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One sweet tool to get your kids in the Word

I have yet another excerpt from a fun resource for you today! My almost ten-year-old, Anna was SO excited when we got our copy of the Big & Little Coloring Devotional from Rachel Swanson. Michael, my 7-year-old, has enjoyed it as well. I’ve used it one-on-one, as well as letting both of them color while I read aloud. The devotionals give us a conversation starter to use while we color. It’s a sweet way to enjoy some quality time together. (Don’t miss the giveaway below!)

So, what makes this book different from other coloring books on the market? Rachel shares her heart behind what makes the Big & Little Coloring Devotional so special.

  1. This book is not just a “mommy and me” book, but geared for daddy’s, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any “big” person who knows what it’s like to care for a child. Therefore, the devotionals and illustrations are carefully crafted so that boy’s and daddy’s love it too! (It’s not all flowers and butterflies.)
  2. The pages lay opposite enabling face-to-face coloring! No more elbows in the way or left-handed woes. This layout encourages eye-contact, conversation, and connection.
  3. The devotionals are SHORT! Just enough to open your mind to the context of the verse.
  4. The binding and pages are high-quality and for the price, you simply can’t beat it.
  5. The child illustrations are simple while the adult illustrations are slightly more intricate, making coloring just right for both parties involved.

Here is a devotional excerpt from Big & Little Coloring Devotional. Enjoy!


I slumped down in tears, overwhelmed.

It was just too much. All of it. The dirty house. The crazy kids. The never-ending demands, responsibilities, and non-existent thanks. I secretly wanted to run away from it all.

My phone chirped. A text from a friend checking in on my day. I laughed sarcastically, at the timing.

I lightly shared how it could be better. After a few more pleasantries exchanged, I couldn’t help but be real and let it all pour out. Instead of guilt I received elegant grace through words—the encouragement I was longing for and needing to hear.

How beautiful it is when words are spoken at just the right time. So don’t hold back, you never know when you’re random text is being received at the perfect time.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” (Prov. 25:11 NASB)


How can you see yourself using this tool? Leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy! Next week I’ll choose a random winner from the comments!

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Order your copy of Big & Little Coloring Devotional here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

 

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Everyday Obedience – Join the Online Study Group

My latest Bible study, Everyday Obedience—a 4-week study of Colossians 3:1-17is my favorite of the Everyday series. Why? Because this passage is FILLED with critical theology that must take up residence in our heart and minds if we want to experience life-long transformation and intimacy with God. Truths that will truly transform your spiritual life.

I’ve said it again and again, and I’ll say it as long as I have breath—the greatest measure of spiritual growth is NOT what we look like on the outside. The yardstick of maturity in Christ is how accurate our view of God is. Because, actions can be faked. Behavior can be modified. But seeing God for who He truly is? It alters us. Understanding the truth of all He’s done for us so that we can be in His presence and enjoy Him forever? That is life-changing.

In Everyday Obedience, I’m not going to waste your precious time by piling up more commands for you to heed. I have no desire to give you yet another list of rules to follow. Besides, I’m assuming you already have more than you can manage. Throwing more obstacles into our path will not help us toward victory. More rules do not intrinsically lead to more obedience. Simply trying harder doesn’t work.

You and I can never obey perfectly. Ever. The rule-following, try-harder life leads to either burnout and frustration, or self-dependence and man-made righteousness. Neither of which leads to the abundant life Jesus promises.

In this easy-to-use, 4-week study, you’ll learn how to let go of the lifestyle of guilt-based behavior and discover the secret to a joy-filled, shame-free, everyday obedience. Each day’s work can be completed in as little as 15 minutes a day and it will teach you how to study the Bible as you work through it.

I’ll be leading an online group through Everyday Obedience and I hope you’ll join me! I’ll have daily check-ins for you and live videos to cheer you on along the way. There is a thriving, amazing group of women in the Bible Study Hub—a private Facebook group I’ve created to encourage and equip you to ENJOY God’s Word. All you’ll need to do is join the Bible Study Hub (I’ll send you right to it once you fill out the form below and confirm your email!) then grab a copy of Everyday Obedience. You can purchase one at your local LifeWay store (call ahead to make sure they have it in stock!), on Amazon (Prime ships QUICK!!), as well as several other online retailers. Nook, Kindle, and ePub versions are also available for immediate download.

