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  what 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!

When Trying Harder is Not Enough – FOCUSed15 Podcast #6

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Today I’m kicking off a new podcast series, through Psalm 46, and we’re chatting about how our beliefs affect our actions. Just click play above to listen in! (Email readers, you’ll need to click here to view the media player at the top of the post.)

Show Notes

One familiar trap I find myself in is the belief that I must try harder to please God. After my worst moments, a vision of God flashes through my head. He is standing, arms crossed, face stern, and head shaking when He finds out the bad choices I made. And I believe the lie that I am stuck in the mess of my sin. Alone. Without hope. Forever marked with the burden of failure. So, I throw my pity party, pick myself off the floor, and pile out of bed the next day determined to try harder. I declare, “I will get it right today.”

Only I don’t. Again and again and again I fail. This try-harder life is exhausting.

The cornerstone of Satan’s strategy is to get us to believe that God is not good.

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 Grief Room

Dealing 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?

How to Apply the Bible to Your Life – FOCUSed15 Podcast #5

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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!

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.

God Provides a Second Chance – FOCUSed15 Podcast #4

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Have you been a runner like Jonah? Do you have a hard time staying in Gods’ will? In today’s episode we chat about God’s Plan A for our lives, what happens when we depart from this plan, and how God provides a way back.

We even chat about what cows can teach us about remaining in fellowship with God … and there may or may not be some hymn-singing action! I hope you’ll join in today.

Other Podcasts in this Series

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.

Enjoy!

There is hope for your really bad week.

I’ve had a lousy week.

It was unusually busy, with a Bible conference held at our church during which I watched the 4-year old class twice. (If you’ll remember, nursery duty is not my typical place of service in the church.) The newness of homeschooling has more than rubbed off and the kids were less than cooperative. I’ve had to miss the gym several times over the last few weeks, the house is a wreck, and I’ve had many random and poorly-scheduled appointments which couldn’t be changed.

So, yeah, it’s been a bad week.

Though the external of my week was rough, it’s the inside of my week that stinks. My attitude, my selfishness, and my sheer exhaustion. I’m pretty sure much of it is hormonal and “thyroidal” (I have yet another untimely appointment scheduled which will hopefully take care of those issues.) but there is another surge of emotions taking over which is not a physical problem. It’s spiritual.

My flesh is putting up a good fight these days and I’ve been attempting to stand against it on my own.

I’ve failed miserably.

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There is much about this week I wish I could erase, but I am thankful that I do have hope. My God has not forsaken me, my kids are still my kids, and my ever-amazing, servant husband is still by my side.

I’m clinging to grace once again, trusting in the truths God’s Word gives me. (And listening to this song on repeat all day.) 

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. – Psalm 39:7

What truths do you cling to when you have a bad week?

affiliate links present

God’s Provision of Deliverance – FOCUSed15 Podcast #3

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Today I’m teaching through Jonah 2 again, this time looking at Jonah’s response to God’s deliverance and what we can learn from his actions.

This is part 3 of a teaching series through Jonah 2. You can catch part 1, God’s Provision of Distress, and part 2, God’s Provision of Deep Places.

I hope you’ll listen in and let me know what you learned! Just leave a comment to discuss.

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.

Enjoy!

Joy in All Circumstances {Free Devotional!}

I’m excited to share this free devotional with you all.

Joy in All Circumstances Devotional

Lara and I have partnered with The Seed Company for over three years now. Through the sales of Savoring Living Water, it has been an honor to be a small part of what God is doing through this amazing organization.

I love their mission to bring the Word of God to all nations, in their mother tongue.

End Bible poverty.

This mission includes even those of us with the Bible in their language, but a poverty nonetheless.

You and I sometimes live as if we are Bible-poor. We are surrounded by a feast of truth, but choose to let it remain on the table instead of being nourished daily by it.

Joy in All Circumstances is a quick, yet encouraging devotional prayer guide which will point to your need for Christ through difficult times. And it is free! Just click here to download the free devotional. I contributed one of the devotional days, as did Lara, and many, many more Word-girls.

Oh, and I received a very fun phone call from The Seed Company, just last month, to inform that the Vidunda project has been completely funded! When we started giving toward the Vidunda New Testament, they were in Matthew. The Vidunda people now have a complete New Testament in their heart language. So exciting!

Please check out The Seed Company, and say a prayer for bibleless while you are there! (And if you want to give to The Seed Company, you can do so here and help us bring the Word of God to yet another people group.)

Have you heard of The Seed Company before?

Could you use some joy in your circumstance?

God’s Provision of Deep Places – FOCUSed15 Podcast #2

*Podcast banner.002Today we take another look at Jonah’s prayer from the depth of the sea and how God is faithful, even in our deep places.

Sometimes the waves of life come and go and times are hard, but I bounce back. I learn from them, and may even find my devotions replaced as a result of the distress. Yet there are times when the waves consume and I find myself like Jonah, in a deep place. The deep, dark place where my soul is more than weary, my heart is broken, and my hope is almost gone.

Even these deep places are a provision of God.

Show notes:

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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.

Enjoy!

What is the FOCUSed15 Study Method?

I put together a little video about my FOCUSed15 study method. If you haven’t jumped into the Immersed study yet, or if you have wanted to share this method with others, check this out . . .

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Click here if you can’t view the video.

So what do you think? Sound doable? Fun? Scary? Exciting? If you’ve tried the FOCUSed15 method, what do you think about it? Love it? Hate it? Why?

Your feedback is incredibly helpful to me as I continue to refine and pursue getting this into the hands of more women through traditional publishing. Keep it coming!

A Little Giveaway

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You all have blessed me with your kind words about my latest FOCUSed15 Bible study. I’m humbled.

If you are studying Jonah with me, I’d be so grateful if you can copy your thoughts about the study into an Amazon review (affiliate link). Leaving a review helps others searching for good Bible studies to find the Immersed study. It takes 5 minutes and I’ll enter you to win a $20 gift card as a thank you! A winner will be randomly chosen on Monday.

Thank you. Really, thank you. It means so much to me to hear how God is working through His Word!

What are you up to this weekend?

I’ll see you on Monday with the next FOCUSed15 podcast!