I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:10-11

Monday, September 19, 2011

Abiding Fruit

 “Fruit is produced to be eaten, not to be admired and put on display. People around us are starving for love, joy, peace and all the other graces of the Spirit. We do not bear fruit for our own consumption; we bear fruit that others might be fed and helped and that Christ might be glorified." Warren Weirsbe, Be Free.

  The word of God tells me that

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; (Gal 5:22-23)

It is my desire to live a fruitful life so that others may see Christ in me. 

But I struggle... I don't always love, I lose my patience, I am not always gentle and kind and good. 

So how do I bear this fruit in my life?  Why is it such a struggle?  How can my life reflect Christ?

I am going to be studying this for the next 13 weeks as I join Katie from Do Not Depart and Lara from To Overflowing for another online Bible Study, ABIDING FRUIT.  They have teamed up with Inspired to Action’s Maximize Your Mornings Challenge, and have hand-picked thirteen different passages of Scripture to help us understand how the fruit of the Spirit can become evident in our lives.

This week we will be studying Galatians 5:16 - 26.  I have already started digging in... will you join me?

Download the study guide here .  There will also be weekly posts here at Do Not Depart and I will update here at Hide and Seek what God is teaching me about Abiding Fruit!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Doing is Being!

I have been wanting to post that I completed my Philippians study and share my thoughts on the last section of chapter four but God has kept me in chapter 4 specifically verses 12 and 13.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. "

A couple of weeks ago, when my study was ending (so I thought)  the meaning of these verses became  clearer to me as I studied.  I felt like I understood what Paul was saying about being content...

But then real life hit and I found myself in a situation where I had to trust God daily to provide for me.  I realised at that point that my contentment was dependent on how comfortable I was.  My attitude during this trial revealed to me that I hadn't learned the secret that Paul had learned of being content. 

God kept bringing me back to these verses.. what is the secret?  Why am I not trusting God?  Why isn't my situation changing?  What can I do to bring back a more comfortable existence? Has God forgotten me?  Why is he not changing my circumstances?  These are all the thoughts I was battling with.

As I read these verses over and over it it became clearer to me that I was more focused on the part of the verse that says "I can do all things through him who gives me strength.' Specifically I was more focused on the "I can do."  I was looking at what I could do do get myself out of the situation I found myself in.  I was trying to "help" God figure out a solution and then getting upset when he didn't deliver like I though he should.

The "do everything" in verse 13 refers back to the "being content in any and every situation" in verse 12.  " I can be content in every situation through him who gives me strength."

I got it!! The doing is really being.  Just stand still and be content in the situation God has me! Trust him to take care of me.  Don't try to do, just be.  Be content.

God brought me to the end of Philippians and gave me an examination.  I want to say I passed with flying colours but thankfully God gives more grace and he is a patient God...it was an open book test and he held my hand through the whole thing.   He grew me though this situation and brought me to a different place in my walk with him.

I know it doesn't end there... there will be other trials but I pray that I will continue to remember the being before the doing!

The study with Katie is done but I am still in Philippians, right now reading Be Joyful (Philippians): Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy (The BE Series Commentary) by Warren W. Wiersbe.

I think Philippians has become my favourite book in the Bible!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Every When

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4 is one of those verses we readily agree with when things are going well, when life is great, when the road is smooth. But what about when we hit a bump, when things are not going our way and when life becomes challenging or even painful. What then? How can we rejoice? Is it even possible to rejoice?

Paul tells us to rejoice always.

Always in the Greek is pantote. Pan meaning every and tote meaning when. We should rejoice at EVERY WHEN!

So I must rejoice
...When my kids are not cooperating.
...When we are down to our last dollar.
...When laundry and dishes are piled high.
... When my day doesn't go as planned.
... When my child is sick.
... When I am treated unfairly.

You may ask, "But how can I rejoice in those situations?"

God doesn't ask is to rejoice in the situation.. he wants us to rejoice in him through the situation!

Rejoice: from the Greek xar: lean towards and xaris meaning grace. Literally rejoice means to experience God's grace.

