God’s Provision of Deliverance – FOCUSed15 Podcast #3

The FOCUSed15 Podcast

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

1. 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

The FOCUSed15 Podcast

Today 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:

my only hope.001

How to Listen to This Podcast

1. 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 . . .

FOCUSed15

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!

God’s Provision of Distress – FOCUSed15 Podcast #1

I’m excited to announce the podcast is back in recording!

The FOCUSed15 Podcast

I hope you’ll check out my first FOCUSed15 Podcast, the first of a four-part teaching through Jonah 2.

Here are a few highlights:

  • God’s provision of distress often reveals my displaced devotion.
  • Trials and testing produce perfection; not a perfection of my own, but of becoming more and more like the Perfect One, Jesus.

FOCUSed15 Podcast #1 – Jonah 2 – God’s Provision of Distress

How to Listen to This Podcast

1. 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!

On How We View the Bible and Why it Matters

A reader on my Facebook page mentioned she was told that the book of Jonah shouldn’t be studied; that it was not true and thus a waste of time. Lara and I received similar comments from our Bible study of Job. Unfortunately, the question of Biblical authority, inerrancy, inspiration, and relevancy is becoming more and more pervasive in mainstream Christianity. The following post is quite long, but I felt led to post this for each of us to read and evaluate these truths about God’s Word. Big shout out to my hottie husband who helped me put this together.

There are some who say that the Biblical account of Jonah is simply an allegory—a story created by the writer to explain spiritual truths, but not tell a historical event. If I’m honest, I can see the attractiveness of this theory. Mainly because the likelihood of a man living inside of a fish for three days or a plant growing and dying in a day seems impossible.

But our God is a God of power and impossibilities. He is not bound to the laws of nature. He can stop processes, suspend time, and create or destroy as He wills. He is God, and though I have not seen with my eyes a man being spit up from the belly of a fish, I have seen him do mighty works in my life. I have known His transforming work, and experienced fruit come forth from my life that has no other explanation than a movement of His Spirit.

Seeing His work in my life gives me confidence in His ability to do much greater things.

Immersed: Experiencing the Patience, Provision, and Presence of God

Before we dive into the details of any book of the Bible, we must first wrestle with the authority of Scripture. ‘Cause let’s face it, there are some crazy stories in Scripture. But the longer I study the Bible and the deeper I walk with God I come to see things much differently than I did at first glance.

Too often we read the Bible through the lens of our culture, opinions, and/or circumstances. Instead, we must come to understand truths taught in Scripture with the original culture of the author and audience in mind, while keeping our opinions and circumstances from shaping our interpretations. It’s not that our opinions or circumstances don’t matter—they do—but both can change with the wind and cannot be the foundation by which we make decisions about who God is.

Every time I read God’s Word I’m learning more about Him and if I make judgements on His character based on what I think or feel that day, I am walking on shaky ground.

The Bible is not silent on this issue. In fact, God’s Word has much to say about itself. Here are just a few points to consider:

The Bible is God’s Revelation to Me

{It is Relevant}

We know about the character of God because He has revealed himself to us in His Word. As we read the pages of Scripture we see a God who creates, knows, and loves. We see a God who works miracles. We see a God who would come to the earth to rescue us. Most of what you and I know about God today we know from His living and active Word.

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”—Exodus 3:13-14

When we approach God’s Word, let’s pray that our heart’s cry would be to know God more through the pages of the Scriptures He has given us. Not to check of our “Bible study” box, or to achieve more knowledge, but instead to walk deeper in intimacy with Him.

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The Bible is More than a Good Book

{It is Inspired}

Those who wish to diminish the importance of the Bible will say that it is not a divine work but simply the work of men. However, this is not what the Bible claims for itself. 

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.(2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV)

Every word of the Bible was inspired to be written by the Holy Spirit through His chosen messengers. It is a creation of God, not merely a history book or collection of stories and letters. Every man who penned the words of the Bible were instructed and enabled to do so by God’s very Spirit.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,—2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible is Worthy of My Trust

{It is Inerrant}

In order for the Bible to be truly trustworthy it must all be true. Since the Bible is God’s word to us and for us, we can trust that God has preserved His truth within Scripture. 

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. —Proverbs 30:5

If the Bible claims that Jonah lived inside a fish for 3 days, then he did. Even if we don’t understand it or science says it is impossible we must choose to believe that it is true. We can’t pick and choose what we think is truth and what isn’t. God’s Word is all true, or it isn’t.

