Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 4 of INS - Chapter 5 - Have Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach

"Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be."  Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

Generosity!  A wonderful thing God calls us to, an admirable goal to aspire to, but can we do it? 

YES!  Yes, I think we can all live a generous life once we understand what it means.  In chapter 5, Rachel walks us through Matthew 6 so that we can have a better understanding of the kind of generous life Jesus is asking us to live. 

Is it easy?  For most (including me), probably not.  This is not a chapter on stewardship or pledging or supporting the church.  This chapter speaks to our daily living; our trust in God's promises and our attitude.

As you read through the chapter try to see where you are, what attitude or actions do you identify with.  Is that where you want to be?  Do you have a "pure eye" or an "evil eye"?  Do you know someone that fits Jesus' definition of 'generous'?

Here's a suggested assignment for the week:

Monday (today):  Read Chapter 5, thinking about the questions above.  Come to and comment on what you've read.  Share a story or tell about a generous person you know.

Tuesday: Read 2 Corinthians 8 and answer questions 1-6.  This seems like a lot, but it's not :)

Wednesday: Read 2 Corinthians 9 and answer questions 7-9.

Thursday: Catch-up or go back to anything you feel you need to read again.  This is some major stuff that runs counter to what society reinforces; you may need to read it again :)  I know I do! 

Any day or every day:  Come to the blog and comment on what's going through your head about this chapter on Generosity!  I'd love to read what you are thinking about, struggling with or wondering.   How do you feel about the Kingdom Secret (pg 99)?

May your hearts and minds be open to what God has to reveal in His Word!

Your Partner in Ministry,

"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Proverbs 16:24

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 3 of INS - Chapter 4 "Keep a Heavenly Lawyer on Retainer"

"Don't say, "I will get even for this wrong."  Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.  Proverbs 20:22 (NLT)

Are you are just getting started with It's No Secret: Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know?  Welcome!  You are in for some great reading and juicy soul searching! 

If you thought Chapter 3 on serving with humility, turned the world's teachings upside down, Chapter 4 is going to knock your socks off!  Could there be something more 'difficult' than humility?  Yep!  Turning the other cheek when we feel we've been wronged.  Ouch!  And certainly not the thought that permeates our society.

I'm sure you can think of a few TV shows, movies, books, songs, even poems and ancient mythology (the Trojan wars) that are all about seeking revenge!  It seems to be part of our nature, our human nature.  But God calls us to something greater.

In chapter 4 Rachel helps us uncover the secret to handling conflicts Biblically! 

Here's a suggested assignment for the week:

Monday (today): Read chapter 4.  Come to the blog and share your "Ah-ha" moment or a favorite quote.

Tuesday: Answer question #1.  There is some reading to do, but stick with it.  It is a familiar and fantastic story!  And Rachel's questions help to take our understanding off the silver screen and into real life.

Wednesday: Answer questions 2, 3, and 4.

Thursday: Answer question #5, keeping in mind that "today" could refer to something that's been with you for some time.  Come to the blog and comment on the secret truth from page 90.  Hint: the sentence starts, "The secret truth is..."

Like no other time in human history, do words carry such immense and immediate power!  With instant messaging, texting, news media, the proliferation of TV, movies, and the Internet, words have become the most influential tools used by everyone!  Anyone who learns to speak and write can wield them for good or for harm.  God knew this and the Bible speaks volumes on it!  Rachel points out 2 passages in Matthew that speaks to the harm words can do.  There are several Proverbs that address it, too.  It seems it is a lesson that every generation must learn!

Your Partner in Ministry,

"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Encouragement for INS Chapter 3!

"But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble thermselves will be exalted."  Matther 23:12

How are you doing with Capter 3?  I must confess that I find myself with a knot in my stomach.  Humility and service just don't come naturally to me.  And it's not that I think I'm all that great at anything, but putting others first with humility...?!  It's a lesson that is slowly growing (like a tree, not a flower) in me.

