Really Relating


Cell Phone Messages From God 04/01/2010

Filed under: Cell Phone,God's Word,Messages from God,Scripture — Vickey Banks @ 3:57 pm

Have you ever had a cell phone message from God?

This past Monday, I received two very upsetting phone calls from my Dad’s Hospice nurse. Among the things she said was that she felt He would probably plummet at any time. And, I was stuck about 25 states away in the middle of a Spring Break littered with sold-out flights clear across the country.
I opened my eyes the next morning and begged God to please get my son and I home to my Dad. Then, I checked the messages on my cell phone. In the midst of the mayhem, I saw an email that I get from a website called the daily verse. This was my unedited cell phone message from God:
“And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.
Then you shall know that I am he LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.
        Ezekiel 37:14
Let us be encouraged by this passage from the story of the dry bones being brought to life.
Be reminded of God’s willingness to fill us with His Spirit, put us where we need to be
and finish what He has started in us.”
Really, God? You will place me in my own land? You will put me where I need to be? You have spoken and You will do it?
Then…God gave me the next two and a half days to ponder whether or not I would believe what the Spirit within me so strongly proclaimed would indeed happen. The most hair-raising rental car return I have had in thirteen years of concentrated traveling. Two separate sets of cancelled flights. An extra night added vs. the hoped-for flying home early.
But…here I am, a week later, sitting next to my Daddy and still thanking God for placing me in own land and for once again showing me that He will do what He says He will do.
Even when absolutely everything else tells me otherwise.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
– Hebrews 4:12 NAS
How has God used His Word to speak to you lately?


What God (Sweetly) Shouts In Our Pain 01/26/2010

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Do you ever feel surrounded by hurting people?

Look around you now. They’re everywhere. From Haiti to your own home, people are hurting. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, people are flat worn out from dealing with pain.

Maybe it’s the person sitting in your chair.
During the darkest night of my soul, when I was sure that I could NOT handle one more miniscule drop of pain and thought I seriously just might lose my ever lovin’ mind, I did the only thing I knew to do: I ran to God. Kicking. Screaming. Crying uncontrollably. Arms flailing. Heart questioning. Desperate.
It was the smartest thing I ever did.
I opened up His Word, leaned in close, and listened with every fiber of my being. Here is what God (sweetly) shouted to me:
I Understand
As I looked closely at Jesus’ life, I drew huge comfort from the fact that He also was so deeply moved when a beloved friend died that He couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. He knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed with sorrow, to feel abandoned by His friends, and to be so undone by His circumstances that He begged God to change them. As I saw Him described as despised and forsaken, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, I knew that Jesus understood pain. God walked around this earth on human legs and felt the same kind of pain that you and I experience.
And. He. Cried.
I See and Hear YOUR Pain
God doesn’t just know pain, He knows our pain. Psalm 139 promises that He searches and knows us so intimately that He knows our very thoughts and what we’re going to say before we even say it. He cares deeply when our hearts are broken.  He begs us to pour out our hearts to Him, offering to be the refuge we need.
I Will Never Leave You
When His disciples where upset that He was leaving this earth, Jesus assured them that God would follow up by forevermore sending His believers the Holy Spirit to live inside them, ensuring He’d be with us forever. Throughout Scripture He lovingly assures us that He will never leave us to manage life on our own.
I Will Take Care of You
Among His many promises, this is perhaps the most comforting for me, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) No amount of pain is bigger than the God who holds onto us. That is comfort you can count on.
What has God (sweetly) shouted to you in your pain? 

