Two Bible Study Tips for the New Year

Here are a few excerpts from our first two weeks with the F260 Bible reading plan. As I read each day, I am looking for two things:

An Inhale – a meditation

An Exhale – an application

Here are a few examples.

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Inhale: Grief changes people.

Exhale: Do I allow people who have suffered a great loss to find their new normal?

26220011_1573868926038645_7647826988527679204_nInhale: We must know Scripture well so that we do not speak things of God that are not true.

Exhale: Do I use God’s Word to shame or condemn someone instead of to bring light and freedom?

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Inhale: The GOspel is about going.

Exhale: Where (or to whom) is God calling me to go?

*****

I would love to hear from y’all and know what God is revealing to you!

Also, follow me on Instagram for my daily Bible journal posts!

You are loved. ❤

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Blog the Bible 2018

If you have not yet chosen a Bible reading plan for 2018, I would love for you to join me! I’m using the F260 plan which you can download here. It’s a little bit lighter than some other plans with only 5 days a week in the schedule. Also, something that makes it different is that it includes a weekly memory verse which I love.

I will be posting my journal entries from my daily reading on my Instagram account. That will be the best place to connect with me daily regarding the Bible reading. However, I will post occasional updates here on the blog.

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I would love to hear what God reveals to you this year. So, feel free to leave a comment or email me with your thoughts as you make your way through God’s Word this year!

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You are loved. ❤

Stacy

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

I have recently taken up running. Now, when I say running, what I mean is more of a fast jog. Perhaps, an impressive mall walker. I’m not breaking any speed records, but I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve enjoyed it.

A couple weeks ago, I ran a one-mile race. It was my first official running event and there was an amazing assortment of people. There were those who clearly took this race very seriously. (Did I mention we were only running one mile?) They had all the running gear and their game face firmly in place.

Then, there were people like me. I’ve got a decent pair of running shoes and I’ve been consistently somewhat consistently occasionally running at the Y for a couple of months. Then, of course, there were some folks who seemed to have taken a wrong turn somewhere and were looking for the nearest Arby’s.

There were many people who made the race look easy. When the race began, they sprinted ahead and out of sight. Some walked the entire way with no interest in beating anyone. Several started out running quickly and, then, had to slow down. Others began slowly but, at some point, increased their speed.

One lady stood out to me. She was up at the front of the group, full of laughter and very excited to begin the race. The starter shot was fired, the mass of people began to move and, almost instantly, she fell. As if in slow motion, she awkwardly hit the pavement and rolled a couple of times. She quickly stood up, glanced around, laughed it off and continued the race – walking instead of running this time.

It was all over in 10-15 minutes and we gathered at the finish line. As I looked around, I saw everyone. The guy with the cool running gear. The women who walked the entire way pushing baby strollers. The ones who (like me) thought it would be a breeze and found it slightly difficult. She was also there – the one who had publicly fallen. She had endured the giggles and the looks of pity and had risen to finish the race.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

It made me think of the author’s words in Hebrews. He never said that we need to look a certain way, have the impressive gear or be faster than anyone else. We simply need to endure. We need to show up and not quit.

It won’t look the same for all of us. It will look like some are having an easier time but, we must keep in mind, that we aren’t always privy to the training taking place behind the scenes. Perhaps, we will look at some and think, “They aren’t trying very hard,” without realizing the effort it took for them to simply get out of bed that morning. For some of us, the race will be downright ugly. We will stumble, fall and embarrass ourselves. None of that matters. What matters is that we finish the race set before us.

Let us run with endurance.

For in due time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36

I don’t know what your race looks like at this moment. I don’t know what painful training you’ve endured or what stumbles you have made. Here is what I do know, my friend, there is a reward waiting if you don’t give up. And the reward is Jesus Himself.

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end…I will give him the morning star. Revelation 2:26-28

I, Jesus…am the morning star. Revelation 22:16

There is a prize at the end of this faith race and His name is Jesus.

Don’t quit, my friend. Just keep your eye on the prize.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

That Time I Prayed to be Invisible

My mother and I were in Birmingham for an event. We arrived on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon. I parked my car in the parking garage and we made our way to the venue two blocks away.

After enjoying the teaching and the music, ten thousand women exited the arena to make their ways to their vehicles. My mother and I turned to the right and began to walk and no one (not a single woman) followed us.

I don’t know how 9,998 other women all knew to park in the opposite direction. All I know is that my mother and I were left to walk alone, in the dark, to a parking garage two blocks away. Between us and the vehicle were abandoned buildings, empty parking lots and several men wandering the streets.