Links above may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

Join the Online Study Group

  • WHAT: Studying through Everyday Obedience (4 weeks – 5 days a week – 15 minutes a day!))
  • WHEN: October 23rd – November 17th
  • WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group
  • HOW TO JOIN: Fill out this form, and then purchase a copy of Everyday Obedience.
  • BONUS GIVEAWAY!!: Leave a comment below and share this post with a friend! I’ll pick a random commenter and social media sharer to receive a package of goodies!!

 

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Five Ways to be Saturated in the Word

Over decades of ministry I’ve noticed quite a few trends that have been true in every station the Lord has led us. From the 19-year-old college student to the seasoned 91-year-old, the area of prayer is one where many people want to pray but don’t know how. Most either remain silent or default to a string of words they’ve heard someone else utter—and I totally GET THIS! I used to be terrified when it came to prayer. I didn’t want to pray out loud, and my private prayers were short and aimless.

There is a great void for most Christians when it comes to praying specific, Biblical, and powerful prayers. I’m so grateful for my friend (and fellow Auburn fan!) Teri Lynne and this GIFT she has given us in the area of prayer. Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most is her earnest and engaging invitation for moms to join her — not as perfect pray-ers but as humble daughters of the perfect Father, interceding on behalf of the girls they love.

WITH TERI LYNNE AS A GUIDE, PRAYING FOR GIRLS EQUIPS MOMS

  • to identify and understand five key areas of their daughters’ lives
  • to apply biblical truth to challenges and obstacles their daughters will encounter
  • to pray with boldness and confidence using Scripture as the solid foundation for their prayers
  • to engage their daughters in understanding and applying biblical truth to their own lives

Containing 200 Bible-based prayers as well as suggested activities and conversation starters, Praying for Girls is a must-have tool in every mom’s arsenal. Though this book is for “girl-moms” there is much that can be applied to our own hearts. I’m excited to share an excerpt from this new, incredible resource.


Every morning I move, bleary-eyed and stumbling, from my bedroom to the kitchen where Scott already has the coffee brewed. In our home there are no less than six ways to make coffee. Hands down, the best coffee is from a percolator. Remember those? You put the water in and it bubbles up through the coffee grounds.  Since it takes longer to percolate coffee than it does to brew it in the coffee pot, we don’t use ours all the time. But when we do, it’s definitely worth the extra time.

As a little girl, I faithfully memorized Bible verses for Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. Honestly, I know very few of those verses today. The process was sort of like using my Keurig—quick and effective. I love my Keurig. I am thankful to be able to make a cup of coffee in just a couple of minutes because some days that is all I have.

But renewed minds are like percolated coffee. It’s a slower process than simply memorizing Scripture. The Word, like the water in the percolator, moves through our minds, touching each thought, desire, and dream.

When we allow the Word to percolate inside our mind, it saturates every part of us.

Over the years, I’ve found there are few simple ways I can keep myself on track in this area.

1. Read. It sounds incredibly basic; but, I’ve learned that there are a whole lot of women who don’t regularly read the Bible. Not because they don’t want to or don’t think it’s valuable, but because of time. But because we get busy or distracted and never sit down to do it.  Here is where technology is our friend—we can listen to Scripture on our phones while we do dishes, nurse a baby, or drive to work.

2. Rewind. If I am reading a passage and it doesn’t make sense, I go back a little farther. Reading the verses or even chapters around what I’m studying help give context I need to make sense of what I’m studying.

3. Reflect. I give myself space to reflect on what I’m learning. I don’t go from one Bible study to the next with no time in between. In fact, the deeper I’ve studied, the more time I give myself to reflect on what I’ve learned before I jump into the next study. It is important to give ourselves time to reflect. I often use Saturday mornings for this practice.

4. Repeat. One of my favorite ways to dig deep into a passage or book is simply to read it over and over. Repetition is a great way to let the Word sink deep into our hearts and minds.

5. Restart. Let’s be honest here, sometimes this is where we are. We’ve gotten off track for whatever reason and we don’t need guilt. We just need to pick up our Bibles and restart.

When we are faithful to invest time in learning the Word and to allow our minds to be renewed and shaped by what we read, our children will learn from our example.

