Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Way to Go Girls!

I have had so much fun reading all of your comments and answers to our questions this week! I think we are getting the hang of this online Bible Study/Fellowship! I don't know about you girls, but I like it!

I sent an email out earlier today saying that I wasn't going to post a study this week to give everyone a chance to catch up. Also, starting Monday we are switching gears a little. We will begin to look at our carnal nature and what God's Word has to say about that.

If you want to get a head start, you can cross reference some verses on "flesh", "carnal nature", "soul", etc. Remember, our subject is "Lord, Help Me I'm Human!"

I pray you have a wonderful rest of the week and that you seek His face, love His Word, and know His Truth!

love ya!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Have Children I Have Never Met!

Did you know that?! It has taken me a few years to figure out, but I realized this morning while we were getting ready for school that I have never met two or more of evidently my offspring.

I am a slow learner. Everytime I ask - "Who left this food here?" My children I know reply, "Not me!" Then I ask for someone to take out the trash and one of the three in this house I have met will say, "Someone else can do it!"

So, today it finally dawned on me that I have never met Not Me and Someone Else (when did I give birth to these kids???)

Not me is definitely the slob in our household and Someone else never does his/her chores.....

So - just wondering -
Whether you have kids or hubby or not- what is the most hated household chore in your house?
Who is the best cook?
What is your favorite household chore?

Can't wait to see your responses..... EVERYBODY!!!

love ya all!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Digging for Lost Treasure

2 Corinthians 4 - Study #3
Ok, girls! It is Bible Study day! As I have been praying and seeking God for His direction on this week's study, my mind has gone in a thousand different directions.

Yesterday we celebrated 60 years of our church's history. What an incredible day! There were pictures and displays of so many things that have taken place through the ministry of First Assembly.

This past week I have been on a quest for a certain picture taken around 1972 of at church camp. I had received the Best Camper runner-up award and had to stand there with the boy who received the same award. It is an old polaroid picture and not the greatest quality. When it was taken it was actually thrown in the trash to get a better picture. I confiscated the picture from the trash and kept it in my keepsake box as a little girl. It was forgotten, along with a lot of other little mementos, until I was 19 years old.

The summer that I was 19, I had returned home from my freshman year of Bible college in love and engaged. My whole heart belonged to Rusty Blann (and still does)! He had come to visit me before he was headed off to church camp as a kid's counselor. As our conversation turned to our years as campers, we discovered that we had both received the Best Camper runner-up award the same year.

I ran to my little girl treasure box and dug out the blurry Polaroid. I knew it was me, but was that Rusty? He didn't know, so he took the picture with him to Fordyce to ask his mother. She confirmed his identity.

So, in an instant, a discarded and forgotten photograph became a treasure. It was something that very few couples have- pictures taken of them together at a young age. It was transferred from my little girl treasure box to my "grown up" valuables!

Since I grew up in this church and my husband is now the Senior Pastor, I thought it would be rather nice to have that "treasured" photo in our timeline yesterday. So began my treasure search for the past week. Since my move, over a year ago, certain things are not where I thought they were, namely my treasured pictures.

I dug through boxes, albums, closets and drawers. The picture was no where to be found! What at first was a quest became an obsession! "Could it have been discarded? Could we have lost it in the move? How could I have been so careless with something that cannot be replaced?"

My house now looks like a disaster area. All of the boxes and albums and storage containers are in our family room. I didn't find the picture for the 60th Anniversary celebration. I told my husband how frustrated I was and that as soon as the celebration services were over and I had my nap, then my search would resume.

So, before I went to bed last night, I had the "treasure" in my hand! It had been in an overlooked envelope with pictures I had set a part at one time to put in a special album.

I told you the short version (ha!) of that story to hopefully give you even more insight into this chapter in 2 Corinthians.

Things I can relate from this story to God's Word:
  • I had a treasure that at first I didn't realize was a treasure.

  • Once I knew I possessed a treasure, I eventually was careless with it.

  • When I realized my treasure was misplaced, it became valuable again.

  • My treasure was hard to find because it was hidden inside a common envelope.

  • I searched and searched until I regained my treasure.

