May 25, 2018

Psalm 121 – A Promise from God’s Word

Adventurous I’m not. But, God gave me a daughter who loves travel and adventure. I’ll never forget the day Lauren called to tell me she and her friends wanted to plan a multi-country tour through Asia, staying in hostels and other places this mama would not set foot.

How I wanted to join in on her joy and excitement, but I couldn’t. My mind immediately traveled to terrorist attacks. Scenes from the movie, Taken. Food poisoning. Plane crashes. Any of you mamas been there?

And, to add fuel to my fire, a week before her departure date, pain Lauren had been experiencing elevated to the point it necessitated a doctor visit. Her doctor sent her to a surgeon who told her she needed to have her gall bladder removed as soon as possible. Because of the months of planning invested in this trip, he gave her permission to travel and scheduled her surgery two days after her return. They prescribed medicine that would give her two days to fly back in the event of a gall bladder emergency. Not words an already fearful and nervous mama wanted to hear.

Fear consumed my heart. I turned to the only One I knew would bring me peace. God led me to His Word.

THIS word.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
   he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
   both now and forevermore.

God’s promise to me …

God will watch over Lauren’s coming and going.

Through this psalm, God reminded me of His character. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Just as God did for Israel, He will do for Lauren. For centuries, God watched over the coming and going of His chosen people. He did the very same for Jesus and His disciples. I knew He was asking me to trust Him to do the same for my girl. Every plane flight. Every border crossing. Every train. Every hostel. Every meal. Every interaction. He would be there with her. I could trust Him.

Each day, I rehearsed His promises. I prayed them over Lauren and her friends.

Instead of crying out in fear, I called upon Him in faith.

I truly felt anxious for nothing because I prayed about everything.

I believed that HE was watching over her coming and going because He is El Roi, the God Who Sees.

He had His eye upon her. He had His eye on me.

He was near.

He was in control.

She was safe.

I pray this message speaks to your heart today. Maybe you’re sending a child off to college or a far away trip. Maybe you’re stepping into a new place in life. Maybe you or someone you love has received a diagnosis that terrifies you. Maybe you’re in a storm where the waves are crashing over you, overwhelming you. Maybe fear holds you captive.

Sweet friend, turn to your Abba Father. Turn to Psalm 121. Speak it. Pray it. Believe it. Rest in it.

Leave a comment today and share a promise that YOU cling to in times like this. Let’s fill this comment section with Scriptures that will bless and encourage us in these difficult, fearful, lonely, scary places.

Thanking God for each one of you today. May you know His love, presence and provision is the most sweet and intimate ways.

P.S. The winner of our last giveaway was Katria! Please check your email for more info.

Blessings,

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April 30, 2018

6 Steps to Studying God’s Word (plus a Giveaway)

I’ll never forget the first time someone taught me how to read God’s Word. Not just read it and move on, but read it and really hear God speak to me. It transformed how I read God’s Word. Not all in one day, of course, but over time. I thought I’d share that process with you today.

Let’s use Psalm 62:5-8 for our reading today:

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
    He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
    Pour out your heart to him,
    for God is our refuge (NLT).

Step One

PRAY and invite God into your time with Him … to open the eyes of your heart to receive what He wants to teach YOU as you open His living and active Word.

Step Two

READ the passage. Read it through a few times.

Step Three

LIST the facts … not details, not your thoughts … just the facts. Who is speaking? What is the subject? Where does the scene take place? When did it happen? Who are the characters? What is the author saying? Try not to paraphrase. Use actual words from the passage itself.

Application step for Psalm 62:5-8:

David is the author.

The subject is the character of God.

Wait quietly before God.

Our hope is in God.

God is our rock. Our salvation.

Victory and honor come from God.

God is our refuge. Our rock.

Pour out our hearts to God.

***This is an example. Your list may not look like mine, and that’s okay.

Step Four

ASK what the verse/passage means. Go back to your facts and look for the spiritual lesson or principle the author conveys through the facts. There may be more than one. It’s more of a general lesson, not necessarily a personal application for you (that comes next). Is there a command to obey? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow or not to follow? What do the facts reveal about God’s people? About God’s character? About the culture? About Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

Application step for Psalm 62:5-8:

We need to be still before God and listen and wait.

