Psalm 95:7b-8a “…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” One thing that I am constantly trying to do is to listen to that still small voice that stirs my Spirit.  I’m trying to be attentive to its’ whispering.  I’m trying to keep a tender heart that is willing to obey. Do you want to hear a “true confession”?  Before I became a Christian, when I heard someone say something about the Holy Spirit, I thought they might be just a tad on the crazy side.  It all sounded a little too far-fetched for me.  Even early in my Christian life, I never fully understood the Holy Spirit because I leaned too heavily into the rules and the law.  They were black and white.  I could understand them easily and they left little room for interpretation.  Honestly, I was a little uncomfortable with the freedom the Spirit gave me.  I didn’t trust myself enough to let go of all of the rules and rely on the Holy Spirit. The longer I’ve been a Christian, the more I’m learning to listen to, to appreciate, to trust, and to obey that still small voice that stirs my soul.  I’ve learned that it isn’t about trusting myself, but about trusting Him.  I’ve also learned that it is very easy to harden my heart because those little promptings of the Spirit nearly always push me outside of my comfort zone. My friend Jodi Snider at www.Overwhlemedwithgrace.com and I always tease that we are going to have t-shirts made that say: “Jesus always got me like 😳" I’m not sure I can even begin to count the number of times that I’ve felt the Holy Spirit asking me to do something that feels a little uncomfortable.  Writing is a good example.  It’s a little bit awkward to just type out your deepest thoughts about what Jesus is laying on your heart and throw it out into the world for anyone to see.  Leading groups, teaching breakout sessions, participating in ministry; they are all things that push me a bit outside of my comfort zone. I’ve learned something, though.  Every time I obey the Spirit’s prompting, I am blessed.  The blessing may not always look like I expect it to, but listening to that still small voice helps me to trust, to press in to Jesus, to rely on Him instead of on myself, and it usually blesses me in an unexpected way. One example of that was this weekend.  I was teaching a breakout session at a women’s conference.  After my second session, I stood in the room as the women filtered out.  I chatted with them as they headed into the last session of the conference.  When the last woman left, I pulled out my phone to quickly check in with my family. After the call, I didn’t put away my phone.  I checked Facebook for a minute or two and then was going to log into Instagram when I heard that still small voice.  “You aren’t here to be on your phone.  You are here to build relationships.  Go out and talk to people.” Honestly, I would have rather just stayed in the quiet room for a few minutes.  I knew very few people at the conference and was content to stay tucked away for a little longer.  That’s not what the Holy Spirit was prompting me to do, though. I put away my phone, grabbed by bag, took a deep breath, and headed out into the main area where everyone was browsing vendor tables, getting snacks, and socializing before the last session.  There were three ladies standing in a group talking and one stopped me to comment on my session.  That comment led into a discussion that lasted long enough that we missed nearly all of the closing session. We had a deep and much needed conversation for both of us.  We prayed together and had a time that really ministered to both of our hearts. I am a relationship person.  Quality time is a love language of mine and connecting with people in a meaningful way fills my heart. I would have missed that opportunity if I would have hardened my heart and been unwilling to get just a little uncomfortable.  I can tell you story after story like this one.  I could share how I met some of my dearest friends by obeying the Spirit’s prompting to reach out or be vulnerable.  I can tell you about time after time that He asked me to get a little uncomfortable and the result was a beautiful, unexpected blessing. Unfortunately, I can also tell you about time after time that I hardened my heart and was unwilling to step outside of my comfort zone.  I wonder how many opportunities have passed by or how many unexpected blessings I’ve missed because I didn’t listen to the Spirit’s prompting. Maybe you can relate?  Maybe you’ve felt your heart stirred or have heard that still small voice, but have been afraid to trust it and obey it?  Maybe getting a little uncomfortable isn’t always easy for you either? Will you join me today in praying for an attentive and tender heart that listens and responds when He speaks?  It’s worth it.  Obeying that still small voice is always so worth it.   Father God, Give me a heart that is attentive to your voice.  Keep my heart tender to the Holy Spirit’s stirrings. Help me to recognize your voice, to listen, and to obey. In Jesus’ name.  Amen   Love and blessings! Bobbie
I need to tell you about my sweet friend Katie Reid. I haven't actually met Katie in real life yet, but we are social media besties. She reached out to me a couple of months ago on voxer and we chat All The Time.  She truly is a gift and has been such an awesome encourager, a listening ear, and a sounding board for all of my dreams and plans. Not only is she an amazing friend, she's an inspiring writer, a talented worship leader, and singer, as well as a hard working mama! I had the privilege of guest posting on Katie's blog today.  I was able to share what grace looks like to me and how I'm learning to recognize and even seek out grace in the everyday. I'd love it if you would pop on over to her blog and see how you can see grace in the everyday moments of your life.  While you are there, say hello and browse her blog.  I know she will be an encouragement to you! http://www.katiemreid.com/2017/03/what-grace-bobbie/

Do you feel the tension that seems to permeate the air of this world lately? Things just feel heavy. Hearts are hurting. People are discouraged and dissatisfied. It seems as if this whole world is worn down from the struggles and it would be so very easy to just give in to the pull of weariness and discontent.

In the middle of the strife and struggles, we can start to feel overwhelmed, worn, and just plain weary. When these feelings come, and they linger far past their welcome, what can we do to keep our heads up? How do we remain hopeful when things just seem so difficult?

We might get angry and feel like being loud to drown out the noise of others or fighting back harder to win the war. We might get fearful, worried, and just want to withdraw and hide our heads in the sand to ignore the strife around us. Or maybe we don’t even know how we feel or how to respond, but we do know that we are called to be set apart and to shine as lights in the darkness of a weary and worn world. We are called to be the salt that seasons the bitterness around us and makes it a little more palatable. Because we know these things, we need a plan to stay in the battle when weariness starts to overcome us.

Maybe a good place to start is to look at someone else who was weary in the battle and see how they overcame it. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat is facing a multitude that has come against him. He’s going to have to fight his enemies, however, when he seeks God’s battle plan, he sees that it is a little different than the one he might have been considering. Maybe like Jehoshaphat, God’s plan to overcome our battles looks a little different than ours. When Jehoshaphat took the fear, discontent, worry, and strife that he faced because of his battle to God, the Lord sent a message to him. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 ESV says, “Do not be afraid or dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight this battle…Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.” Those verses outline a battle plan that ultimately spells victory for the believer.

This is a truth God has been continually pressing into my heart lately. There is so much peace that floods my soul when I realize how much easier God’s battle plan is than the ones that I have been using. His plan is a plan that can breathe hope into our weariness.

5 Steps to Hope for The Battle Weary From 2 Chronicles 20:15-17

1. Don’t be afraid- Fear is such an instinctive response to trials. We allow ourselves to be afraid of what may or may not happen. We allow ourselves to fear how circumstances might turn out. We also allow ourselves to be scared that the battle may never be won. That is not what God calls us to. He tells us not to be afraid.

2. Don’t be dismayed- Discouragement plants deep seeds of bitterness that can grow into anger, depression, hate, or hurt. Discouragement can fool us into thinking that the battle isn’t worth fighting. It can make us want to give up. God wants us to keep hope, to trust in him, and to have faith.

3. Let God handle the battle- It is in our nature to struggle and fight for victory over the battles that we face or to try to avoid them by running and hiding from them. God calls us to seek Him continually and rest in the fact that He is not only working in our hearts and in our lives, but also our situations.

4. Stand firm and hold your position- We can get a little wobbly when the battles rages. The things going on all around us can seem to pull us in all directions and make us doubt our stance. God calls us to stand firm in His truth and to hold the position that He has called us to.

5. See the salvation of the Lord- God is at work in everything. The victory is His in the end. The fact that in the battles, He draws us closer to Him is proof that he is doing a good thing, even if the overall situation doesn’t look like it. God calls us to believe that, ultimately, He is working all things together for good.

Read the rest of the article and find even more encouragement at iBelieve.com by clicking the link below!

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/5-steps-to-hope-for-the-battle-weary.html

Love and blessings, Bobbie Schaeperkoetter

img_7863 I just love new beginnings and fresh starts.  I love the opportunity to wipe the slate clean.  Today is the first day of a new month.  We are in a new season.  Change is in the air. And I'm so ready for change. My heart aches for it.  My soul longs for it. I want to truly grasp Christ's love for me and rest easy in my identity in Him.  I want His love to overcome all the muck that weighs me down.  I want to understand the character of God and trust in Him fully.  Just like the seasons are visibly changing, I want to see real, evident change in my heart and in my life. Don't you? I'm a tough nut to crack though, and change doesn't come easy for me.  I've learned that on my own, I tend to just make things a big ol' mess, so I've come up with a plan.  This time, I'm turning to the one agent that always produces a truly changed heart and a changed life. I'm turning to God's word I want to invite you to come along on this little journey of change with me.  I'm committing to reading and praying God's word EVERY DAY during the month of October.  I'm going to let His word sink deep into my heart and pray that over myself and my circumstances. I'm trusting in the power of His word to bring about a change in me. Come with me.  Let's walk this road together. I've created a Facebook group here:  31 Days of Change Facebook Group so that we can really walk through this together.  I'd love it if you would join me. Change is in the air and it's going to start with you and me. Love and blessings, Bobbie  
Does your life ever feel a little bit small? It’s a good life and your grateful, it’s just not quite what you expected. In general, you are happy. Life is just a little less glamorous and a little more ordinary than you thought it would be. You know you felt the Holy Spirit’s insistent tugging on your heart. You knew that God was calling you to rise up and step into something, but you just weren’t sure what it was. You knew one thing for certain though, it felt BIG. Now you look at where you are, and you wonder...Is this all I will ever be?