Imprecatory Psalms {Week 5}

Imprecatory psalms are prayer songs that exhibit an intense attitude of judgment toward the enemy. These prayers are the desperate cries of God’s people for vengeance against those who commit unspeakable atrocities against them and those places sacred to God.

Societies are growing more and more dangerous to Christians in many parts of the world. Beheadings, kidnappings of epic proportions, sacred sites being decimated and millions of people displaced from their homes are all becoming commonplace. This evil is sometimes occurring to individuals simply because they refuse to denounce Christ.   Many people express anxiety, agony and guilt over what the headlines are revealing of these atrocities on a daily basis. May we find God’s heart in our suffering and learn to entrust to Him the vengeance that is His alone.

Sin continues to be present today, and there are still enemies of the redemptive plan of God. God feels the same today toward rebellion as he did in David’s time. The Bible is not in conflict with itself over truths written in plain language in both Testaments—namely, the righteous will be rewarded, and the wicked shall be punished.

We will look at the following Psalms:

Psalm 35: A Cry of Distress
Psalm 69: A Cry of Distress
Psalm 6: Deliver Me
Psalm 12: Plea for help in evil times

Womens Equipping Fall 2017 Week 2_1 from The Well Community Church on Vimeo.

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Psalms of Waiting {Week 4}

I waited patiently for the Lordhe inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

I didn’t want to teach Psalms of waiting.  I was tired of waiting.  I was tired of waiting being my story.  I wanted Psalms of thanksgiving or praise, I wanted JOY! Yet over and over again, as I studied Psalms of waiting, one phrase kept coming up, kept repeating, an attribute of God so obvious in our times of waiting:

Steadfast love

We are able to remain steadfast in times of waiting by trusting in God’s steadfast love.

Watch this week’s teaching on how we are to wait patiently, wait humbly, and wait worshipfully here:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/234620462″>Womens Equipping Fall 2017 Week 4</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/twcc”>The Well Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Psalms of Lament {Week 3}

If you’re reading the words on this page, chances are you’ve experienced pain, loss, grief, disappointment, anxiety and confusion in this life. These moments can cause us to ask questions like:

Why me?
How will I survive?
What now?

The Psalmist encountered various trials and the words written in this Old Testament book give a voice to our deepest pain and questioning.

But, here’s the thing. The Psalms were written for worship. So these laments -these intensely vulnerable and honest heart cries – were spoken in an attitude of worship meant to lift high the name of the Sovereign God. Philippians 2:12 tell us to “work out our faith with fear and trembling.” These Psalms are examples of a follower of Christ pressing on in faith, straining towards the goal of Christlikeness, allowing the Lord to complete the good work that He began. And while he is putting words to the doubt in his heart, he does so with reverence and humility.

The finished work of Jesus is the answer to all of our brokenness and when life seems more than we can bear, we’ve got to have theology, an understanding of our God’s character revealed in His word and illustrated through the life of His son, that will hold up under trial. The Psalmist knows who God is but his heart still wrestles to believe in what he cannot see. Just like the Psalmist we can be honest with the Lord when it feels like all is lost.

Listen to this week’s message by Jessica Visser on Psalm 42:

Womens Equipping Fall 2017 Week 3 from The Well Community Church on Vimeo.

Adoption Update #1

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“How’s the adoption going?  Where are you at in the process?”

“Any news on a baby?”

“How long before you get your baby?”

I’ve heard these questions over and over the past few months and my answer consistently has been:

“We’re waiting.”

“Nope, still waiting.”

“Not sure, we’re still waiting.”

Waiting.  We were waiting for 6 weeks for DMV to mail one form to our agency so they could continue processing our paperwork.  We waited over 3 months for them to process the paperwork we turned in back in May.  Waiting and waiting to get a phone call that said, “we want to schedule your home study!”

Thankfully we got that phone call last week and our home study is scheduled for next Thursday 9/14!  I realized I haven’t shared much about the adoption process, where we’re at, and what’s next here on this blog.  So a little background:

  1.  In April we picked an agency for our adoption: Family Connections Christian Adoptions.
  2. In May we did our preliminary interview and paperwork.
  3. After the preliminary interview, they gave us a gigantic stack of paperwork where you pretty much write about every detail of your life.  I mean EVERY detail.  We also had to get physicals, STD tests, bloodwork (testing our cholesterol and other things!), meet with a therapist, turn in financial information, car insurance, and a million other things.  We turned all of that in the last week of May.
  4. In June, July, and August we waited.  Silence.  Nothing.  Waiting for the agency to process our paperwork.  Waiting to get assigned a social worker to get to our home study.
  5. Finally in September, our individual interviews were scheduled and home study is on the calendar!
  6. After home study, they approve us (should take about a month) and once we’re approved, we turn in our album to show to potential birth moms in hopes of being matched.

We are doing a “Domestic Infant Adoption”.  Different from foster-to-adopt in which parental rights have already been terminated, a domestic infant adoption is getting matched with a birth mom who has chosen life and will be looking for a family to parent her child.  We will, Lord willing, be matched with a mom making this incredibly difficult and courageous decision and walk with her the final weeks/months of her pregnancy until she hands over the baby to us, the forever family.

We learned that with unwanted pregnancies:

50% mothers will choose to parent

48-49% will choose abortion

1% will choose adoption

Only one percent choose adoption.  During our orientation, the director told us “African American males are the least desirable of all children.”

I’ll let that sink it.  That is a real statistic and a direct quote.  Even among Christians, African American males are less likely to be adopted.

Santino and I knew in that moment, that we wanted to carry our pro-life ethic all the way out and adopt an African American male.  We wanted this baby boy to know he is desired and wanted by us!

So friends, we are days away from our home study being complete.  A month or so away from being a approved.  After that, we will begin the search for our baby.  We will have our adoption profile ready to be shown to potential birth moms, in hopes of being matched.  We have no idea how long this will take.  It could be quick, it could take months.

We know we’re excited and eager to meet our baby!  So many have asked how you can help and how you can pray.

  1. Pray for our birth mom.  I think about her daily.  I wonder where she is?  How far along is she?  Is she safe?  Is she scared?  Does she know she’s pregnant yet?  Pray for her. Imagine the weight of having to make a decision like this, being handed a bunch of books of people you don’t know and having to decide which couple should raise your child.  Imagine the fear, imagine the pain, imagine the courage.  Pray for her.
  2. Pray our birth mom would be led to our agency!  And quick 😉
  3. Pray for us.  We are so excited!  We just want to hold our baby.  We can’t really see past much more than that right now.  Pray we have endurance and perseverance.  There is a lot of risk involved in this type of adoption (we could walk with a birth mom for months, give a lot of money, and she could change her mind the day she gives birth and we lose everything).  We are trying to be excited and hopeful, not walk in fear or worry, but be grounded and realistic at the same time.
  4. We are not actively fundraising.  Thankfully going back to Fresno Unified part time has provided for this adoption.  However, we know some of you feel called to give, called to partner with us and help bring our baby home.  So if you feel led to give, you can give 2 places:

City Without Orphans.  This agency helps so many local adoptive families in some way, and they have been an incredible source of encouragement and wisdom for us! Give here: City Without Orphans 

Danisi Adoption Fund.  We created an account at Adopt Together that goes directly to the cost of our adoption.  Again, we aren’t in need, but if you want to give, you can do so here: Danisi Adoption Fund

We have been so grateful to each of you asking, praying, and offering to help during this process.  I have a room full of baby items that some of you have already donated!  It really feels like an entire community is adopting this baby and we are so thankful.  I’ll keep posting updates and more of our story here, so check back soon.  Until then, pray Baby Danisi home!

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Psalms of Wisdom {Week 2}

Psalm 1

1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Are you actively seeking wisdom from God in your everyday life?  Or are you just trying to wing it?  Do you spend more time seeking advice from the world or from God’s Word?  Is your heart submissive to God’s wisdom revealed through His Word, or do you resist the parts of the Bible that you don’t like?  Would you rather just follow your heart?

 

Wisdom not only provides guidance to help us get to where we want to go, but it also makes the journey itself enjoyable!  It is an incredible gift that God gives to people who seek it.

In this message, Molly walks us through Psalm 1 and shows where true wisdom and true happiness is found.  You can watch here:

Womens Equipping Fall 2017 Week 2 from The Well Community Church on Vimeo.

“Happiness is never found in pursuit of itself, it’s a byproduct.  If you seek righteousness, you get both. If you seek happiness, you get neither.” -Tim Keller

Psalms Intro: Psalm 139 {Week 1}

Knowing God and being fully known, that is the goal of our study in Psalms.  This intro message opens the book of Psalms with a little background information and an overview for the book.  We’ll walk through Psalm 139 to know:

The God who is all knowing
The God who is all present
The God who is all creative and all seeing
The God who is all holy
The God who is intimate, merciful, and restorative

We must bring our whole selves to the table–our shame, our guilt, our pain, our hidden sin, our doubt, our fear, our anxiety, our brokenness, and our joy–to know God and be fully known.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/232762985″>Womens Equipping Fall 2017 Week 1</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/twcc”>The Well Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

 

James 5:7-20 {Week 10}

Patience in Suffering

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

As we wrap up James, we see his final call to us as believers to be:

  1.  Patient in suffering
  2. Prayerful in all circumstances
  3. Persistent with people

 

Watch this week’s video here:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/211532256″>Women's Equipping Week 10 Friday</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/twcc”>The Well Community Church</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>