We can rejoice in what God has promised us:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.Psalm 46:1
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33b
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27, 28


Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.Isaiah 54:10
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." Psalm 103:13

These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:11

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7

These are just a few of God's promises to us. In his Word are so many more- open it this week and see what God promises you. As you read and choose to believe what He says, you will have no choice but to rejoice through "every when"!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Race

I have fallen behind a couple of weeks in my Philipians study but I am pressing on!  Isn't God's grace wonderful! 

As I pondered Philippians 3 verses 12 - 14 stood out to me. 

Paul has just been speaking about how insignificant his human standing and efforts are in light of what Christ has done in his life.  He has gained so much through his faith in Jesus Christ... he has recieved salvation through Jesus death and ressurection... through no effort of his own.
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." (Phil 3: 7-9)
But then he states
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
What does this mean? 

                 Is there now something I have to work for... I thought salvation was free to me. 

                                      Is Paul saying that part of salvation requires my effort? 

Paul is NOT saying that we have to work for our salvation-- it is free to all who believe (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9.  
BUT he is saying that we do have to strive to fully understand the gift that was given to us through Christ as he states in verse 10 and 11:

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

This is what Paul has not yet obtained... this full understanding of what Christ has done... this is the prize he presses on for!

Imagine this...

It is a crisp November day and you are visiting friends in New York City.  They invite you to go and see the  New York City marathon.    Sounds like fun, maybe you will be inspired to start that exercise program you have been meaning to start.  Even though thousands have gathered, somehow you are fortunate enough to get a spot right near the finish line.  The crowd is energized.  You see the first runner nearing the end.  He is strong and fit and raises his arms in victory as he tears through the tape!  He has won!  The crowd breaks into applause which can be heard for miles.   Then something strange happens. 

You see the winner talking to the race officer and suddenly he's looking in your direction, he's pointing toward you.  You look around to see who he may be looking at.  When you look back the race official is walking toward you.  When he is a few feet in front of you he calls your name.  Your heart starts racing.  "How does he know my name?" Your mind is spinning as you answer.   The officer explains that the winner of the race  wants to name you the winner and he wants you to recieve the prize for winning the race.  "Me?!  Are you sure?  I have done nothing to deserve it!"  He convinces you that this is for real, it is not a joke. You just have to accept it.  "Really!  Wow... thank you very much!!  That's very generous of him! But why me?"  you keep asking.  "But wait," says the officer, "If you accept your name will be written down in the book of winners- guaranteed,  BUT in order to claim the prize there is one stipulation-- You must run and finish the course!"  

TWENTY SIX miles??? ARE YOU SERIOUS?"  I can't even walk 2 miles without feeling it!

The winner who so graciously is giving up his title to you comes over and shakes your hand.  "My father asked me to run this race for you... you are a winner in his eyes," he says.  "He wants you to have the prize as well!" 

None of this makes sense but somehow you begin to understand. You are almost speechless but manage to say, "This is very kind and generous of you but there is no way I can do this, I am not a runner, I will never make it."   He  takes your hand and replies, "Don't worry, I will train you, I will run with you, you can do this,  you just have to reach for it.  Trust me!"

For months you train, you begin to build up endurance and strength.  During the training you learn more and more about this father and son.  You learn that the father has adopted you... and is providing everything you need for this race.   This means that man who has run this race for you is your brother. The more you learn the more you are amazed.  The son tells you about the home of the father... it's description is beyond anything you have ever seen.  He tells you how you will get to go and meet him once you have finished the course.  Once you have run the race you will go to him to claim the prize and live with him.. he has a room for you!   In spite of all you have to look forward to, some weeks are tough-  you don't like the training.  It is grueling, your feet are blistered, your muscles ache,  you want to give up.  Some days you miss practice, you try to avoid your brother, your new friend, the one who has made you the winner.  But he is always there encouraging you.  Sometimes along the route you begin to trip but he reaches out and catches you.. he won't let you fall.  The more you get to know him, the more you trust him.  He tells you not to worry about your failures, your missed practices. "Just press on," he says, "Remember the prize I have promised you."  You fix your eyes on the goal and then finally the day comes.. the big day, the day you have been training for, the day you will recieve your prize.  It is the day you complete the race! 