We established in the last two weeks that the treasure referred to in 2 Corinthians 4 is the gospel message that we carry around in our earthly bodies. With all of the above in mind, go back and read chapter 4 - again. You ladies are all treasures. I hope you each realize how special you are.

Let me take a little liberty and take the scripture a little out of context. Sometimes our lost treasure can be innocence, self-esteem, confidence, security, love, joy.... and I could go on and on.

So my questions for you this week are more personal.

1) How can you relate my story of looking for the picture to the spiritual or emotional side of your life?

2) Can you find other scriptures that relate to finding treasures that were lost? (Do a word search on any of the resources listed.

3) This one isn't a question but a request: memorize 2 Cor 4:7 - 10.

I would love to hear from ALL of you! Oh, if I can, I am posting my little picture on the side...

Love you all!


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Study #2 - 2 Corinthians 4

Our topic is "Lord, Help me, I'm Human", and as I look around my home tonight, I am thinking - I take the trophy for humanity this week. My house is an absolute wreck and I am not sure if my kids have clean socks and clothes for Monday morning of school. Where are their shoes and backpacks?????? (Does God keep up with that stuff??) - Just kidding- I know He does. I think He chooses not to reveal those things to us in order to teach us life management.

Any way, I have established that I am human and need all the help I can get! You girls like Rosie and Jennifer with those wonderful organizing personalities can just come organize my life anytime you want, meanwhile I'll be looking for my keys and matching socks !!!

Seriously, I have read and re-read again this amazing chapter of God's Word. I taught Sunday school class on it today, and I want to challenge each of you to go even deeper in studying this chapter this week.

Instead of going in chronological verse order, I am going to skip down to the last 3 verses of the chapter for this week.

Verses 16 - 18:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal".

If you were in my Sunday school class this morning you already have some of this, but here are some treasure for you to dig for:

1.) What does the word "fix" in verse 18 translate to in the original Greek?
2.) How can we fix our eyes on the unseen if it can't be seen?
3.) What is Paul talking about when he says "outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day"?
4.) What are some other verses that talk about being "renewed". (Use your study tool links I gave you.)
5.) Lastly, how do these verse apply to us today in our lives and in our society? What do they mean to you personally?

I loved your posts from last week. Keep them coming. Those of you who didn't post, that is okay - but just let us know you are there!

One more thing. Please pray for Renee Jumper's daughter Mandy. She broke her foot. That is not a "tragic" thing - but here's the clincher moms, Mandy just had her third child about 2 months ago. Her other two children are 3 and 18 months. Oh my goodness! Pray for her! Renee has the oldest two right now - (so pray for Renee and Kenny too) .

Remember, we are a community of believers! Hold each other up in prayer.

Tuesday is Women's Ministries night at our church at 6:30 I believe. By being a member of this Bible study, you are a WM. So, come on out and enjoy the fellowship! I can't be there because my child has a game- but I sure would love it if most of you could go!

You are all wonderful and I love you! Thanks for digging in God's Word for His treasure!!!

Seeking His Treasure,

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Barren Womb and Thankful Heart

My Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 4
As I have read and re-read this chapter over the last couple of days, I have gained so much more than what I expected.

Whenever I read a passage of scripture, I try to think and understand what was going on at the time it was written. It must have been trying times for the new believers. Paul was desperately wanting them not to lose their faith because of the trials.

This treasure he referred to is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We carry His gospel, His light in our frail, earthly bodies. We are nothing. He is everything. When we face trials, we have a choice to either moan and complain about it or ask God to receive glory however He sees best.

I talked about a bad day I had when I ran out of gas. How trivial and frivolous compared to our brothers and sisters in other countries being truly persecuted for their faith in Christ. We may not be in danger of execution for our faith in Christ, but I know we have hard times. But- we have Christ!

Verse 7 which I have zeroed in on says that God put His treasure, His light in us so that everyone can see that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us!

There is such rich stuff in this chapter. I pray in my heart of hearts that each of you store this deep in your spirit man. My first story was a silly day that happened to me because of my carelessness but I want to share with you some "dark" days in my life when I was in the midst of a spiritual battle.