We find hope in God’s many magnificent names. Rock. Salvation. Fortress. Refuge.

Because of God’s character, we will not be shaken. He is our safe place and protects us from the enemy.

Victory is found in God and God alone.

God wants us to pray and trust Him with our circumstances … fears, trials, doubts, worries.

***Again, this is my example. You may find other spiritual lessons. I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

Step Five

ASK what the verse/passage mean to you personally. Return to step three, take your statements and turn them into questions. What you hear may be for you or for a friend or family member. Sit with your questions and invite God to speak into your heart what HE has for you?

Application step for Psalm 62:5-8:

Do I take time to be still before God? If not, why not?

Where do I turn when I’m weary, overwhelmed, fearful?

Do I let my circumstances shake me to the core, or do I turn to and trust in God?

Where do I place my hope?

Do I know the names of God and what they mean?

Do I entrust God with my heart and my fears, trials and concerns? If not, to whom do I go and does that work for me?

Step Six

RESPOND to what you hear from God. You may not always have a response. Sometimes God is deepening your walk with Him by teaching you more about His character, His people, His history. There may not be a personal action step. But, oftentimes, God will have a personal response for you. He will invite you to take an action step. To put into practice what you have learned.

Application step for Psalm 62:5-8:

If you don’t hear anything, but you sense God is at work, write a prayer. Below is a combination of ways you can incorporate this passage into a prayer.

Heavenly Father, I know You are speaking to my heart, but I’m not quite clear on what You want me to do. Give me ears to hear and a heart to respond. Help me to be still more. Teach me more of Your names, what they teach me about You, and what they mean for me. I am overwhelmed, Lord, but I don’t want to be. I want to trust You more. Teach me how to do that. Direct my steps. My circumstances have me on unsteady ground. I’m afraid of the future. Lord, come to me. Settle me. Set my feet upon YOU, MY ROCK and my FORTRESS. Protect me from my enemy.”

And, if you hear God speaking directly into your circumstances, record the verse, date it and journal what you hear. Ask God to give you the courage to take the steps He is asking you to take or to have the faith to believe what He has told you.

Sweet friend, I pray this has been helpful.

GIVEAWAY – now closed – congrats Katria!

Since we studied several of God’s names today, I thought it would be fun to give away a copy of “I Know His Name,” my Bible study book that studies the names of God. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on what you learned today. We’ll choose one winner from the comments (U.S. addresses only please).

And, if you have other ways to study God’s Word, please share. We would love to hear your thoughts!

If you are reading this in email, click here to comment on the blog.

P.S. Last week’s winner of the Enough bracelet from Sharon Jaynes is Joyce S.

Blessings to you,

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April 12, 2018

Thank You! And, What God Has to Say about His Word

First, may I just say ya’ll are THE BEST! Thank you for taking the time to share your questions on prayer. And, even more, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I have created a notebook compiling your questions and can’t wait to begin the adventure of answering them one by one in preparation for writing this book. Ya’ll I gathered nearly 70 questions!! Who knew? I’m so thankful ya’ll love prayer as much as I do!!

Many of your questions talked about praying God’s Word. So today, I thought I would share precious truths and promises about God’s Word. God has much to say in the Bible about the purpose and value of His living and active Word. He gives us powerful truths. Life-changing promises. All to incorporate into our prayers!

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.  HE WAS WITH GOD IN THE BEGINNING. THROUGH HIM ALL THINGS WERE MADE; WITHOUT HIM NOTHING WAS MADE THAT HAS BEEN MADE. JOHN 1:1-3

Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 11:18-19

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word. Psalm 119:9

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. 2 Sam. 22:31; Proverbs 30:5

My Word that goes out from My mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it out. Isaiah 55:11

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  James 1:22

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight. Jeremiah 15:16

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. John 15:7

Put on the full armor of God … Take the … Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God … And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Eph. 6:11; 17-18

I would love to hear YOUR favorite verses about God’s Word. Please share them in the comments.

Blessings,