When I read the scripture in questions 3, 4, and 5 I am reminded that, although I may not be a "mover and a shaker" in this world, I also feel I fall very far short of what Jesus is teaching here.  I want to be a good Christian, but oh please! I don't like reading these passages.  I don't want to serve humbly - I want to be important; that's how to get ahead, to feel loved and respected.  Servants are invisible, they get no credit... what kind of life is that?  Certainly not what we mortals crave!  Yet, it's what Jesus teaches.

Jesus turns the world upside down!  He is a revolutionary!  His teachings, contrary to wordly thought, resonate within the soul, stir something deep within and bring joy.  We were made in God's image, so we are always drawn to Him. 

If you are like me and want to close the Bible every time I read that I have to humbly serve, do not be discouraged!  Keep reading - let Jesus' words roll around in your brain, sink into your heart, and take root in your soul.  That's when the knot starts to form - as the seed of service and humility takes root and starts to grow.  It has to push out the worldly teachings of selfishness, recognition, and importance.  Yep, that will take some time and may be a little 'uncomfortable' (you know the kind of uncomfortable the dentist uses when he's drilling a cavity!) But it will be worth it!  God's promises are not empty and His rewards are amazing!

Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep meditating on the Word Keep trying.
God's word is here to lift us up, to remind us of His promises to us, and to encourage us.  Jesus was sent to teach us and to save us.  Keep striving to learn the lessons, because He has already bought our salvation.

Come to the blog ( and post how reading about humility and service has affected you this week!  Do you have a favorite passage or one that makes you a little (or a lot) uncomfortable?  Tell about a time you were blessed by serving.  I'd love to hear about it.!  And I'm sure your Yahweh Sisters would, too!

Your Partner in Ministry,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week 2 of INS - Chapter 3 "Kill Your Competition"

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."  Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

If you are just joining us, WELCOME! I'm so glad you are here. And don't worry, you are not behind!   There is plenty of time to read up to chapter 3 this week.

When I opened my book to chapter 3, I was shocked to see the title, "Kill Your Competition"!  Really, we're killing our competition in Bible study!?  I can understand defeating Satan, but...  And what can it possibly have to do with humility - isn't that the opposite of humility?

Well, read on dear friends!  This is one of my favorite chapters :)  Rachel, through her storytelling, the help of her favorite author, C.S. Lewis, and Scripture, explains the power and strength of true humility.  I've read this chapter twice, but feel I need to read it over and over for it to really take hold.  The concept seems to run in the opposite direction of what society deems powerful & strong.  Though, once you grasp humility, you'll start to see it all around you.  That's part of the secret!

Here's your assignment for this week:

Saturday & Sunday:  Grab your book, your Bible, a pen and your favorite beverage and read and do the study questions up to Chapter 3.  If you've finished the reading and questions, feel free to review, post a comment, or relax :)

Monday: Read Chapter 3

Tuesday: Answer questions 1 & 2.  Come to the blog and post about what you've read so far!

Wednesday: Answer questions 3, 4, & 5. 

Thursday: Catch up on anything you missed during the week or review your favorite parts of chapter 3!  Feel free to come to the blog and post about your questions and experiences for the week.

Have a wonderful week, dear friends.  I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Your Partner in Ministry,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 1 of It's No Secret - Ch 1 & 2 - RSVP & Retail Price

"You will see your teacher with your own eyes, and you will hear a voice say, "This is the way; turn around and walk here."  Isaiah 30:20b-21

It's almost here!  Our first Friday of It's No Secret!  It is a Happy New Year!

This post is just a quick reminder of your assignment for this week with a suggested time line, if you need it :)

Tuesday:  Read the Introduction to INS (pgs 17-23).

Wednesday: Read Chapter 1, "Always RSVP" and answer the questions at the end of the chapter.

Thursday: Read Chapter 2, "Know When to Pay Retail" and answer the questions.  If you don't have time to do all of the questions for chapter 2, focus on # 1, 3, 4, 6, & 7.

OR  Do the 32 pages of reading today (intro, ch 1 & ch 2), do chapter 1 questions on Wednesday and chapter 2 questions on Thursday.

Any Day: post on the blog a favorite quote or revelation you found during your reading.  This blog is like the knitting needles and you are the yarn: the blog is a tool to knit us together in love.  ("My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love."  Col 2:2a)

I am looking forward to reading your comments about the first week's assignment!  You are each on a unique journey and will find something that speaks to you!

