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Time to PAUSE

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Today, more than ever, we are faced with valid reasons to fear the future of both ourselves and our children.

Juggling responsibilities, along with increasing demands, leaves us anxious, overwhelmed and totally exhausted.

 

Maybe it’s time to PAUSE.

 

Pray for God’s will to be accomplished in your life.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Accept the peace of God.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalms 32:7

 

Understand that God is guiding you – yes, even when you feel it least.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

 

Seek strength from the Lord.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

Engage with God and others.

“If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  Romans 12:8

 

Blog by Rebecca Johnson, YadaFactor Participant

 

Are you a faith blogger, or interested in becoming one? We have volunteer opportunities for female and male “guest” bloggers. Bloggers write short articles sharing insights God reveals from their Yada journal and biblical truths to encourage our growing community in their faith journey. Contact us for more details. 

Member Spotlight: Rebecca Johnson

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As an early riser, who also loves to journal, I strongly connect with Psalm 119:147, which says, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.”  Reading my journal is much like riding a roller coaster with life’s ups and downs, fast starts and slow ends.  Even so, there is peace between the pages as I wait to hear the voice of God.

I first discovered YADA when I met Debbie Csutoros during her visit to my hometown, Asheville, NC.  To say I was intrigued was an understatement! Besides that, it gave me a reason to buy a new journal with clean pages and “fresh book” smell.   As I set off to write my thoughts, fears and desires, I had every hope that God would speak to me.  Speak, He did!  Through every stroke of the pen and every bowed head, I felt my relationship with my Savior grow stronger.

Four years later, I still cherish the early morning hours when I purposely PAUSE to make that special connection with God.

Real Power in the Pause

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Hunger to Pause

 

Pause to rest, pause to know, pause to feel, pause to grow. 

  Rest in the pause to know.

Know in the pause to feel.

Feel in the pause to grow.

Grow in the pause with Truth.

 

Truth is the key to rest, to know, to pause, to grow. 

Without the pause hunger remains.

Hunger to rest, hunger to know,

hunger to feel, hunger to grow.

 

 

Real Power in the Pause

 

Attempting to beat the rush I pulled into the Express Car Wash at 7:30 am. As I handed over the keys, I took a deep breath and searched for a spot to sit and pause for a few minutes. I needed my car clean for a funeral later that afternoon. I had two goals: wash the car and get to God’s Word. Joshua 17:7-18 was my next place in the Bible. From this text my journaled observations uncovered something vital.

 

God still has land promised for me. But to take possession of it I must stop and pause regularly to remember who He is, what He has done and that I too am part of His story. Stopping to pause produces divine power to believe God another day and trust Him to overcome my trials, knowing He fights for me. With His courage I can take possession of all He has promised and live in that land.

 

The people in these scriptures were a part of a long line of faithful fathers: Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. Now, Joshua was in charge, addressing the children of Joseph and their complaint. They thought they needed more land than what was being allocated. Joshua acknowledged them with a challenge to go and clear the hill country. Their response was faithless, “We can’t, it’s not enough and the Canaanites have iron chariots!” Immediately God began reminding me who these people were and their story with God. These children called Jacob, grandfather! Their father was Joseph, a leader of faith. He was sold by his brothers into slavery and ended up saving his family and nations from famine.  I thought, “Are you kidding me? They were afraid of iron chariots?” In the 15 minutes of waiting for my car to get cleaned, I was struck so deeply by the magnitude of these few verses and how these people were so afraid that they forget who they were!

 

Joshua had heard faithless words like this before and he knew their implications. He replied to these people in the faith he possessed. He believed for them and said, “You are numerous and very powerful, go clear the land to its furthest limits, it’s all yours.”  Sadly, they failed to do it; they did not take one step forward to receive what God had promised (Judges 1:27). After seeing all God had done in their lifetime, they believed a lie. They focused more on their enemy’s iron chariots than the God they followed. Doubt and fear robbed their future.

 

The next moment God whispered to me, “What about you, do you trust me to fight for you? Will you go take the land?”

I became aware of how easily I do the same thing.