In that moment, all I could think to do was to pray that we were invisible. I asked the Lord that, if any of those men had any evil intentions, they simply would not see us. Now, I’m not saying that God made me invisible (although I’m not saying He didn’t either.) I do believe that God blinded the eyes of any potential enemy that night.

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I told that story at a recent women’s event to illustrate the power of prayer. I had forgotten about this incident and it came to me at the last minute. I couldn’t help but laugh as, as we walked those two blocks, I kept repeating, “It’s fine. They can’t see us. We’re invisible.”

Here’s the thing, though. I totally believed that God could do it. And, if I’m honest, it isn’t the first time I’ve prayed such a thing. Sometimes, at night, my spirit will feel unsettled and I’ll pray.

Lord, if there is anyone currently roaming the streets with ill intentions, let them not even take notice of our home.

God, if my children are out in public and the enemy is on the prowl, draw his attention away from my babies.

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It’s a prayer I’ve prayed often but never mentioned to anyone. It’s not exactly the parenting advice people expect.

What advice would you give for raising children in this broken world?

Oh, I just pray we’re all invisible.

Yeah. Hmm.

BUT – I found the coolest verse today.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked. – Psalm 64:2

I wanted to do the slow clap after reading it. Essentially, y’all, David just prayed to be invisible. Do with it what you will.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

 

At the Eleventh Hour

There is a parable about the master of a great vineyard. Early in the morning, he goes out seeking laborers to work for him. He finds some workers in the marketplace, they agree on a wage and head off to begin their work. It’s easy to focus on this first group; they bore the burden of the day and the scorching heat (Matthew 20:12.) We tend to highlight these individuals; the early bird gets the worm.

As the day wore on, the master continued to go to the marketplace to seek laborers. At the third, sixth and ninth hour, he added more workers. Only, with these workers, he sent them into the field without an agreed upon wage. They were simply promised that they would be given “what is right.” A person would certainly have to view the master as someone they could trust or else their labor may be in vain.

Finally, at the eleventh hour, the master returns to the marketplace. With only an hour left in the work day, there are still people roaming around. When asked why they had spent the entire day idle, their answer is heart-wrenching. “Because no one hired us,” they say. No one wanted them. They had stood unwanted and overlooked hour after hour.

I’ve often sympathized with the first ones hired. They were the ones in the vineyard bright and early. They worked the entire day in the heat of summer. Or, sometimes, I would admire the faith of those next few groups. The master chose them and they set to work without knowing how they would be compensated. They trusted him to be just in his dealings with them.

Yet, this time, as I read the passage (Matthew 20:1-16,) my heart was stirred for the last group – those chosen at the eleventh hour. I began to brainstorm all of the reasons that someone would be not chosen hour after hour.

Had they proven untrustworthy in the past? Were they too old, too young, too small? Was their strength, endurance or work ethic being judged based on their appearance? Did they show up late to the marketplace? Were they withdrawn and quiet? Did they fail to sell themselves properly? Perhaps, they didn’t know the right people.

And then I began to think about those who, today, may feel like they’re at the eleventh hour. They’ve watched as others seem to have been chosen to work in the vineyard – to serve the Master. The clock keeps ticking, others keep getting chosen and, still, they wait.

They wonder if they’re too bad or too broken to be used by God. Perhaps, they fear they’ve wasted too many years and it’s simply too late. Maybe others have come, given them the once over and deemed them unworthy. It could be that, at one time, they were the ones in the field at first light. Now, they find themselves in a different season and wonder if their usefulness is over.

In Philippians, Paul is weighing the pros and cons of remaining in the flesh or going to be with Christ. To be with Christ, he says, is far better. To remain in the flesh, however, means fruitful labor (Philippians 1:22.) If there is, at any point, no longer work for us to do, God will call us home. None of us remain here to simply stand idle in the marketplace and pass the time. If we are still breathing then there is, not just labor, but fruitful labor for us to do.

God has work for you to do. You are not too damaged, too old, or too far gone for Him to use. You are not too late to the party, too awkward or too much for Him. If you have ever wondered if God can use you, then let Matthew 20:7 encourage your heart.

He said to them, “You go into the vineyard too.”

He chooses you, too. If no one else in the entire world chooses you. If everyone else only sees your flaws. When others don’t even give you a second glance. When you look in the mirror and don’t see anything desirable. God chooses you, too.

Now, get out there and be fruitful.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy