In Jesus’ darkest hours leading up to the cross,He cried out in anguish, “ABBA! FATHER! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark chapter 14, verse 36) What a world Jesus unlocked for us by His death and resurrection! The marvelous truth that He teaches us to speak “Our Father” to address Al-mighty God, and that we can come before the King of the Universe anytime!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- James 4:1-3
All things Heidi
- MomStrong International
- Scripture Writing Challenge
- Sample Bible Study Week and Cursive Copywork.
- To see the Manuscript of the Copywork and the Scripture Writing schedule, sign up at MomStrong International for a FREE account to gain access!
- Bible Study kicks off the first Monday of each month.
- Scripture Writing kicks off the first day of every month.
- My Events Calendar
- Submit your questions to MailBox Monday
Join us at MomStrong International for our Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Wednesday, October 9th. This is episode number 829. This is MomStrong International Day here at the podcast and today is the first day that we’re going to go over the study for the month of October. We’re going to be studying prayer for the entire month of October. If you’re new to MomStrong International, I’ll let you know that those studies release on the first Monday of every month, and then on Wednesday, I like to teach from the study, so that’s what we’re going to do.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so wow, October 9th, you guys, we are getting really close to my women’s conference that is happening this weekend, Saturday, October 12th. Faith That Speaks is coming to Vancouver, Washington, and I hope you guys are going to join me. I’m really excited about what God’s doing because as you look around the world and you see what’s happening in the culture, so many wounds, so much pain, so much division, so much brokenness. But the Bible teaches us that God was made flesh and dwelt among us, and that’s what our world needs, an unsaturated, uncomplicated reconciling gospel that proclaims one thing and one thing only, the healing work of the cross that has crossed 2000 years to get to us. We’re going to be spending some time on Saturday digging into the rich soil of God’s word, talking about how powerful it is to know that we are loved, we are infinitely loved, and God has more for us than just walking the day-to-day and not knowing him intimately.
That’s what Faith That Speaks is all about. We’re going to be teaching you how to actually move off the bench and onto the battlefield so that your faith is spoken in every aspect of your life. St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary.” So we’re going to talk about what it means to have your life be a living, breathing message of the gospel on display. So Faith That Speaks, coming to Vancouver, Washington this Saturday, October 12th from nine to five. You guys, I’m telling you, you will not be sorry that you came. We’ll be spending time in worship, I’ll do an hour of Q&A, we’ll have an hour for lunch together, and it really will be a day that will encourage you and bless you and change your life. So come on out.
For more information and to get tickets, go to heidistjohn.com/events. If you’re interested in hosting Faith That Speaks in your neck of the woods, please reach out to us and let us know. We are interested in bringing this conference around the country, I think we’re looking right now, seven different regions and we’re going to continue to grow it. So stay tuned, watch the website for more locations. As we add them, we put them up there, heidistjohn.com/events.
All right, today is the first day of the MomStrong International study, and I was thinking it was last week, but then I remembered, oh man, they don’t release until the first Monday of the month. So by now, it’s the 9th of October, you guys should be well into the scripture writing challenge. I hope you’re enjoying that. We create the scripture writing challenge to coincide with the Bible study, so if you’re doing the scripture writing challenge but you’re not doing the Bible study, this is a great time for you to jump in. I have a passion for the topic of prayer.
God has taught me so many things and I thought, I always teach from just a section of the study. The study is too a much for me to be able to do in just the 20 minutes that I allot for the podcast. But I thought it’s a great opportunity for me to share with you some of the amazing things that I have experienced in my life that I have seen through the power of prayer. I think in the culture, we have really relegated God to a box. So either we put him in a box and we just think, well, he doesn’t care about that, or if he can’t do it, or we don’t understand the nature of God and we don’t have an appreciation for the glory and majesty that we are able to commune with because of the shed blood of Jesus. So that’s really what we’re doing for the month of October, is just studying prayer.
So before we get started, let’s come before the Lord and do exactly that. Father, I thank you. Oh Lord, I thank you that you hear us when we call on you. Thank you that you say in your word that you love us, that you so loved the world that you sent your son. Father, I pray as we talk a little bit about prayer today that our hearts are being moved by your great love for us. Father, it’s an amazing thing to know that you desire that we would know you, and walk with you, and talk with you. Father, I thank you for the many examples of men and women who have been in my life these many years now, who have shown me what it looks like to really call you Abba Father, to be able to take the small things to you and the big things.