 

Every day I have to fight to pause, remember, and believe God.  What has God already done?  Choose to believe it and trust him for my future. I can so easily forget when I choose not to pause. Like you, I’m busy, I have a job and a family. I have a wedding and a funeral. Like you, I know these are just excuses, but at times I believe they’re so valid and then I wonder why I’m discouraged or afraid or unhappy or I feel I have no purpose – poor me. I’m believing the enemy. I am looking at the iron chariots instead of the One who promised me good land, allotted it, and is just waiting for me to take it. Plus, He promises He will fight my enemies for me. What a deal. But this really is the REAL deal. God was actually blowing my mind at the car wash!

 

As I finish my journal entry it’s the day of my mother-in-law’s funeral. My kids are traveling home and their fights are delayed. There are big storms on the horizon and my car is dirty. I have learned the hard way that I have to battle to pause no matter how busy life gets. I have learned there is real power ignited in me when I prioritize the pause, even if it’s only for a moment. His word is power, fuel to fly in the Spirit that overcomes natural laws of sin and death. I needed to hear from God to remember again who He is, what He has done, and who I am in His story. He has promised land for me and for you. So, I took another deep breath, got up, headed to my car and thought with a giggle, “Wow, how do you do that Lord?”

Recent Testimonials

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We had a wonderful, fruitful semester in The YadaFactor Experience during our Winter 2021 Session. It was such a blessing to serve 24 women and men through the course.

Words used by participants to describe their Yada experience included: growing, calming, deepening, enlightening, stunning, refreshing, loud, exciting, fulfilling, sweet, encouraging, focusing, profound, convicting, conversation, praise, inspired, and anchor. 

Anonymous testimonies from participants this semester: 

  • It has been so good to get into the habit of seeing what God is saying to me through the Bible.
  • I love the structure and aspect of feedback – it takes away a lot of pressure.
  • The feedback from the group/triad helped me hear what I may not have heard. 
  • YADA provides a space of no judgement.
  • With pen in hand and a scripture before me, the Holy Spirit alerts me to what to process that day. I have been finding a lot of encouragement from the Lord in my YADA time in the past 2 months. 
  • I especially like the concept of reading a whole book of the bible as I YADA to more fully see God at work in the scripture rather than a topical scripture approach (in many Bible Studies). Yes, my desire to know God more has increased after YADA. I don’t want to miss what he wants me to hear every day. 
  • The whole experience has been inspirational. I could even hear God’s voice in what other people were sharing, even though it wasn’t about me. 
  • I have learned how to really look closer into my life and where I am as God speaks to me through His Word. 
  • I use the SOAP method in all studies of the Word. When I use my Bible app I am observing God in the scriptures and applying it to my daily life. I am enjoying God in so many ways now more than ever. 
  • The relationship of trust that is formed is precious and real. There is a uniting of purpose with like-minded people. 
  • I am more focused and intentional about spending that time with God. 

YadaFactor is a proven pathway to go deeper with God.  As believers, we have access to an array of Bible studies, workshops, sermons and conferences, but we lack guidance to process this wisdom personally.  Often we miss God’s still small voice.  We have discovered it’s in hearing His voice confidently that we are sustained and transformed.  It’s here God unlocks deep intimacy.

YadaFactor provides the guidance you have been longing for to grow and go deeper with God.

Questions? Contact us! 

Keeping Christmas

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Reclaiming Simple This Season

This holiday season YadaFactor invites you to join us in reclaiming simple. This encouraging email and video series has been developed to help you refocus and find joy in simplicity.

Keeping Christmas

Are you willing…

To forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you? To ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world? To put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground? To see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy? To own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life? To close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness? Are you willing to do these things even for a day?

Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing…

To stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children? To remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old? To stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough? To bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts? To try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you? To trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you? To make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open? Are you willing to do those things, even for a day?

Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing…

To believe that love is the strongest thing in the world, stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death – and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you can keep it for a day, why not always? But you can never keep it alone.

– Henry Van Dyke

 

Thank you for joining us to reclaim simple this season.

We wish you and your family a blessed and joyful Christmas!

We are so thankful for your friendship.

