Simple Truth: Eight Life-Giving Essentials for Women in Need

Sept. 21, 2013 Holly Elliff

Session Transcript

Holly Elliff: I want to welcome you here today. This is simple truth, and we're going to get to that in just a second. I just want to welcome you and give you some time to get these other gals in here, and then we'll get going.

My name is Holly Elliff, for those of you I don't know, which is a bunch of you. But I'm glad you're here today. Aren't you grateful for what the Lord has been saying in this conference?

Has the Lord been speaking to you this weekend? Somebody call out a word that God has spoken to you this weekend. What's something that He is just telling you to do?

He's had a very consistent message this weekend, hasn't He? And I love that, when the Lord just puts it all together, because then you're very aware that He is intentionally speaking to us. And that's a gift from Him.

Well, we're going to go to the Lord before we get started.

Father, I do thank You for Your presence in this place. I thank You for what You are already saying to our hearts. Father, I pray that You would just take the truth that You have already delivered and just plant it deeply in our hearts and our minds and our spirits.

I pray, Father, that we would be women who listen to You and do more than just listen. I pray that we would be women who are changed by You. And we ask You to do that.

I pray, Father, today that You would be our Teacher, that the words that come from my mouth are just tools that You use to implant truth in our hearts.

And, Father, we just acknowledge today that we want You to receive all the glory and the praise from anything that is happening here this weekend, and we're grateful to be in a place where we can come together and worship You.

And so we just ask You to bless this time, and we pray it all in Your name. Amen.

We're going to get started so we can get all the way through this, hopefully, before our time limit is up.

Let me just explain my life to you a little bit. I have been married for forty years to my high school sweetheart. We have eight children—can you throw that picture up there? This, believe it or not, is not the whole crew. We're missing . . . Becca—my daughter is here. How many are we missing?

Becca: In that picture?

Holly: Yes. We're missing Jacqueline, and who else? We're missing the newest daughter-in-law. That's not bad, just one. The couple on the left, that's my son David and his wife, Mary. They have been married a year, and their first baby is due today. So I have been asking the Lord for Monday and so far, we're in good shape. They are not happy about it, but I'm thrilled about it. (laughter) So it looks like I'm going to make it. They're in Dallas, so it looks like I'll be able to get home and get to them and be there when the baby comes, so that's a good thing.

So this is my crew. What I do about 95 percent of my time is this: I do the same stuff you do. My husband is a pastor, so I'm a pastor's wife as well. And I head up our women's ministry. So my normal life is very full and very busy, and I'm very grateful for that. I would not trade it. There are some moments when I wouldn't mind putting it on hold for a little bit, but I would not trade it for anything.

So today we're going to talk about a topic that Nancy actually assigned to me, which is a little unusual. Usually I go before the Lord and kind of see what He wants me to teach. This time Nancy called me and said, "I want you to do this."

And what she asked me to do was to do a session that kind of covered the main topics that I believe are essential when I meet with women who are struggling. She wanted to know kind of what I walk them through—what are the topics we try to cover. So hence the title—and we can go back to that title page—Simple Truths: Eight Life-Giving Essentials for Women in Need.

Now, all of us are in need, right? But because this was an assignment to me, I was really kind of uncomfortable about that, because my preference is to take God's Word and teach from the Word through my life and out. So this was a little different, to look at my life and say, "What do I usually do with women?"

So because of that, I'm giving a little disclaimer here. I am very, very aware as I teach and as I disciple women that in me, in my flesh, there dwells no good thing. It is all about Him. It is all about our Father. And so here's my disclaimer.

I cannot lead a life that can save anyone from sin. Only God can do that. Would you repeat that? Only God can do that.

I cannot generate conviction or change a human heart. Only. . .say it with me. . .Only God can do that.

I cannot speak enough words to convince any woman of truth. Only God can do that.

So there's my disclaimer that I'm giving to the Lord. So this is not about me. It's not about my ministry. This is about what God has put in His Word that He intends for us to lead women to.

I remember hearing Manley Beasley—anybody ever heard of Manley Beasley? He was a revivalist like in the seventies and eighties, a tremendous man of God. He spoke the truth, and he was a very truthful man. He was doing a meeting for us one time, and I remember hearing him preach. And then there was this woman who was terribly distraught, who wanted to speak with him and get some counsel.

