Giveaway

Prayer should be as natural as breathing to the maturing Christian. The principle is so simple yet we complicate it and allow ourselves to become intimidated. Prayer is a stunning way to intimately connect with Christ. Nothing in the world can replace it.

There are plenty of excused not to pray yet none truly valid. We do not need more than a few seconds, an education is unnecessary, and you cannot do it wrong.

At times, we hit a roadblock in our prayer lives, which simply could be from maturing. You wouldn’t expect a toddler to live on only milk, similarly, as a maturing believer, you may need to find a way to go deeper. You might need to renew it.

I am passionate about prayer furthermore, teaching others about it. I believe it is something we never cease learning about. A few months ago it was mentioned several times that I should write another book. Someone soon added to the suggestion that it should be a prayer book. After praying I was certain that this was the direction God wanted me to go for my next book, “Honest Moments With God: Thirty Days of Prayers That Allow You to Grow Closer to God’s Heart.”

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Thirty days of beautiful and unique Scripture-based prayers. Each prayer is complimented with Scriptures that enable you to grow closer to Christ. Also includes five devotionals, a worship playlist, and fifteen Scriptures to inspire you to write your own prayers. I am confident that God will use this small book to do amazing things and to bring His name glory.

“My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God, as a deer thirsts for water. Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.” Psalm 42:1 & 11

God,

Increase our soul’s thirst for You, the Living God. You have seen the tears cried behind closed doors. The ones in the dead of night. You understand the heartbreak of shattered dreams. The depth of the effects of broken relationships.

People mock me and question my faith. Asking where You are in my time of need. They question Your goodness. Question how You could allow suffering. I will remain unshaken, firm in Your promises.

Help me in this holy time, at Your feet, to pour my soul out to You. Enable me to be transparent. I surrender every burden, fear, question, and emotion. Empty me of myself. Free me from all the clutter in my heart and mind. Consume me with Your Spirit.

Direct me in Your precious love. Renew my hope day by day. You are my mighty protector. I rejoice in Your sovereign name. I have witnesses Your goodness all the days of my life. I extol Your Majestic name.

Amen

I thought that it would be fun to do a giveaway! The winner will receive a PDF copy of my book “Honest Moments With God: Thirty Days of Prayers That Allow You to Grow Closer to God’s Heart.”

Entering is super easy. Pick a question/prompt from the list below and respond in the comments. Don’t forget to share with your friends, the more the merrier. The winner will  be announced September 28th, 2017.

 

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A Morning Prayer

“Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived.” James 1:22

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El Elyon (The Most High God),

I praise Your name for a magnificent sunrise. Help me today to do my to do list in a manner that is pleasing to You. Let my words be infused with gentle, compassion, and grace.  Please allow my words to build others up and encourage others to grow closer to You. I ask for self-control to resist temptation and to battle my flesh. Establish the work of my hands.

I cherish Your living and holy Word. It is more valuable than money or earthly pleasures. Sweeter than the finest cuisine. Help me walk in the way you commanded. I desire to be obedient. Please give me a deeper understanding of Your word. Let me desire Your Word more day by day.

I desire to cultivate a constant heart of thanksgiving and praise. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Direct my steps allowing me to make the most of each moment. By your mighty grace allow all I do to bring honor and glory to You.

Amen

Psalms Bible Study

    This summer I am leading a super laid-back women’s online Bible study. We are reading one Psalm a week during the summer. We would be honored if you dropped by now and then or read through this life changing book with us. This post will focus on a brief introduction to the book of Psalm. Additionally, there will be a little on chapter one.

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Introduction to The Book of Psalm

A place of comfort. A refuge of strength with a ray of hope. Words alive to be cherished and written on the heart. The book of Psalm. Regardless of how one feels or where there are in their live story or how mature they are as a Christan, there is a relatable Psalm. Truly a Psalm for everyone.

The history of Psalm is richly complex over the course of more than 800 years. The outline of what occurred historically around various Palms is interesting rhythm to check it out here. I want to point out a few of these events behind this book of the Bible. For example, David & Goliath, During the Babylonish captivity, On the rebuilding of the temple, and During the war with Absalom.

