Living So That …

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I started a new Bible Study this week.  I am reading Living so That: Making Faith-filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life written by Wendy Blight.

It is a study of  “so that” verses.   The chapters are

  1. Jesus came so that…..
  2. God spoke so that…
  3. Pray so that…
  4. Trials come so that…
  5. Let your light shine so that…

Wendy is a thoughtful and deep researcher.  She has a way of writing to make you feel as though she is speaking to you from across the table.  The study is good for people newer to Bible Study and has a going deeper section for those who want to dig in a bit more.

Proverbs 31 Ministries is leading an online Bible Study with this book for the next few weeks.  Join in if you want!

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#verse2014 Romans 15:13

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.                                                                                               ~Romans 15:13

This verse is such a blessing to me.  It goes right along with my one word for the year – hope.  For the matter of brevity, I will break it down into five clauses to think upon.

1. God of hope –  Hope comes from God, it is of God.  We do not generate hope for ourselves

2. fill you with all joy and peace – The emphasis is on the ALL ,   we have access to the greatest amount of joy and peace – totality–complete joy… complete peace….

3. trust in him – Our access to this complete joy and peace is directly related to our trust in God.  The more I let go of my anxious thoughts and worries and trust in my loving and sovereign God , the more I will experience true full joy and peace regardless of my circumstances.

4. overflow with hope – Not only do I receive joy and peace as I surrender my will to God and trust in him wholly, but I will also receive hope.  In fact, my cup runneth over with hope!   Joy , peace and hope must be related.

5. by the power of the Holy Spirit – Joy, peace, and hope are not things I can attain on my own.  They are given to me by the Holy Spirit of God.

My God is Hopeful. My God is Peaceful.  My God is Joyful. My God is Powerful.  And my God loves me and fills me with his hope, his peace, his joy, and his power sustains me as I trust in Him more and more.

Personalizing the verse and saying it aloud is helpful to me.

May the God of hope fill Mary with all joy and peace as Mary trusts in him, so that Mary may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

I will focus on this verse throughout the year in combination with my word hope.

Lord, you are my God of hope. Thank you for being so generous with me. Help me to trust you completely with every part of my life, so that you can fill me to overflowing with your Holy Spirit and I might have all joy and all peace and your hope.

Do you have a verse that you can focus on this year? 

One Word 2014

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My one word this year is HOPE.

This will be the word that I focus on this year to guide me and change me in lieu of resolutions.

I began praying about which word I should choose a few weeks ago and this word hope kept showing up in many ways.  Hope is a difficult word to define and I really thought this wasn’t the word for me.   Rather, I wanted a word like  strength or faith or trust.   *sigh*

Giving it more time, I prayed more specifically asking God to give me a word for this year–thinking surely I was wrong and there was another word for me —  but HOPE continually seeks me out –  in my devotional time; in the songs I sing; in the books I read; in the messages I hear; and in other ways.  I can’t ignore it anymore.  So HOPE it is.

Isn’t this just like me though? I ask God for direction — and when he directs me and I either miss the signs or I think to myself that couldn’t possibly be what God is wanting for me.  Usually because I have some other plan in mind.   Not so many years ago, I would have plowed ahead with my own way not even realizing that I disregarded God’s guidance for me.  But especially with my continued prayer this year, it feels like God is smacking me  upside the head with the board of HOPE and, by golly, I better heed it!

I plan to do a Bible verse study on the word hope. I have already started gathering verses and  I am amazed.  Hopefully I will blog what I learn about hope and how I let hope direct &  influence me throughout 2014.

For more information and resources about the One Word concept look at these websites:

#oneword365

#myoneword 

What about you? Do you have one word for 2014?

I’d love to have you leave a comment and share your word with me! 

Made to Crave Bible Study

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 I’m signed up and ready for Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible Study Made to Crave. The study begins January 19 and goes through March 1, 2014

All you need is the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst, a Bible, and a willing spirit.  It helps to have a notebook or journal of some kind.  I also have Made to Crave Devotional also by Lysa Terkeurst, but that is totally optional.

Won’t you join me?  You can sign up by clicking  here.

Saying Yes To God

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My cousin and I have always been close. There have been times in our lives when we have talked daily and seen each other often during the week to encourage each other and share with one another. Other times we both stay busy with family, jobs, and everyday life so that we keep in touch just by phone and the occasional get together.

Then one day I felt the nudge. From God. Ask your cousin to join you at Bible Study.
“But Lord, I’m not even sure I have the time to commit to my church’s Bible Study…. Besides, she won’t want to come – she likes to keep her evenings at home and I can’t do mornings…. And she may already be involved in a study at her own church….”

Again, the nudge. Ask your cousin to join you at Bible Study.

It was early January and besides Christmas greetings and holiday talk; we hadn’t had any lengthy conversations in a long time. It was going to feel weird and awkward to ask her to join me in a Bible Study that would start in a few weeks. I needed time to rekindle our relationship to a deep level before I approach the Bible Study level!

I really didn’t think my cousin would entertain the thought. Her children were all older and had lives that she was involved in and she guarded the time she had in the evenings with her husband. Her mother was at the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease and her extended family had made a tough decision recently to put my aunt in a nursing home. My cousin made one, sometimes two, visits daily to take care of her mother. She also was involved in church. She was much too busy to think about coming to my church for a Bible Study.

But God wanted me to ask. What would I do? I said Yes To God. I was only responsible for asking, not for her answer. So I invited my cousin to a Bible Study — and to my surprise she said yes.

Why was I surprised? Was this not God’s plan? However, I didn’t see the full impact until later.

During the next few months :
• We completed two great Bible Studies
• We met an awesome older lady in our Bible Study who we would pray with
• We became very close during this time- sharing daily and having many deep conversations
• I visited her mom (my aunt) at the nursing home at least weekly

Then one spring afternoon at her kitchen table, my cousin grabbed my hand and with tears in her eyes she told me what I already felt within.
“You know why God has brought us close together again—I need you to hold my hand when my mom goes. You have walked that path before me and I am going to need you.”
And she was right. God was preparing her and preparing me for her mother’s passing.

Less than seven months from the time I felt the first nudge from God and said Yes to Him, my aunt passed from this life to everlasting life. I was there to hold my cousin’s hand and comfort her with the comfort of God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

More of God’s comfort came a week later when both my cousin and I received cards from our older Bible Study friend. The cards were handwritten notes of encouragement.

A few months later I saw her and thanked her for the thoughtful cards that had come during our time of grief. She was unaware of my aunt’s passing! God had laid us on her heart and so she sent us the cards. She had listened to the nudges of God and obeyed.

…God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort…

Why should I be surprised?