Some days we just need a little extra encouragement, don’t we?

The past few weeks, for me, have been tough ones for many reasons. But in the midst of it all, my Abba Father has been so faithful to speak comfort into my heart.

We are His children! He loves us more deeply than we could ever fathom!

Today, as I was praying over my quiet time, the Spirit drew me to James. I sometimes forget how much I love this book. Yes, there is encouragement here, but James also gives us many reminders to check-up on our heart attitudes.

When we feel wronged, it’s human nature to lash out. That’s not our Father’s nature, and we are to reflect Him.

I encourage you today, pray & read through this short book. Take a look at your reflection in God’s mirror. Are you reflecting Him or the world in word and deed?
I definitely need to do some polishing on my reflection today!

**Father, thank You for Your mercy! Thank you for love us and allowing us to be imperfect children, but also for reminding us to strive to perfectly reflect You! Help us to daily check our heart attitudes for anything that is not of You. Heal our brokenness and help us to live in the fullness of Your joy everyday! Amen!**

Be blessed!

-De

And I Almost Gave Up

Don’t you just love how God can reach out and smack you in the head sometimes?  I don’t know about you, but I need it on occasion, and today was one of those occasions.

Yesterday afternoon, the hubby and I were sitting at our kitchen table discussing Bible studies.  I was lamenting how I was really wanting a good, beyond surface level study to do during my quiet time.  Not a book on spiritual formation, or a feel-good 2 minute study, but a real “dig in” kind of study.  He told me to go out and find one. (I love him and his simplistic answers.)

Background: A few months ago, a friend from seminary posted on facebook that she was seeking some accountability as she wanted to go through Beth Moore’s 90 Day Journey with Paul.  I had the book already, so I said sure.  We formed a little group on fb and got started.  Shortly after this, we were called to a new church and the task of moving began.  As much as I tried to keep up studying, I failed, and Paul got packed away with everything else.

I got so far behind everyone else, I thought to myself, why bother picking it back up.  Catching up isn’t going to happen.  You know, I was really rather embarrassed to let the other ladies in the group know how far behind I was.

Back to Yesterday:  I mentioned to my hubby that I had been enjoying the study, while I was doing it.  It may not have been as “deep” as what I thought I wanted, but it didn’t really matter now.  I was so far behind there was no point in picking it back up.  He lovingly gave me that “whatever you think you should do” look, and we continued on with a new conversation.  (Ladies, don’t you just love how your fellas can speak a million words with just a look.)

This morning, I put my risen sour dough loaves in the oven to bake, fixed my cup of coffee and sat down with my Bible.  Not really having a clear direction, I felt nudged to go grab Paul from my desk.  Here’s what was at the end of our little lesson:

How does it help to know that a real enemy is engaged in battle against you, an actual foe who is seeking to deceive you and distract you? Rather than suffering endless pangs of guilt over your inconsistency or weakness of character, does it strengthen your muscle to know that your acts of obedience are blows against Satan’s army? This is war! Wanna fight?

Thanks for that, Beth!  God has used your words to smack some sense into me this morning.  I was so wrapped up in me and what I had failed to do. I was allowing the enemy to distract me from the whole point.  Here was my reply to her question:

It helps me to not condemn myself as harshly. It’s so easy to forget that the enemy has an army surrounding us, trying to beat us down & prevent us from getting in the Word, & spending time in prayer. We should acknowledge our victories!  Celebrate them & then seek them our more often.

distractions

It’s so easy to allow Satan to distract us every day.  And after a while, we start blaming ourselves, beating ourselves up because we were distracted.  Then, we just want to write the whole thing off, and never get God’s blessing for us.  So what if you get behind in your quiet time?  Here’s a thought…pick it back up!  Proclaim a victory!  Be obedient and give the enemy the blow he deserves!  Rejoice in your victories over Satan’s distractions!  Keep at it!  Distractions will happen!  Worry more if they don’t!  When Satan sees you as a threat, he’s going to pound you with everything he’s got.  Kids are going to need you.  The phone is going to ring.  People will knock on the door.  Etc, etc, etc.

Let me end this with Beth’s prayer from 1 Peter 5:8-10

We heed Your call, Lord, to be sober, to be on alert! For our adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. May we resist him, Lord, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by our brothers in the world–knowing, too, that You, the God of all grace, who called us to Your eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support us after we have suffered a little.

Don’t give up!  Don’t let Satan beat you down with distractions and life.  Let’s celebrate our victories (even the smallest ones) together!

Be blessed!

-De

What a Good Friday Looks Like

Again we’ve come to the time of year when we are truly encouraged to reflect upon the sacrifice Christ made for us.  As Christians, it should be at the forefront of our minds daily, but being creatures of this world, more often than not, it isn’t.

This evening, take a few moments to meditate on these verses from Matthew.  Read them.  Think on them. (I attached a video of a song.  I love to listen to music while I meditate on scripture.)  Make them personal.  He endured this…He did this for YOU!  No one else would ever do the same.  Only Christ.  Your Savior.

Matthew 27:27-61 (HCSB)

Mocked by the Military

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. 28 They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. 31 When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

Crucified Between Two Criminals

32 As they were going out, they found a Cyrenian man named Simon. They forced this man to carry His cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place), 34 they gave Him wine[l] mixed with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. 35 After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots.[m] 36 Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. 37 Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:

THIS IS JESUS

THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then two criminals[n] were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were yelling insults at[o] Him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders,[p] mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him[q] come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him![r] For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon[s] darkness came over the whole land.[t] 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Elí, Elí, lemá[u] sabachtháni? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken[v] Me?[w]

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!”