There is purpose for every verse in the Bible. Every one. There are certainly passages which are more easily understood and applied than others, but there are no throw-aways in the Bible. We cannot read the Bible with a razor and glue, selecting the verses we like and taking out the ones we don’t. When we do, we state that we know better than God.

There are many who deny the inerrancy of the Bible; they do not believe all of the Bible is true and without error. Many claim the existence of errors and contradictions in the Bible. The problem with most of these supposed errors and contradictions is that when both texts are properly understood, no such error or contradiction exists. Unfortunately, many of those who refute the trustworthiness of the Bible want there to be errors, so they do not put in the effort required to truly understand each passage in its context.

There are many books, websites and blog posts dedicated to refuting supposed Bible errors. A great resource is Gleason Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (affiliate link). Don’t be afraid to do some research for yourself. God’s Spirit will lead you to truth! Here are loads of sermons on the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18 ESV)

The Bible is for My Day-to-Day Life

{It is Authoritative}

When it comes to having a correct approach to the Bible believing it is God’s trustworthy word is one half of the picture. The second half comes into view when we correctly see how the Bible affects us. In His word, God has given us clear guidelines and principles by which we are to live our lives. By living our lives in accordance with these principles we are demonstrating trust in God. If we knowingly live outside these principles and guidelines we are claiming with our actions (if not also with our beliefs) that we know better than God. To reject the authority of the Bible in our lives is to reject the authority of God in our lives. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.—Psalm 119:105

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.—Hebrews 4:12-13

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”—Matthew 4:4 

What do you think about this? Have you heard of these terms before? Do you believe them? Do you have any questions? Let’s chat in the comments.

Psalm 119 Prayers {Free Bookmark}

Psalm 119 Prayers.001

Where my soul is filled with sorrow, strengthen me with your words.
Where my heart seeks selfish gain, turn me toward your statutes.
When I’m afflicted and discouraged, fill me with hope and comfort in your promises.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things out of your law.
Give me a love for your word. Make it my meditation all the day.

Lord, we want to see you and experience your nearness through the power of your Living Word. Ready our hearts daily to hear from you.

What the Sting of Death Brings to My Soul

A good friend of mine lost her daddy this week. Through seeing her pain, the sting of death has penetrated my own heart once again.

I know what it is like to get that phone call. The one that changes everything. Regrets wash in like a tidal wave, and the desire for more time, one more hug, one more conversation.

This pain reminds that I am not promised tomorrow. Each moment that comes could be the last with the ones I love.

The Brevity of Life

This death-sting brings a paranoia. One in which I dread answering the phone. Where I hold my breath when family members call, waiting to catch the tone of their voice — bracing myself for more bad news.

But the reminder of death’s pain also brings a neediness. The reality that I can’t control things drives me to trust God more. Death can’t be avoided nor reversed. I am utterly dependent on our Maker for every breath I take and He alone controls the beating hearts of the ones I love.

The sting of death brings hope. The promise of heaven, where one day there will be no more pain and my soul will be perfected in the love of Christ. Perfectly in peace.

No more sorrow.

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

Praise God for the hope of this victory!

I Still Weep

I’m somewhat back into the swing of life. Sorta by force. My sister and I have chatted about how it’s really hard to grieve when you have kids. All their needs are the same, regardless of our state of mind.

Yet, even if motherhood stood still, the demands of life would still call. I still need to eat, shower, and stay healthy. Work needs to be done; responsibilities can only be held off for so long.

So I’ve jumped back into the rhythm of life. In some ways it feels really good to work again, to do the things I love and give me energy. Moments, even hours go by now when I don’t think of James.

Then it hits me. All over again.

Reality attempts to sink in, but it still seems like a really bad dream; like I’m going to wake up in the morning and it will all be just a darkness that melts away with the rise of the sun. Yet the sun comes day after day and the darkness does not go away, and sometimes that painful darkness overcomes and I have to just let it come.

Sometimes it comes in the kitchen as I prep my water bottle for the day. Oftentimes, it’s at night as I settle into bed, or triggered by a picture found, a memory recalled, or a message from a friend of his with their own sweet memory of James to share.

And when the darkness does come, I weep. I mourn the loss of James, as well as everything that is to come that I will miss out on now that he is gone. 

My heart aches when I allow myself to grab a hold of reality. I envision the last time I saw him and wish I had hugged him just a little bit tighter, and it’s not that I want to forget him, but sometimes the pain in remembering is just too much.

So, I still weep. I have a feeling I always will.

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