The early morning light hit my face and began to shake the sleep from me. As my consciousness awakened, the sick feeling hit my stomach. It was morning which meant I had to get up and face the day. "Oh, God! Why didn't you let me die in the middle of the night? Now, I have to face my husband, and tell him - again - that I am not pregnant." It was as if a dark shroud hovered over me everywhere I went. This was how my days would start.

It wasn't just having a "barren womb". It was everything! The bills kept coming in and there wasn't enough money to even cover half of them. It was time to buy groceries. We would have to choose- car payment, utilities, or groceries. Then to make matters worse, we had received something from Uncle Sam saying what we had filed was incorrect and we owed way more than we thought.

I remember feeling like a robot. Going through the motions, but there was nothing inside of me. I loved my husband, loved my God and enjoyed being in the ministry - but there was so much turmoil it seemed in every aspect of my life.

I felt I was being punished for something, I didn't know what, since I couldn't have a baby. I was letting my husband down, who I knew would be the most awesome father in the whole wide world. I was a failure. God was mad at me and I didn't know what I had done.

I hated waking up in the mornings. I just wanted to die and go to heaven. I felt if that happened then everyone would be relieved of the burden I placed on them. My parents wouldn't have to worry about me. My friends wouldn't have to feel sorry for me and my husband could remarry and find a wife who could give him children. This was my thought life during that time in my life.

Everyday coming home from work I drove through a dangerous curve with a great big tree beside it. Everyday I "wished" something would happen and I would just miss the curve and hit the tree.

I felt as if my whole life was being squeezed on every side. I was totally perplexed and confused. I felt defeated and worthless. (4:8) But I knew God loved me. I knew that He had a plan for my life (Jer. 29:11). So, I had to change something.

I remember lying in bed one night thinking, "Something has to change." At that moment my attention was brought to Philippians 4:8 that I had learned and memorized as a Missionette.
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true; whatsoever things are honest; whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue; if there be any praise, think on these things."

I thought, "Well, instead of thinking on all of the negative things in my life I am going to think on the positive each night before I go to sleep." And that is when the dark shroud started to slowly lift. I began to thank God each night for my wonderful and godly husband, for my great godly parents and for God's love and mercy. Then I would quote Phil. 4:8 over and over and over again until I went to sleep because outside of my husband and family, there seemed to be nothing else true, honest, just, pure or lovely.

I began to notice that my days didn't seem so awful when my eyes first opened. I still looked at the tree as I passed it. But the desire to just curl up and die wasn't as strong.

So began my discipline of God centered thinking. In the next few months, God raised the bar on my "thinking". When it was evident once again that I was not with child, He asked me to thank Him for that.

"What?!! Thank you God that I am not pregnant?! Thank you that once again I have to go to another baby shower or sit through another baby dedication knowing that I am inferior to everyone else???!!!" God simply said, "Yes. Trust me."

So, after I knew that I was not pregnant, I laid across my bed. Tears burned my eyes and covered my pillow as I reluctantly whispered, "Thank you God that I am not pregnant. Even though you know my heart! I want a baby to hold and love and kiss, God!!! But thank you that you are God and you know what is best. I praise you regardless."

Again, the sun streamed across my face of the mornings. My consciousness was aroused and - here it was another day to face, not knowing how the bills would be paid, how would we buy groceries. But again and again, we lived through it. Not much changed on the outside like I wished, but on the inside the peace of God was gaining ground.

I still felt the dark shroud, but it not longer consumed me. It was about this time that I read for the first time Frank Peretti's book Piercing the Darkness. As I read the fiction book based on scriptural principles, I realized that Rusty and I had been in the very center of a spiritual battle. My praying began to change and so did my Bible Study habits.

My problems didn't instantly go away and I didn't get all my prayers answered instantaneously and bankruptcy still looked like the only sane option - BUT God was faithful. As we prayed and began thanking God, even in the brunt of the storm, our hearts were hearing His voice more and more.

It was years later before we climbed out of the financial cesspool we were in and a few months later God gave us Glenda! We had a child and were a family. The depression left as I learned to war against the enemy with the Sword of the Spirit and intercession.

One thing I know, God never left me. He heard every prayer, and felt every tear. He gave me the gift of inner strength and endurance when the enemy was trying to cloud my "spirit vision" with lies from the pit of hell. Once I began focusing my thoughts on the things God had for me, my spiritual eyes were able to discern the truth from the lies.

