Friday, May 25, 2012

Sista Gatherings

I have been honored, privileged and abundantly blessed to lead Bible study gatherings for women for a few years now. We gather to meet with the LORD, to study His word, and of course, with to meet with each other. That's when His presence, love, joy and favor show up, too. It just happens. Since there's always so much of His love in our gatherings, the times are so sweet and the women connect.
Personally, my deal is that God gives me such a love for you sistas that I connect with who you are and, Dear One, if I call you my sista then you have blessed my life by being part of it. If you have ever attended any event: marketplace study, prayer group, neighborhood study, worship at church, women's conferences, commented on my books, or written on this blog or FB page, then you are my sista.
I explain in this brief video that when I call you my sista there is no requirement, no fee, no membership, no private club, no roll call, just a open invitation to join me in this journey along with a growing group of sistas who are hungry for God. Our gatherings are often hilarious in lighter moments, tearful during discussions of our joys and our pains, and sighs of relief when we talk about the grace and mercy of God.  When we are seeking God's face there's a whole lotta stretching goin' on as He reveals things about ourselves that makes us squirm. Ouch. "Me, Lord?" Oh yes, sistas have passion to pray. Yep. Sistas gotta pray. It is the LORD God who is our Security and our Source of Life and we call in His Name.
Yes, sistas sometimes stumble and struggle as we seek to live the lifestyle of following Jesus Christ described in 1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
And so, LORD willing, we continue to gather...for His glory...and our good!
Love & blessings,
Polly


Schedule of Gatherings
June 5 -- Polly's Summer Book Study begins ONLINE at this site. Visit here for my brief video introduction each week. (Please see blog post below for more information or go to: http://sites.google.com/site/mtzionwomensministry/summer-online-bible-study

June 7 -- The HOPE Center, Woodstock, GA (Devotional study with staff.)

June 16 -- Sunnyside Church of God Women's Ministry Meeting & Brunch,  10 a.m.-noon

August 7 -- Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Totally Devoted study begins, childcare available. http://sites.google.com/site/mtzionwomensministry/totally-devoted



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Polly's Summer 2012 Book Club Study

Hello, Sistas!
Since most of us are on a summer break from our regular Bible studies, I'd like to invite you to join me in a six-week book club kind of study -- on your own and online! The study material is "Living Free" by Beth Moore. It's a passionate study -- of course -- that dives deeply into the word of God and deeply into our hearts -- if we're willing to go there!
I personally went through this study several years ago on my own and used it as a personal prayer and devotional time to purge dross and spend very precious time with my Lord every day! I absolutely loved the experience. In fact, I was so blessed by this study that I am thrilled that I'm going to study this book again this summer! This time I am inviting you to join me.
The small, paperback book is power-packed with truths and insights. It can be purchased online @ amazon.com (among other sites) and @ Lifeway Christian Stores. The cost is about $10.

.

If you don't want to participate in this community, I still encourage you to get the book and either study on your own, or create your own study group this summer. You'll be glad you did! However, if you decide to join  this community to study together, I will be sharing six "conversations" with you on this blog --since it's a six week study and each weekday has lessons.
I would LOVE to meet you back at this blogspot once a week to hear how Beth Moore's gifted teaching --and the Spirit of God have blessed you and awakened you to new and wonderful insights about yourself and our Lord!
I am planning to post my first "facilitator" post the first Tuesday in of June and then for the next five Tuesdays after that. Every time I post comments or questions I am hoping you will respond so we can get an edifying dialogue going about the contents of this book and how God is using it in our lives! So please, I would love to hear your comments!
So for all you busy moms, you sistas on vacations, and those who have to crunch very tight schedules -- you are not limited by what time of day to study and prepare to participate! It's your schedule! Yay!
Oh, Sistas, let's keep on seeking God in every season! I pray you and your families will have a restful, joyful summer!
Love & blessings,
Polly


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Whose Agenda Has Filled Up Our Personal Calendar?

Women want to be free. Free of heavy burdens of bondage like:  struggling to measure up to the world's ever-changing standards instead of God's expectations, smothering guilt, lonliness, debilitating anxiety  and stress. Women want to be free to live fully, love passionately and laugh hilariously. But I believe most women are worn out because we  accept lies about ourselves and so we overcommit to keep from being judged. We want to please. Most women are flat worn out trying to keep up with hectic daily schedules. It seems to be the American Way.
On the other hand, let's face it, Sistas, sometimes the reason we're worn out is because we'll always find time to do what WE WANT to do but when it comes time to do something we SHOULD we say we don't have time. No? Hmmmmmm. Well, whose agenda has filled up our personal calendar: God's or our own? Do we ever say to ourselves, "Sorry, I'm just too busy!" or "Where did the time go?" or "How am I ever going to get everything done?"

