Monday, November 17, 2008


To not be a quitter - this is what I struggle with the most. If my job gets tedious, boring, or I feel like I'm working alone, I have the temptation to quit. When my husband and I fight - aren't seeing eye to eye on things - or we're having dull moments, I have the temptation to quit. When I'm not included in plans my friends are making, or if friendships get ugly, I have the temptation to quit. Bottom line, when things get hard, I have the temptation to quit.

Why? I'm not sure, maybe it's partly due to the way I'm chemically wired. Maybe it's due to the fact I like to take what seems to be easy way out. Maybe I'm too lazy or not disciplined enough. Whatever the reason - it's a daily fight.

I do not want to be a quitter, so I've had to find a way to fight off my temptation. I have found the key to not quitting, is knowing you have someone in your corner - cheering for you. I have a story to illustrate my point.

My husband and I go rock climbing together occasionally. He goes much more often than I do...mainly due to my fear of heights. But I go because I want to overcome my fear - I want to look it in the face and spit on it. Maybe that 's a little dramatic, but you get the point. I also like the opportunity for us to do things together, and I LOVE being outside.
Sometimes when I climb I get about 20 feet up the rock and I freak out. When I say I freak out, I mean I freeze. I can't move. I look down and I get freaked out. I can't climb any further and I'm ready to come down.
Usually once I'm at this point I stop and look down at my husband and tell him I'm done. I'm ready to quit. I've had my fill of climbing - I'm ready to take the easy way out - the safe way out. You see I know by quitting nothing bad will happen. I'll just be lowered on the rope and my feet will once again be on the ground. But my husband responds to my announcement, no your not.
He just told me I'm not done! After I clearly told him I was. I say it again, a little louder, just in case he didn't hear me. I'm done. I'm done climbing. I'm ready to come down.
Once again he tells me, no your not. Look up - you are almost to the top. I've got you - you're not going to fall. You can do this.
No, I'm done.
No look. Look to your right, there's a solid hold right there. Reach up with your right hand and grab hold of it. Use your feet to push up.
Nope. I'm done.
Look at the hold. You can do this.
Despite the fact that I'm really mad at this point, I look up see the hold. I tell myself, that one hold doesn't look so bad. I can do that one hold, but then I'm done. I move. I make it. I'm further up the cliff.
I announce again, I'm done.
No you're not he responds. Boy he really knows how to make me mad!
Look again. You're almost there. Look to your left. Look at your knee, there's a good spot for you to put your foot by your knee. Begrudgingly I make another move.
This continues for awhile, but he's patient with me. Eventually I make it up to the top. I did it! I beat the climb, and now the hardest part, I have to let go of the rock so i can be lowered down.
I make another announcement. I quit. I'm just going to stay up here. I don't think I can let go.
You can. Trust me. Trust the rope. Sit back and let go.
Nope, I'm done. I'm just going to stay up here.
You can't. you have to come down. Let go.
Eventually I muster enough courage to let go. He lowers me down and then celebrates with me for finishing the climb. I didn't so much spit in the face of fear, but at least I faced it.

It's harder to quit when you have someone in your corner who won't let you. It's worth taking risks to find friends that will be there to challenge you. It's also worth reading scripture everyday - to memorize it. This helps you remember that God is also in your corner - and if God if for you, who can be against you?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Hi ladies!
Wow, I cannot even believe that our time together is coming to a close! I sincerely hope that you have stuck with this life-changing study and allowed God to work in your life in a profound way!

This week is all about perseverance, or, as I like to call it, stick-to-it-tiveness! Tricky to spell, but fun to say ~ just try it! :) My blog post is Scripture-heavy because it is oh so important for this topic!

Hebrews 10: 32-39 NLT
32 Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. 35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
37 “For in just a little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 And my righteous ones will live by faith.
But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”
39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.

I am sure that few, if any of us, can say that we have been beaten for the cause of Christ but in our own daily struggles it can feel that way. Because of that we may be tempted to give up but the writer of Hebrews encourages us to "hang on" to our confidence in the Lord and to not displease the Lord by turning away.

This quote from John MacArthur is very pointed but clear ~ persevering is a sort of "the ball is in OUR court" type of thing: “God’s grace insures our persevering`but this does not make it any less our persevering.” Believers cannot acquire “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” unless they “press on toward the goal” (Phil 3:14). But as they “work out [their] salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), they find that “it is God who is at work in [them], both to will and work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Colossians 1:9-14 NIV
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

This Scripture from Colossians is something that I know I have prayed for those of you doing this study. I also encourage you to use it in your prayer time for yourself and those whom you know that are fighting the good fight of faith. But what is exciting is that Jesus Himself prayed for us that we might persevere!