And I led her up to the front, and I said, "Brother Manley, this gal"—I was a very young pastor's wife at that moment—"this gal would like to speak with you."

And Manley looked at her and said, "She doesn't need to talk to me."

I said, "What?"

And he said, "She doesn't need to talk to me. She needs to go get on her face and meet Jesus."

And I thought, Okay, that's a different approach. (laughter) But you know what? That's exactly what we need to do, right? We need to lead women to the point where they want to get on their face and meet Jesus.

And so, as I was thinking about Manley, I thought, with that understanding, we are called to do some things. We are called to disciple women until their life purpose is not based on the prevailing philosophy of this world. Let me read that again. We are called to disciple women until their life purpose is not based on the prevailing philosophy of this world.

We are called to encourage women to become students of God's Word so they desire to pursue biblical truth and live it out. Do I need to read that again? We are called to encourage women to become students of God's Word so they desire to pursue biblical truth and live it out. (This part's on your handout. You've just got to fill in one word, in case you're trying to write all that down.)

And we are called to shepherd women as they develop hearts that seek God in every season of their journey so that as singles, wives, mothers, or widows, their lifestyle can bring honor to Christ.

And so we are called to disciple women, to encourage women, and to shepherd women toward some very specific things.

Now, I can tell you that to define essential values for the Christian life here in sixty minutes or less is slightly overwhelming. When I started working on this, and I kind of nailed down the eight essential values that I wanted to touch on, I realized I had, like, an hour-long session on every one of those. And it honestly has maybe been the most strenuous preparation I have ever done trying to decide how to whittle those down so you could still understand what I was talking about but, in, like, six minutes. So it's been a little overwhelming.

Now the Webster's Dictionary published in 1828, which is one of my dear friends, defines the word "essential" as "necessary to the constitution or existence of a thing."

You might be familiar with maybe essential oils, where it's condensed down to the essential parts of that plant or whatever. I don't use them, but I'm sure they're good.

It's also interesting that the root of that word essential is essence. So when Scripture calls us a sweet-smelling sacrifice, or aroma, to the Lord, from essence we get perfume, we get the word scent, we get the word aroma. So when God says we are a sweet-smelling fragrance, or aroma, unto Him, what that means is that when that happens, we are experiencing the essence of Christ in and through our life.

We could spend eternity and never touch on all that that one truth means, but since we're still bound by the parameters of this world and our time schedule, we're going to just touch on these eight essentials. And we're going to talk about these things in first person. Even though we're trying to look at things that will help us shepherd other women, we're going to talk about them in first person. You know why? Because if it doesn't happen here, it can't happen there.

I am responsible before the Lord for words that come out of my mouth so that I am, in reality, what God says I am in this Book. Does that make sense? So we're going to talk about these things in first person so that they can become true in our lives as we disciple and encourage and shepherd other women.

So the first of those eight essentials is the posture assessment. Now I will explain what I mean by that in a minute, but two of our daughters moved this year and had to have house inspections. Actually, it was a really tense spring—it was intense. But one of the things they check for in those home inspections is that they look really carefully at the foundation of that home, because if there's a problem with the foundation, then all other processes stop. It's really critical for the foundation to be sound.

Just like those homes, our spiritual house can only have one foundation. We can't build or grow until that issue is sound. We must know that we know that we know that we are secure in our relationship with our Father. So when I say, "What is our posture?"—What is our position in relationship to God the Father? Are we secure in our salvation?

First Corinthians 3:11 says, "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Romans 10:9–10 says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." It's a witness of His salvation.

Verse 13 there says, "WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

Now every women in this room is in one of three postures today before the Lord. Either your foundation is secure and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are rightly related to your Father, that you have accepted what Christ has done on the cross, that He has come and taken up residence within you as the child of the King. And so you're secure in that. Your foundation is secure, and you are confident of your relationship with Him.

Or maybe you're here, and you really have never confessed Him as Lord. Maybe you've never recognized that you had a need for a Savior, you've never been reconciled to the Father through Christ who is the only way back to Him, the only door to salvation. So maybe today you've never done that—even in a room at a conference full of ministry leaders and pastors' wives and women who claim to be believers.