(Please note: I am not talking about emergencies that sovereignly and abruptly change our daily schedules. I'm talking about the woman who has taken ownership of  the lie that she has to live and perform as  Super Mom and never allows herself to rest.  She's the Woman of Fear, who is a reluctant but faithful people pleaser and will not say, "No" even when she is fully aware God has already filled up her calendar with HIS will for her.)Why do we stockpile commitments like loads of dirty laundry? A bad Habit. Outside influences. Our own thoughts. I don't know.
Who really is the one fills in our personal calendars with lunch dates, coffee dates, trips to the mall, long phone conversations, extended music lessons, ball team commitments and practices, neighborhood committee meetings, club membership meetings, addictive hours of  those insulting reality shows on Cable TV, and even obessive hours spent on  social networking?
Who of us, Sistas, will  tune out all of the worldly TV comedy/dramas and tune into God and His word? Do we say, "Yes" to invitations and commitments when we really don't sense God putting it on our heart to do these things? Do you have people in your life who pull on you and strongly urge you to come and meet their needs? Are they impatient with their requests? Are they considering your situation at all or do they just demand that you come and do something for them?
Jesus often dealt with anxious people who needed healing, they begged Him to follow them somewhere, to heal them instantly and they actually pressed into Him in crowds. However the teachings in the Bible clearly show the world that:
1- Jesus was never in a hurry.
2-Jesus was never ruled or controlled by His circumstances.
3-Jesus was riveted to obeying the voice and instruction of His Heavenly Father, God. His obedience to God gave Him joy, peace, strength, love, power, supernatural knowledge and wisdom.
4-Jesus' agenda was God's agenda for Him. His social calendar and His personal calendar were filled up by God's will for Him. And because of that Jesus always had peace because He put His life, His time, His talents, His treasures in God's hands and followed Him.
Whoa. And Jesus, my precious Sistas, is our role model, our example of how to live an abundant life in Christ! We can read in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about the multitudes who followed the Savior and sort of pulled at Him to do something for them.
Do we only 'pencil in' a daily personal devotional time with our LORD so that if something else -- like a personal desire -- comes up we'll postpone our study and prayer time? Ooops. "Seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33). He does meet our needs when we are spiritually drawing from our heavenly Source of Supply.
To be quiet and be still (Psalm 46:10) is the secret that will clean out our cluttered calendars. We can pray and ask Him what are we supposed to do with our time? Then prayerfully wait for the answer. That's the only way we can hear Him -- to be still and listen with our hearts for His voice. That is how we can be free to live the abundant life God has for each one of us. Then the blessings of peace, joy and love begin to flow.
A beautiful portrayal of this is found in Luke 10:38-42. It's a familiar, brief  passage, and in my opinion it's piercing truth  about women's tendencies. Martha invited Jesus to come to her home. As most hostesses tend to do, she was scurrying about  and was "distracted by all the preparations that had to be made" (Luke 10:40). Distracted? Yes. Hmmm. She also seemed to be angry that her sister Mary who "sat at Jesus' feet listening to what he said" was not frantically helping her in the preparations. Instead, because Mary was resting herself at the feet of Jesus, she was very relaxed. Hmmm. Mary stopped what she was doing,  tuned into the words and presence of Jesus and she was peaceful. Time with her LORD was a priority on her calendar.
And Martha? Dear  Martha hastily asked Jesus, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10 :40).
Jesus, in total submission to His Father in heaven, said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42). Wow. That's true riches of joy, love, peace....freedom!



God has put a love in my heart for my Sistas. All of my Sistas everywhere! My heart is filled with gratitude to God for continuing to teach me how to make my personal calendar clutter free. It's a long journey but I'm slowly learning! That is to say, I have prayed and asked God to show me how to serve him wholeheartedly.
I pray and tell Him I want to be free and live that "abundant life" He promises His children (John 10:10).  Yes, I want to bring glory to God by living freely, loving passionately and laughing hilariously in this life and I want that for you, too. I really do. Which is why I share what's on my heart -- with you.
May GOD be glorified!
Love,
Polly