Friday, November 18, 2011

Additional Step to the SOAP Method

In our last Bible study class together this past Sunday night, (the one I had to miss because Gracen was sick), I was told that many ladies shared how much they have enjoyed the SOAP method of Bible study. The liked how it has given them some direction in their quiet time and they really enjoyed writing out a prayer each day based on Scripture.

A friend of mine from the class, Stephanie Beers, said that there were a few comments on difficulty with the observation and application steps. She sent me a wonderful tool that her husband uses called SPECK that can be used during these steps. I loved it and have been using it this week in my "Application" step.

S – Is there SIN for me to confess or avoid?
P – Is there a PROMISE for me to claim?
E – Is there an EXAMPLE for me to follow?
C – Is there a COMMAND for me to obey?
K – Is there KNOWLEDGE of God for me to praise, or apply to my life?

As I am thinking through the verse for the day, it has been really helpful to think through each of these steps. In today's verse, Ephesians 1:17-19, which I made reference to yesterday, there is a promise to claim and knowledge of God to praise and apply to my life.

Next time I teach the SOAP method, I will be using SPECK to take it a little bit further. Thanks to Stephanie for sharing!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Until next time....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catching Up

Well, I had sick children for a week and a half. Both girls had fever and a stuffy, runny nose...and just generally felt really yucky. Gracen was the worst to deal with because she was so grumpy and so clingy. She didn't sleep for several nights in a row and just wanted me to hold her. This was bad because this Momma needs sleeps or I am one "grumpy Gus". I try not to be and I do try to pray through it, but it is so tough to function positively on a few hours of sleep.

Thankfully, both girls are well now. Gracen has been better since Tuesday. It has taken me two full days to get caught up around here and to run errands like buying groceries. I hope we are on the "up swing", but Gene is not feeling well today, so I may have another person to take care of soon! We will see what happens.

This past Sunday night was the last Confident Heart Bible study session. What a great 10 weeks we had together. I already miss the group! The last session was a wrap-up of the women that we want to be for the Lord. Of course we are still going to blow it in our Christian walks. We will never reach perfection, but when we mess up, hopefully we will turn back sooner to a Holy God who loves us so! As we yield ourselves to God through the good times and the bad times, through the regular moments and the extraordinary ones, we become "oaks of righteous...a planting of the that He may be glorified.." Isaiah 61:3. As we strive to live in close communion with our heavenly Father, our lives continually bring glory to Him and that is what we are here for. I desperately want to live a life that is fully surrendered to God and this study has opened my eyes to ways that I haven't been doing that...ways that I haven't lived with the confident heart that He has given me.

This week is our last week of verses. I hope that those in the group are sticking with it until the end. The verses are great summary verses to all that we have covered in the last 10 weeks. Here are some snippets below...

Isaiah 61:3...we are to be oaks of righteousness...a planting for the that He may be glorified.

Hebrews 10:35-36,39...we can NOT throw away our confidence because it has a great reward...I have need of endurance and when I have done the will of God I will receive what was promised...I can not shrink back in my faith.

Galatians 2:20...I have been crucified with is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me... the life that I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Colossians 1:27...God has made known to me this great mystery..the hope of glory...Christ within me.

Ephesians 1:17-19...I pray that God gives me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him...that the eyes of my heart will be enlightened so that I will know the hope of His calling and the riches of His inheritance...and that I will know the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

This is good stuff and I pray that I never get over all that God has done for me and all that is mine in Christ Jesus!

Until next time...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catch Up

I am sorry that I never got around to blogging yesterday. I have not had a good week when it comes to getting things done. I have had sick children who want my undivided attention. It started with Reagan at the beginning of the week. She had a sinus infection with fever, a bad cough, stuffy nose, headache, etc. She didn't sleep all that well at the beginning of the week which means I didn't sleep. She stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday, and Monday we spent half the day in the pediatrician's office, followed by the pharmacy getting prescriptions filled.

Reagan went back to school Wednesday and I was looking forward to a "normal" day but Gracen woke up at 5:30am with fever and was just in a terrible mood. Nothing would do unless I was holding her. We were headed back to the pediatrician around 11:00 and the doctor thinks she has a UTI. He is growing the culture for 24 hours so I won't know until sometime today.