Your Partner in Ministry,

Friday, January 4, 2013

Come closer, I've got a secret to tell you...

"My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by stong ties of love.  I want them to have full confidence because they have complete understanding of God's secret plan, which is Christ himself.  In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  ~ Colossians 2:2-3


Yes, I am shouting on my blog because I am SOOOO excited!!  It's like another Christmas - literally!  We just celebrated the birth of Christ.  Now we start on a journey to truly understand why He came.  He is "God's secret plan" and we are invited and encouraged to be a part of it.

If you started to read your book, the passage from Colossians should be familiar.  I love this passage for a number of reasons:
* I like to knit.  There's something about taking simple tools (a strand of yarn & 2 sticks) and making useful art with them.
* I love finding treasure, don't you?
* I enjoy secret surprises, which are secrets one keeps until the time is right for them to be revealed to everyone!
* I could use all the wisdom & knowledge I can get ;)

And this is only page 15!  I even love Rachel's dedication to her daughter.  I can relate: no matter how good my advice, my kids won't take it if it comes from me!

What do fake jewels, an RSVP to a party, and bargain shopping in Nassau have in common?  Each of them is a starting point for Rachel's amazing storytelling.   She has this ability to draw you in with very real situations and connect them to stories and scripture in the Bible. 

I very strongly encourage you to read this book with a pen!  Yep, this is one to mark up, underline, highlight, jot notes, etc.  And if there isn't enough room for your notes, observations, & answeres to the study questions at the end of each chapter, keep a journal.  I did all of these things the first time I read the book. Now I'm doing it again, but using a different colored pen!

After reading the Introduction, Chapter 1 & 2 and doing the study questions, share in the Comments one thing that was a revelation for you or your favorite thing about this week's assignment.  Of course, you can have more than one thing, but please, please, please share at least one with our group.

I can't wait to read your comments and talk with you about INS (It's No Secret)!!!! 

Have a wonderful week - only 6 more days until we meet again!  YEAH!!!

Your Partner in Ministry,


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth - so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore.  Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!" ~ Isaiah 65:17-18a 

Were you among those who thought, maybe just a little bit, that the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world as we know it - or maybe a change in the universe - back on Dec 21st?  Obviously, the 21st came and went, we celebrated the birth of Our Lord and, we are here to celebrate the dawning of 2013!  As many experts said, the Mayans weren't predicting the end of the world, it was simply an end of their cycle.  Regardless of how modern people interpreted their calendar, I find it remarkable that they were able to fathom a date so far into the future!  But looking to an unknown future is nothing new!

The prophet Isaiah told God's people about "new heavens and a new earth" about 681 B.C.  Peter referred to Isaiah's prophesy around A.D. 67 when he wrote to all believers, "But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God." 2 Peter 3:13  Again the new heaven and new earth is written about by the apostle John in approximately A.D. 95 when he said, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared."  ~ Revelation 21:1  Predicting a change in the universe has been in the hands of Christians for a very long time!  A new world has been promised by God and delivered in the birth of Jesus! 

The question for us in 2013 is how will we, as Christians, make our world look more like the 'new earth' of God's promise?  How will we positively impact our family, friends, faith family, community, the world at large, and the health of our planet? 

I rarely make resolutions, because I never keep them!  Even the old "I'm not making resolutions" resolution!  So, this year I've decided to strive to try to spend more time in the Word, especially "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."  ~ John 13:34.  I think if I can do this as much as I am able, then 2013 will become a New Earth!  And any other resolution that I would have made (spending more time with family, enjoying life more, becoming more healthy, improved financial attitude) will fall into place.

Do you have a resolution or plan for 2013?  Share your thoughts below in the Comments - I'd love to hear what you have planned for the new year!  Remember, if you are reading this in your e-mail, click on the Title to go to the website or type into your browser.

Wishing you a year filled with Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

Your Partner in Ministry,


P.S. We will begin with Chapters 1 & 2 of  It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen on Jan 11, 2013 at 9:15 am.