Or perhaps today you really don't know where you stand. Maybe you've walked an aisle or prayed a prayer. We talked about this at the meeting with the younger women last night. Maybe you've prayed a prayer, but you're not rock solid in the knowledge that your foundation is secure in Christ. Maybe there are lingering doubts about your relationship to the Father.

Let me encourage you today—if you're not absolutely sure about that initial foundational step of trusting Christ as your Savior, ask God to show you today, now, before this conference is over, what your heart condition really is. And can I encourage you to be courageous, because this is an eternal issue. This is not just, "Oh, I need to learn that or I need to do that." This is an issue that matters in eternity.

Three people I know and love died this week. This relationship matters. So if you have doubt in your heart about that, don't ignore it. Do not ignore it.

Romans 8:16 says, "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit." And that's what we're asking Him to do.

Do you know that He's anxious to do that for you? James 1 says, "One who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. . . . [He is] double-minded"—and what that means is he is torn in his beliefs, and so he's double-minded, and that makes him "unstable in all his ways" (vv. 6–8). Satan loves to keep us drowning in doubt, because we will be forever ineffective in standing and proclaiming the name of Jesus. So don't delay if there is doubt in your heart today.

Now, sometimes when we're dealing with other women, it's really tough to know where they stand biblically and what their relationship with Christ is, and there are some ways, some tools, we can use to help us discern that sometimes.

Sometimes I'll take Nancy's book Lies Women Believe, and I'll hand it to the gal, if I don't feel like we're solid on that. I'll hand it to her, and I'll ask her to take it home and read it and then call me. And when she comes back, I try to find out what her questions are from that book, where is she not in agreement with that book. And those help me realize maybe what her relationship is with the Father so that I can address that with her.

It can be as simple as using the old. . .you remember the three circles: body, soul, and spirit? And then asking somebody, "Where do you see your life? Do you feel like your spirit is alive to Christ? Why do you think that? Has Christ entered this hidden place, this God-shaped hole in your life where the Holy Spirit lives?" And see what her answer is to that.

As a last resort, work through Romans 1–5 with her, and it will answer any question probably about whether or not she is rightly related to the Father. But that's the first essential.

Our second essential is to cultivate eternal perspective. Now, the Lord may lead you to introduce these essential in totally a different sequence than I have them. The sequence, the list, is not sacred, but God Himself is. But there's nothing sacred about this list.

A.W. Tozer said, "God's sovereignty is the attribute by which He rules His entire creation. To be sovereign, God must be all-knowing, all-powerful, and absolutely free—free to do whatever He wills, anywhere at any time. He should be free to carry out His eternal purpose in every single detail without interference. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness, and He stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him."

Scripture assures us that we view the world very differently from the One who flung the stars into space, who gathers the winds, who holds mountains in His palms, who can give dust a name and a personality. We view our life very differently than the Lord does.

First Chronicles 29:11–12 says, "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. . . . thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all."

Psalm 115:3 says, "Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases."

In Isaiah 46:9–11, God says, "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me . . . 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure' . . . I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it."

Psalm 139 reminds us that God has been sovereign over our lives before we were even knit together in our mothers' wombs. Before we ever knew a single day, God knew us.

We know that He has plans for us that are for good and not for evil all the days of our life. And what that means is that the God who is the Creator of the universe is concerned about the events in my life. And that is astounding. Can anybody say, "Amen"?

My seventh grandchild, who's going to be named Caroline Joy, is due this weekend. Now, she has not seen daylight yet, but God already knows when she will take her first breath, and He also knows what day is ordained for her to take her last breath on earth. Scripture tells us that.

We think of life as linear—you know, we move from here to here to here to here, today, tomorrow, next month, next month, next . . . So we are very linear thinkers. But God does not think that way. And so God sees time in all of eternity, and He has known things for all of eternity before, and He will know things all of eternity after our little dot on the line. So He does not think like we think.