You cross the finish line.  It is beautiful!!  There is your father saying "Well done!!"  your brother, the one who made you a winner before you even knew him is there beside him holding your crown!  You have run for the prize and it is now all yours, completely and fully... forever!!! 

This is what Christ has done for us!  Our Christian walk (or should I say run) is helping us to understand this gift more fully! 

I love how these verses read in the GOD'S WORD ® Translation:

Philippians 3: 12-14
It's not that I've already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can't consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.

 Run the race well my friend!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Patient Instruction

"Didn't I tell you to pick up your toys?"

"How many times do I have to tell you to use your manners?"

"If I have to tell you to stop fighting with your brother one more time..."

Are you a mom?  Does that sound like you?  Sometimes I get frustrated having to tell my kids the same things over and over.  I often think they should get it the first time.  So when I read the first verse of Philippians 3 this week it sort of slapped me in the face.

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.

Wow.. Paul wasn't saying to the Philippians.. didn't I just tell you these things; why is it taking you so long to learn it? 

No.. he is patiently repeating himself and sees it as protection for the Philippian church. It is not a burden for him to instruct them, like it sometimes feels to me. 

I have to change my focus from what I am telling them to why I am telling them.  It is an asphalés, a safeguard.  The Greek word that comes from a meaning not and sphallō meaning to totter, cast down, fall.  

Marcus is learning to walk.  Over and over he takes two or three steps between me and his dad or one of his siblings.  He gets a kick out of it but there are always protective arms there ready to catch him when he stumbles.  It is never a burden for us to catch him, we all know that if we don't he will fall and could hurt himself.

My prayer is that as I parent my kids I will do so patiently, not tiring of instructing, catching them as they fall until they are strong enough to walk this life on their own.
What about you?  What has God taught you this week as you have dug into his Word?

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Ordinary Guy

Are you ever tempted to put certain people of the Bible on a pedestal and think that you could never be like them?

Katie of Do Not Depart asked me to share how this week's Philippians study spoke to me.

Head on over here to see how an ordinary guy did some extraordinary things!

Thanks Katie for the opportunity!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Working out and Shining Bright

Sometimes when I encounter a familiar passage during my Bible study there is the temptation to skim over it quickly but I am so glad I stopped a while this week in Philippians 2:12-18 and unwrapped the words in this passage. Here are some things God spoke to me about:

v12-13 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Salvation and living the Christian life is a partnership with God. The gift of salvation is free to to accept because of the saving work of Christ on the cross, but it doesn't end there. We have to katergázomai: work out our salvation. It is the idea of working hard to the end. We are not saved just to be saved. With salvation comes a responsibility to fulfill the purposes of God, to persevere, to be involved. We cannot earn our salvation through our works, but we are to carry out the work of God once we are saved... and it is serious business, not to be taken lightly!

So now, that we know we are supposed to be working, how are we supposed to work, with what attitide?

v 14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe...

We are to do everything without complaining and arguing. I was convicted this week as I read these words... I am quick to throw this verse at the kids when they fuss about doing a chore, or getting their school work done, but what about in my own life? Do I do the work God has for me with a willing heart? Or do I grumble and complain when things get hard, when I am out of my comfort zone, when I have been called to serve others? I am in a season of life that is hard, it is busy, I am tired, sometimes I want to give up. But I can be pure and blameless in God's eyes and shine like a star if I just get on with the work God has given me to do. As I serve my family, teach my kids, care for my husband I am a shining star to those around me... pointing others towards the cross... bringing glory to God!

