Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

Full of new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

My Visit with Chip and Joanna Gaines last week

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“If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”

This past week I saw a new vision of this quote up close and personal through the lives of Chip and Joanna Gaines, America’s sweethearts of HGTV’s show, Fixer Upper. My sister, her daughter, and I visited the duo and their town, Waco, Texas - now a destination of more than a million people a year. Of course, tuning into the show we see the hard work and devotion they both pour into transforming a house in shambles to a home filled with beauty. The immense amount of time and love they have given their clients and community has ripple effects throughout Waco and even central Texas. They have leveraged their influence not for themselves but for their city and community. Chip and Joanna readily encourage any visitor to frequent the natural beauty of their city and other businesses in town.

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Dirt in the Silverware Drawer?

Momentarily confused, I wonder, “How in the world did dirt get in the silverware drawer?”  I wash, dry (…well, the dishwasher does), and replace the cutlery into the drawer.  The dirt is not in the plan.  I know you have wondered the same thing.  I’m not alone.  We are not talking about the crumbs that fall into the very edge of the drawer from the counter…that I get.  Deep in the dividers, it’s there…you see it.  How?  Add to this the missing socks.  I have wondered if the washer and dryer consume them.  Yes, we have dogs, one with a penchant for the smelly morsels.  Yet, when I am pretty sure I put two socks in…they both don’t always re-emerge.  After all these years, I’m just going to be thankful for the washer and dryer.  Imagining a whole day over a hot pot of boiling water, then wringing, hanging, ironing…I am completely willing to sacrifice a few woven gifts to the black holes.

Perhaps I could attribute these questionable instances to the fact that God has a sense of humor?  Think about His magnificent creation…the amazing creatures he brought into being – surely he enjoyed planning those intricate details…zebras, giraffes, sea cucumbers.  He does have a sense of humor.  He isn’t as corny as my earthly father…love you Dad; but…He loves us that much.  He is in EVERY detail of our lives.  That is hard to grasp in our finite minds, but the Word says it is true.  “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Mathew 10: 29-31It is time to own that if we haven’t already.  He truly does desire to be in every part and parcel of our lives.  He wants to share in our victories, triumphs, pain, and sorrow.  He wants to be the first one we think of when something amazing happens and we want to pick up the phone and tell someone (face it…some things need more than 140 characters).  When we hurt, he wants to be the one we turn to.  When we see the cutest smile on our child’s face, He wants us to say to Him, “Did you see that?”  1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray continually,” infers an on-going conversation.  Chat with Him!When something happens, who do you think of first?  This is not an admonishment…I’m only wishing to offer a suggestion.  The next time life makes you pause with a small detail…like dirt in the drawer, missing socks, a butterfly flitting right in front of you -   good or bad, funny or mundane, use that moment to think of Him.  You are not alone.  He loves you…you know?  He wants to be with you…always, in everything, and in every tiny moment.Beautiful blessings,RebeccaRebecca is a wife of nearly 20 years, a mother of two teen boys, a 120 pound Golden, and little bit of a Lhasa Poo. Years ago, God placed Rebecca into the role of Editor for an online magazine, nurtured a love of writing and photography, and then delivered her to NBS2GO at its inception. While her nose is always in a book, she tries to keep her eyes on Him.
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Love Your Neighbor As Yourself?