This weekend I was with a couple of my other grandkids, and they had gotten this little glass globe thing that was supposed to have these things in it called sea monkeys. It was just muddy-looking water with some little specs floating around, but on the side there were some little magnification bubbles. And so I'm looking through the little bubble trying to see if it helps. And you could kind of see these little gray things bobbing around the water. You still couldn't tell what they looked like or what. . .I don't know what they are, but they were in there.

But that little magnification gave clarity to something that I couldn't see without it. In the same way, God's Word gives clarity to issues that we don't understand so well because we are linear thinkers and God is a big thinker. And so His perspective is very, very different.

Understanding and embracing God's sovereignty enables perspective and eliminates confusion about who is really in charge. Scripture is full of examples of women who chose to accept God's sovereignty—women like Hannah, Jochebed, Mary the mother of Christ, Mary and Martha, the Samaritan woman at the well, Ruth, Esther—we could do a whole conference just on women in Scripture.

But you know what was unique about these women? They did not have the answers to their issues. What happened was God was leading, and they trusted Him, and they followed—even before they knew the answers.

When Jochebed put that baby in that basket and launched him out on the river, she released control of what would happen in her life.

When Mary said to the angel, "Be unto me as you have said," she released control of her life to her heavenly Father.

God promises to do the same thing He did for those women for any woman, regardless of her circumstances, who will trust Him and follow Him and grant Him sovereignty in her life.

Now, our third essential is getting grace. At the moment of salvation, all of the Holy Spirit we will ever need takes up residence in our human spirit and brings it to life. It brings a dead spirit to life because the Holy Spirit moves in and takes up residence there.

First Corinthians 3:16 declares that we are then a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells within us.

Romans 5 talks about God's grace in which we stand.

I love teaching on the gift of God's grace, because I could not do my life without it. Grace is the engine of our life in Christ. Understanding how God works by His grace is absolutely critical for us.

Now I want you to read a little summary or a little theology of grace with me. I don't know if you can see that from way back there, but I'll read it, too. It says this:

Grace is the gift of God's sovereign intervention in my life. His grace saves me through the immeasurable sacrifice of Christ and grants me access to my Father's throne. Through the humble application of God's grace, I am strengthened, enabled, empowered, and helped. Clothing myself in grace allows me to know peace only God can give as I encounter hurt or difficulty or hardship. As one who possesses this truth—and if we are believers, we are women who can possess this truth—as one who possesses this truth, God calls me to live as a conduit, a steward, and a transparent picture of His grace to every life I intersect in this world and for all of eternity.

Again, it's not just finite. It's not linear. It is eternal.

Hebrews 4:16: "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace." You know what? We don't even understand fully what that means. "Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

How we appropriate the grace of God makes a gigantic difference in our life. Let's look at this next slide because I just want us to talk through it for a minute.

If rather than going to God, understanding that He is going to cover me with His grace that enables me to live the Christian life, but if I am too busy to go to God, to listen to His Word, to obey Him, then what happens is I start living in self-sufficiency, living in my own strength, and what that means then is that I have no grace. I am living based on my ability to live the Christian life. How hard is it to live the Christian life in your own ability? Impossible; impossible.

And then what happens is, because I'm living in my own strength, I experience defeat. When I experience defeat then, I'm living in bondage. And what ultimately comes out of my life is that I become bitter at the Lord for the things He's allowing me to wrestle through even though He's already made provision; I'm just not using it. So I'm living in bondage, and bitterness works into my life. When that happens then, what happens to my heart? My heart gets hard to the things of God.

Some of us may have come here this weekend with a hard heart, and so maybe it took you the whole first day to get where you could really start hearing from the Lord. Our heart gets calloused.

I have callouses on my hand right here because I do things like take popcorn ceilings off my daughter's house. But anyway, so I have callouses on my hands right here—you can tell I'm not a manicure person—but those are there, and that skin gets thicker, and it's not as sensitive to touch. In the same way, our hearts get hard to the Lord so when He tries to touch us and speak to us and teach us, we don't hear or we will not hear.

And so what happens is—this is not just one circle that's flat. Think of it like a slinky. You know how on a slinky, if you've ever tried to get one untangled, you know how on a slinky it starts, and then every time you come around it's at a different level—right? And so it's spiraling down. This is like a slinky. This is not just a flat circle.

