and dearly loved by the King!

xo – P

 

 

PS: If you missed the lesson, be sure to listen online!

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From Trials to Triumph

October 6, 2011

Every trial that comes into your life is ultimately a test of your faith. God absolutely wants you to pass that test and the other tests that will surely follow in the days, weeks and years of your precious life. James tells us that there are some things God wants us to know, to do, to be and to have as we encounter “that which breaks the pattern of tranquility or happiness” in our lives. From our lesson last night we saw that God offers us the only way to truly persevere in trials by giving us 4 imperatives in the first chapter of James that correspond with a particular character:

1. CONSIDER, or count (v.2) – A Joyful Attitude: We’ve got to get our mind right about trials and know that our outlook will determine our outcome!
2. KNOW (v.3) – An Understanding Mind: We’ve got to know that God is working for us in our trials! We’ve got to know that God is working purpose through our trials!
3. LET, or must (vv. 4, 9-11) – A Surrendered Will: Most certainly our patience is the very thing in need of maturity here, and nothing will ripen that fruit faster than a little heat! When we resist Him we end up as a S.A.D. case: Spiritually Arrested Development!
4. ASK (v. 5-8) – A Believing Heart: We can expect absolutely nothing from the Lord if we don’t believe and trust Him. However, we will not trust whom we do not know. Nothing has the potential to draw us near to our Savior’s heart than trials do. Through them we come to know God better, love and believe God more.

Yes, trials refine us and make us more into the woman of God that He created us to be… a woman who so strongly resembles Jesus. But your trials are not only intended to refine you, dear sister- but to influence and change the lives of hundreds of others in your sphere of influence! Wow! That’s powerful! And that’s the benefit of the hidden power of adversity!

God wants you and me to pass each and every test that comes our way, and to arrive at the finish line mature and complete, lacking in nothing. We can do this thing, girlfriend! I’ll see you at the finish line!

You are so dearly loved by the King!

xo – P

 

 

PS: If you missed the lesson, be sure to listen online!

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The Big Picture

September 29, 2011

As the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:29, the goal of the Christian life is to become like Christ. In a word, we’re talking trans-form-a-tion. Being “formed” into something, or someone. And as it pertains to believers, it means being transformed into Christ. It’s a Christ-formation! We learned last night that the big theological word for that is “sanctification” or- the process of becoming like Christ. And that’s a process that happens over time where we eventually-

• Think more like Jesus
• See things as Jesus would see them
• Treat people the way Jesus would treat them.

This process of Christ-formation happens through the Word of God (Romans 12:4) and as our faith (what we believe) is tested in various ways. The epistle of James is dedicated to the testing or proving of our faith in 4 key areas of life:

1. The way you live
2. The things you do
3. The words you speak
4. The people you treat

James wants us to grow up in our faith and be mature, and he’s not letting us off the hook easy. He calls us to pay attention to our lives and to put our faith to work in ways that show us and the world that living for Christ IS the only way to live! And that becoming like Christ is the only way to be. After all, that’s the goal!

God bless you as you meet with Him in His wonderful Word this week!

You are greatly and dearly loved by the King!

xo – P

 

 

PS: If you missed the lesson, be sure to listen online!

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James the Just

September 22, 2011

Last Wednesday night at the Women at the Well Bible Study our lesson focused on the title that James used to introduce himself: A bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. We looked at the marks or responses of a bondservant (see below) and what that means for us today as true followers… bondservants of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we learned, a bondservant (Greek: doulos) is a slave- one who gives herself up to another’s will and is devoted to another to the disregard of her own interests (Strong’s definition), and is without rights.

The background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or bondservant can be seen throughout the Old Testament scriptures in the lives of Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah and others. For the Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. Perhaps we can best understand for ourselves the concept of a bondservant if we look to the One we serve; the One who Himself was the Bondservant of all bondservants (Philippians 2:1-11).

Sister, we all serve somebody, but you will never serve a better Master than the One who served you on the cross at Calvary. He is worth surrendering to! Though the bondservant of the Lord is without rights, she is not without benefits that include: Extraordinary mercy and unmerited grace; forgiveness of sins- past, present and future; peace that passes all understanding; joy in the midst of suffering and trials; unconditional and unfailing love…and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ Himself that enables a bondservant to live an extraordinary life… an eternal life… an abundant life!