I guess that is why 2 Corinthians 4 is so special to me. I want to encourage each of you to "not lose heart". You may feel hard pressed on every side, but you are not crushed! You may feel perplexed, but you are not in despair! You may feel persecuted, but sister, you are not abandoned! You may feel struck down, but Oh, my! You are not destroyed!! Isn't that awesome!

The all-surpassing pwer is from God and not from us! Look at verses 17 and 18:
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Well, I said this blog wasn't going to be a devotional blog, but I hope something that I have written today challenges you to dig a little deeper in this chapter than you have already.

Next week we will take a look at a few more of the original Greek phrases in this verse.
Remember to post any prayer requests on Lauries on-line forum. The link is in the top left corner.

Also, post your thoughts or discussion questions in the comment section. I would love to hear from all of ya! It doesn't mean you have to give a full answer to all the questions. I don't want that to scare any of you away that have full schedules.

Here is an easy comment discussion:

  • Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like verse 8 was talking about you?
  • If so, how did you overcome that trial?

Post your answers to these questions in the comment section!

Love you all and am praying for you!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Lord, Help Me! I'm Human

Well, you girls voted and "Lord, Help Me! I'm Human" won on the Bible study topic. It's funny, because the day I set the poll options, I was having a gi-normous "human" day.

Have you ever felt so unspiritual and unChristlike that you thought you'll never make it to heaven? I have those days - often. Oh, the day will start out fine, but after a few minutes of life in the Blann home, I know it's going to be a doozy of a day. Let me share a particular day with you.

We had just moved to the area. It was fall, but not quite cold yet. One of my children had some type of sports practice in the Marion area and I was driving on the service road. Now, it may come as a surprise to some of you, but don't be too upset - I was running a little late. I had to choose when we got in the car, be on time or get gas. True to my personality, I chose to be on time (quit laughing!). I really do try. Plus, I did the mental math, 2 gallons and a few fumes would get me to Marion and then I would get gas before heading back home.

Here's where the really human part comes in. My mental math was correct. I made it there fine, my child was NOT late and life was good. Now understand that if one child is practicing, then the other two are with me. So, somehow a sibling disagreement broke out on our way to the neighborhood gas station. Being the "focused" parent that I am, I immediately set out to teach my children some great principle about life, love, and stop hitting your sister. The next thing I know, my wonderful car, that has been heaving itself on the last few fumes of gasoline, has given up the ghost. It is at that moment that I realize we did not stop at the little gas station a half mile back.

No problem. I have a cell phone and I have a wonderful husband. Meanwhile, my wise words of parental instruction have gone unheeded and World War ten thousand and fifty-two has erupted in the back seat. Ring Ring. Ring Ring. Ring Ring. Hmmmmm. There is no answer on my wonderful husband's phone - and then I am reminded that he was going to be in an area that did not have reception.

At this time, I see very bright, very vivid blue flashing lights in my rear view mirror, while I am looking at two very misbehaving children, who at the sight of the very bright flashing lights began to wail and scream. (Have you ever had a day like this? Well, put your seat belts on 'cause I "ain't" through.)

A nice over-sized gentleman walks to my vehicle and asks if there is a problem. I mumble that I have run out of gas. He asks me if he can call someone for me and I tell him I am getting in touch with my husband. He says that since it is getting dusk and visibility is not its best that he would keep his squad car behind mine to prevent a traffic hazard. I am thinking - "Traffic hazard!"

Not wanting to tie up the kind man's time with his very bright, very blue flashing lights that I am sure can be seen five states over, I call my parent's home, knowing a land line will surely get reception. My dad graciously said he would be right there.

In the mean time, the very kind man with the very bright and very blue flashing lights approaches my vehicle again. He was checking on some things- which I am sure he was probably trying to make sure I had not kidnapped the sweet, wonderful children in the back seat who are still making enough racket to disturb the fish in the Mississippi River. I get out of the car to tell him that I had reached my father who was on his way with precious gas. In my nervousness I began twisting my hair between my fingers.