"Love your neighbor as yourself.". Yes, but how?What comes to mind when you read this verse?  (Mark 12:31) What does it look like to accomplish this!  What stirs within you when you hear Christ say this is the second greatest command?I often feel inadequate. Don't you?  Sometimes certain "neighbors" come to mind that I have a hard time loving. I think of circumstances where I have been misunderstood and have a strained relationship with a "neighbor."  Or a "neighbor" has said something or done something that has left me drained or wounded. These are all valid situations.  I am sure you have a list too!But what I would rather draw attention to with this verse is actually initiating love to all my neighbors.  How about focusing on trusting God to reach them with His message.  Love is active.  Love strives towards someone.  Love would rather be guilty of moving towards someone rather than being passive.   Yes!  Amen!  But how do we do this?Start with prayer.  Ask the Lord to give you a heart for your neighbors.  Pray for them by name when you know it.  Pray for their children.  Pray for their work.  Pray for God's protection and blessing in their lives.  Pray the Gospel would be heard in their houses. And then what?  _____________________________. You fill in the blank.  As you are praying,  my guess is that God will give you ideas to communicate His love to them. He will whisper to you to write a note to someone. He will purposefully have you run into another who needs encouragement.  He will want you to take cookies to a young family.  How about starting a neighborhood Bible study?   I still remember the peanut butter pie that we received 9 years ago when we moved in....and who brought it?....my godly, loving neighbor who reached out to us with Christ's love. And she is my co-leader in my neighborhood Bible study!Love takes action. How will you "love" your neighbor today?  How have you loved your neighbor?  Love, JoanTo subscribe to this blog, click here and enter your email on the right, then click “subscribe”   
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Blessed for my Faithfulness

Blessed For my Faithfulness

You may be asking…so why would I continue to lead a study if only one or two women are coming?  Isn’t that a waste of my time?  Good question!  After all, you are busy, right?  You could be doing other things.  You could be making a bigger impact somewhere else.  Maybe your church could use you to teach a class or organize a mission.  Maybe your pastor needs your advice on sermons or church discipline or what is going on in the children’s programs.  Maybe … well, you get the point.   So, why indeed would you continue to lead for only a few?May I suggest that your faithfulness with a few, may lead to God’s biggest blessings for you?  That is what happened to me…I began leading an evening study in my neighborhood.   We met in our clubhouse, around a small table, just the three of us!  Occasionally, there were four of us; once even five.  But, most weeks it was just us three: Betsy, Mary, and me.   And we studied and prayed together and loved each other through that season.  But, that wasn’t the big blessing; that was just the byproduct of being in the Word together.   The big blessing came later, when I could no longer meet in the evenings because of my children’s various sports schedules.I did not want to leave Betsy and Mary without an evening study to plug into, so I began looking for one for them!  (No, I didn’t tell them I was doing this.)  I found one in a nearby neighborhood, and in doing so, I met a woman who would later introduce me to the Pastor of an orphanage that I have come to adopt!  Yes, I have adopted an orphanage...  Crazy, right?   Well, not if you know our God.  He had told me years earlier that that was what I was to do—adopt an orphanage—which is another story for another day.  The point here is that if I had not continued to lead just the two, and had I not come to love them and feel obligated towards them, I would not have gone looking for another study in another neighborhood,  and I would not have met this particular woman at this particular time, and I would not have found my orphanage.   Of course, God could have hooked us up another way, but He chose to bless my faithfulness by leading me to them this way.   And, in leading me to them this way, I can rest in the assurance that this is God’s call and purpose for me, and that is the biggest blessing in the world!So, will He give you a whole orphanage full of children to love?  Probably not.  He has something else in store for you!  Maybe something bigger!  And, it may just be the Bible study group you have always dreamed about---one like mine, filled with wonderful, women who love the Lord and each other.   Because if you are faithful with a few, He will put you in charge of many.Lisa
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What is NBS2GO?

NBS2GO = Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO - nbs2go.com is simply the packaging of ideas, resources, and inspiration to equip believers to launch and multiply Bible study groups.


What's the big deal about a Bible study group?

Like a one-room schoolhouse, a Bible study group brings together a wide range of seekers and Christ-followers to study, discuss, and encourage one another toward life application of God’s Word. This blending of spiritual maturity levels creates a dynamic, life-transforming community. Friendships are formed, and group members are equipped to minister to others where they do life. Life transformation and multiplication!

NLT Scripture references on nbs2go.com and in publications, unless otherwise noted.

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