Furthermore, God used numerous individuals. A few authors include David, Moses, Asaph, Solomon, and others. In addition, there are orphan Psalms which we do not know who wrote them.

The book of Psalm is broken down into five books. The order is as follows: Book 1 (Psalms 1–41), Book 2 (42–72), Book 3 (73–89), Book 4 (90–106), and Book 5 (107–150). Needless to say, this is the longest book of the Bible.

How is a Psalm defined? It is a poem, song, act of worship, prayer, and praise. The Psalm embodies experience, expression, and emotion. Read more in depth about this outline here. The Psalms tend to fall into these genres hymn, lament, thanksgiving, confidence, Remembrance, wisdom, and kingship.

A book could be written on the purpose of this book of the Bible, in opening Matthew Henry shares the following:

To assist the exercises of natural religion, and to kindle in the souls of men those devout affections which we owe to God as our Creator, owner, ruler, and benefactor. The book of Job helps to prove our first principles of the divine perfections and providence; but this helps to improve them in prayers and praises, and professions of desire towards him, dependence on him, and an entire devotedness and resignation to him. Other parts of scripture show that God is infinitely above man, and his sovereign Lord; but this shows us that he may, notwithstanding, be conversed with by us sinful worms of the earth; and there are ways in which, if it be not our own fault, we may keep up communion with him in all the various conditions of human life.

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Now, let’s take a look at Psalm chapter one (The Voice Translation), which was written by King David:

God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes,
When you avoid sin’s highway,
when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse.
 For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.
It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.
You are like a tree,
planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry.
Your fruit ripens in its time;
your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun.
No matter what you do, you prosper.

 For those who focus on sin, the story is different.
They are like the fallen husk of wheat, tossed by an open wind, left deserted and alone.
In the end, the wicked will fall in judgment;
the guilty will be separated from the innocent.
 Their road suddenly will end in death,
yet the journey of the righteous has been charted by the Eternal.

At times, it seems like a tragedy with a side of heartbreak is around each bend. With what seemly endless negativity acknowledging the blessings around each turn can seem impossible. The negativity makes our view blurry. Take a few minutes to acknowledge the blessings in your life. Consider the blessings that you don’t generally “count”.

While studying the Bible or being connected with God in prayer avoiding sin can sound like a piece of cake. Yet once back into the world it is evident that this is not easy. Falling into sin can be second nature. We can only avoid sins highway and walk in the way of the righteous is only possible through the strength of Jesus.

My prayer is that each person reading this will become more rooted in Christ in this season of life. That you would drink so deeply and often of the Father’s Word that you would not run dry. Soaking up His goodness. I am confident that all you do within God’s will, will prosper beyond your wildest dreams. Your journey righteous sister has been charted compassionately by the Eternal.

Main points of this Psalm

  • The blessedness of the righteous man (1-3)
  • The desperation of the wicked (4-5)
  • A final contrast between their two ways (6)

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Lord,

All honor, glory, and praise belong to Your holy name. In Your name mountains are moved and seas parted. You are on the move in Mighty ways. Nature reflects Your beauty. The earth sings Your praises. You are beyond my understanding.

I am surrounded by your blessings no matter where I turn day or night. Freely You have lavished Your love on me. I praise Your name for who You are.

I am undeserving of all Your goodness. Give me the strength to battle my flesh and avoid sins highway. Let me resist sin in the powerful name of Jesus.

Your Word provides me with strength, guidance, and joy. Allow me to remain focused from dawn to dusk on Your precious Word. May I write on my heart. May my thoughts be consumed with You. Holy Spirit move within me. Let me be firmly planted in You. Let me prosper in Your name. Allow me to serve You and bring glory to Your name.

Amen

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I want to invite you, sweet friend to continue to dig into Psalm chapter one with me. I pray that you will sincerely cherish these living and active words. I am confident that the Lord will work within you during your time in the books of Psalm. I am excited to give you free print out a which will hopefully provide guidance as you study the Word of God. Please download, print, and share.  

