Heart Wide Open (Table Talk Tuesdays, Week 3/8)

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A Special Phone Tree Heart-to-Heart Discussion Series

Heart Wide Open – Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus: (A Quote from the Book): “No other book lives and breathes as the Bible does. Engage the Author and listen. Ask Him to let you hear His voice and feel His breath in its pages.” 18373194

Table Talk: The Word of God is alive! It speaks. It teaches. It inspires. It encourages. It admonishes. It directs. It answers. And still, it does more than that. When was the last time you spent time losing yourself or rather finding yourself in its truths and promises? Whenever you are at a loss or whenever you are in a gain, the Bible is the place where you are guaranteed to experience God anew.

Table Talk Discussion Questions:

1) Do you believe that the Word of God speaks?

2) Is it possible to have a conversation with the LORD through His Word? If so, what would this look like?

3) Do you, like David, meditate, contemplate, delight in, and pledge not to forget God’s word?

4) What excuse do you use or have you used to avoid spending time with God through His word?

5) Have you sought God in prayer about your attitude toward Scripture? (This includes, but is not limited to, your attitude regarding Scripture reading, meditation and reflection, memorization, comprehension, and application.)

6) Have you ever noticed that the more time you spend in the Word, the more time you want to spend with the Word?

7) What was the last thing you heard from the Word of God and what impact did it have on your life and/or life circumstance?

Prayer: Father, forgive us. Forgive us for forgetting how important it is to spend time with You through Your word. Forgive us for forgetting to connect with You through prayer.  Forgive us for not believing, in part or in whole, that You speak even in today’s day and age. Help us to have a heart for You like David did, like Peter did, like Paul did. Scratch that, help us to have a heart for You like Jesus did. In the name of the Beloved Son and Savior of all, Jesus. Amen.

To Read an Excerpt From This Book and To Order Your Copy: Heart Wide Open – Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength (PTBS – 7)

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A Phone Tree Bible Study Series

Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength. 2cb702be-dafa-4d5e-923f-df23c7f1b270

Week 7: No Other Gods

Summary: What do the words, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” mean? Clearly, they mean that there should be no other little “g” gods in our lives. We should esteem the God of heaven and Him only should we worship. In truth, these words should guide every action, decision, and/or thought that we have. They tell us so much about God and about what He desires of us. He wants us to understand that we should have no other images, likenesses, or idols before Him…period. There is nothing else and there is no one else who can be the strength, courage, might, direction, provision, or power that we need in order to endure and/or to overcome.

From Priscilla to Us:

“It’s much easier to exchange this severe term idol for lighter, less harsh terms that are easier on the ears and less convicting to the heart. We call them bad habits, issues, obsessions, cravings. Carefully, craftily, we steer clear of saying idol just as Israel’s leaders navigated around the word melek. But, honestly, we aren’t fooling anyone any more than Israel did.”

This Week’s Assignment:

1) Describe the meaning of no other gods before Me in your own words. (After you have completed this, do an in-depth study on the Scripture reference.)

2) Answer the following questions:

- What do you tend to worship? (In other words, what or who do you tend to revere, praise, honor, celebrate, and/or give a place of importance?)

- “Do you find it difficult to use the word idol in relation to anything in your life? If so, why?” (Page 153)

- If you have been guilty of giving little “g” gods a prominent place in your life, have you confessed it to God /prayed about it to the LORD?

3) Read the remainder of your member book. Log your discoveries and write down any other aha lessons that you have come across.

4) Go back and revisit your notes and reflections from this entire study. After you deeply meditate on what you have learned, end (or rather begin anew) with the LORD. Appreciate that He is your personal bravery, your needed courage, your absolute strength, and your God Almighty. Understand that He is your salvation.


Blessings and thank you for participating in and supporting this very special Bible study series. I pray that your life has been changed for the good through it. If you have learned nothing else, please know this – the God of heaven loves you and knows you. He is mindful of what you are dealing with. He knows of your struggles and your weaknesses. He gets it. More than that, He, as your strength, has given you of His power, grace and love and He supports and fully provides for your deliverance through Jesus Christ our Savior.