I pray that this lesson has been one that has transformed your thinking about the One you serve. And I pray especially that if you haven’t you have not made Jesus Christ the Lord and Master of your life that you will not wait another moment to do so. Life as a bondservant of Christ is the only way to truly live! When you are a slave to the Greatest Love in the entire world abundant life is yours, indeed!

You are dearly loved by the King!

xo – P


PS: If you missed the lesson, be sure to listen online!

5 Marks or Responses of a Bondservant
(based on Luke 17:7-10):

1. A Bondservant is willing to serve the Lord without expecting anything in return:
2. A Bondservant is willing not to be thanked and praised for her service.
3. A Bondservant serves her Master whole-heartedly regardless of how she’s being treated- regardless of what comes our way, regardless of the hardships, trials and sufferings of this life that God allows.
4. A Bondservant understands that in and of herself she incapable of serving God at all- that it is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit of Christ in you that equips you with everything good for doing His will…and what is pleasing to Him (Hebrews 13:20-21)
5. A Bondservant serves her Master as is her duty to do so.

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Psalm 139 Scripture Memory Challenge 2011: Verse 17

September 1, 2011

 

Hello! Hello! Hello… my long-not-lost friends!

 

Well, my summer sabbatical from blogging has come to an end and I am so happy to be back at my keyboard visiting with you! I have missed you!! Have you had a good summer? I hope so! Has yours been full of vacationing and travel, or resting and relaxing? Hopefully a little of all of that made its way to the pages of your calendar this summer.

By God’s mercy and grace, and at the generosity of some dear friends, JT and I were able to escape some of this dreaded Texas heat. In case you don’t live here or don’t own a television or any kind of electronic communication, the “Great State of Texas” has nearly burned up this summer with scorching days of intense heat averaging 105 degrees…and with barely a spit of rain here and there (here are the pictures to prove it)-

Serious Heat!

104 degrees at 9 at night!

Mercy!

Seriously- does every cotton-pickin’ thing have to be BIGGER IN TEXAS?!?! It’s high time for this heat to take a sabbatical for about… FOREVER! And I don’t mean to make a joke of it because it has seriously been serious, folks. Cattle have suffered horribly not to mention vegetation. You know it’s bad when your God-fearing Governor, none other than Rick (running-for-president) Perry, makes a plea on national TV to “pray to the Lord for rain on Texas”. So KEEP PRAYING!

I know Texas isn’t the only one “suffering” this summer and so our prayers are with all of those who have been hit by heat and storms. Oh, and then there’s this: One of our summer jaunts led JT and I to Seattle in July where the locals there were lamenting their lack of summer with high temps in the high 60’s to lower 70’s, to which I replied, “Summer ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Grab a hoodie and get over it.” (I didn’t really say it just like that.) :-) You know what I mean. Anyway… it’s hot, and there’s really no point in talking about it. So for all my fam and friends in Florida who so lovingly remind me weekly that, “The news says you’re having record-breaking heat in Dallas!” my reply is, “Really?” Btw- we actually came just 18 hours shy of officially breaking the heat record for hottest consecutive days without rain, set in the summer of 1980. And as a friend shared with me last night, “It seems a shame to suffer all this heat and not break some kind of a record.” Sick, but true.

OK, back to blogging about something more edifying. Psalm 139: Are you still with me? Have you been keeping up? We are up to verse 17 for September 1st:

“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17 NIV84)

God is thinking about you, dear one! He’s always thinking so personally about you. He’s been thinking about you since before you were born. In fact, long before He created this earth, He thought of you. You! And He thought so much about you, as David writes, and in so many different ways that they are innumerable… too many to even count. So, what do you suppose He was thinking when He first thought of you? Remember- He made you to be a one-of-a-kind woman or man. There is nobody else like you.
You are… you-nique!