50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary[x] was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.

54 When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!”[y]

55 Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and ministered to Him were there, looking on from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus

57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate ordered that it[z] be released. 59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean, fine linen, 60 and placed it in his new tomb, which he had cut into the rock. He left after rolling a great stone against the entrance of the tomb. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were seated there, facing the tomb.

 

Be blessed.  Today is Friday, but Sunday is coming!

-De

Stop and Refocus

When I sat down to have my quiet time this morning, I looked at my Bible study book and just couldn’t pick it up.  So after a little prayer, I began getting the kiddos working on their lessons for the day.  I really felt God wanting me to stop and refocus.  Not exactly what I wanted to do this morning.

Here’s a little insight…

Ok, so we’re working to get settled in.  Unpacking is just as much fun as the packing was. Moving-Homes-The-Unpacking-Nightmare-700x466I’m honestly, OVER seeing boxes everywhere.  But, unpacking and living in a place at the same time makes it slow-going.  That’s ok.  It really is.  But, here’s what happened over the past few days.  The hubby has started officially at the church.  He’s keeping regular office hours (and not just across the parking lot), so he’s not around during schooling hours if I need a little assistance.  (That’s really ok, too.)  I, however, during this transition have not been as diligent in keeping the Enemy out of my thought life.  That’s a very dangerous thing!  Little unpacking has been accomplished this week.  All of my time has been spent schooling & cleaning.  (I mean, you have to clean if you are going to live in a place…even if it isn’t unpacked.)  Insert LOTS of frustration over not being able to find items needed for cleaning.  More frustration over being interrupted by children needing assistance while I was looking for missing items needed for the cleaning task I was involved in.  Dishes. Laundry. Creating a home atmosphere. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Dishes. Laundry. Trip over a box. (Did I break my toe?) Try to develop a cleaning/shopping routine.  Realize it doesn’t work.  Try again.  Redirect kiddos back to school.  Etc. Etc. & repeat.

During all of this, the Enemy is whispering: “You are going to have to do this all by yourself.”  “Look at them all, playing around & not helping at all.”  “You’re never going to get anything accomplished.”   See where he was taking me?  UGH!!

Insert God saying “STOP!” “My daughter, I need you to refocus!”

Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable but you surpass them all!” Proverbs 31:25-29 (HCSB)

He directed me to read and meditate on Proverbs 31, again.  I love my Abba for times like this!  Sure, I may get overwhelmed at times, but I don’t have to listen to the Enemy’s lies.  As long as I recognize them, I can rebuke them.  God created me for the purpose of “watching over” my household.  That doesn’t mean I have to do it all myself, but I do have to delegate responsibilities & ask for assistance when needed.

Why do we, as women, make things SO much more difficult than they need to be?  😉

May I encourage you, sister, if you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged with simply everyday life, take some time to stop and refocus.  Pray.  Listen to God.  Obey Him.  Maybe read through Proverbs 31. (And please don’t feel that you EVER have to live up to her example.) Be inspired by her!  Be encouraged by her!  God created you for a beautiful purpose!

Be blessed!

-De

Word Box: Joy

Let’s add the word “Joy” to our word box this week!

joy

Here are a few of my favorites:

James 1:2-3

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Psalm 47:1

Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

John 16:22

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Psalm 30:5

For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Hebrews 12:1-2  – Christ’s joy at the cross

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.

When you find yourself down, or letting someone steal your JOY, take a moment to stop and pray.  “No one will take your joy from you.” “Count it all joy.” “May the God of hope fill you with all joy.”

Please share with us some of your favorite joy verses!

-De

Word Box: Prayer

Today, let’s spend a little time in the Word seeking out the topic of prayer.

prayer

When we are intimately familiar with the Word of God, our prayer life can me so much more than we ever dreamed.  I truly believe that.

So, what does scripture say about prayer?  Here are a few of my favorites.  Feel free to add them to your Word Box.

Matthew 6:9-13 – The Lord’s Prayer

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your kingdome come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. (For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.)

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing

James 5:13-18 – The Power of Prayer

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over hime, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayer fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. The he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth more its fruit.

Romans 8:26-27

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

1 John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus.

These are a few of my favorites, and by no means all of them.  I would love for you to share some also.  Please comment below.

Be blessed,

De

Digging into the Word: Praying Scriptures

I recently started a small Bible study with ladies at church.  Our ultimate goal is to know God’s Word more intimately.  I can’t think of a better way to build that wonderful relationship with the Father than through prayer.  Knowing His Word well enough to be able to pray it, conversationally with Him. *Insert excited shiver*

The first thing I challenged the ladies (and myself) to do was begin building a Word Box.

image

My Word Box is a simple 3×5 note card box.

Build it slowly, and categorically, as they read the Bible during their quiet time.  If a verse speaks to me, I write it down!

I use my Word Box during my prayer time, especially if I’ve been asked to pray over certain situations, or if I’m struggling in a certain area.

A few basic categories I have in my box are Worry, Fear, Prayer, Faith, Worship, Provision, Contentment, and Healing.  I’m continuing to build on those as we go through our study.

Would you like to join us?  Every Wednesday I will post a topic and some scriptures that are related to it.  I would love for you to share in this journey with us!  And please, comment and contribute to our Word Boxes!

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV

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. Hebrews 4:12 ESV

Looking forward to this journey!

-DeAnna