Whether my coffee is percolated, brewed, or fixed in my Keurig, it is always good. So, on the days when you have lots of time to let the Word simmer and soak in deep, cherish it. And when you are in a grab and go season, trust the sufficiency of the Word to meet you where you are and accomplish what God intends. And for the days in between (which are really most of our days), savor the Word and allow your mind to be renewed by the truth God offers. And invite your children to grow in those same habits.

Prayers

Lord, in a culture that esteems conformity, may _________________ choose to be transformed into Your image. May she seek the renewal of mind You offer that she will be able to understand and live in Your will for her. (Romans 12:2)

Lord, I pray You will put Your Word deep inside _________________. Write it on her heart, embed it in her mind. I pray she will know the beauty of being Yours, of knowing You are her God. (Hebrews 8:10)

This excerpt is from Teri Lynne Underwood, Praying for Girls, Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017, and used by permission.

 

Want to win a copy of Prayers for Girls?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Teri Lynne Underwood is a pastor’s wife, ministry speaker, and Bible teacher. As the mother of a teenage daughter and the founder of Prayers for Girls, a popular online community for mothers of daughters, Teri Lynne is a cheerleader for girl moms and the author of Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most. You can connect with Teri Lynne on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Order your copy of Prayers for Girls here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

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How do I incorporate prayer into my study time?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #6

Today we tackle how to incorporate praying while we study the Bible. There are many potential ways to do this. In this 15 minute episode, Chris and I share what works for us!

Three ways to incorporate prayer into your Bible study time:

  • Before you study:
    • Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18 ESV).
    • Before you begin to study, take a moment to ask the Spirit to illuminate your time in the Word.
    • Approach God’s Word with a HUMBLE heart.
  • While you study:
    • “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45 CSB).
    • When you come to a verse you are uncertain what it means, ask God to open your mind to understand it!
    • Study God’s Word with a DEPENDENT spirit.
  • After you study:
    • “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22 ESV).
    • Once we’ve identified the main idea of what we are studying, we need modify our lives to what we’ve learned.
    • Leave God’s Word with a posture of RESOLVE to obey what we’ve seen.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

(Affiliate links are present. At no extra cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!)

ADDITIONAL PRAYER RESOURCES:

  • Val Marie Paper – These are the prayer journals I use. I CAN’T WAIT for the 2018 journals to get here. I’ve pre-ordered mine!!

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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Free Ephesians Reading Plan and Scripture Print

There are two needed ways to study the Bible, and it’s important for us to engage in both types of study.

  1. The Bird’s Eye View – This is where we get a quick yet needed lay of the land. This “arial” view grants us the big picture of the Bible. The goal here to enjoy the book as a whole. It is NOT time to glean everything out of it that we can.
  2. The Bug’s Life – This is where we can dig in and dissect the parts, notice the details, and begin to process what it all means.

Reading plans are designed to provide us with The Bird’s Eye View. Both perspectives are needed over time, but it is important that we keep the goal of each in mind.

Many of you are already a part of the Bible Study Hub, a private group for those wanting extra accountability and encouragement to get (and STAY!) in the Word on a regular basis. I’ve been mapping out opportunities for BOTH of these ways to study the Bible. As one who tends towards The Bug’s Life, I’ve really enjoyed the addition of these smaller Bird’s Eye View reading plans to my study time.

Join 12 Days in Ephesians

I’m excited for this new study tool! The 12 Days in Ephesians reading plan is simple, flexible, and geared toward helping us get a quick overview study of the book of Ephesians.

  • WHAT: Reading through Ephesians (15 minutes a day pace)
  • WHEN: October 9-21 (Includes a day of CONTEXT)
  • WHERE: The Bible Study Hub Facebook group
  • HOW TO JOIN: Fill out this form!

Once you sign up and confirm your email, I’ll send you a welcome packet via email which includes:

  • 12 day reading plan through Ephesians
  • BONUS: Printable reading plan bookmark
  • BONUS: Free 4×6 Ephesians Scripture print
  • BONUS: Printable Journal Pages tailored for the Pauline Epistles with study options if you want to go deeper

 Are you in? Have you studied Ephesians before? What do you enjoy the most, The Bug’s Life or The Bird’s Eye view? Share with us in the comments!

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What happens when we read the Bible and actually believe what it says?