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Sweetbriar Cottage Book Review

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This was the first book I read by Denise Hunter and I was pleasantly surprised. I completed the book within three days. She captured my full attention throughout the entire book.

The story line was uniquely constructed. It is not the typical love story at all. Noah and Josephine Mitchell are under the impression that they are divorced but accidentally discover it was never finalized. A few simple signatures are all that is required. However, that is not what transpires. The two heartbroken people end up spending time together against their free will, discovering there was more to the failed marriage than they realized. Each is strong willed, devastated by the past wounds, and overflowing with sorrow.

Throughout the majority of the story, the two are at odds, especially in their faith. Noah is a believer, in contrast, Josephine’s faith was shattered with an unanswered prayer at a tender age due to tragedy. I think there could have been more depth in the faith section. But overall it worked nicely.

” But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone–including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s, heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?”

This is one my favorite book of this year, furthermore, I will be checking out other books by Denise Hunter.  Sweetbriar Cottage gets five stars from me. This is a delightful summer read! The winter scenery might help to balance out the hot summer afternoons.

 

What a couple other authors think:

 “Sweetbriar Cottage is a wonderful story, full of emotional tension and evocative prose. Josephine and Noah, though deeply wounded, are easy to love in this story of second chances and unconditional love. Hunter slowly feeds critical pieces of backstory to keep the pages turning. You’ll feel involved in these characters’ lives and carried along by their story as the tension ratchets up to a climactic and satisfying conclusion. Terrific read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” –FRANCINE RIVERS, bestselling author of Redeeming Love

“Denise Hunter is, hands down, the best romance writer out there and never disappoints. Layered with likable characters, rich setting, and a compelling plot, Sweetbriar Cottage is unputdownable. Highly recommended!” –COLLEEN COBLE, USAToday bestselling author

 

About the author:

Denise Hunter has garnered multiple awards for each of her books, which include being a two-time Holt Medallion Winner for Finding Faith and Surrender Bay. ( She’s also an outstanding drummer!) She lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons.

Favorite Bible Verse: Deuteronomy 31:6a “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you.”

Happy Monday

Happy Monday, precious friends! Monday’s don’t have the best response in our society as we tend to focus on the negatives instead of the positives of the week ahead. Monday’s might not be your favorite day, but it is a lovely reminder that you have been blessed with another week of opportunities. Yes, there are plenty of struggles you will encounter and things you would prefer not doing but there are many positives of a new week. Pause to take in the simple treasures of life. Greet this new week with your beautiful smile and open arms. You will have victory over this week. You will be a blessing to a number of people. You, my friend, will thrive.

From Honest Moments With God:“My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God, as a deer thirsts for water. Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.” Psalm 42:1 & 11

“My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God, as a deer thirsts for water. Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.” Psalm 42:1 & 11

God,

Increase our soul’s thirst for You, the Living God. You have seen the tears cried behind closed doors. The ones in the dead of night. You understand the heartbreak of shattered dreams. The depth of the effects of broken relationships.

People mock me and question my faith. Asking where You are in my time of need. They question Your goodness. Question how You could allow suffering. I will remain unshaken, firm in Your promises.

Help me in this holy time, at Your feet, to pour my soul out to You. Enable me to be transparent. I surrender every burden, fear, question, and emotion. Empty me of myself. Free me from all the clutter in my heart and mind. Consume me with Your Spirit.

Direct me in Your precious love. Renew my hope day by day. You are my mighty protector. I rejoice in Your sovereign name. I have witnesses Your goodness all the days of my life. I extol Your Majestic name.

Amen

 

 

*More prayer blog posts, resources, and printables coming soon be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss anything.

Palm Sunday

Shortly before Palm Sunday Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and was anointed by Mary of Bethany. These are emotionally packed events. The emotions become more intense as we know in Holy week.

Palm Sunday is a joyous day, but the joy is short-lived.  The majority of the people gathered are worshiping. Their hearts are consumed with joy, as a result, they praise God out loud. Yet, Jesus wept as He entered with sorrow because Here knew what events were about to unfold. Compassion, love, sorrow, and so much more consumed Jesus’, heart. “Only Jesus wept that day, while Jerusalem prepared to throw a party” (Liz Curtis Higgs, The Women of Easter. Page 82).