Bible Study Resources 01/22/2010

Filed under: Bible Study,bible Study Resources,God's Word — Vickey Banks @ 1:57 pm

“Your words were found and I ate them,  
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart…” 
Jeremiah 15:16
Nothing yummier than truly tasting God’s Word! In my last post, How to A.P.P.L.Y. God’s Word, I shared an acrostic I created that’s helped me to slow down and more personally feast on the flavors of Scripture. But because there’s a plethora of great Bible Study resources available today, I thought I’d share some of my other current favs:
Can We Talk?: soul-stirring conversations with God, Priscilla Shirer (Lifeway Press) 
Powerhouse Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer’s latest Bible Study (or un-Bible Study, as she calls it), this workbook focuses on her 5 Ps to Hearing God Through Scripture. The women I’m going through it with now are loving it! You can peak at the free downloadable Leaders Guide and find her 5 Ps there.
A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study: A Refreshingly Unique Way to Look at God’s Word, Jen Hatmaker (NavPress)  
“Refreshing” is definitely the adjective for this book and author. Written in an extremely girl-friendly voice, Jen Hatmaker is a hoot! She gives authenticity new meaning and combines solid Biblical chops with some of the most practical tips and examples I’ve ever seen. Not a book to be just read, Jen has put it together in a way that allows you to work through the methods as you go. You’ll be shocked to see how fun studying your Bible can be J! 
Personal Bible Study Methods: 12 Ways to Study the Bible on Your Own, Rick Warren (Zondervan)  
With over 75,000 copies of this book in print, Rick could not have made it easier for us to study our Bibles. Seriously. Each chapter highlights one 
Method of Bible Study, gives an example of a study using it, then gives permission to copy a blank form for that study. Very gracious of him and good news for us. Not an extra word used here – practicality at it’s best. 
How to Study Your Bible: The Lasting Rewards of the Inductive Method, Kay Arthur (Harvest House Publishers)  
Getting serious with God’s Word is what this lady is all about. Pull out your colored pencils and get ready to learn how to take God’s Word apart piece by piece. Nobody does it better than Kay!
You can also find free online resources to help you study @:
Let these resources help you take a bite out of God’s Word and apply it to your life. You’re in for far more than a tasty treat. Joy and delight are headed your way!
Really Relating
I’d love to hear what resources have most helped you. Please do let us all know!


Deeper Still: Ode to Kay 12/08/2009

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I know exactly what I want to be. I just saw it in action last weekend at a Deeper Still conference in my hometown. No, I don’t want to be the precise person I saw living out my dream, but please, oh please God, can I just be like her?

Kay Arthur. Think Women’s Bible Study and she has to come to your mind, the founder of Precepts International – the champion of Inductive Bible Study, colored pencils and soul-searching questions. She is tirelessly working around the world to teach people how to discover and apply God’s Word to their own lives.

A collective gasp resounded around the room when she said she was 76 years old. Looking sassy in her blonde hair, designer jeans, and fabulously fun jackets, she was asked how to age gracefully. Are you kidding, I wanted to scream! Sure she’s still “painting the barn” (her reference to taking care of herself) beautifully, but the IMPACT – the life-altering, destiny changing, international impact she’s making absolutely defies the imagination!

The photo montage of her ministry was a study in a wide variety of countries, cultures, and ages touched, while the decades of fashion pictured spoke of the 31 years she’s helped others personally apply the Bible. I loved that, but I was even more captivated by the fact that she’s still going strong! Still working every night, she couldn’t even answer a question without the Bible falling out of her mouth. With uncharacteristic candor and a tenacious addiction to studying God’s Word, she has altered and paved the way not only for modern day Bible teachers like myself, but also for students of the Bible everywhere.

Most people tire of the “job” that often defines them, but Kay is still hungry to go ever deeper with God. Still studying, eager to currently handle and accurately divide each and every book of the Bible! And so, to the Kay Arthurs, Elisabeth Elliotts, & Henry Blackabys – to all those who’ve gone before us, studying late into the night to wet our appetite for God’s Word…thank you again and again.

As I listened to Kay teach, I couldn’t help but mentally calculate: how many years before I’m 76? If I choose to go deeper still with God, what kind of impact could I make???

Really Relating 
What teachers have most impacted you? How have they done so?
How would you most like to impact others, and how can you best do so?