No big deal. I talk. I get nervous. I twist my hair. Always have. Always will. It's not a bad habit, unless it is way past time to go to the salon and get your acrylic nails filled in. I mean, as in some of the nails are lifting off and you are just praying they don't pop off at some really bad time- like when you are stranded on the side of the road talking to someone who thinks you might have kidnapped your own children. Good news.... not one of my nails popped off. Bad news..... my hair got all tangled underneath one as I am twisting my hair. Worse, somehow or another it was my left hand on the right side of my head. Go ahead. Put your hand over there to try and figure out how on earth I did that. You figure it out and you can call me and tell me. Then we will both know.

Okay, let's review. I am stranded on the side of the road with no gas in my vehicle. My children are screaming. And I am standing there talking to an officer with my hand crossed over my head and can't move it. Try that and act sophisticated! I yank and I tug, all the while trying to act calm, cool, and collected. Yeah, right. Well, I finally yank hard enough and my hand gets free. I look at my newly acquired hand and you guessed. I am minus a nail or two. Where? Hanging out my blooming head!!!!!

Thankfully my dear old dad drives up at this time. Then my phone rings and my husband has seen where he has missed my last hundred calls and is worried sick about me. The kids now decide to go to sleep. I have gas in my car and can go home. But of course, now it is time to pick up the child that I dropped off.

Now, I shared that story with you - and without much exaggeration- to let you know we all have those days. Those days that make you think, "Why on earth did I even bother to get out of bed this morning?" Days that years later may be humorous but at the time are trying. I shared the physical events, but what wasn't so humorous was what was going on inside of me. I didn't feel like shouting, dancing, or singing "hallelujah". I just wanted everyone to go away and for Jesus to come "fix" everything - immediately.

But it didn't work like that. I had to live through the situation and go on with life.

For the next few weeks we will study 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Before you go to the reference material and study questions, please read chapter four through at least twice. Before you read, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word of God to you and show you what He wants to show you about this passage of scripture.

Our study questions and other material will be posted in a separate blog entry.

Bible Study #1 - Lord, Help Me, I'm Human!

Okay, so my story was a bit wacky and crazy, like my everyday life, but every bit true. That was a humorous way to explain how I feel inside sometimes. I am human and my life is not perfect. Crazy things happen. Sad things happen. Unfortunately even bad things happen. When we become Christians our troubles do not instantaneously disappear. But, we are given inner strength that we could never have imagined.

I think that is why 2 Corinthians 4 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. There have been some really trying times in my life and I felt like verses 8 and 9 - hard pressed from all directions, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. On the flip side, I was never crushed, totally in despair, nor abandoned or destroyed!

Now, remember, this is an INTERACTIVE Bible Study. I am going to list some questions below. There are not right and wrong answers. Each person will have a different response. Please, post your answers in the comment section.

Lord, I ask you now in Jesus' Name to speak to our hearts through Your Holy Spirit. May You illuminate the Word as we read and study. You know our trials, our heartaches, and our joys and victories. May we grow and learn something as we dig for the treasure in Your Word today. I ask also that each lady learns of the treasure You have placed inside of her. Amen.

Before we get started, I want to refer you to one more on line resource -
I actually like this link to the Greek Lexicon better that the others I mentioned earlier. It is not as user friendly in some ways, but it has a wealth of resources.

1.) What do you think is the ministry Paul is referring to in 4:1? (Read chapters 1 -3)
2.) Why would Paul say "we do not lose heart"?
3.) How many more times does he say that phrase in this chapter?
4.) What do you get out of verses 1 - 6? (Chapter 3 sheds more light on these verses.)
5.) What is the treasure he is referring to in verse 7?
6.) On the page, type in 2 Cor. 4:7 in the search bar. Under the reference you will see a string of links. Click the "Greek" link. On the side of that page you will see a search bar that says "Search this resource". Type in "Treasure". There are 6 words in the Greek New Testament for "treasure". Look at the meaning of each of these. Find the one for 2 Cor. 4:7. What does that meaning say to you in light of this chapter?
This is difficult. I have tried this 3 times and still have a hard time finding this spot. But this is a really neat insight into this verse. So, try doing this. . (We will save this address and use it again - just changing the word= part.)

Okay, I could put another gazillion questions, but I will stop. Please post your comments!!!!!
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

God find some Treasure!
Love ya all!