Now, what about you? What has God been teaching you as you dig into His Word? I pray you will be a shining star this week to those around you as you do the work God has for you to do!
Want more about Philippians... go over to Do Not Depart to join the discussion.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Putting down the mirror

In our Philippians study this week we looked at  Paul’s charge to unity through following the example of Christ.  As I read through Philippians 2:1-11 three verses kept jumping out at me.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Plain and simple.  As Christians we are to have the right motive, be humble, and be others-focused.  Easy right?!   No, not easy because that is not what comes natural to us as human beings.  We are prone to be self-seeking, to have a "what's-in-it-for-me" attitude.  This is where we need to depend on the Holy spirit to convict us and allow him to lead us.  I have been trying to regularly ask myself these three questions:

Why am I  doing this?

Who am I promoting: myself or God?

How can I bring joy to (name of another person)?

Do my answers to these questions always match up to God's commands to not be selfish, conceited and to be others focused?  Unfortunately no, but through God's grace and in His strength I can keep trying!  It is a constant battle to be intentional in these areas, but the rewards are a joyful life!

What I love is that God doesn't just give us a command here and leave us, he gives us an example to follow.  "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ."  Christ.  Fully God. Fully servant.  COMPLETELY others- focused! 

We have a choice, to live life looking in a mirror, focused on "ME! ME! ME!" or to live life looking through binoculars focused on Christ and others.  One will bring immediate, short-lived satisfaction, the other will bring lasting joy.  God, help me to put down my mirror!  What about you?  What choice will you make?

Head over to Do Not Depart to join the discussion and see what others learned this week!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Digging in: God's purpose

Have you ever had a delicious, flavourful dish, maybe something you have eaten for the first time... you are not quite sure what's in it but you really enjoyed it? You eat it very slowly, enjoying every morsel and then you ask the person who prepared it how they prepared it.    "Wow, I didn't realize there was nutmeg in there...I was wondering what that flavour was...  yes, I could tell you used garlic, I love garlic...  "

I am having a similar experience with the book of Philippians.  I am pulling the verses apart bit by bit, chewing on every word, studying each passage in context, exploring word meanings, understanding about the audience Paul was speaking to... the flavours of the book are coming alive.

In week four of the study I have joined at Do Not Depart  we looked at Philippians 1:27-30.  Here we find several commands culminating in God's purpose in our suffering.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. 

Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ-

Paul uses the term politeuesthe which means to live as a citizen.  Philippi was a Roman colony so the Phillipians would understand this.  Though they did not live in Rome, they,  as citizens of Rome enjoyed the benefits of being Roman, dressed like Romans, spoke like Romans and followed Roman laws.  Likewise, we are to be so in regards to heaven.   We must live as if we are in heaven, representing heaven.  Sometimes, living in this world our thoughts and actions can get influenced by the society we live in, we must constantly examine our conduct and measure it against the standard of the Gospel.   

Stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man- 

We are to be unified as believers.  contending or striving together.  The word in the Greek is sunathlountes from two words:

sun- with,  joined close, in close identification with


athleo- engage, compete, in an (athletic) contest.  It is from the word which means to wrestle.

We are not only to be united when things are going well but we have to wrestle together.. fight together.. work hard together with other believers.  We have to be on the same team.  One of the areas of my life that I have opportunity to apply this is in my marriage.  Marriage is what God has set up in this life to be a picture of Christ's relationship to the church.  While my husband and I may not always see eye to eye, we have a responsibility to God, each other and other believers to be united... to strive together to bring glory to God.  No matter what, we are on the same team! The miracle of bringing two different people together as one will be a testimony to those around us... it will defeat the enemy who is seeking to destroy families... to tear apart marriages, to make our society more and more unstable.  We have victory over the the the devil when we fight together! 

Lastly, this passage tells us that we are called to suffer for Christ.  SUFFER?? It actually says charizomai- we have been given grace (God extending himself to us) not only to believe in Christ but to suffer for Christ.  GOD'S PURPOSE?  To bring honour and glory to him... If I change my perspective and see suffering as a blessing I can then more freely trust God to bring me through the suffering.   How awesome is that?!

This week we are on to chapter two.  I can't wait to dig in!  What have you been feasting on?  What tasty morsels have you unwrapped this week?  Let me encourage you to "Taste and see that the LORD is good!" (Psalm 34:8) 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's not about me

Week 3 of the Philippians study focused on Paul's desires as we studied chapter 1 verses 19-26.

Here are some notes I made through out the week:

vs. 19 

For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.

Power is supplied through prayer.  Paul expected that the Philippians church would pray for him. He was depending on their prayers.
Application:  Do I lift up my spiritual leaders in prayer? Am I faithful in my praying, can others depend on me to pray for them?

vs 21- 26
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.

In this familiar passage what jumped out at me was the two objects of Paul's desires regarding his deliverance.  He knew he would be taken out of his present circumstance two ways... death or a physical release from captivity.

Death meant a departure from this physical, sinful earth to be with his Saviour, Jesus Christ his first object of desire.  He saw this process of death not a something to be feared but as the necessary  process to the ultimate reward of a fruitful Christian life- eternity with Christ. 

His second desire is for others... to live his life to point others towards Christ.  He knew his remaining in the flesh would be better for the spiritual development of others. 

What was glaringly absent to me, as I read and reread this passage several times throughout the week was any desire for his own comfort. His ambition in life was to please Christ and serve others.  Period.

Application:  So much of my time is spent seeking after things to make my own life comfortable, more enriched, more entertained... seeking that perfect life with access to all physical comforts available in this world.  

I should be focused on Christ first and then on serving others and pointing them towards Christ. 

Are my pursuits in life lined up with this truth or is my life being lived for myself?

My prayer is that when I depart this life, I will not have been all about me.

What has God been teaching you this week as you have studied his word?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Living sold out {with JOY}

Am I sold out for Christ?
       Would I be willing to be imprisoned for the sake of the gospel?
                          Is my goal in life to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ?
What is my motivation for ministry... love or selfish ambition?

These are some of the questions I faced this week as I continued my journey through Philippians.

The focus of week 2 was God’s Purpose in Paul’s Imprisonment :Philippians 1: 12- 18

Here are some truths I gleaned:
verses 12- 14
12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Paul defended the gospel of Christ whatever it cost him and he served in a way that encouraged others to live life in the same manner-- courageously and fearlessly.

Is it clear to all around me that I live my life for Christ?  
Even during the challenging times? 
Are others encouraged to live for Christ by looking at my life?

 verses 15- 18
 15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.c 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice

God's word is more powerful than human agenda and he can use any circumstance to bring glory and honour to himself.

Paul can rejoice even in hard times... his joy comes from serving God... it is a DECISION to be joyful (he has decided ahead of time that he will "continue to rejoice", not knowing what lies ahead).

What is my motivation for serving God?
                         LOVE or SELFISH AMBITION?
                                           Am I choosing to rejoice?
                                                 ... even during the challenging times?

Have you met with God this week? What has He taught you this week as you have dug into his Word?  Remember it is life changing!

Click here to see what others are learning on this journey through Philippians.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Verse by Verse, Word by Word...

I am studying the book of Philippians...
                     very slowly...

                      and memorizing it...
                                       even more slowly.

But I am enjoying every verse, every word.  It is  a complete change of pace from reading the bible in 90 days!  I I have been reading through chapter one for almost a month (trying to memorize it for even longer... this mommy brain is truly getting a work out!) 

Katie from Do Not Depart has started a Bible Study on the Book of Philippians.  The plan is to go through the book over 12 weeks using a study guide which you can find here on Inspired to Action.  In addition Katie will be sharing her thoughts on the weekly reading.

Here are some of my thoughts from this week's reading:

Phil: 1:1-4

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseersa and deacons:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 

  1. vs 1 Paul saw himself as a servant of Jesus Christ- a servant,  (Greek: douloi) one who belongs to someone else with out ANY ownership rights of their own.I kept asking myself " Am I that committed to Christ?"  With Christ it is all or nothing, you can't be a partial servant.  My prayer is that I will completely surrender to Christ in EVERY area of my life.
  2. vs 2 My master is one who gives grace and peace:
    1. Grace- (Greek: charis)  means God freely extending himself--- giving himself    away to us.  Doesn't that paint a beautiful picture? That is exactly what Christ did on the cross- gave himself away.. how then can I not surrender to him?
    2. Peace- (Greek: eirene from eiro): to join/ into a whole.  Peace is God's gift of wholeness.  I LOVE THAT... I can be whole through God.  When I am stressed out, feeling overwhelmed, sick, tired...  I have to remember God makes me WHOLE!
  3. vs 3 Paul is thankful (Greek: eucharisteo) and joyful (Greek: chara) in his thankfulness. Notice the Greek?- Grace- charis, Joy- chara: both found in thankfulness- euCHARISteo.  I can find joy and grace in giving thanks.  It is no accident that I am reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts and keeping a gratitude journal at the same time that I am studying Philippians- that is truly God directed!
There was so much more I gleaned this week but don't have time to share!  Why don't you dig in for yourself and allow the Word to transform you.   God's word is truly ALIVE and becoming more and more precious to me... verse by verse, word by word.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lessons from Life #1: Stay on Track

Marcus is 10 months old now and one of the things he does is crawl around, following me around the house like little ones tend to, especially when he wants something.  He will also crawl to me when I call his name and motion for him to come to me.  This evening I wanted him to follow me from the kitchen to the living room.

"Come with Mommy, Marcus!"
         He started off strong... looking right at me, smiling and bounding towards me...

...about three steps later something on the floor caught his attention.

Again I called and motioned " Come Marcus, follow Mommy!"
                 He looked up smiled and continued to follow...

... until two steps later something else caught his attention and he was about to circle around and go the other way.

                                  "No Marcus, come this way!"

This continued on, stopping and starting for several more steps until eventually I bent down and picked him up and carried him to the couch.

As I reflected on that it made me think of my spiritual journey.

God calls me to something, maybe a ministry, a job he has for me, a discipline or habit he wants to form in my life.   At first I happily follow with energy and vigor... full steam ahead!

      Then sometimes I get distracted along the way.  I get tired, life gets in the way.  I take my eyes off my Father.

                   He calls me back to Him.

Over and over.
        He never gets tired.
               And when the journey gets long or difficult
                                       He gently reaches down and carries me. 

Can you relate?  Have you been distracted lately?

                    Focus on God.
                              He will restore you and renew your strength.
                                                                         He will keep you on track

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Heb 12:2

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, April 9, 2011

No Pain...No Gain: Persevering in prayer

Prayer is hard work... it is like a muscle that needs to be developed.. no pain, no gain.

This has become so evident to me over this past week.  I have joined the prayer challenge to pray intentionally for my sons in several areas for 21 days ( all the weekdays in April).  This is based on the book Warrior Prayers.

I would like to say that this has been a smooth process... it should be easy to pray for our kids right?  There have been mornings that I have not wanted to get out of bed but this type of intentional praying needs time.  So many times in the past, I have been satisfied with uttering rushed, hurried and often unfocused prayer before I begin my day.   Oh but God desires and deserves so much more from us.

Using God's word to pray for my boys has also highlighted areas in my life that God is still working on.  As I prayed through topics like obedience, purity, and pride, I was praying these things for my life as well.  The will learn so much by watching my life... I don't want to lead them astray because my actions are not lined up with the things they are learning in God's word.

One verse that stood out to me so significantly over these first 6 days of the challenge is Hebrews 13:17a

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. 

                            keeping watch over your souls

These are the words that jumped off the page at me.  I am keeping watch over their precious souls.  What a huge responsibility!

What also struck me from this verse is that as parents we should be mindful of who else is leading our children, and to pray for them to also lead lives pleasing to God as they too are keeping watch over my kids' souls.

I look forward to the next 15 days of the challenge and pray that it will continue to transform my prayer life to be more intentional.  I pray that I will learn to persevere in prayer even when it is hard work!

See what others are learning through this challenge.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Warrior Prayers

God is so on time isn't he?

At the beginning of the year, I purposed not to set any resolutions but asked God to guide and direct my steps this year. As I said in my last post, God has been speaking to me about being intentional in all that I do. I met the first goal that He set for me.. intentionally reading his word by reading through the Bible cover to cover. As I was nearing the end I started thinking about the next journey God would take me on. The night before I finished the bible reading I stumbled upon this website and prayer challenge.   A  prayer challenge for mothers of boys based on the eBook  Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most. Twenty one days of focused prayers for our sons.   God has been speaking to me about being intentional in my parenting. And this is where he led me.

Parenting is hard work.  It is humbling to know that I have four precious ones that I am helping to mold.  I often feel overwhelmed.  Sometimes... lots of times I mess up.  I am constantly evaluating my parenting or lack of parenting skills...

I can't do it on my own strength. I will not get it right every time...  BUT GOD is faithful.   I can read every parenting book (there are many great ones out there) and attend every parenting course but the most important thing I can do for my kids is to pray for them...

I need to spend more time on my knees...  I won't grow Godly men (and a Godly woman... yes I will be praying for Eden too!!) through haphazard prayers for them...instead Warrior Prayers... praying the scriptures intentionally and fervently for these precious little ones God has given me.

Are you a  mom (or dad) of boys?  Will you consider joining this challenge?

We can change a nation by praying for our sons... we can raise up the next generation of spiritual leaders.. men who love Jesus... who know how to love their wives... who know how to work as unto the Lord...who are unashamed and  sold out for the sake of the gospel!!

Let's get on out knees!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I did it!!!

Last fall a missionary who came to our church for our missions conference really challenged me.  During one of his messsages he held up a Bible and asked 2 questions:

 First question was an easy one...
                           How many of you love this book?
As you might expect almost every hand was up in a flash... of course we are a bible believing church... it is a given we love the Bible!  I grew up singing " The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me!!

  Then came the second question... a humbling one for me.
                       How many of you have read the Bible cover to cover?

My hand went half way up...
      um... I think I have...
             ah... I remember starting many bible reading plans
                         ... uh I went to a Bible Institute for 2 years so I must have...
                                                                           I shamefully put my hand down...

Around the same time the Lord had been speaking me in other areas of my life about being more intentional about how I live my life.  So I added intentionally reading the bible to my list.  I started a reading plan through Youversion reading key verses of the bible in 100 days.  I had started so many times to read through the Bible in a year and I always failed... before I was out of Leviticus.  So I thought this key passage plan would be great.. and it was... I finished it on December 31st.  But I still couldn't answer affirmatively that I had read the entire Bible cover to cover.  Then I found this website...
a group of women who were planning to read the entire Bible in 90 days?  90DAYS?? Are you kidding me??  I really felt the Lord telling me to sign up.

"Lord, you do remember I am the mom of 4 small kids right?"   
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
"Um, Lord, that is going to take me about 45 mins to an hour a day- I already need more hours in the day!"
 "I created time"
Ah, one more thing.. Marcus is still not sleeping through the night... it's going to be hard to get up every morning...
 " I will sustain you."

After awhile you come to your senses and remember that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to argue with God!

So I signed up.

And, you know what?

God really did sustain me!

There were mornings that I ( not a morning person) sprung out of bed because I was excited to get on with my reading.

There were weeks that I fell behind by almost a full week but God provided the time for me to catch up.

There were passages of the Bible, some familiar, some challenging, that came alive like never before.

It was within these 3 months that Marcus started sleeping through the night.... God rewards our faithfulness.

Was it easy?  NO.  Was it worth it. ABSOLUTELY!!

Would you like to read through the Bible in 90 daysMom's Toolbox will be hosting the challenge again in July.  Check it out here!  Go For It... it will change your life!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Strength for the Weary

Last night I went to bed really discouraged.  It had been one of those days.  I felt like I had worked hard all day but there was so much to be done.  I started feeling sorry for myself... how in the world am i supposed to do all of the things expected of me... cook, clean, teach, plan lessons, do laundry, grade papers, plan meals and on and on and on... I went to bed sulking.  Oh, and I didn't mention I was a day and a half behind on my Bible in 90 days reading.

Praise God his mercies are new every morning.  I got up this morning feeling less tired... still feeling a little overwhelmed but ready to start the day.  I checked in with my Hello Mornings accountability group on Twitter and then settled down to do my bible reading.  As I reached the end of yesterday's reading I read:

31 but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

...a verse I had read many times but one I read with fresh eyes this morning.  I went back and reread the whole of chapter 40.

Why is it that we can hope in the Lord and be strengthened?

The vastness of God is woven all through the chapter...

God's word endures forever
           He is a loving and tender shepherd
                               He measures the waters in the hollow of his hand
                                                He holds the dust of the earth in a basket
                                                                    He weighs the mountains on scales
                               Entire nations are like a drop in a bucket to him
             His breath is the wind
                                             He holds the stars in place and calls them each by name
                                                          He does not grow weary or tired.

Wow!  How mighty is He!! This is the God I can put my hope in! He is the one who renews my strength!

No matter what you are facing today put your hope in the one that can make a difference... trust in his strength to renew yours.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bible in 90 Days-Week 7: #B90Days

It has been a few weeks since I have posted about my progress in the 90 day Bible reading challenge.  I can't believe we are at week 7!  Halfway through :)  It no longer feels like a chore or something to check off my list.

I am currently reading through the Psalms I am reminded of God's power, faithfulness, forgiveness and patience.  His word is both convicting and comforting.  A source of strength that I am growing more and more each day to depend on. 

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Ps 90:14
 Are you along on this journey?  How are you doing?  Don't be discouraged if you are falling behind... just keep going... God will meet you where you are.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Intentional Year

Reading through several blogs at the beginning of the year, I noticed that instead of making resolutions many bloggers were highlighting a theme for the year... one word  that would guide their year.  I had resolved not to make any resolutions but instead leave it up to God to show me the goals he has for me this year.  I have been giving a lot of thought to what my one word theme would be for 2011 and the word that keeps coming to me in every area of my life is "intentional".  

I want to be intentional as a wife...
I want to be intentional as a mom...
I want to be intentional as a friend...
I want to intentionally study the Word of God...
I want to be intentional in every way I live my life.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord not for men.  Col 3:23

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hide and Seek

If you have been following me on my other blog, you will know that on January 3 I began a plan to read the entire Bible in 90 Days.  I am joining hundreds of women who have linked up through Mom's Toolbox and each week we check in as a form of accountability and encouragement to each other.

Wow, what a journey it has been so far!  I have read though Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deutoronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1& 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job and I am presently reading though Psalms.

All I can say is GOD is so faithful, patient, merciful...

His love for his people is beyond measure!

In order for me to keep up with the reading I found that it is best for me to get up and get it done first thing in the morning.  I am NOT a morning person and since having Marcus I had not gotten back in any sort of routine that involved getting up early on a consistent basis.  Last year I began following Kat's blog, Inspired to Action where she encourages readers to "Maximise Your Mornings"... establish a morning routine and make the most of your day. Three weeks ago I signed up for the "Hello Mornings Challenge" and now have a great accountability group through Twitter.  I am up each morning at 5:30 knowing there are other women who are doing the same thing (many of whom are also doing the Bible in 90 days challenge) and we are praying for and encouraging each other along the way.

The leader of my accountability group is Katie Orr who blogs at Do Not Depart.  She is hosting a challenge to memorize the entire book of Philippians and I feel God leading me to join in.  I will be learning five verses a week and at that pace it should take about 21 weeks. Even if it takes much longer than that I will press on because it has been a while since I have been intentional about memorizing God's word and I really feel him leading me in this way.

So why a new blog?  I had been recording my Bible in 90 Days thoughts on my other blog (here and here and here and here), which started out as a homeschooling blog.  I want to keep the focus of that one more on our family and homeschooling and have this one as more of a personal blog to follow along this journey of HIDING God's word in my heart and earnestly SEEKing him.

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:10-11

Thanks for joining me!  It is my prayer that as you follow along with me you will be encouraged to Hide and Seek as well.