 They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their coats on the colt’s back, and then sat Jesus on it. As Jesus rode along, some people began to spread their garments on the road as a carpet. When they passed the crest of Mount Olivet and began descending toward Jerusalem, a huge crowd of disciples began to celebrate and praise God with loud shouts, glorifying God for the mighty works they had witnessed. Crowd of Disciples: The King who comes in the name of the Eternal One is blessed! Peace in heaven! Glory in the highest!

Pharisees (who were in the crowd):  Teacher, tell these people to stop making these wild claims and acting this way!Jesus: Listen—if they were silent, the very rocks would start to shout!When Jerusalem came into view, He looked intently at the city and began to weep. (Emphasis on weep mine)

Jesus:  How I wish you knew today what would bring peace! But you can’t see.  Days will come when your enemies will build up a siege ramp, and you will be surrounded and contained on every side. Your enemies will smash you into rubble and not leave one stone standing on another, and they will cut your children down too, because you did not recognize the day when God’s Anointed One visited you. Luke 19:11-44. 

It is assumed that Jesus’s “Women disciples” were present on Palm Sunday. They would be gathered here for Passover anyway. Never just glance over a passage in Scripture because you have read it many times. Always take

Never just glance over a passage in Scripture because you have read it many times. Always take the time to digest the Words asking the Lord to open the eyes of your heart. There is always something you can learn.

Jesus was busy Holy week, yet He took time out to spend with God. We should be committed to doing the same this week. Take time to read the Holy Week stories from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday in each of the Gospels. Additionally, take some extra time in prayer and at the Lords feet.

Youversion has some free Holy Week plans. Furthermore, John Piper offers some excellent FREE Holy Week Books. Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy Morning & Evening Meditations for Holy Week. “Holy Week is not an obligation. It is an opportunity.

In the chaos of our increasingly fast-paced and hectic society, the annual coming of Holy Week each spring is a reminder to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day, and not let this greatest of all weeks fly like every other.

It is a chance to walk with the church throughout the world and throughout time as she accompanies her Bridegroom through the eight most important days in history. And it is an opportunity to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the highest and most timeless realities in the universe.

We have assembled a team of eleven pastors and scholars to walk us through Holy Week as we walk together with our Lord. This collection of short meditations includes readings for each morning and evening from Palm Sunday to the triumph of Easter.”

Love to the Uttermost ““Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, ends on Easter Sunday, and aims to focus our attention on Jesus as he displays his love to the uttermost (John 13:1). ”

 

Have a blessed Holy Week, sweet friends. I am hoping to post at least once more this week.

Romans Worldview

This was originally an essay on Romans for New Testament. It has a decent amount of applicable information, therefore, I wanted to share on here. I hope if you take the time to read this that you will learn something.

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The way an individual perceives the world is known as his or her worldview; furthermore, worldview influences many different aspects of life, such as discipleship, relationships, critical thinking, and decision-making. Beginning in childhood, the worldview is being altered continuously. Christ and the Bible are two things at the core of the Christian worldview. The Biblical worldview is founded on the Bible. It is an essential building block to uncovering the biblical worldview. Furthermore, Romans chapter eight teaches about the existence and attributes of God, creation, sin, salvation, ethics, and eschatology.

Romans analyzes origin from the formation of the world to the creation of humanity. Paul highlights humans’ sinful nature that started shortly after the creation of the world. In addition, the focus is on God’s existence from the beginning. Creation provides evidence of God’s existence. Additionally, creation reflects God’s nature enabling us to know Him intimately. God understands the complexity of the mysteries in nature. Furthermore, He sustains it. Every molecule of creation brings honor and glory to God.