Father, I pray that we would be reminded every time we talk to you of your great love for us, and then that kindness that you’ve shown us really would lead us to repentance, that our lives would be changed and that they would impact the world around us. Lord, as we take just a few minutes today, I know that there are a lot of people listening to this and I would include myself, we have a lot on our minds. Some of us are walking through some pretty water and yet, you say that you’re in all of it, that your deep, deep love for us and your goodness sustains us. And so Lord, help us to lean into that today. I pray for the men and women who are listening to this. Who are struggling just to understand the depth of your love for them.
A lot of us didn’t grow up with good father examples. We we see you as authoritarian, or angry, or aloof, or distant. That’s not what your word says. And so Lord, this month as we study prayer here at the podcast and at MomStrong International, I pray, Lord, that we would see you exactly how you want us to see you, and that we would be changed in the process. So we invite you into this moment, Lord, into these few minutes, and we bless your name and it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
So if you haven’t downloaded this study yet, you can go to momstronginternational.com and sign up to be a member there, and download it. The scripture writing challenge, of course, is free. This aspect of it is subscription base, which by the way, your subscription to your MomStrong International is what’s helping us, praise the Lord, to grow this ministry, to have a writing team. There was a long, long time when Jay and I were doing everything by ourselves, and praise the Lord, we are not doing it alone anymore. We’ve got a fantastic team of women and men who are overseeing this ministry and helping us to write the studies. If you are interested in supporting the ministry and you’ve thought, how could I do that? This is a great way for you to support the ministry and you can also get in on the Bible study. So I want to encourage you to do that, just go to momstronginternational.com.
All right, I’m going to skip down. If you do have the study and you’ve already downloaded it, I’m going to skip to page seven of the study. For those of you who are not familiar, we do the MomStrong bible study, we teach a little bit and then we do something called Let’s Press In, Let’s Study. So just different aspects of the study that we try to bring out every month, and then there’s a section called Digging Deeper and a section called KidStrong. In KidStrong, what we’re trying to do is help you teach your children what you’ve been learning. So to take what you’re learning and really pour into, and mentor, and train up and teach your children so that they also know how loved they are.
Really, that’s the main thing. We just want these kids know you are loved, God has made do you on purpose with a purpose, he cares about you. Every aspect of your life is important to God. So this month that KidStrong, we’re going to study the Lord’s prayer, which is found in Matthew 6, and I want to encourage you, this is a great time to memorize it with your kids if you haven’t done it already. Read out loud with your kids, have them repeat each line after you, and I’m telling you what, it will change your life and it will change your kids’ lives too as they get to know the Lord Jesus a little bit more. So we’re going to start on page seven. There are 22 pages in this week’s study and I’m going to go through just a little bit of it, starting on page seven. So if you’re there with me, that’s where I’m going to start reading.
We said in Jesus’ darkest hours leading up to the cross, he cried out in anguish, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” That’s Mark 14:36. Can you imagine the anguish that Jesus was feeling, knowing that this was what God wanted him to do but not wanting to do it? Have you ever been there? I’ve been there. Jesus showed us what it looks like to walk in such intimate relationship with God that even when the Lord asks us to walk through things that we don’t want to walk through, we trust his heart for us and we know that what he is doing is ultimately for our good.
We wrote in the study this month about a Jewish family visiting the U.S. and they were having lunch, and a little boy was heard at the end of the table saying, “Abba, I think I’m going to try the root beer. Oh, Abba, yes. Yes, I love root beer.” His sweet voice calling his daddy Abba, such joy and such love. You see, this term of endearment is how God tells us that we can refer to him. What a wonder this is. This is the name that Jesus used to refer to God as he was looking ahead to the cross. Abba, Father, and it’s a wondrous thing that God says I want to commune with you, I want you to see me that way. I think some of us, if you didn’t grow up with a good relationship with your own father, this is a tough one because it’s hard to fathom that kind of love.
I love the story because this child shared his delight with his daddy. For those of us that didn’t have an earthly father that we could relate to that way, or one with whom we were not able to share our joys and sorrows, we have a hard time calling God daddy. And yet, Abba, that’s exactly what he wants. Many of us spend years trying to find the deep satisfaction in earthly relationships and we experience disappointment after disappointment. As Jesus draws us in, in this prayer, he says, “This is how you pray. Daddy, our Father, I have made a way for this relationship through my work on the cross. Now he is not just my father, but he’s yours.” What a world Jesus unlocked for us by his death and resurrection. Amen.