So spend a little time thinking about what God might have been thinking about you; your physical attributes as well as your talents and abilities, your giftedness, your life and the plans and purposes He thought for you. Think about God thinking about you- and maybe share it with us in the comments on this blog. We’ll talk more about the thoughts God thinks about us later. In the meantime know this…

You are greatly and dearly loved by the King!
 

xo – P

 

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The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Nine

July 27, 2011

The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Nine

Pass Everything On

“Who will pursue God because you do?  Who will make it the priority of their lives to know God as Abraham did, and make Him known to others, because you have?  Who will refuse to settle for anything less than everything God wants to give them because you’ve refused to settle for less?  To whom are you and I passing the baton?  We need to be as intentional as Abraham was about passing everything on because we have also been commissioned by the Father to find a bride for the Son…”

                                          The Magnificent Obsession, p. 228

Influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. Each of us has been influenced in some way by someone or something.  And while we may not consider ourselves to be a particularly “influential” person, the fact is that each of us has within us the God-given capacity to “produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others.” 

Therefore, if we understand this to be true, then the more intentionally we live our lives, the greater the influence we will have on others.  And the more intentionally we live our lives for Christ, the greater the kingdom impact our lives will make. 

And so… what kind of an impact is your life having?  What kind of an influence have you had on the people around you… in your family, with your co-workers, your friends and the people who serve you?

Each day brings to us many opportunities to live our lives intentionally, with purpose, and with an aim that is eternal.  How will you live this day of your life to make a difference for Christ?  Who will you influence today?  And who will pursue God because you do?

I’ll wrap up our study next week, but for now please savor this final chapter of the Magnificent Obsession!

xo – P

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT:
Scripture Reading: Genesis 24
Read Chapter 9 – Magnificent Obsession

Questions for Small Group Discussion and Blog:

1. Who has influenced you? Is there a person in your life who has pursued God in such a way that he or she has positively and passionately influenced your faith and pursuit of God? In what ways has this person personally influenced your faith?

  • Describe a few aspects of this person’s life that have most revealed the magnificent obsession to you.

2.  Abraham was intentional in passing everything on. What does it mean to you to “pass everything on”?

  • As you consider your life today, what are you passing along and to whom are you passing it?

3.  The best indicator of what is most important to us can be found in the pages of our calendars, bank and charge card statements. OK, go grab yours and let’s make some observations about how your time and money is invested verses spent?

  • To what is the majority of your time allocated?
  • To what is the majority of your money allocated?
  • How many of those things would be considered kingdom “investments” verses time and money simply spent?
  • How much time do you intentionally spend investing your life in others for the sake of the Gospel (to encourage, teach, build up… disciple in the the faith)?

4.  Abraham lived an “intentional” life of faith. Another way of saying it might be that Abraham lived his life “on purpose” for a greater Purpose. Living intentionally and purposefully requires serious thought and consideration not only about how we are living our lives, but the intended direction and result of our lives. How intentionally and purposefully are you living your life and is it making a difference for Christ? Consider the following areas:

  • Your personal life
  • Your relationships
  • Your social life
  • Your professional life
  • Your finances

For Personal Prayer & Reflection:

Pass Everything On~
The saying is true: “Only one life, t’will soon be passed; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Not all “good works” will last, but only those things that Jesus considers to be “eternal” works- the things that will last forever. And what kinds of things last forever? God’s Word tells us that only two things will “remain” throughout eternity: The Word of God (His Truth), and people. Jesus has commanded each of us to “bear fruit that will last” (John 15:16); reproducing our life of faith in the life of another… paying it forward, passing it on, helping another gal grow up in the way of the Lord. So…

How are you intentionally investing your own life in the life of another gal, for Christ’s sake? 

Or- what’s keeping your from intentionally investing your life- mentoring, discipling another?

There is no great joy than sharing the magnificent obsession with another individual. There is no greater satisfaction and fulfillment in life than spiritually “mothering” another woman in her life of faith; helping her to grow up in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. This is not just my personal opinion, it’s my conviction… and it’s Jesus’ command for you, my dear sister. Using your life, your one and only life, for this great purpose is the best investment you will ever make. 

One day we will speak with our Creator face-to-face, and there we will give an account to Him of how we lived the life He gave us; how we intentionally invested it for His glory. Our lives will be judged and rewarded based on three things: Truth, Opportunity & Stewardship.

1) In light of how much of God’s TRUTH I knew and lived
2) The OPPORTUNITIES I was given
3) What I did with what I was given (STEWARDSHIP)

We will receive our heavenly “reward” based on our results. 

As we come to the final chapter of the Magnificent Obsession, please take some prayerful time to consider your life, your passions, your pursuits, your purpose and where they are currently taking you. Is your life passing on the Magnificent Obsession? And who will pursue God because you do?

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