God is too great to be fully comprehended by humans, while mysteries still remain through Romans people gain a deeper understanding of His character. The characteristics highlighted in Romans are also viewed in other books of the Bible. First, the reader sees that God is Righteous. Numerous times in the Bible individuals see that God is wrathful and some view this as intimidating. Fear of the Lord is an asset. On the other hand, people find comfort in the fact that God provides justice as well as judgment. God is truth. His word is true. He remains faithful never breaking a promise. Furthermore, God is mighty possessing eternal power. There is nothing too great for God to do. His power leaves people in amazement. Paul also describes God as divine. In addition, He is immortal. God always was and always will be God. He is eternal. God creates life. He is the source of life. God is love, furthermore, He demonstrates His love to His people in amazing ways. He gave His only son to die in the place of sinners. God is sovereign over every detail. Despite the fact that God hates sin, He is merciful. Nothing is hidden from God. He is wise. Providing excellent counsel. In addition, He provides hope, even in the darkest seasons of life. The book of Romans provides a small glimpse into God’s character.

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According to Romans, evil entered God’s creation through one man. Specifically, because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the world is flawed. God gave them free will, just as He gives us free will. Humans can choose to love Him or reject Him. There are consequences of sin both on earth and once an individual passes away. First, the wrath of God is poured out. Similarly, judgment is encountered. On Earth, the individual will experience hardships and distress. Hardships and distress can come in many forums. For example, if an individual steals they might find themselves in prison or if a man cheats he might find that his wife leaves him. In addition, Romans says, there is condemnation. Lastly, Romans teaches that the ultimate consequence of sin is death. All humans are sinful, and therefore deserving of death.

Sin is a heavy topic accompanied by heavy consequences, however, Romans reassure individuals that hope is not lost. Righteousness and redemption are freely offered through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, out of His love humans can receive salvation. Paul goes on to explain that faith is vital to this free gift. Furthermore, it is a gift that cannot be earned therefore no one can boast. In addition, Paul speaks of the gift of grace. Through salvation, there is hope for each sinner. Those who receive the gift of salvation receive additional priceless gifts. For example, a peace which surpasses all understanding. Christians are reconciled with God through Jesus. God’s wrath for all humanities sin was poured out during Jesus’ crucifixion.  In addition, Paul explains how the law fits in with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In chapter six, it focuses on the death of sin and victory in Jesus. Additionally, how believers should attempt to live as free people in Christ. “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14, New International Version). Through individuals are free Paul also explains that they are slaves to righteousness. The Holy Spirit is essential to Christians providing sanctification as well as renewed and empowered life. The Holy Spirit lives in believers. Though the Spirit believers are adopted by God, furthermore they are heirs of Christ sharing in suffering and glory. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

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The Bible provides guidelines for how Christians should act morality and Romans is no different. Christians are held to a high standard in general. In Romans chapter twelve, Paul instructs to be transformed and in line with God’s will. There is a popular phrase that Christians are in the world but not of the world and this is illustrated here in Romans. Romans provides instructions of what Christians should and should not think about. For example do not be prideful. On the contrary, the believer should think of himself or herself with sober judgment. Furthermore, they must do everything out of love, honoring others, and practice hospitality. It is essential to bless others even those who do wrong. In addition, Christians are instructed to live in peace with everyone. Christians should also support others as Paul says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Furthermore, believers must submit to government authorities. Paul reminds individuals that the Ten Commandments are still in place. He urges the reader to not indulge in sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension, and jealousy. People should respect others personal convictions. In addition, they should not cause one another to stumble. Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 12:1-15:13 focus on ethics and morality but do so in different capacities. In Romans chapter one, Paul focuses on humanity in the past, their sinful nature, and emphasizes God’s wrath towards them. On the contrary, in chapters twelve through fifteen Paul offers practical advice on how to live honoring God. In addition, in the second section, Paul discusses the body of Christ and how Christians should interact with people. Both passages highlight God’s authority and goodness. Furthermore, both address the issues of sin. Though extremely different, both passages offer hope in Christ.

Lastly, Romans teaches about hope for humanity and creation. Creation is liberated from bondage into freedom and God’s glory. There is a beautiful hope of eternal life for believers. Life everlasting with Jesus Christ is promised to believers. Nothing in all of the creation is able to separate God’s children from His amazing love. God receives glory and praise from all of creation and from each life. Paul reminds the believer that it is vital to remain in God’s will. God will work things out for His children.