You see, the marvelous truth that he is teaching us to speak our Father, to address all mighty God that we can come before the king of the universe anytime. Anytime. So today, I’m going to take you to a few passages that we’re studying over at MomStrong International. If you have your Bible, I always encourage you to look it up. I’m going to read it for you because I know a lot of you are driving and doing dishes and that kind of thing. So I’m going to read these for you and then we’re just going to talk about what kind of a relationship we can tell that God wants to have with us through his word. Remember, I’m always telling you, if you want to know how God feels about you, open the pages of the Bible. The Bible really is a love story that’s been told throughout generations. God’s great love for us.
God’s given us clear instructions. He says, “I created you, I know you. Walk this way and there will be blessing.” God’s blessings are found inside God’s boundaries. Like any good father, God gives us boundaries, and he loves us and he demonstrates that love for us over and over and over. So let’s look for just a minute and Isaiah 30:18. It says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are those who wait for him.” What do we learn about God and the kind of relationship that he wants to have with us in this verse? We learn that he wants to be gracious to you like any good father. We want to be gracious to our children, right? We want good things for our kids, and the Lord of the universe, the Lord of heaven’s armies, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, he sees you that way. He wants to be gracious to you, he wants to show you compassion and he’s revealing himself and his character through his word.
Let’s look at this one, Isaiah 41:8-10. But you, oh Israel, my servant Jacob, whom I have chosen. You descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” Then he goes on with one of the most famous passages in scripture, he said, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” So what can we see about the relationship that God wants to have with us? He says, “I chose you, I see you as a friend, I want to call you friend, I have not rejected you. I’ve chosen you, don’t be afraid, I’m with you, I won’t leave you. I’ll strengthen you, I’ll help you, I’ll uphold you. I am the Lord and this is how I see you.”
I remember a long time ago, Jay and I struggled through a pretty hard season in our family, and I spent so much time just crying out to the Lord, trying to understand why he had allowed this hurt, this, what felt like at the time, an unbearable burden into our family, into our marriage. I remember reading this verse one day, and circling it in my Bible and underlining I am with you. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold. And I realized this is God’s heart toward me. Even in the midst of the struggle, even in the midst of the pain, you guys, we’re broken, all of us broken, and born into a world that is broken. And yet, God is saying, “I chose you. I love you.”
I love how he says it in the dark, how his words come back to us when we’re struggling. This is the blessing of studying and knowing the word. This is why people like Corrie ten Boom have such a powerful story, and Joni Eareckson Tada, because they understand that God’s heart toward them is no different in the good times than it is in the hard times, and actually even more precious when we’re struggling and suffering.
In 2 Corinthians 6:16-18, this is what the apostle Paul writes. What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. This is how God sees us. As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people.” Therefore, when we talked about this month, last month, we were talking about an ambassador. “Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you, and I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and my daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
This is a side of the Lord the we don’t often hear in the culture anymore. I think often, especially in an age of Facebook when everybody’s hurling comments at everybody else, and we’re using the Bible as a weapon, and we miss God’s heart and he says, “I want to live among you, walk among … ” You guys, imagine the great love of God that he would send his only son so that we could be with him in eternity. It’s a powerful, powerful thing, and like the little boy that called out Abba to his dad in the restaurant, are we able to cry out Abba Father? Listen to the following passages. I’m going to read these to you really quick and then we’ll wrap it up for the day. But I want you to be … As you listen to these, I want your heart to cry out, yes, this is what God is doing in my life. Or if you get a little bit uncomfortable as we go along, go back to 2 Corinthians 6:16 where Paul writes, we’re the temple of the living God. Then ask yourself, am I living my life as the dwelling place of God? Am I living my life that way?
Let’s look at Romans 8:15-16 for just a moment. The spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear, but rather, the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. This is Paul saying, listen, you guys, God’s adopted you and by him, we cry Abba Father. The spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Galatians 4:4-7 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law that we might receive adoption into sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts and the spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but rather you are God’s child, and since you are his child, God has also made you an heir.
John 1:12-13 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn, not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. We don’t often use the phrase born again. When I was a young girl going to church in the 70s, if you are a Christian, you were just born again. We don’t often say it, but that’s the reality of it. If you’re not familiar with the gospel, the gospel message is very simple. Gospel, meaning good news and the real good news, the true good news, the only good news is that you were created in the image of God and he loves you, and he sent his son so that you might know him, that you would have access to him. Jesus died on the cross, he took our place, he took my place, he bore my sin. And because of his death and because of his resurrection, God sees me not in my sin, not in my brokenness, but he sees me through Jesus and I am made righteous because of the shed blood of Jesus.
