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What should my quiet time look like?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #7 (Season 2)

Whether you realize it or not, we all have expectations and pictures of what the “perfect” quiet time looks like. Though we certainly need to be careful not to give in to the paralysis of perfectionism, it is typically helpful to have some guidelines in place to evaluate how effective our time with God is. Listen in to this 15 minute episode to receive some helpful guard rails to keep your quiet times on track.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • How we define a “quiet time”
  • The importance of both hearing from the Lord and speaking to Him within your quiet time
  • Specific elements given to help incorporate both this hearing and speaking into your time with God
  • Three ways to approach the intake of God’s Word
  • Three ways to communicate with God during your quiet time
  • Quiet time ruts we may get into that keep up from experiencing God more fully

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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What do I need to know about the Gospel of Mark?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #6 (Season 2)

Have you every wondered why we have four tellings of the life of Christ (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) instead of just one? Do you know what the commonalities are between them? Their differences? In today’s 15 minute episode, Chris and I tackle what you need to know about the Gospel of Mark. As the shortest Gospel—and the first written—the book of Mark is a great place to start if you want to study more about the life of Christ. Listen in to this quick 15 minute podcast episode to learn more about the book of Mark.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • When the Gospel of Mark was written and why the date is important
  • Who Mark was and how he’s connected to the apostles
  • What a Synoptic Gospel is
  • Who Mark’s audience was and his main purpose for writing his book
  • The distinction between an apostle and a disciple

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

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

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

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

SERMONS ON THE GOSPEL OF MARK:


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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Five Truths to Treasure through My Tears

It seems as if the only words I have for this space lately are grieving ones. I write much behind the scenes, for studies, for newsletters, for other blogs. But my words for my own blog seem to come only when my heart is stirred with pain. Today I had to watch yet another friend grieve the untimely loss of a father. And as friends grieve, I cannot grieve alongside of them without entering into my own.

My heart aches for them, for me, for all that’s been lost. All that is no longer. All that will never be.

For the Christian, we know there is always great hope, even within our deep pain. However, we often don’t always know how to experience that hope alongside our troubles.

As I write in my new Everyday Hope study, hope is not a verb. It is not a job I need to go and do better at. When I “lose hope” the solution is not to figure out how to be more hopeful, as if it were a state of mind I must fight for. For the Christian, hopelessness is forgetfulness. When I forget what is true — especially during the times of tears and dark days — despair takes over. Instead, I must remember who God is, and who I am because of Christ, regardless of what my situation is screaming at me.

Remembering who God is and how much He loves me doesn’t make me numb to the pain, or impervious to the shock and sorrow that comes with a great loss. But remembering does allow me to see the hope I’ve had all along. Hope is not something we do to escape the storm. Hope is what we hold fast to as we endure each wave.

What Hope Is

Our hope is only found in the glorious truth of the Gospel. There is much we have to hope in, through Christ. Here are five truths, specific to our pain and tears, we can cling to.

Five Truths to Treasure through My Tears

God knows my tears. Everyone. Just as he numbers every hair on my head, every star in the sky, every grain of sand on the seashore, he numbers my every tear. The sad ones. The angry ones. The sin-stained ones. The happy ones. I am never alone. Never forgotten.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? . . . This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust (Psalm 56:8-11 ESV).

Jesus enters into my grief. When Jesus saw Mary, grieving over the loss of her brother, He wept. He was present in that moment and entered into grief with her and the others weeping. I have the Spirit of the living God within me, and when I weep, He is present in my grief.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled . . . Jesus wept (John 11:33-35 ESV).

Jesus knows my pain. It’s one thing to say that God sees and enters into my pain. It is quite another to know that He humbled Himself, limited His divine nature for a time, and became human so that I could be with Him forever. Jesus loved. Jesus lost. Jesus grieved. He knows the pain I am feeling.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . . Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:3-4 ESV).

God will wipe every tear from my eye. Every single one. He sees every tear. He cares about every cry. He redeems every pain.

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:8-9 ESV).

My tears will end. My pain. My ache. This emptiness that longs for death to end. It will all be taken away and replaced with the all-consuming, completely fulfilling, perfectly healing presence of God.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5 ESV).

Though pain and tears and sorrow are inevitable on this side of eternity, we hold a great hope. Praying you and I can continually remember the hope-filled truths of who God is, and who we are (and will be) because of Christ. Let’s hold fast to the Gospel.