John 17:9-21 NASB
9"(A)I ask on their behalf; (B)I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom (C)You have given Me; for (D)they are Yours;

10and (E)all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11"I am no longer in the world; and yet (F)they themselves are in the world, and (G)I come to You (H)Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name (I)which You have given Me, that (J)they may be one even as We are.

12"While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name (K)which You have given Me; and I guarded them and (L)not one of them perished but (M)the son of perdition, so that the (N)Scripture would be fulfilled.
The Disciples in the World
13"But now (O)I come to You; and (P)these things I speak in the world so that they may have My (Q)joy made full in themselves.

14"I have given them Your word; and (R)the world has hated them, because (S)they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15"I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from (T)the evil one.

16"(U)They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17"(V)Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

18"As (W)You sent Me into the world, (X)I also have sent them into the world.

19"For their sakes I (Y)sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be (Z)sanctified (AA)in truth.

20"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

21that they may all be one; (AB)even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, (AC)so that the world may believe that (AD)You sent Me.

Isn't that amazing? I don't know about you but it means something to me that Jesus foreknew the struggles we would have and the temptation to give up on God that would come as a result of those struggles and He has and does intercede on our behalf before the Father. I cherish the prayers of my sisters in Christ but am absolutely bowled over at the thought of my Saviour praying for me!

So, how do you persevere? How do you "stick-to-it"? Consider the following in pressing on with God:

1. Pray for determined purpose/tenacity by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit ~ Jesus is your lifeline to the Father and the Holy Spirit is your strength to hold on through the tough times, the dry times, the not-so-fun times. During some of my rough times of struggling with trusting God, I wanted to let go but knew that I had nothing to go back to. God was all I could ever have again that was worthwhile.

2. Dedicate yourself to time in the Word ~ become a student
Romans 15:4 NIV
4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Psalm 119:1-8 NLT
1 Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the LORD.
2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts.
3 They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in his paths.
4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your decrees.
Please don’t give up on me!

3. Cultivate your personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Saviour
a. DAILY ~ this will result in an actual relationship, not simply an acquaintance
b. Communication ~ both ways!!
c. discipline/correction/repentance ~ difficult but necessary and He disciplines those He loves
d. submission ~ When we have truly repented (sorrow and brokenness over our sin against God), then we will find that submission and obedience are desires of our hearts, not something that is loathsome to do.
e. obedience

4. Look up ~ Psalm 3:1-5 AMP
A Psalm of David. When he fled from Absalom his son.
1LORD, HOW they are increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.
2Many are saying of me, There is no help for him in God. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
3But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4With my voice I cry to the Lord, and He hears and answers me out of His holy hill. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
5I lay down and slept; I wakened again, for the Lord sustains me.

Praise God for that!

OK ladies! Here comes the time that I want to take a minute and discuss something. Kelly and I never want to assume that all of you have come to know Christ as your Saviour and Lord. It would be easy to assume that but it also would be wrong. The Bible even says that many will worship Him with their lips only but that their hearts would be far from Him (Matthew 15:8). This is not what we pray for you! We want you to examine yourself and see if you are truly a child of God. So how can you know? It is all about the heart: Is there a change in you? Do you hate all sin or is it secretly no big deal if you say a white lie or commit some other sin? Is your heart's desire to please God with your life or are you hoping that you are good enough to make it in to heaven? Do you compare yourself with someone else and secretly rate yourself as "not as bad as they are so I should be fine"? Does your heart twist inside you when you recognize that you've committed a sin or can you brush it off? The answers to these questions can give you a glimpse as to the condition of your heart. Salvation is much more than saying a prayer and then "you are in". Saying a prayer is part of it but is your heart in the prayer or are you saying it because you don't want to go to hell? Knowing ABOUT Jesus, His miracles, death and resurrection is not enough either. So what is true salvation? Instead of adding to the length of this post, I am providing a couple of good links that lays out what the Bible (the only true authority) says:
What is your response to God?
What is repentance?

I pray that you don't just gloss over this or skip it. Examine your heart. Follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This is too important. If you want to talk further about this, please contact me at
Praying for you!
Love in Him,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Giving As God Gives

This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. I John 3:16-18 (MSG).