I’ve known of Bestselling Author Tricia Goyer for years and in this last year I’ve enjoyed getting to know Tricia personally through a mutual friend’s introduction. Tricia wears a lot of hats, as a wife, homeschool mom of ten, grandma of four, writer (of OVER 60 books), teen mom support group leader, and founder of Hope Pregnancy Center in Kalispell, Montana. She lives a full and fruitful life, but what strikes me most about Tricia is her wisdom that stems from a deep and intimate relationship with God.

Tricia Goyer lives a life that will challenge readers to step up and walk out faith in our homes, communities, and the world, and ultimately experience all the joy promised when we are in His will and doing His work.

—Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including Redeeming Love

I’m excited to share with you an excerpt from her latest book, releasing October 1, 2017. In Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time, Tricia demonstrates the powerful work God accomplishes if we are willing to step out in obedience to Biblical commands and His quiet urgings, no matter our fears or feelings of inadequacy. Through Walk It Out, Tricia shares her journey, from accepting Christ’s forgiveness and telling her story of redemption to answering the call to adopt seven children when she least expected, is filled with the exhilarating, radical, unexpected life that we experience when we walk into God’s plans for us.


I was twenty-two years old when I attended my first writers’ conference. I walked into the auditorium with my notebook and pens, hopes and expectations. No one suspected that I also carried a heavy load of heart-baggage. Not only had I had an abortion and endured a teen pregnancy, but my biological father had abandoned me, as had my baby’s father. My heart was battered, torn, and weighed down. But on the outside I looked happy and excited. I didn’t know how to deal with the pain, and so I buried it and did my best to ignore it. Before I could inspire, guide, or entertain anyone with my words, however, God had work to do in my heart.

It’s not surprising that just as I ran from the pain and conflict in my life, I avoided it in my writing. I wanted to write sweet, Christian romances. The only problem was my plots lacked conflict. Without hardship and longing, my characters had little motivation and few internal struggles. (All of which are essential to good, heart-gripping novels.) How could I write deep and impactful things when I refused to unearth and face my own deep pain?

When I first became a Christian, I didn’t understand my need for heart healing. Wasn’t it enough that I’d given my life to Jesus? Yes, that was all that mattered in terms of my eternal salvation. But I couldn’t give readers what I didn’t have: faith that God wants to meet us in our deepest pain and do extraordinary things through our healed, albeit ordinary, hearts.

Despite my loving family, I didn’t feel love—neither theirs for me nor mine for them—and acted more out of duty than devotion. When I played peek-a-boo with my baby daughter, I smiled and laughed, but the joy didn’t touch my heart. When my son fell and hurt himself, I ran to him and assisted him, but there was little compassion or concern. When I snuggled by my husband’s side to watch a movie, I knew I should be happy and content, but I felt a numbness I couldn’t shake.

Before I could open myself up to all the good things in my life, I had to open myself up to feeling all the pain, heartache, shame, and loss that came from my abortion and from being abandoned by men who were supposed to love me. It was easier to keep my emotions at arm’s length than to feel the ache of loss.

I minimized the trauma I experienced from my dad by telling myself, At least I wasn’t one of those kids who had to split her time between her mom and dad’s house. And, Maybe my biological dad wasn’t that great of a person, so God removed him from the picture to protect me. As for my old boyfriend, I told myself it was good that he abandoned my son and me because God brought John into our lives to be a husband and father.

But my rationalizations didn’t relieve the pain. And the pain confirmed my childhood belief: I wasn’t worth sticking around for. I felt unlovable and was too afraid of further rejection to share my weightiest sin and deepest regret with our Christian community. Only my parents, ex-boyfriend, and John knew about my abortion. I didn’t even tell my closest friends. When the topic of abortion came up in church or Bible study, I sank deep into my seat, especially when people spoke doggedly against it. My stomach knotted up, and I was certain everyone within twenty feet of me heard the frantic pounding of my heart.

If they knew the truth and understood what I’ve done, they’d hate me. He wouldn’t want to share a pew with me. She would turn and walk away in disgust.

Hiding from the truth protected me from the condemnation of others and from the ugliness of what I’d done, but it also blocked me from the beauty of life. My shame began to heal the day I picked up the phone and signed up to attend a Bible study for women who’d had an abortion. My hands trembled as I drove to the church, yet walking into that room and seeing other women who’d made the same choice I had was a step of freedom. When I saw love and compassion in their eyes, a weight lifted off my shoulders. They saw me, knew what I’d done, and didn’t despise me. After all, they’d faced the same pain.

That first night the leader asked us to share our stories. Telling these women the truth of my wrong choices opened my heart to healing. But deeper healing came when I began to believe God and the truth of His Word—the truth about forgiveness and how God sees me, my hurt, and my sin.

Does Tricia’s story resonate with your heart in any way? What helps you BELIEVE the truth of God’s Word? Share with us in the comments!


Women often pack their lives with family, friends, and faithful service, yet still end up feeling empty and unfulfilled. In Walk It Out, Tricia Goyer demonstrates to women that walking out the mandates of Scripture allows God to spark passion and mission within them.

Whether believers realize it or not, God intended for them to do what the Bible says: adopt the orphan, take the gospel into all the world, and care for the needy. These are mandates that point believers down the path of true living and eternal life.

Sometimes those steps are easy, but many times they require a move outside of what feels safe or secure. When women stop focusing on their own dreams and purposes, and instead focus on God’s dreams and purposes, everything changes.

Pre-order your copy of Walk It Out here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!
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How do I forgive when I don’t feel like it?

I’m excited to share about the next online study for the Bible Study Hub—a thriving online community of women encouraging one another to get in the Word! This study is written by my good friend and ministry partner, Lara Williams. I would probably not be writing Bible studies today if it were not for Lara. Back in 2011, I asked her if she would co-author a book I had on my heart but felt unable to write myself (I had a LOT of learning to do about the craft of writing). She said yes and 8 months later, we published Savoring Living Water (affiliate link). About a month after that, we finally met in person. Crazy how the internet connects.

Lara is an incredibly gifted writer, but she also walks with intimately with Jesus and this is evident in all her projects. All that to say, I’m super-excited to dive into Life Giver next week and I would LOVE for you to join me. In this 4-week Bible study, Lara teaches us how we can be life givers in our relationships. Below is an excerpt from this study.


We can probably all agree that forgiveness is best. Forgiveness, even of those who wrong us deeply, proves to be freedom for us. But there’s one little thing that often gets in the way: our feelings.

I’m a girl. And let me tell you. As a girl, I’ve got lots and lots of feelings. And I’ve got feelings about those feelings and feelings about those feelings. Ad infinitum. So, when someone wrongs me, lots of feelings come to the surface and beg my attention. They typically insist that I act vengeful with fingers pointing and a few “how dare you(s)” thrown in for added drama.

But the thing about feelings is that even though they are very real, and often justified, they don’t always lead us to the right action. Remember what Jeremiah said about our hearts? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). In fact, I don’t think my feelings have ever told me to forgive my enemies. Ever.

Yet Jesus commands forgiveness, for our good and His glory. And He means for it to be an act of our will, not necessarily an act of our emotions.

Forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. — Colossians 3:13

We have a choice. Regardless of our feelings, in Christ we have the choice to forgive even when we’re desperately hurting. And that choice will bring soul-blessing.

God gives us boundaries and commands to protect us. He loves us – perfectly and fully. He knows us – perfectly and fully. And because He designed us, He knows what will lead us to our most blessed existence. When it comes to relationships, we will give life to others when we choose to forgive, regardless.

How Do I Forgive?

The question becomes, “How do I forgive, especially when I’m hurting?” The answer? We turn to the One who forgives out of His amazing grace. We pray. We press hard into our Lord — the Forgiver of all sin. We seek refuge in Him and trust His covering. We meditate on what He says about forgiveness. We live authentic lives, allowing others to walk with us down the tearful road of releasing the debt we want another to pay. And then we believe God to do the heart-healing work that only He can do.

Feelings take time to line up with the willful forgiveness. But feelings eventually come. They will come. But until they do we command our soul towards obedience.

Forgiveness sets us free to love. It sets us free to give of ourselves without the need for others to do anything in return, because we’ve found fulness in our Lord. We see that everyone is the same — needy for a Healer and Redeemer. And when we see people through the lens of grace, unforgiveness has no place.

