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?

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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

An Extra Ordinary Life

Perhaps, it began in high school when I had dreams of being a corporate lawyer with a corner office. I spent many an afternoon envisioning my days spent in the courtroom and my evenings in my high rise apartment in the city.

Or, maybe, it was when I was in college pursuing an education degree and an older gentleman insisted I was made for something different. I was too much of a free spirit, he said, to spend my days in the classroom. Ron, from the lawn and garden department at Lowe’s, convinced me that there were exotic places I needed to visit and adventures I needed to have.

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It’s possible, of course, that it came much later when I began using social media and fell prey to its culture of comparison. Someone is always enjoying life a little more, mothering with a tad more chutzpah, and making their mark on the world in a slightly bolder way.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter when it occurred. The fact is that, at some point, I developed this idea that I had to do something extraordinary with my life. There’s this restlessness inside that tells me that I need to convince the world that I’m “somebody.”

I spent several years as the executive assistant to the president of a multi-million dollar company and, I’ll be honest, people were impressed by that. Then, I was given the opportunity to write a few books and, again, people were impressed by that. Yet, I currently find myself in a season where I’m doing neither of those things. I’m just here, plucking away behind the scenes, doing nothing extraordinary.

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In fact, if I’m brutally honest, I’m doing just the opposite; I’m living an extra ordinary life. I’m making meals and bathing babies. I’m reading bedtime stories and checking math assignments. I’m making beds and drinking coffee. It all sounds delightful and yet, in my heart, it feels like I’m covered in ordinary.

Then, it comes to me.

The Christmas story is all about a majestic King who removed His royal robes and clothed Himself in the ordinary flesh of man.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2

We live in a world that praises the extraordinary but, I dare say, there are far more of us that fall into the extra ordinary category. Many of us feel disillusioned because we thought we would have done more, seen more, become more. We had big ideas, big dreams, and big plans, yet our lives seem very small.

Sometimes, those of us leading these ordinary lives feel like we’ve missed out on some holy assignment or grand adventure. We fear that, maybe, we are here washing the same dishes and folding the same laundry day after day and, all the while, there is some “thing” out there that we are supposed to be doing. We wonder if God even sees us down here covered in our ordinary.

But the beauty of God’s plan of redemption – the whole essence of the gospel – is that God chose to cover Himself in ordinary when he put on flesh.

Christ’s birth was announced to shepherds doing what shepherds do – watching their flocks by night. They were not trying to write How to be a Shepherd in Three Easy Steps. They weren’t building a business or trying to gather a following. Those are fine endeavors but it is also okay, for crying out loud, for a shepherd to just be a faithful shepherd. Before we focused on bigger things, what if we were just really diligent and faithful in the ordinary things God has us doing right now.

An ordinary virgin, ordinary shepherds, ordinary fishermen and a God who chose ordinary flesh. Maybe, just maybe, we can live a faithful, God-honoring, neighbor-loving, ordinary life and, in the end, look back and say, “Wow, wasn’t that an extraordinary ride!”

 

 

He’s God and He’s Good

We read the story of Jesus calming the storm. The winds are howling, the waves are crashing and the disciples are panicking. Why were they so concerned?

As far back as I can remember, I have been terrified of dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, hot dogs. I have frozen in fear at the sight of a canine and the phobia still seems to be going strong after all of these years. But, here’s the thing. If I pass someone walking their dog on a leash, I don’t freak out and act a fool. I trust that the owner of the animal is in control of it. Now, if I encounter a dog and there is no owner in sight, it’s every woman for herself.

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These men found themselves in the middle of an out of control sea and simply didn’t realize that Jesus had the storm on a leash.

All throughout Scripture, Satan tries to make people doubt two things about Jesus. First, he wants people to doubts Jesus’ Godness.

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Matthew 4:3

If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. Matthew 4:6

If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself. Luke 23:37

If.

If.

If.

The problem is that, once someone has a face to face encounter with Christ, there is no doubting His Godness.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Mark 8:29

 

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This doesn’t deter Satan. He just moves to the next trick in his bag. If the enemy can’t make you doubt His Godness, he’ll attempt to make you doubt His goodness.

Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die? Mark 4:38

Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Luke 10:40

Don’t you care, Lord?

When the job doesn’t work out, the baby doesn’t come, the prodigal doesn’t return, our health fails, Prince Charming doesn’t arrive, someone betrays us, we’ve been rejected. Underneath it all is one vital question: Don’t you care, Lord?

Satan wants you to wonder if Jesus is good.

Spoiler alert: He is good.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord is good to all. Psalm 145:9

Maybe you’re grieving a loss. Perhaps, you’re making your way through the valley of the shadow. Possibly, you’re coming to terms with the fact the God’s plan doesn’t look quite like your plan did.

Here is what we need to cling to in any and every situation.

We have a Saviour who is God and who is good. That’s a combination worthy of our worship and our faith.

You are loved.

She Reads Truth Bible (and Giveaway)

Several weeks ago, I received a beautiful She Reads Truth Bible to review. I had been considering purchasing one for some time but, in all honesty, am a hard sell on new translations.

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I have used it for my morning devotions and have really enjoyed the CSB translation. I normally use ESV but found that I loved the new insight this translation gave to certain verses.

The added artistic pages really add to the beauty of this Bible. I often found myself meditating on these pages.

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I love the margins which leave plenty of room for notetaking. Although, I feel the pages are a tad thinner than other Bibles and have not felt brave enough to highlight or write in it just yet.

All in all, I am thoroughly enjoying the She Reads Truth Bible and would recommend it to others for their personal use.

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I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While I was given the Bible for free all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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If you would like a copy of your own, here is your chance to win one of seven copies being given away!

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You are loved!