So when we come to the place where our heart is hard, and we just walk into more self-sufficiency, more time without grace, more experiencing defeat, bondage, bitterness, depression, and it's cyclical. And so it keeps spiraling down when we are moving away from God.

But I want you to look at this next slide. The opposite of that is what God intends for us to do and that is that God has already provided for us everything we need for life in godliness. He has provided grace for us to be able to breathe every day. So all we have to do is ask.

I cannot tell you how many moments I have said to the Lord, "Father, I cannot do this. Would You cover me with Your grace? Allow me to live from the inside out so the Spirit of God that dwells in me is calling the shots in my life." And so I just ask, and then I begin to apply God's grace to that circumstance. So it governs how I make decisions. It governs how I think. It governs my actions. And so God reminds me that I have grace to do that that will give me the power and the desire to accomplish His will.

And when I realize that God is enabling me to do something that I know I cannot do in my own strength, I become clothed in the peace of God. And so there is in me a very strong awareness that this is not about me. It is about who God wants to be in me and through me.

Some of you are dealing with really, really hard circumstances. We've been taking care of my mom who has Alzheimer's for eight years now, and I can tell you it's not what I would choose. It's a hard circumstance, but so many times when I am helping her, God meets me at the point of my need, and it is an instant reminder that God is present. When I'm chasing kids and it's been a crazy day, there are moments when, if you ask the Lord, He will give you exactly what you need, and you will find yourself clothed in peace, able to love your screaming children. And you know that it is a gift of God. It's a good gift.

And so we're clothed in peace, and what happens then, when we see this happening, is that it increases our faith. So the next time I get in a tight place, am I going to sit and ponder, Maybe I should ask God for grace? No. We're quicker, then, to ask.

And so just like that cyclical spiral, when we come back around, we know more about the grace of God in our life than we did before. We understand more about who Christ is. We understand more about the depth of His interaction with our life when we are in a tough place because we see God at work in our life. And so the essence of who Christ is becomes more evident in our life. And so when we come back around, as James 4:6 says, God gives grace to the humble, but He opposes the proud.

So these are two different ways to live, and how you choose to appropriate God's grace changes who you are even as a believing woman, and it makes a gigantic difference.

Well, let's move on. God is so confident about the power of His grace in our lives that He makes us some very bold promises.

Second Corinthians 9:8 says, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having"—listen to these words really—"that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed"—for everything your life touches. I'm going to read that again, girls, because that's a really big promise: "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed"—whether that's widowhood or being single or chasing kids or caring for elderly parents or dealing with health issues yourself. Whatever deeds God has put in your life, you will have an abundance for that.

A few chapters later in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul writes, "[God] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you' . . . therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my"—what?—"my weaknesses." Because what happens when I'm weak? I'm very aware how much I need God's grace. When I feel strong, I can do it in my own strength, and I will get what I produce in my own strength. But when I know I'm weak, and I run to the Father, then I get what He produces in my life.

Now, the fourth essential we want to look at is baggage handling. I'll explain that. Thursday night, my flight was cancelled. I didn't get here until about 12:30. I spent a lot of time in the airport, hauling my bags around because I didn't want to spend the $25. So I didn't check my bags because I thought I was going to walk right onto the plane and get off here and come to the hotel.

But I had two pull bags, and so I did okay until I hit the really steep escalators with a Starbucks in this hand and two pull bags and these escalators that went like straight down. And I was trying to figure out where to put the Starbucks to be able to get both my bags behind me on the escalator. I'm really grateful nobody was filming because it was. . .I made it, by the way, but it was interesting.

I stood at the top of the escalators and just stood there for a minute doing this, like, "Okay, how am I going to get. . .?" Anyway, I did make it, but I can tell you that hauling luggage around can be exhausting. Girls, some of us in this room are carrying weight that God never intended for us to carry, and when we do that, we're going to be exhausted. We're going to be tired.

When I encounter hurt or difficulty or trouble, I make one of two choices about what to do with it: I either harbor that hurt, internalize it, stuff it deep inside where I think it doesn't show—especially if you're in ministry, as we've talked about all weekend long—we try to stuff it where it doesn't show, and we put on our game face when we go to church.

Or I can allow the Lord to handle my baggage. Now what that means is I can pull out the suitcase of God's grace, and I can take all that crummy stuff—whether it's a church business meeting or an issue with your husband, whatever it is—I can take all that crummy stuff and I can pack it into this suitcase of grace. I said this one time, and a lady said, "Honey, I don't need a suitcase, I need a semi truck." (laughter)

But I can zip it up, and then I can haul that thing with me over to the foot of the cross, full of my hurt and my need and my anger and anything else I need to get rid of. I can haul it over there, packed in grace, leave that bag at the foot of the cross. And then what happens to me? I am free of that. It is no longer mine. It belongs to Him.

I can pull out the suitcase of God's grace and trusting His sovereignty in my life, I put the hurt or the difficulty or the need inside. Now, I am not talking about denial. I am not talking about stoically surviving and gritting your teeth. I'm not talking about that. It is choosing to yield my right to harbor or resolve that hurt on my own. God will let me hang on to it if I want to, but how foolish is that. Because I can hand it over and not have to carry it. I release my burden at the one place that will give me freedom from its weight.

Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will"—another promise—"He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."

First Peter 5:7, the same word again: "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." Now that word there, the word cast, is actually a wrestling term, and what it means is you pick that thing up, and you hold it over your head, and you twirl it around a few times—anybody watch, what is it, WWW, World Wrestling Federation. I don't know what it is . . . whatever that show is with the guys in the weird clothes.

Anyway, you pick up that thing, you twirl it around your head, and then you cast it, you toss it on the mat, you chuck it. It's an aggressive word. It's a physical word. It is a deliberate choice word that God gives us. It's an aggressive choice to yield the ring and allow God Himself to handle whatever that is that I'm twirling around above my head.

My daughter Becca is here, and she has a little girl named Truth, which is so fitting. But anyway, so Truth one time was at our house, and we were keeping them for a couple of days. And I don't know, she was maybe two years old, and she was pushing this doll stroller, but she needed her diaper changed. So my husband was in the room, and I was watching from across the house.

My husband was in the room, and he said, "Truth, you need to let go of the stroller and come here."

And she looked over at him and said, "No."

And then a few minutes later, he said it again. "Truth, you need to let go of the stroller and come over here."

And she looked at him and said, "No." And she just kept pushing.

And finally he said, "Truth, you need to come over here. We have to change your diaper."

And she looked at him, just like this, and she walked by him and said, "I will never let go." (laughter)

You know what? We laugh at that, but how many of us in this room have an issue where we are saying to the Lord, "No matter how much You teach me, I will never let go"? You hearing that? Okay. So don't make too much fun of Truth.

"I will never let go." If I choose not to release my hurt, then I will ignore God's offer of the availability of forgiveness, of release of that thing, and I will become bitter. I will become bitter.

Sometimes bitterness masquerades in our life. I've had moments in my life where if somebody had said to me, "Are you bitter?" I would have said, "Oh, no, I'm fine." But sometimes bitterness masquerades as fatigue, as depression, as callousness—you know you're tough—or even as numbness. And that's what happened to me. I just got numb to the things of God. I just got numb to it, and it was hard to hear His voice. But girls, we do not have to stay there.

Hebrews 12 says a root of bitterness will always spring up, it will always cause hurt, and it will defile many (see v. 15).

Hurting people always hurt others, and that is why we cannot stay there. If you're aware today that you're carrying things God didn't intend for you to carry, chuck it. Do it as soon as possible.

A practical way to release hurts is just to make a list. Maybe you've been wounded by people. Just sit down with a legal pad. Start writing those names out on a list. Get to the bottom of the list. Go back, one by one, surrender those things to the Lord. Grant forgiveness if you need to do it. Release your grip on it. Circle names of people that you need to go back and make something right with. If you've wronged them, make it right Scripture says. But it's a practical way to deal with those issues.

The next essential is growing wisdom—growing in the sense of a garden, growing wisdom. Whatever you feed will grow. And sometimes even if you don't think you're feeding it, it will grow.

I pulled weeds in my front flowerbed the other day, and I actually took pictures of them and sent them to a gal that I'm counseling, who said to me, "I'm just really stuck. I think this thing just has roots that are so deep that God can't fix it."

And I took a picture of a weed that was about this tall. It was almost as tall as I am. And I thought, I will never get that out of the ground. But when I tugged on it, do you know what happened? The roots were really shallow. They were not deep at all.

There was another weed that looked very innocent, but when I started pulling on that weed, you know how long the root was? I took a picture of this one, too—mostly to show my husband who should have weeded the garden. (laughter) But anyway, I started pulling on it, and the root was about five and a half feet long. Now the weed was only about this tall, but the root just kept going and going and going.

Girls, there comes a point where we have to decide if we're going to trust the Lord with our life and let Him do His work.

Right now we have a three-month-old Snorkie puppy—not the one that was in that picture. We're supposed to keep our puppy on Puppy Chow for a full year to make sure that she eats well and has adequate growth. The problem is, she prefers to eat everything else in our house—shoes, furniture, clothing. It doesn't matter. She'd rather eat that.

She's busy—you know? But she's getting proper nourishment. Now as believers, our spirits need nourishment. We have to grow, make room for wisdom to grow in us. So we need proper nourishment, and that's why Scripture is so important.

Andrew Murray said, "It takes time to grow into Jesus the Vine." (I immediately thought of that six-foot long root, five and a half feet.) "To grow into Jesus the Vine, don't expect to abide in Him unless you give Him that time. Let us day by day set ourselves at His feet and meditate on His Word with an eye fixed on Him alone. Let us wait in quiet trust before Him"—we're not very good at that— "so that we can hear His voice, the still, small voice, mightier than the storm that rends the rocks so that He can breathe His Spirit within us as He speaks, 'Abide in Me.'"

Second Timothy 3:16–17 reminds us that all Scripture is God breathed—same word. All Scripture teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us. The end result of time in God's Word is that the woman who does this will become mature and be equipped for every good work.

D.L. Moody said the Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.

Girls, you can do 4,000 Bible studies and not have a changed life and not be growing wisdom. I taught Precepts for years, and I wish I had absorbed everything I had taught. We have to grow wisdom by releasing ourselves to the Lord so He can do the work within us.

You know how sometimes your tire has a slow leak and air is just kind of going out and it gets flatter and flatter? Sometimes our spiritual life has a slow leak, and some of us may be there today. Every woman has 168 hours every week. Have you ever said, "I just don't have time to get with the Lord?" Be honest. Have you ever said, "I just don't have time to get with the Lord?" Raise your hand—that's my mother voice coming out. (laughter)

Okay, you know what? One hundred and sixty-eight hours. Sometimes a good tool is just to do a little graph—get some crayons, write down the hours of the day, start coloring in. It's kind of fun, you know. Time at work; time at home; time teaching my kids; time doing church activities—all in different colors. Social media—another color.

And then you take a look at that chart. Time with the Lord. Which one do you think will be the smallest one on that chart? Out of 168 hours? You got it. So if we say we don't have time for the Lord, there's a priority issue in our life. We're not growing wisdom.

Prayer is developing an ongoing, two-way conversation with our heavenly Father. It can happen anytime, anywhere. You can pray yourself all the way to that car pool and back. When I'm taking care of my mom, I am praying constantly for other people, because it's such a sweet time to do that.

Susannah Wesley, who had a million children—I've only got eight. She had a bunch, but Susannah Wesley taught her children that when they walked in and she had her apron over her head, that they could not bother her. And so when they walked in, mom was in the kitchen with her apron thrown over her head, they left her alone because they knew that was her sanctuary, and she was meeting with the Lord.

Now I promise, if you go in your laundry room or someplace that requires work, your kids will leave you alone. (laughter) So I do a lot of praying in the kitchen or the laundry room.

In prayer, we learn to sense God's presence. We learn to receive instruction and encouragement from the one who loves me most, who loves me most because He's been loving me the longest. He's known me for a long time. He already knew I'd be at this point in my life. So He's known me for a long time.

In prayer, Ephesians 6:18 makes sense. We are to pray at all times in the Spirit and be on the alert with all perseverance for all the saints. Now you say, "You know what, I can't pray all the time. There's no way I can pray all the time."