The Truth About Your Poison of Choice

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a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health.
something harmful or pernicious, as to happiness or well-being…” – Dictionary.com

They say confession is good for the soul. I certainly agree with that. So, here it goes…

In the last few days, I have been tempted, enticed and ultimately led down a path directed straight toward a personal poison.

As hard as I tried to turn away from the decadent delight, the more it kept calling out to me. It lured me into its yummy goodness by charming me and by showing me its beauty. One taste and I was a goner.

Even though I knew deep down that there was nothing I would really gain from consuming the poison, I still did it. It was like I could not resist. Like I had no will power.

The first bite I took led me to another, then another, until I had partaken of almost a dozen (gulp) of the cookies that shall not be named.

Yes, I did that. I am guilty! Guilty of giving in to the urge. And with that guilt, I can tell you that I experienced a number of feelings and had a multitude of thoughts. These feelings and thoughts caused me to begin thinking about sin, about our personal poisons of choice, and about how we tend to react or respond to them. I can tell you it certainly gave me a whole new perspective on deliverance.

The Truth About Your Poison of Choice:

1) Looks can be deceiving. Just because your poison looks good or seems good does not mean that it is good.

2) One momentary taste of your pleasure poison can and/or will steer you toward a course for “more.” The hunger will build until the more you seek of it, the more you will realize that you cannot be satisfied.

3) What goes in – to your mind, body, heart, life –  will influence what comes out.

4) Your poison of choice offers only false promises. There is no benefit. There is no positive gain. It cannot and never will lead to health or wellness, healing or wholeness, life or vitality.

5) To truly be freed from your poison of choice, you MUST give it over to God…FOR REAL. Stop trying to think that you can handle exposure to the poison by yourself. And once He shows you the true nature of the poison and how it means you harm, heed His warning.

Now I know that I’ve taken a rather playful approach with a very serious matter, but I want to be clear nonetheless. Personal poisons of choice, whether they be gluttony regarding the consumption of sweet treats, sex outside of marriage, deceptive actions, evil thoughts directed toward someone else, or anything that goes against God, are harmful. They can destroy your life and impair your health, physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Beware and be warned!

I can affirm that walking away, turning away, running away or getting away from a poison is hard, but you do not have to do it alone. God can help you. Actually, He already has helped you by way of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is seek Him out. Confess to Him. Tell Him of your poison or poisons. Tell Him about your struggles. Repent. Learn the lesson and move on. And if it comes to severing the tie between yourself and that poison of choice, remember that it can be done, not by your strength (because that will never be enough) but by His (which is always perfectly sufficient and grace-filled).

Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 10:13

Heart Wide Open (Table Talk Tuesdays, Week 2/8)

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A Special Phone Tree Heart-to-Heart Discussion Series 

Heart Wide Open – Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus: (A Quote from the Book): “…how discomfiting it feels when we wish we were bold enough to follow Jesus wherever He might lead, but we don’t know where to start. Worse still, we can’t seem to loosen our iron grasp on what we think we want out of this life long enough to discover the one He has planned for us. We want Him to conform to our limited ideas of who He is because we’re scared of letting Him be I AM. Afraid to explore the siren call of Jesus Christ for fear of where He might take us, we choose the default option of attending church to please Him and living our lives to please us.

The reality is that God rarely reveals the details of where He is going and what He is doing. He simply discloses the intimacies of His own glorious nature to the one who seeks Him, and these glimpses of glory will make the most cowardly lion lose interest in the itinerary and chase after the shining light of His presence. This wild and untamed Jesus we’re after is both alluring and potentially dangerous. He will ruin you for anything else this world has to offer. However, it is a sweet ‘ruination,’ because the weaker the hold temporal things have on us, the freer we are to lose ourselves in the One who placed eternity in our hearts.” 18373194

Table Talk: Following Jesus Christ requires courage. It requires the kind of fearless courage and dedicated bravery that Jesus Himself exhibited. But the truth of the matter is that in real-time, our bravery often takes on a carnal nature whereby we fluctuate, shift, and falter when it comes to the faith we profess. In such a state, we find ourselves too afraid to believe in all that the I AM is. We also find ourselves too afraid to believe that He has an abundant life plan meant just for us.