If you’re listening to this today and you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior. If you say, “boy, Heidi, I just don’t get it. I don’t understand this sonship thing, this God who says he wants to call me friend. He wants me to call him Abba Father, who said, “I died for you, I love you.” I don’t know that God, I don’t know him that way.” He wants to know you that way. You can get on your knees wherever you are, sitting in your car, wherever you are right now, and you can say, “Father, come into my life. I ask you to forgive me for my sins, and cleanse me and make me whole. I ask Jesus to come into my heart and transform my life.” That is being reborn, that’s being born again. God says that when you believe in him and when you accept him as your Lord and savior, he gives you the right to become his child. And not just any old child, he says that you are now an heir to the throne of God. That’s an incredible gift.
1 John 3:1 See how very much our Father loves us. For he calls us his children and that is what we are. But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children. Why? Because they don’t know him. So when you talk about the love of God, men and women, those of you who know Jesus, when you talk about the love of God, are you talking about it in that intimate way? Like God wants to have a relationship with you, he loves you. Because of Jesus, we can go boldly before the throne of God and we can fall on our faces and we can say, Abba, Father, help. We need your help. Lord, we need your wisdom, we need your mercy, we need your discernment. We need to know how to handle all the problems that come at us at any given point.
We know because your word says in James 1 that if any of us lacks wisdom, we can come to you, our Abba Father, and you’ll get it to us generously and without reproach. Why? Because that’s what a father does. You have access to the Lord of Lords through a vehicle that we call prayer. So this month that MomStrong International, we’re going to study it. I hope you guys will print out. I am a believer in prayer. In June of 2017, when my nephew was hit by a car, I took to the airwaves and I said, “Please pray for us.” I know that there’s power in prayer. God is listening and he says he wants to come to our aid. He loves us. He is our Abba Father, and if you don’t know him that way today, can I just encourage you, open up your Bible.
I always tell people start in John, for goodness sake, John 3:16. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. He loves you. You are loved, your children are loved, made in the image of God, and God wants to know you better. We know him through prayer and through the study of his word and walking with him. As we walk with him like Abraham did, he reveals himself to us and it is a rich, beautiful relationship. Some of you guys have been walking with the Lord for a long time, but your prayer life is stagnant, or you’re struggling to understand why he’s allowing certain things in your life. I have certainly been there in my own life, and every once in a while, I have to just get alone with the Lord and say, “Father, forgive me.”
Forgive me for making decisions without talking to you. Forgive me for spending so much time on Facebook and not much time in your word. I think we get drawn away from the Lord and into the things of this world so easy, and yet God is saying, “I’m right here. Come back to me. Come back to me.” Men and women, you are loved. God loves you. Jesus said that he came, that you would have life and not just any old life, but abundant life, and that comes as you walk with and learn to trust the Lord.
I appreciate you guys listening. We certainly appreciate the feedback that you leave for the podcast over at iTunes. If you’ve got any questions, we’d love to hear them. You can reach out to me directly, heidistjohn.com/mailboxmonday. We’d love to hear your questions. If you’ve been listening to me for any length of time at all, you’d know there’s not a subject I won’t touch and so we’d love to hear from you. We’d also love it if you’d review the podcast over at iTunes. Those reviews are helping us tremendously. Thank you so much for doing that. Thank you for praying for us.
I’m going to let you guys know again because I forgot last time, we are getting ready to do the Christmas card crush over here at Firmly Planted Family. We’d love to put your card and your picture up on our wall. It’s a great time for you also to support the work that we do at Firmly Planted Family. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening and supporting families in every way that we can, turning the hearts of the fathers and the mothers back to God’s word and to say, “let’s grow together”. So we’d love to hear from you. If you’ve got any questions at all, again, heidistjohn.com/mailboxmonday. Reach out to us at 11100 Northeast 34th Circle, Vancouver, Washington, 98682.
One more time, on October 12th, that’s coming up this Saturday, my women’s conference, Faith That Speaks, is here in my hometown of Vancouver, Washington. We’ve got people coming in from all over the country. Come and join us for a day that will change your life. I guarantee it. We sure love you guys. Have a great Wednesday and I’ll see you back here on Friday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
Support this ministry by donating through E-giving. You can also send donations to: 1100 NE34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682