But what happens is when it becomes customary for us to turn our thoughts toward the Father, we will find ourselves more and more praying all the time. You can pray while you are corralling children, finding shoes. I'll have to admit when I'm chasing the dog, I don't do much praying, but most of the time, while I'm doing other things, I can be praying.

I remember Manley Beasley that I referred to earlier, who was near death for many, many years. And at this point he was in a hospital, and a little dumpy lady in a weird dress wandered into his room and just started praying over him. You know who it was? Corrie ten Boom. And Manley said that Corrie would stand there and she'd say a couple of words to him, and then she'd turn around and say, "What, Lord? Yes, and by the way . . ."

And she would talk to Him, and she would talk to the Lord, and she would talk to Manley. And Manley said, "It was the most strange thing—it was a three-way conversation—but I never said a word." But what he said was there was such a sense of God's presence in the room that it was obvious that this was her life. This was her lifestyle.

Now most of us haven't spent time in a Nazi concentration camp, and so maybe we haven't been pressed to the point where we recognize that we need the Lord. But girls, we can develop that. We can grow in wisdom. Prayer needs to become the atmosphere of our life.

Now I want to talk about the next one here, and the title is daily balance. But, really, I'm going to let the Scripture talk. So if you have a Bible, turn to Matthew 6 with me.

Matthew 6—you just read that on your own, but let me tell you some key points. This chapter is Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray. He had to teach them to take baby steps—kind of like that movie What About Bob? You know—baby steps to the elevator, that kind of thing? If you haven't seen it, never mind.

But He had to teach them how to pray, to recognize their posture in Him, to understand the kingdom, that they had a dual citizenship now between earth and heaven. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Because the Spirit of God lives within us, so we have a dual citizenship now. And so when we say, "God's will be done," we want to know what that is. We want to ask the Father to do that.

He tells them to ask for daily bread. You know that word there really means all that is necessary. God will provide all that is necessary for every single day. I either believe that or I don't. And He will do that forever. He will do that forever in our life.

Our next essential here is walking by faith. A.W. Tozer said, "If we want rest for our hearts, we must repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence on seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness, and He stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him. Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, that is what God has prepared for those who love Him, who listen, who follow."

Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

Now girls, when we carry the name of Christ, which, if we're genuinely believers, we do. If we carry the name of Christ, how we live life really matters. We represent Him to a watching, post-Christian world. The girl that brought me here from the airport at 12:30 on Thursday night turned around to me—we'd been chatting for a little bit. She turned around to me, and she said this: "So what is it that Protestants really believe about who Jesus is?"

And for the next twenty-five minutes I had the privilege of sharing Christ with her. Her name is Anya. If you will pray for her. She's Romanian—a precious girl. And when we pulled up in front of the hotel, I asked her if I could pray over her, and she said yes. And we were both weeping. And she said, "I just want to know the truth, because I've always felt like there was something more."

So what we do when we bear the name of Christ matters.

Isaiah 26:3: "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You."

And then our last one here is to be battle ready. Now girls, I will tell you, we are engaged in battle, and if we fail to recognize the opposition by the enemy, we will be blindsided by his tactics. He uses the same agenda that he used in the garden to convince us that sin is not sin and that God is not good, because he is—what? A liar.

John calls him a murderer and says there is no truth in him. His nature is to lie, for he is a liar and the father of all lies.

But you know what, girls? We need wisdom to be able to recognize the onslaught of the enemy. We're probably not going to receive a visit from Satan himself, but he's got lots of buddies. And so we need to not take that lightly. The enemy uses people to oppose us. It may be fiery arrows of fear, doubt, anger, or hurt with which he hopes to accomplish his purpose—to oppose the work of Christ on this earth and in our lives

We need to be on alert. We need to avoid the enemy's snares and keep short accounts on sin. That's why Scripture says, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger."

Now we have just rushed through a little bit of theology here, jumping over the little fence posts, one at a time—not much—but girls, it's all here. It's all here. You don't have to learn this from me. You go to the Father, and you learn it from Him.

Let's pray.

Father, I do thank You that Your Word is true and that it is active and alive, and that You love to deposit it in Your children so that we can walk on this earth as living pictures of the essence of Christ. Would You grant us the privilege of being Your women in this generation? We ask for that in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.