Keeping Christmas,

The YadaFactor Team

Whispering & Whistling

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Reclaiming Simple This Season

This holiday season YadaFactor invites you to join us in reclaiming simple. This encouraging email and video series has been developed to help you refocus and find joy in simplicity.

Official Conscience

Jiminy Cricket was first introduced in the 1940 Disney animated feature film, Pinocchio. He was appointed as Pinocchio’s official conscience by the Blue Fairy, in hopes that Jiminy can guide Pinocchio on his journey to become a real boy.

I dub you Pinocchio’s conscience, lord high keeper of the knowledge of right and wrong, counselor in moments of high temptation, and guide along the straight and narrow path. Arise, Sir Jiminy Cricket.” – The Blue Fairy

Stories like Pinocchio were commonplace just 60 years ago. Culture reminded us of right and wrong through movies, art, radio and tv shows.

In Pinocchio’s story, all he had to do was give a little whistle.

Bad news…

Those days are gone.

Good news…

We have someone more powerful than a cricket, we have Jesus!

He knows, hears, sees and loves eternally, despite human emotions. Jesus has the power to keep danger zones of conflict and temptation at bay.

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

– 1 Corinthians 10:13

A whispered prayer and a whistle of gratitude.

He will work on your behalf.

Whispering & Whistling,

Debbie

Are you listening? Really?

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Our lives today are filled with distractions! When we are distracted, we can’t listen well, because listening well requires focused attention. Since distractions can negatively impact the quality of our time spent with others, we must become more mindful of the things that distract us from being attentive and fully engaged. We must consider the importance of listening well, because listening well really is a ministry! The question to ask ourselves is this: As a listener, how can I best help and minister to this person?

James 1:19 tells us to be quick to hear. Phil. 2:3 tells us to, in humility, value others above ourselves. Matt. 7:12 tells us to do to others what we would have them do to us. So, what does this look like in a conversation? Focused attention. Active listening. Seeking to understand. We can’t expect to give good feedback in our Yada sessions after our partners share if we aren’t attentive when they are sharing. And our attentiveness communicates our love of and respect for them.

So, think about your key distractors! If you aren’t sure what they are, ask your spouse, your kids, or a good friend! Chances are pretty good they’ll be able to suggest one or two! Life is full of distractions, but we don’t have to be ruled by them. 1 Cor. 6:12 says that not everything is good for us, therefore, we must be mindful and we must refuse to let anything have power over us. Do any of the distractions in your life seem to be holding undue power over you? If we aren’t careful, we may soon find that something very good is morphing its way into becoming an idol in our lives. What do you need to let go of?

Yada sisters and brothers, let’s be diligent about listening well!

One of our core YadaFactor values is, after all, Listening Fiercely.

So, learn to be a fierce listener!

Challenge: Make your Yada times phone-free! Nothing is more distracting than someone constantly glancing at their phone. If you are meeting virtually, take care of things (coffee, kids, dogs, spouses) before you meet so you can be set and ready, in a distraction-free place, to listen and share. See what a difference it makes!

Withstanding the Evil Day

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How do we stand in the world around us today?

I want to be empowered to stand firm, how about you? Ephesians 6 gives a clear strategy that will enable any Christian to do just that. Personally, I photocopy these scriptures and print them in bunches of 30. Each day I tape one into my journal and pray through it, asking for God’s protection and armor to cover me. If I happen to miss a day or two, rereading these truths straighten me right up. I underline parts that especially stand out to me. I will sometimes tangent off on one piece of armor. One day I was walking and as I got to the belt of truth I laughed. I had a hip belt around my waist for my phone. I always want to lose a pound or two and this day as I prayed for the belt of truth, I laughed out loud with Jesus because my pouch had gotten a little tighter.

The world seems to be falling apart and the pressure is intensifying. These 10 versus can equip us, inform us, prepare us, and give a clear strategy for fighting the war around us. At some point we must wake up to the fact there is an unseen war that threatens at levels we can hardly understand.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that the thief will come, and his agenda is to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to destroy us our peace, our families, our marriages. He wants to steal our jobs, our sobriety and relationships with friends. And he doesn’t want to just steal them, he wants to kill and destroy them. His mission is to destroy us at every level. Jesus has a different goal; he calls it abundance. To have abundance is to have more than enough. Peace in Hebrew is Shalom. Sholom translates to mean enough. The time is come for us to choose.