Moving Forward

Spend some time in honest conversation with the Lord. Confess any harbored unforgiveness. Tell God your honest feelings – He already knows. Then speak truth over those feelings. Declare the verses we meditated upon this week regarding forgiveness. You may want to seek out a trusted friend to pray for you and with you as you walk the road of forgiving another. But however you get there, release others from a debt that’s already been paid. Grace is the only road to becoming a life giver.


Join the 4-week Life Giver online study group!

  • WHEN: 9/10/2017 – 10/6/2017
  • WHERE: Bible Study Hub
  • HOW TO JOIN: Purchase your study for as little as $4.99, join the Facebook group, and dive into the conversation beginning next week!
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want the physical workbook, order your copy ASAP so you can get it before the study starts on Monday!

Who’s in? Who’s excited?!

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Do I need to know Greek or Hebrew to understand the Bible?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #5

Though you don’t need to know Greek or Hebrew to understand the Bible, having a general understanding of how to access the original language can be a helpful Bible study tool. No need to head to seminary or give in to defeat because you can’t. In this 15 minute podcast episode Chris and I share a few simple tips to begin your journey through the original languages of the Bible. 

How to get started with Greek and Hebrew

  • TIPS ROM THE SEMINARIAN (Dr. Orr): Start out with word studies
    • Pick a verb you want to study
    • Look at the semantic range – all the different ways the word can be translated
    • Look at how else the author uses this word
    • Once you are familiar with these steps and are ready for more, look in to the following:
      • voice – is this active, passive verb?
      • tense – is this word a past, present, or future, or perfect (completed) verb?
      • mood – is this a command (imperative)? an indication (indicative)?
  • TIPS FROM THE BEGINNER (Katie): Try this simple, three-step process used in the FOCUSed15 Bible studies
    • DECIDE – pick a KEY word to look up. (Don’t waste your time looking up the word “the.” Pick a word central to the verse.)
    • DISCOVER – find the original word as it was originally written
    • DEFINE – that original word
  • More tips and insight in the full episode!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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Igniting Your Faith When You Feel Like Quitting

Today’s post is an excerpt from my good friend Stacey Thacker’s new book, Is Jesus Worth It: Igniting Your Faith When You Feel Like Quitting. Stacey’s had a hard couple of years. From the loss of her father, to a child with a chronic illness, and—most recently—walking through the hospitalization and recovery of her husband’s sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest. 

So, yeah, I think she might have a thing or two to say about experiencing the goodness of God — in spite of our circumstances.

Stacey is a born encourager. For years, I’ve watched God use her Scripture-filled words of wisdom to bring clarity and courage to women, propelling us toward the everyday purposes and dreams God has for us. I typically get to see Stacey once a year. We catch lunch at Panera when I’m in town and I always leave encouraged to keep following Jesus and equipped to follow that call. Reading her books are almost as good as sitting across the table from her at Panera. Please read this post and consider diving into this new book!  I know you will leave encouraged and equipped, too.

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!


My pastor usually starts reminding us in November that January is coming and he wants us to be ready. You see, every year he asks us to pray and seek God’s heart on a word to frame our upcoming year.

Sometimes I pray and wait for weeks before the Lord brings a word to me. Not this year. I knew straightaway what the Lord was speaking to my heart. But in toddler-like fashion I was busy putting my fingers in my ears, saying, “I can’t hear you, God” and singing, “Blah, blah, blah.” Mature, right? I can be. May I tell you what truly sealed the deal for me? It was Elisabeth Elliot. She was featured on a podcast marking the sixtieth anniversary of her first husband’s martyrdom. Jim Elliot and four other missionaries gave their lives while serving the Auca Indians of Ecuador in 1956. Their faith (and quite frankly, hers) has inspired countless believers all over the world to serve the Lord whole-heartedly. They said, “Jesus is worth it,” and it cost them everything.

Elisabeth Elliot passed away in 2015, so the podcast was a recording of a talk originally given at a conference held by Campus Crusade for Christ to a stadium full of college students in 1983. Yes, that’s right. God used a talk from KC83 (as it was known) to bring the final word on my word for this year. Her topic was on “endurance,” and this quote was what gripped my heart from the beginning. She said, “If it’s God’s will that you want more than anything else in the world, it’s going to mean endurance.”

I knew it. In that moment I knew God was calling my year to be about endurance. I had a feeling it wasn’t a great sign of what was to come. I truly wanted to choose another word. I pleaded with God. He didn’t budge one inch.