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Hope for The Weariness

My motherhood journey’s been a weary one. I’ve been sleep-deprived, emotionally exhausted, and physically worn-out. Yet my weariness doesn’t end there.

Maybe your’s doesn’t either?

I’ve carried a spiritual weariness with me for years. It’s a persistent burden and no matter how hard I try to get out from under its crushing weight, I find myself defeated underneath it.

This weight is a self-imposed set of motherhood ideals, super-great ideas, and the incredible examples of other Christian women. It’s the burden of the should’s.

Good things. Great women. But not the ideas or ideals God has intended for me.

There is a great, familiar passage in the gospel of Matthew, where Jesus addresses the burdened. We weary mommas can gather much hope from these words.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

When Jesus addressed the “heavy laden” here, He is referring to those who have been placed under the burden of religious legalism. People who were trying to carry around their “yoke” of extra-Biblical should’s. Rules originally intended to help people know God and honor Him with their lives, but these should’s quickly became burdensome; no one can follow ever rule.

Only Jesus upholds every ideal. And this is why he commands us to come to Him, learn from Him, and take HIS light and easy yoke.

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I’m no agrarian, but I do know that a yoke is used with cattle, so they can pull together in the same direction. When we yoke ourselves to every great Pinterest board, every parenting book, and every “perfect” mom we see around us, we are placing ourselves under a burden of should’s not intended for us.

Our intended yoke is to be side-by-side with Jesus—the perfectly capable one—who is able to bear the load. The command we need to follow is to come, learn from Him, and take up His yoke.

This is our only should.

So, ladies, let’s stop attaching ourselves to every great idea that comes along. Let’s quit pinning every good blog post to our “To Do” board and wishing for what other mom’s have. Instead, let’s focus on being with God so we can discern better what His yoke is that we are supposed to take up.

Let’s let other moms be what God has called them to be, and learn to admire and encourage them without taking on their should’s. Because when we are in sync with Jesus and His specific will for our lives, motherhood (and life) becomes much less wearisome.

Who’s yoke are you carrying? Have you experienced the burden of carrying another mom’s yoke yourself? How do you experience rest for your weary-momma soul amidst all the should’s? Let’s chat in the comments.

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I’m so excited to share with you about a new book that is perfect for weary moms! It’s been called “a life-raft in print form” and it’s written by my friends Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin. Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess can be purchased wherever books are sold. I encourage you to grab it today, keep your receipt, and then head over to the launch page where you can find out about their amazing bonuses with purchase! You can get three free videos from Stacey and Brooke that take the concepts found in the book even deeper by purchasing just one copy!

Affiliate links present.

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Say Goodbye to Perfectionism

I’ve been on a video kick lately. Today, I share a bit about how perfectionism is silly and keeps us from the very things we want to accomplish.

You can watch the video here in the blog post or you can simply listen to the audio through the audio player above.

Of note from this episode:

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Do you struggle with this all-or-nothing mentality? Does it keep you from opening your Bible?

How to Listen to This Podcast

The FOCUSed15 Podcast1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post. (Email readers, you may need to head over to the blog to see the play button.)

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod Touch– 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 or directly from the site. For all podcast apps, new episodes will show up as soon as they are published.

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

I want to hear from YOU!

Have an idea for a future podcast? A question about a Bible passage? A Bible study tip to share? I’d love to hear your voice, your questions, and your comments! Just leave a message below.

Affiliate link present.

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How to do an EASY Greek word study on BlueLetterBible.org

Ever wonder how to look up a Greek word in your Bible? It’s really easier than you think! And there are tons of great FREE online tools to help you on your quest to learn more about the true meaning of each word you study in a passage of Scripture.

Here is a tutorial on how to find the original Greek words in the Bible and where to go to find out more about those words, in BlueLetterBible.org.

What did you learn from the video? Have you used BlueLetterBible.org before?

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God is My Refuge and Strength

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We chat about an awesome game of hide-n-go-seek and what that has to do with the character of God. If you are needing a quick dose of truth today, I hope you’ll listen in!

Just click play above to hear the podcast. (Email readers, you’ll need to click here to view the media player at the top of the post.)

Show Notes

How to Listen to This Podcast

The FOCUSed15 Podcast1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post. (Email readers, you may need to head over to the blog to see the play button.)

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod Touch– 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 or directly from the site. For all podcast apps, new episodes will show up as soon as they are published.

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

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Take the FOCUSed15 pledge.

Are you in the Bible as regularly as you’d like? Do you long to go deeper in your walk with Christ, but not sure which next steps to take?

Most of us would answer with a wholehearted “Yes!” to these questions. We want to know God better, and desire to walk more intimately with Him. However, a deep walk with God does not magically appear over night. It stems from continual conversation with God, obedience to the Holy Spirit, and becoming deeply rooted in His Word.

Blessed is the man … [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. — Psalm 1:1-3

A tree cannot grow without proper nutrition, neither can we grow without steady, hearty meals of God’s Word.

Take the Pledge

Pledge to spend 15 minutes a day in the Bible
If this resonates with your heart, I pray you will jump in and see what God does through your commitment and obedience!

How does this work?

Select a Study Plan – Choose a Bible study or reading plan that will help you dive into the Word for these 15 days. My 3-week Wild Obedience FOCUSed15 Bible study would be perfect for your time, as it is 15 days long and designed to be completed in as little as 15 minutes a day!

Decide on a Date – You can start today, tomorrow, or next week; whenever you sense the Lord leading you to start.

Find a Friend – We all know accountability is key. Share your plan with a few friends and invite them to join you!

Sign the pledge here:

 I’ll send you a series of brief emails to help you stay on track! 

Are you in? Have questions? Ideas for how to implement this in your life? Share your plans with us in the comments!

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How to Live with Grief

Grief is a peculiar emotion. Yet, I’ve come to know it’s more than an emotion. It’s a journey.

There are days when this journey leaves me heartbroken. Other days I am able to avoid the tender places, but then I begin to feel guilty that I diverted my attention—that I didn’t let myself think about James that day.

The thing is, they still go hand and hand. Maybe one day I’ll be able to think about him and not get upset. But for now, it’s just not the case. Especially if I’m alone.

Grief is like a messy room in my house. I can close the door and choose not to enter, thus ignoring the mess inside. But the room is always there, and I know what awaits me when I open the door.

I move past the James room everyday. Just the mention of his name brings me right to the threshold of this room of grief. I brush past the door with a mental nod. I acknowledge its presence and move on.

I don’t have time to open the door. Not now. I can’t do this right now.

Because I know what awaits me, and it’s not simply a room filled with messy clothes. It’s a space full with the mess of my emotions.

When it’s quiet and I’m alone, I open the door. Sometimes I don’t even mean to, it just happens. I simply stand in the doorway and the memories wash over me like a flooding wave. His voice. Mad Libs at Christmas. Settlers. Laughter. The last hug. Seeing him in that casket, cold and lifeless. I’m unable to remember the good times without the inevitable ending. To experience the good memories, the pain must be experienced with it.

Presently, as I write this, I’m in the room. The grief is fresh once again. The loss is real. It hurts, and, as long as I sit here on the floor of this grief room, it will hurt. I have to get up off the floor and shut the door.

It’s just easier right now to stay out of the room. It doesn’t mean I don’t love James. I haven’t forgotten about him. I just can’t function while face down in my tears.

I just can’t.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'”

I’m thankful that God is with me. He dwells within my heart as my Comforter and Strength. He wipes every tear from my eyes and records every sorrow (Psalm 56:8). He is present in every part of my life.

Even the grief room.

Do you have a grief room? Have you experienced the comfort of His presence?

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How to Apply the Bible to Your Life

Ever wonder how to better apply God’s Word to your life? Feel like the dos and don’ts are overwhelming? In today’s podcast we look at a different, more important way to apply the Bible to our days.

We must be careful not to jump to our to-dos without first adjusting our thoughts.

I also share an incredible resource that has been a game-changer for me in my time with God, as well as a brand-new “Power Pack” I am excited to be a part of (details below).

I hope you’ll join me on the podcast today!

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How to Listen to This Podcast

The FOCUSed15 Podcast1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post. (Email readers, you may need to head over to the blog to see the play button.)

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod Touch– 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 or directly from the site. For all podcast apps, new episodes will show up as soon as they are published.

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

The HelloMornings Power Pack

I’m thrilled to be a part of this new and exciting Power Pack.

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This Power Pack is all about how to study your Bible, and features my FOCUSed15 Bible study method. It includes all you need for a deep study of Scripture in only 15 minutes a day, along with daily sheets to walk through the book of Matthew, blank sheets to use on any passage of scripture, and 6 quick yet informative videos in which Kat Lee of Inspired to Action and I chat through how to use each part of the FOCUSed15 study method.

CLICK HERE to purchase or learn more about the Power Pack.