“You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”
Amy Carmichael

What, when, how, or to whom we give is not really what matters. God looks at our hearts, our motives for giving. If we give to get, to impress, or to please others our motives are wrong. The world gives for all those reasons and many more. However, as God’s people we are to give as He gives. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

If we have Christ in us, we will love. And if we love as He loves, we will give. Not just of our finances or possessions. We will give of our time, our words of encouragement, and most of all, we will give the good news of salvation. We do not have to be wealthy or blessed with unlimited time. We just need to tune our hearts to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to reveal opportunities to give. We need to view interruptions as open doors for giving. We need to smile at people with whom we come into contact during our daily routine. We need to yield the right of way in rush hour traffic. When we see a need, we need to use whatever resources God has given us to help. And we will do it with love.

How about you? Have you checked your motives lately? Allow God’s Spirit to search your heart and convict you of any wrong motives you may have. Ask Him to fill your heart with His love so that it can spill out onto a world that so desperately needs it. He is faithful. He will hear an answer.

Father, forgive me for the times I have given out of my own needs. Forgive me for the times I have neglected to give. Open my eyes and heart and pour into me Your love so that it will overflow and touch the lives of those around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

© 2008 by Ginny Holcombe. All rights reserved.


The flip side this weeks takes us to one of the seven deadly sins, greed.

The first time I read through this chapter I did not necessarily agree with Shelly that greed was at the core of most all character flaws. I got all huffy and puffy, but then decided perhaps I should practice the character trait of humbleness and simmer down. So I processed greed. I came up with a short list of horrible things that have happened in the world. Then one by one I went through my list to see if greed was lurking in each particular event. I discovered that it was. Greed - why is it such a powerful driving force? Why is greed such an easy weapon for the enemy to use? Perhaps it's because there's no room for love in room to be about others.

Here's my list:
1. The Holocost
2. The Lost Boys of Sudan
3. The current economic situation in the U.S.

How do we fight greed? We fight greed through the characteristic generosity, loving others, looking at others and not ourselves.

One of the Children's Ministries in Lexington has a great idea this Christmas to combat greed. They are asking the children to give a toy, but not just any toy, their favorite toy. As that child hands in their toy, they are in return given a gift to be opened on Christmas. Inside is a note that will remind them, another child is opening your gift this morning. They will have the joy of playing with your favorite toy, and it may too become their favorite toy. Thank you for giving. Thank you for your generosity.

What a wonderful thing to teach children. What a wonderful thing to teach us all. Maybe this Christmas I should find my favorite sweater, purse, earrings, or pair of shoes and give them away. Maybe I should fight off the Christmas greed by giving away something near and dear to my heart. Perhaps that will help me to love someone I've never met. It will help me to think of others during a time when it's very easy to be about my traditions, rituals, and desires.

Any other takers?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


“Spiritual joy is: The settled conviction that God sovereignly controls the events of life for the believers’ good and His glory. Spiritual joy is not an attitude dependent on chance or circumstance. It is the deep and abiding confidence that regardless of one’s circumstances in life, all is well between the believer and the Lord. No matter what difficulty, pain, disappointment, failure, rejection, or other challenge one is facing, genuine joy remains because of that eternal well being established by God’s grace in salvation. Thus, Scripture makes it clear that the fullest, most lasting and satisfying joy is derived from a true relationship with God. It is not based on circumstances or chance, but is the gracious and permanent possession of every child of God.” John MacArthur

When I was at one of the lowest points of my life, God spoke to my heart and gave me the following poem.

Joy Is…

A complete certainty you are loved.
A bubbling brook in your soul.
A satisfied smile in your heart.
A permanent presence in your life.

Joy is not…

A practically perfect life.
A totally trouble free existence.
A lovely life of ease.
A conditionally controlled emotion.

Joy is…

A lavish love from the Father.
A perfect peace because of the Son.
A constant companion because of the Spirit.
A gracious gift from the Trinity.

Joy is Love.
Joy is Peace.
Joy is Life.
Joy is Jesus.

“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
John 15:11(NIV)

Whenever I find myself being bogged down by the drudgery of everyday life, I allow the words of this poem to remind me of the true joy I have as a child of God. I am reminded of the awesome privilege of spending each day in His presence doing what He calls me to do. What about you? Is your joy in the Lord? If not, I urge you to unwrap this precious jewel of joy.

“Father, thank You for blessing Your children with the gift of joy. Help each of us to accept this gift and to allow Your joy to color every aspect of our lives. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.