In conclusion, Romans is an essential building block when constructing a biblical worldview. It includes numerous fundamental truths. The reader learns in depth about the attributes of God. In addition, God’s existence and some about creation. Furthermore, in the book of Romans Paul examines the issues of sin and salvation. In addition, practical advice on ethics is provided for the modern Christian. Lastly, the reader learns about hope for the future, which is an eternity with Christ.

Fasting

I am honored to begin this journey through the study Finding I Am, with you. I am confident that God will do an awe-inspiring work in you. He will continue to transform your heart to reflect His. Prepared to be deeply blessed!

Lysa opens the book discussing spiritual giants and fasting. There is something powerful in giving up food (or something else) in order to sit at the Lord’s feet. Worship becomes richer. The encounter with the Lord is deeper.

I grew up in church. Sometimes I was there as often as I was at home. The twenty-four-hour famine was on my bucket list for years. Finally, I reached youth group age.  I sprang into motion once the signup sheet was out at the tender age of twelve.

Our last meal was at school directly after we headed to church. The leaders pour a lot of time into crafting memorable games, worship sessions, juice breaks, and other activities.  Many details I cannot recall, but I know it was a time that I grew closer to God.

Seconds before communion, which is how we were breaking the fast, I grabbed my friend. Instructing her to get help. I wasn’t able to see. I passed out. However, that didn’t dampen my experience. Shortly after recovering, I asked when we could do the event again. That experience led me to a season of regular fasting on my own.

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Fasting provides a unique way to encounter God. Jesus taught about fasting, “and when you fast, do not look miserable as the actors and hypocrites do when they are fasting—they walk around town putting on airs about their suffering and weakness, complaining about how hungry they are. So everyone will know they are fasting, they don’t wash or anoint themselves with oil, pink their cheeks, or wear comfortable shoes. Those who show off their piety, they have already received their reward. When you fast, wash your face and beautify yourself with oil, so no one who looks at you will know about your discipline. Only your Father, who is unseen, will see your fast. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-18).

In this season of my life, due to my combination of chronic illnesses, I cannot fast from food. I want to encourage you if you are in a similar situation. All is not lost if you cannot fast from food. While it is an amazing experience, your current health situation is not a surprise to God. His grace extends where our bodies fail.

Fasting can be done in numerous ways. Some non-food suggestions are fasting from technology, a television series, or a hobby. The goal is to spend more time with God. Giving Him your undivided attention. To enhance your relationship with Him. Time away from something allows more time with God.

Lord,

We adore your precious name. You are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. You reign victoriously. Awe-inspiring, faithful, and sovereign.

Thank you for the gift of fasting. We praise Your name that Your grace extends into the depths of where we lack. We praise You for providing a way where we see none. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the time we spend alone with You. The time we worship You, seek Your face, talk with you, and spend in Your living Word.

Allow of Your children who read this to grow closer to You and to experience You in a unique way. Burden their hearts for You. Set their soul on fire. Bless this Bible study in an awe-inspiring way. Beyond our dreams. We praise Your Holy Name.

Amen

What I’m Reading Wednesday

At any given moment, I am reading an abundance of books. Typically, I have two books for online Bible Study, a book for personal Bible study and/or Christian living book, one fiction book, and two textbooks. In addition, I read an Old Testament and New Testament book of the Bible. I have been eager to write this post for you.

Currently, for the first term of my semester, I am reading Caring for People God’s Way. Additionally, I am reading Theories of Personality.

The past several weeks, I have been reading the Armor of God by  Priscilla Shirer in my one online Bible Study. Then, in a few short days, I will begin assisting with my other online Bible Study using the book Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Towards Hope in Chronic Illness by Cindee Snider Re.

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Recently, I finished reading Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible: Flawed Women Loved by a Flawless God. I was amazed at how well Liz taught with humor, clips of fiction writing, personal stories, and emphasis on the Bible in a unique way. I am a zealous fan of Wendy Blight’s writing and her teaching. Liz used a similar format in her book, which captivated my attention.I would recommend this book to any women. This book examines the lives of Sari, Haggar, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel. Be prepared to see these women as well as their stories in a new light.