As Christians we are either arming up to stand firm, knowing the battle is Gods or we are letting evil have its way. We can blame our troubles on our husbands, our mothers and fathers, our boss, the economy, the president’s behavior, the government, the fires, the tornadoes, China. Blaming will not fix anything. We are the leaders of tomorrow. At some point we must stop blaming and start taking responsibility for change, becoming leaders who first choose to follow. If we are not following Jesus to stand firm, no other leader can empower us for the true battle. It starts with me and you, willing to follow closely so we can learn how to lead like Jesus. “He” is more than enough to empower us to withstand this evil day.

Will you join me?

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for the saints, and also for me, that words may be given me and opening my mouth boldly and fearlessly, to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I might declare it boldly and fearlessly, as I ought to speak.”           

-Ephesians 6:10-20

Consider the lilies?

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How are you? I admit I am struggling, tired and don’t really want to do anything. But God! This process we call YadaFactor helps to press in and stand firm despite the emotional struggle that tempts toward anxiety and even worse, complacency, thus avoiding time with God.

But even then, God loves, so I press in to get a message to you as he reminds me to…

“Consider the Lilies.” Matthew 6:25-34

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin…but if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself…

According to Webster’s, “consider” means to reflect on; to think, believe, or suppose. The thesaurus offers even more insight: contemplate, deal with, examine.

So, I am wrestling with myself and God to stand in what is true, despite thoughts and feelings in this strange time of worldwide pause and panic.

Maybe it’s time for a walk to think about a simple lilyHow God is caring even now for such a small, insignificant thing, a flower. If this is true of lilies then how much truer is God’s concern for you and me? Hannah Hurnard calls this loving care “a passionate, absorbed interest.” Let that soak in like the sun to revive our soul now and in the days ahead.

Let’s walk…

So, wherever you find yourself today mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually, consider this: God’s divine love for you is inexhaustible. Loved, as we are right now through God’s eyes, is our truest identity. He is caring for us even more than the lilies. Let’s keep walking.

 

Majestic Experience

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On a recent visit to Texas I had the privilege to see the creations of Chip and Joanna Gaines. If you have not heard of them they had a show called “Fixer Upper” that became very popular. They would take old rundown homes in Waco, Texas area and fix them up for new homebuyers.

As I was perusing the Gaines’ Magnolia store, I noticed a man looking at some small Christmas trees on a shelf. I had been curious about how much they cost, so when I saw this man chuckle looking at them, I asked why he was laughing. He then asked me if I thought the little Christmas trees looked like repurposed bottlebrushes and that they were $10.00 each. I responded, “I bet you wish you would have thought of that idea.”

We laughed and he said he thought many of the items in the store were quite expensive. I immediately replied, “Don’t you think this is about more than a store and Christmas trees? This property that Chip and Joanna have designed with old rusty silos, beautiful gardens, food trucks and community areas is an experience. We are paying for an experience.” Then I asked him if he was a Christian and he said yes.

My next comment to him was a clarifying question for both of us. “Do you think we have lost the inspiration to create environments that allow us to experience God?” He seemed to awaken by my comment and we both agreed.

I went to Waco to experience what I had been learning about Chip and Joanna — the stories they are telling and the beauty they are creating. The man I met saw bottle brushes, not Christmas trees. He saw the high prices and missed the bigger vision: The experience created for us by Chip and Joanna.

God has a vision for each of us: To experience so much more than Chip and Joanna’s silos and gardens (although those are awesome). This vision is found in majestic moments of experiencing God Himself thus creating spaces for this experience. But if we are not awake to unimagined possibilities, we might only see the cost and miss the bigger story.

God is the ULTIMATE fixer-upper of our souls. We place our lives in His hands and we go to Him to experience majesty. When we do this, day after day, He takes the old rundown places of our soul and creates experiences that only He can.