Thursday, April 16, 2009

An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell Bible Study Chapter 4 The Pressures On

Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

Are you just not loving this book? Of all chapters for me to feel pressured to get my post done, I choose the one with that title.
No doubt about it, life today is stressful! And with stress comes fear.
Well, isn't that the truth! When I turned on my computer the other morning, this is the headline that greeted me:

Boy, 5, rides NYC subway alone, unnoticed for 34 stops; has been reunited with mom

Can you imagine what his mom went through as her son ran from her while she was getting coffee, ducked under the turnstile, made his way onto the subway and was out of her sight for an hour? And in the Big Apple of all places? The poor woman, I'm sure she was just a little stressed out and filled with lots of fear.

Micca reminds us of God's promise in Psalm 23 that goodness and mercy will follow us through our lives.

I loved the story she shared of when she was unexpectedly given the Mother of the Year award after forgetting to pick her son up from school twice in one week . The week she would be bogged down by much guilt and feeling like a failure as a Mom, God gave her a pick me-up that said she was so opposite of how she felt. I had the privilege of hearing her tell that story last summer at She Speaks and she had us laughing and in tears. We also realized through her story how close our God pays attention to us. Sometimes God lifts us from discouragement of failure in the most unexpected ways.

I loved the next section titled Finding Balance in Contentment.
Sometimes the most merciful thing God can do is let us fall. For some reason, it's when we're down among the mess we've made that we can truly see our lives clearly.

I can really relate to what she said here: Balance comes when I lay my to-do list before God and allow Him to prioritize my life. My life doesn't belong to me as a Christian. I shouldn't be the one ordering my days. When I do, my life becomes unstable.

Turning the pages we learn that:

God is the only One who can truly satisfy us.
True satisfaction in its purest form is found in the wealth of who God is and the riches He graciously lavishes on us.

That when we become anxious we need to re-focus.
Naturally, anxiety is the result when we focus on anything other than God and His will for our lives.
And she teams up with Paul to reveal the marriage between thankfulness and contentment.
You don't have to like it, but if you will choose to thank God for His provisions regardless of your feelings toward them, you'll experience the same contentment Paul encountered.
Everything in this chapter just spoke to me.
I loved this next section she called God Has Gone Ahead of You.
Whether you are a mom of twin boys like my friend Lisa in Jackson Hole is or a single lady like many of my girlfriends are, our lives are filled with pressures. Our pressures may be very different from one another. Lisa is learning how to juggle not only one addition to her life, but two precious little ones, but I've never heard such happiness in her voice like I do now. Then there is our blogging buddy Paula who has been under the pressures of buying a home and selling one at the same time.
Different pressures, but both women are becoming closer to God and better because of them. Sometimes God allows us to become pressured---not to terrify us or cause us undue pain but to purify our character.
He uses the pressures in our lives to create in us a thing of rare beauty that everybody wants. When we allow the stress of life to purify our nature, we permit God to work for good and His glory.
Jumping over to page 75, Micca reminds us that the Lord..He is our Portion. He is all we need.
Whatever your circumstance, God is aware of your needs and ready and willing to provide.
Gene and I have banked at the same bank for over 10 years now. Recently there was a charge made on our debit bank card that we disputed. Never having done this before, I had to go into the bank and cancel the card I had while the bank fought on my behalf. The charges were reversed and then they ordered me a new card. While waiting in the bank to sign on the dotted line, the bank manager brought me over a piece of paper to sign so that I could transfer all of my points to my new card. I was clueless to what points she was even talking about. She explained to me that every time I use my card as credit that it racks up points and after accumulating 1,500 points, you can begin to redeem them for stuff. I signed it and thought nothing of it until I looked at the brochure they gave me.
Then I found out how many points I had.
Then I found out how many points Gene had on his card.
Then I remembered about another card I had before the one I had recently canceled.
Then I found out that I couldn't use those points because I never signed a paper to transfer over my points.
Points I never even knew existed.
Then I found out that my bank could override the Visa people and give me my lost points.
Then I found out that we could combine Gene's points and mine onto one card.
Then we got to choose a gift.
Then we received our redemption gift.
We ended up having over 25,000 points on our cards.
We cashed them in for a $400.00 gift card to Best Buy.
Points we never knew we had, but God did and He provided the knowledge of these points only a few weeks after our 10 year old fridge started making noises and leaking. Gene and I had discussed how we needed to get a new refrigerator and weeks later God provides most of the money for it.
I just have to let Micca repeat herself here...Whatever your circumstance, (broken fridge) God is aware of your needs and willing to provide (waiting to reveal the points on His timing). I can harldy wait to get our well needed, provided by God fridge.
I really felt in this chapter that I am not alone in feeling stressed and like I'm being torn apart by the needs my family has. I often feel the responsibility of caring for so many, and it drains me. I get worn out.
Then she talks about rest. The rest God wants us to get.
God's Goodness and Mercy lead us to "lie down in green pastures" in order to revive emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I am horrible at getting proper rest. I always been such a night person that going to bed at a decent time is incredibly hard for me, but I know when I do provide my body the rest it needs it is such a benefit for me and my loved ones. I'm just so much nicer.
I have a choice to make right now in my life. I can choose to allow myself to get completely overwhelmed with Gene's health and our teenage daughter being pregnant again. I can lose sleep from being fearful of the future OR I can choose to allow God to lead me in His direction.
I want to choose to be led. Led to rest. Led to trust. Led to believe. All I do is make messes when I try to do the job God never intended for me to do and that is be my own Shepherd.
There are going to be hardships that come our way and some are harder than others. Pressures are going to weigh us down, but if we allow the weight of them to take us to our knees then when God helps us up we are only better because of it.
The Pressure is On.
Poor health.
Rebellious Teens.
Not being content.
Know that whatever is going on in your life that God literally has your back.
Goodness and Mercy will follow us into every stressful situation.

Now, for my thoughts on the chapter 4 this week.
Oh, I so love this book! I am so thankful that God led me to do this incredible Bible study! Thank you once again Micca Campbell for listening to the Lord to write this book! Also, sweet Lelia for being the Hostess for this study! You are both Awesome!
This chapter is about The Pressures On. Boy, can I relate to this! Pressure's are all around me, in my world. As I wrote about last week, my teenage son has left home. He has also walked away from the Lord. That actually started first. He is presently in college so I am praying that he stays focused with that. But...if not, there is not anything I can do but pray! I am however, thankful that I raised my son up in the Lord!
Then, there is pressure with marriage, married son, school, etc, etc. Thank God for Goodness and Mercy! I so agree with what Micca said in the book, " Living under such stree is like living in constant terrorof an intruder lurking in the darkness just waiting to attack. The intruder can bear many names: fear, pressure, stress, worry, control, old age, sickness, anxiety, Satan-anything that haunts us." She goes on to say tha tGod has provided protection and provision when life presses in on us. God's bodyguards, Goodness and Mercy! Praise God! Goodness and Mercy are found in Psalm 23 The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in th ehouse of the Lord Forever. (NKJV)
Oh, dear followers, that so speaks to me! Our God is so good! There is nothing to fear that Our God cannot handle!
Be Blessed!

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