© 2004 by Ginny Holcombe. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Comparison Game

In day 2 of Chapter 6 Shelly lists things she's envious about. She even talks about Envy's favorite sport - the Comparison Game. While comparing can lead to self doubt, self-pity, and encouraging one to focus on their own life, I believe the comparison game can also lead you to a place of contentment. To explain, here are a few things I struggle with.

1. Our truck. We have an old 94 Ford Ranger. She's not the prettiest to look at, she smells horrible, and she's quite awkward to drive. I would love to trade her in for a newer model. I see lots of other cars that would be less frustrating to drive, why can't we have one? Clearly...struggling with contentment here.

2. I love gardens. I would love to have a beautifully landscaped area in front of our house. It would be great if we could get it all done in one weekend - just go out and buy everything at once. It would also be nice to have thick grass. Oh, I can definitely have yard envy sometimes.

3. Clothes. I do love clothes. I'm not obsessed with them, but I think it's fun to dress up - have a nice outfit on. Oh - and the perfect shoes to go with each outfit.

So how does the Comparison Game help with my envy? When I think about our Ford Ranger - I am reminded of how many people would just love to have a car to help them get around...especially if you live in a city that does not have a user friendly public transportation system. I am reminded that I should be thankful that we have a truck that works, that we can afford to buy gas, and that we have a truck that is completely paid money owed.

When I think of landscaping. I think of those that would love to have a yard. There are many that dream of having a yard, but for whatever reason, don't have one right now. And I could spend money we don't have to put flowers and bushes in our yard. I could spend money to add chemicals to make our grass thick and green. But then I compare how I want to spend the money God has in trusted me with. Maybe it might be better if I take time to gather bulbs, seeds, saplings over the months and years so I can use some of the other money to help those that need food. Hungry people don't care how thick or what shade of green their grass is.

Clothing. It doesn't take me long to snap out of this one. I have images in my mind from visiting Africa and Haiti that help me to be thankful for the clothes that I have. I have images of children running, playing - laughing even...they had no clothing what so ever. If someone can run, laugh, and play and they struggle to get the basic food, clothing, and shelter...maybe I need to recheck myself.

The one thing you must be careful of in this comparison game is to NOT think of yourself better than anyone else. You just need to realize your envy struggles, in the grand scheme of things, really don't matter. At least that's what it's come to for me. Let's just tell God what we ARE thankful for!

Ants in the Pants

Contentment is feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation.

Philippians 4:12 NIV

12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-9 (New International Version)

7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:

8 There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
"For whom am I toiling," he asked,
"and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?"
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!

Contentment is something that I have struggled with for about 5 years now. When I finally truly surrendered my life to the Lord, He planted a seed in my heart that gave me an acute sense of His purpose for my life, not a full revelation but a "knowing". Since then as I have matured in Him and grown closer to His heart, my restlessness has grown stronger. Restless is the best word I can use to describe the "ants in my pants" feeling that I get when I think about my future. It's kind of a "Come ON, let's get on with it!" feeling. Each birthday, I think "God, You know how old I am getting and I would like to be able to accomplish what You want me to before I come to live with You forever.....can we get to it, please?" My day job is a gift from God in that it provides a wonderful income and flexibility for my family's needs but it doesn't utilize the gifts, talents and interests God blessed me with. Because of this, I have had to fight loathing my daily life. I want to do something every day that has an eternal impact for the Lord. Then a few weeks ago, the Lord revealed to me that what I do indirectly helps people in that it allows people to live another day and have another chance to come to know God. That allowed me to relax and know that even if I am not yet doing what the Lord has planted in my heart to do, I am still having an impact for Him. Another revelation was that, with and since the birth of my son, I am living God's will for my life IN THIS SEASON. This is a huge revelation to me. I used to think that God's will was an ultimate and final destination but He showed me that it has different seasons and that while there is an ultimate purpose (something that He wants me to do for Him as an everyday job/ministry) that I can be content in the season He has me in now by knowing I am doing what He wants me to do in this season. For me, this season has me nurturing and training my son in the ways of God and preparing myself by studying God's Word and letting Him rebuild the shattered foundation of trust in Him.

I have to pray for a balance every day between contentment with where I am now and the passionate fire for eternal impact that burns in my heart. I only know that balance can be found in Him alone.

Philippians 4:12 (New Living Translation)

12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

Can you say that? Where does your discontent lie? What would it take for you to be contented? What if those things never happened? Some things to ponder this week.

Love in Him,