By the third week of February I was a mess. It started with me dropping a dozen eggs on the cold tile floor of my kitchen. The rest of the week pretty much followed suit. And I must admit I felt just as broken as those eggs. I had planned on this being a tough week. My daughter was scheduled for a brutal test on Thursday that required an entire day of preparation. She fasted. So did I. By evening we were both tired, hungry, and cranky. She was facing another phase of prep that required her to drink something she was dead set against, and it wasn’t going well. My husband came home and sent the other girls and me to Chick-Fil-A, telling me to eat something. My fasting wasn’t doing any of us any good.

I wrestled too. Here we were being reminded once again through this new series of tests that we might never be able to fix it. How do you look your girl in the eyes and tell her all the treatment, all the pills, all the food she has had to pass on, and all the tests have not proven helpful? She was only nine years old at the time. It breaks you. It broke me. And honestly, I just sat down and wept.

There I sat, trying to make peace with it all. I did my best not to lose heart. And I knew what I was supposed to do. I knew he was present with us. I knew he would hold us no matter what I was feeling. I knew this, because the last time I was here his faithfulness was not void. And the time before that time it was also true. But all those things being true didn’t make it any easier. Do you sense a theme with endurance? Easy is not part of its vocabulary.

Over the next couple of months our family went through some of the most intense times of our lives. The longer it wore on, the more endurance I felt I needed. Like a runner in a marathon, I was longing to see the finish line that didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. What God offered me instead, in his perfect timing, was a bit of refreshment. Only it wasn’t a cup of Gatorade or a well-timed PowerBar. It was hope from his Word found on the pages of Hebrews chapter 12.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-3)

See, the Hebrew readers were weary in every way. They were losing heart fast. Some translations of this verse say they were “fainthearted,” which means “cowardly, depressed, and yielding to fear.” Does it sound a little bit like you? I guarantee you, when I read that description my heart tugged a bit. Being fainthearted is not a small thing. It can sideline the best of runners. The writer of Hebrews knew it was time to call them upward and onward. It wasn’t time to quit; it was time to run. But running wasn’t necessarily going to be easy or comfortable.

I think what the writer of Hebrews was saying, and what Elisabeth Elliot was getting at as well, is that if you are going to follow Jesus you need to decide ahead of time to keep going when it gets rough. Quitting is not on the table. Enduring faith is marked by a wholehearted endeavor to run hard after Jesus. No matter what.

When have you experienced the presence of God holding you as you endure? What situation are you currently experiencing that you must chose to keep running? Share with us in the comments and enter to win a copy of Is Jesus Worth It? Igniting Your Faith When You Feel Like Quitting. Winner has been chosen and notified!


Purchase your copy of Is Jesus Worth it? here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Stacey Thacker is a wife and the mother of four girls. She is a Bible teacher with a passion to connect with women and encourage them in their walks with God. Her books include Hope for the Weary MomFresh Out of Amazing, and Is Jesus Worth It?). You can find her blogging at staceythacker.com and hanging out on Instagram and Twitter @staceythacker usually with a cup of coffee in her hand.

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What do I need to know about the book of Proverbs?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #4

From the ideals promoted in the “Proverbs 31 Woman,” to the promise of Proverbs 22:6 (Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.) there is much we can glean from the book of Proverbs. Yet many struggle to understand exactly how to apply these wisdom sayings to everyday living. In this 15 minute podcast episode, we chat about some of the important principles to keep in mind as you study this book of wisdom.

What do I need to know about Proverbs?

  • Proverbs is one of the books of Wisdom Literature
  • AUTHOR: There are several authors
    • First 29 chapters were written or collected/adapted/grouped together by King Solomon
    • Proverbs 30 – written by Agur
    • Proverbs 31 – first half written by Lemuel
  • AUDIENCE: Fairly broad audience. Solomon was a collector of wisdom, and spent much time collecting
  • AIM: To provide wisdom from God for everyday life.
  • INTERPRETATION NOTES:
    • The wisdom found in Proverbs is intended to be general principles, not guaranteed promises.
    • The Proverbs should be read like poetry, with imagery present. Not everything can be taken literally.
    • Make sure any potential interpretation from a proverb can be confirmed by the rest of Scripture.
  • Listen in to the podcast for more tips!

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.