Product Description From CBD.com is as follows, “Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible is the latest of Liz Curtis Higgs’ “girlfriend theology” Bible study. Combining contemporary fiction with a verse-by-verse commentary, she explores the “slightly bad” lives of a few Old Testament women. Far from evil, yet slightly bad, these women from the book of Genesis stubbed their toes along the rocky path of righteousness. Sound familiar? These ancient sisters aren’t a whole lot different from us. Laced with humor and built on solid research, this book will bring you to the realization that God loves you just the way you are. Flaws and all!”

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Fiction Book. The biggest downside to this book is in the fact that it is the final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series. This is a sweet ending to the series. I simply adore how Karen Kingsbury includes the characters struggles as well as their time with God. Even though it is fiction she has a way of not only pulling the reader into the story but also challenging and strengthening their faith as well. You feel as though you have become friends with the characters. Beautiful tear-jerking wedding was included. Without a doubt, her books are life changing fiction.

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This is my personal Bible Study book. I began it a few short days ago so I don’t have much yet to say about it. Book description from CBD.com, “The book of Philippians calls you to see beyond your present circumstances and discover the authentic joy awaiting you in Christ. Get ready to explore this uplifting book through the tried-and-tested inductive study method – with an added writing step to help you treasure each word!”

 

Hope

New Year’s sweet bells of hope ring loudly as January launches. Fervently we compose resolutions so that this year will be astonishing. However, the sweet song evaporates. Leaving us in silence by mid-January as we waltz back into the reliable beat of everyday life. Focus is no longer aimed at hope or the resolutions. Slither into daily calamities, apprehension leeches on, despair dangles overhead, and sorrow is deep.

Providing joy, strength, and adding depth to our relationship with Christ. Despite heartbreak, pain beyond comprehension, and when our world seems to be crumbling before our eyes there is always a spark of hope. It is not always instinct, but then again living the way Jesus called us to is anything but natural. As Christians, we are required to battle our flesh. In addition, we are to fight to remain firm in the hope Christ provides for us. It is a daily fight. Let me assure you, my precious friend that the reward is immeasurable.

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How would you, dear friend define this simple word hope? Appearing frequently, it is engraved on our hearts. Yet we need a reminder of the biblical definition so that we resist conforming to the world’s definition of hope. Additionally, so that we remain steadfast in Christ and transformed by Him.Bible.org defines hope this way, “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Furthermore, there is a clear element of trust throughout Scripture when hope is examined. Moreover, I find it essential to highlight the usage of hope in the New Testament, which I found on Biblestudytools.org. “The New Testament consistently uses the verb elpizo [ejlpivzw] and the noun elpis [ejlpiv”] for hope.” Both words here are Greek.

 

Elpizo is defined as (30 times in NT)1. to hopein a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence2. hopefully to trust in.png

Additionally, hope molds our character, providing joy, peace, confidence, endurance, strength, courage, and comfort. Expanding beyond our dreams when we are consistently feasting on the Word of God. Furthermore, our hope cultivates as we become consumed with the Holy Spirit.Perspectives are transformed by hope as it gives new light to an existing situation. Likewise, it modifies the way we view ourselves, transforms what we value, and affects how we spend the gifts God has graciously entrusted us with such as time and talents.

Practically, how do we remain anchored in hope when our circumstances are screaming give up? When we continue to receive one piece of bad new after another. As mentioned before, we must continuously feast on God’s word. In addition, it is vital to the health of our hope to spend time simply in  Christ presence. Additionally, prayer provides a path to the renewal of hope. Various books, sermons, and worship songs can be an asset. Lastly, we can remain anchored in hope by leaning on Christian friends.

Lord,

Rekindle our weary souls with fresh hope. Fill us with Your HolySpirit. Enable us to have a deeper understanding of Your hope and of who You are. Regardless of what we face enable us to remain steadfast in hope. We praise You for the hope of salvation found in Christ Jesus. Blessed be Your Holy Name.

Amen