Table Talk Discussion Questions:

1) Why do you believe Jesus Christ was as fearless and courageous as He was?

2) What will it take for you to overcome your fear and to boldly seek true intimacy with the LORD?

3) In what ways do you or have you limited God from being God over and in your life?

4) What do you think a life surrendered to God really looks like?

5) Can you define what blind faith is in functional terms?

6) Has God provided you with the resources that you need to overcome your fears and to live an abundant life? Discuss.

7) Is it possible to be truly effective for the kingdom if you are intimidated by fear?

Prayer: Father, please help us to move beyond our fears. Help us to no longer be intimidated by others or by the “perfect versions” of who we think we are meant to be. Show us what it means to belong to You. Enable us to grasp and hold onto who You are. Teach us to be who You have declared, and in doing so, build up our faith. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

To Read an Excerpt From This Book and To Order Your Copy: Heart Wide Open – Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength (PTBS – 6)

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A Phone Tree Bible Study Series

Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength. 2cb702be-dafa-4d5e-923f-df23c7f1b270

Week 6: Weary, Yet Pursuing

Summary: We get tired. We get weary. We get heavy. We get low. These are facts that come with living life. It happens. But just because we get tired, it does not mean that we are without the ability to move forward or to press onward. God grants us the ability to do so. He enables us to move in His strength and power toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus, our LORD.

From Priscilla to Us:

“We shouldn’t bear guilt when we feel fatigued. Admitting our depleted resources is not a cop out or a sign of faithlessness. It just means that we need refueling as we continue to move ahead.”

This Week’s Assignment:

1) Spend some time each day this week reciting Philippians 3:13-14. (Consider reading a different Bible translation per day.)

2) What do you typically do to refresh or refuel yourself spiritually, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally? When was the last time you sought refreshment/refueling?

3) Read the lesson material from Week 6 in your member book. (Week 6, Day 1 – No Other Gods – will be featured in next week’s post.)

4) Seek God earnestly right now in your present moment. Find Him and know Him. Connect with His heart. Let Him know what hinders you from drinking of His Living Water or eating of His Bread of Life. Allow Him to refresh and refuel you completely.


A Saturday Family Fun Read-Aloud Book Recommendation|The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers

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The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers by Mike Berenstain

About the Book:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”

Matthew 5:9

In this new Berenstain Bears 8×8 book, Blessed are the Peacemakers, Brother and Sister have a wide circle of friends at Bear Country School and they get along with pretty much everyone. But not all their friends get along with each other. Too Tall and his bullying gang, for instance, are often in conflict with Cousin Fred, Ferdy Factual, and their friends. So what happens when the cubs all need to work together on the annual school play? Brother and Sister have to decide whether they should “mind their own business” or get involved as peacemakers and try to calm the troubled waters.

My Review:
The Berenstain Bears books are worth their weight in gold! My family and I absolutely adore them. With rich, godly messages and relevant themes, they never cease to teach us.

Blessed are the Peacemakers has been a wonderful addition to our family library. In this installment, we got to see the wisdom of the Bible being applied in a pretty hostile situation. Brother and Sister Bear were the peacekeepers when their friends got caught up in name calling, fighting, and negativity. And when the whole town seemed to jump on the bandwagon, the peacemakers took the stage and taught a valuable lesson to any and every bear around.

I cannot say enough good things about The Berenstain Bears. I encourage you to give not only this book a try, but also all others in the series. You will be delighted.

Rating: 5/5
Recommend: Yes
Bookshelf Worthy: Yes

A complimentary copy of this title was provided by Zonderkidz via Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. The words I have expressed are my own. I was not expected to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday’s Faith Feature|Resonating Thoughts on I Want God by Lisa Whittle (5/5)

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A Word from Kim: I Want God - three words that should be recited daily. We should never forget this message. These are honest words. They are healing words. They are words that can direct our hearts to the path that was always meant for us. In truth, I believe in this message so much that I am desirous of blessing someone’s life with a copy of Lisa’s book. If you would like to see what wanting God is all about, please submit your name and a brief response as to why you want God on this post. One random winner will be selected on 9/26/14.

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