Wednesday became the longest day ever. The fever made Gracen just about unbearable. "ILL" doesn't even begin to describe her mood. She didn't nap and literally wanted me to hold her the ENTIRE day. I had to miss church too which always makes me sad. Both girls have been up in the night.....and I am just tired! Yesterday's verse was very appropriate in light of my circumstances, even though things could have been a lot worse, they have not been ideal.... 2 Corinthians 12:7 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

I found myself rehearsing this verse yesterday and I wish I could say that it kept me in a place complete certainly helped....but it was still an incredibly long day! I literally pried Gracen off of me at 8:30 for bedtime and she was back up at 11:00... "His grace is sufficient".

Today's verse is Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Sometimes I wonder to myself, "Why does life have to be so hard? Why do some days have to be so unpleasant?" It is because my struggle is against Satan himself. I live in a fallen world with the constant pull of sin. Satan is constantly coming against me trying to bring out my worst self. Sometimes I just get weary and he wins. I let down my defenses, the circumstances of the day keep me from being in God's Word, and by bedtime my uglies spill out. As a Christian, I am assured victory but that means that I do have to engage in the battle, following the steps that God has given me in His Word found in the rest of this passage in Ephesians 6:10-17.

I have a Women's Retreat this weekend with my church. We are supposed to leave in the morning and I am ready to leave two girls with their Daddy. Is that bad? I don't think so.

I may not get to blog in the morning...but we will see.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1 John 1:9

1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

What a great reminder this morning that in our Christian walk, we are going to blow it! We are going to sin. We are going to make mistakes. Thankfully we have a God who is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as we confess our sins to Him.

It would be so easy to view God from our human perspective, making Him like us, thinking that He is up in heaven keeping a tally of how we blow it. When I was younger I used to think that I had a limit of how many sins I could commit and I once I reached that total, God would "write me off". I mean, we do this with other people right. We give them so many chances, and then we are done with them.

God is not like us! He is not keeping a heavenly tally sheet. He loves us so much and nothing that we can do can separate us from His love. Nothing that we can do can cause us to lose our salvation. Sin breaks our fellowship with Him though and it creates a barrier in our relationship. God desires that our fellowship be unhindered so our responsibility is to confess our sins to Him as soon as we become aware of it and trust that He will wash us clean. As we do this, we will have sweet fellowship with our Savior, experiencing peace and joy in our relationship with Him.

Until next time...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hebrews 4:16

In our group Bible study this coming Sunday night we will be talking about the lie that whispers, "I can't follow God consistently". Satan can really get us with this thought. Sometimes I feel so FAR from God despite my best efforts to walk closely with Him. I have days where I just blow it and my flesh oozes out all over the place...and I am a pastor's wife for goodness sakes! Some days I yell at my kids, snap at my husband, overeat, overspend, don't spend enough time praying or reading my Bible, break promises to people, act prideful, act selfish, hold a grudge, or a number of other things that a Christian just shouldn't do. In those moments, Satan whispers to my heart that I will never get it right and I should just quit trying.

Thankfully, my God is not after my perfection. I will never perfectly follow him while on this earth simply because I can never be perfect. What I CAN consistently do is yield myself to Him. When that conviction comes I can go to the throne of grace with CONFIDENCE and pray to my God, confessing my sin, turning from it, and then start all over again. When I do that I always find grace and mercy...not shame or condemnation. His mercies are new every single morning (Lamentations 3:23) and they never run out. Great is His faithfulness!!!

Hebrews 4:16
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Until next time...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Psalm 55:22

Psalm 55:22
"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."

This verse is pretty self explanatory but for me it is just a matter of doing it and believing it. I have to learn once and for all how to cast all of my burdens upon God and LEAVE them there at His feet. God sustains my life. He gives me every single breath that I have. He sees the big picture from beginning to end and He wants me to rest in that truth. Resting means that I will stop working myself up into a "tizzy" about possibilities...or even actual events.

I am one of His righteous ones because I am saved and covered by His blood. This means that I will NOT be shaken. I can be strong regardless of what I face.

Yesterday's verse promised me that as I turned my concerns over to God in prayer, He would give me a peace that surpasses all understanding. Today, I am told that His promises are so much bigger than my problems and because of that truth, I can have peace.

The author of our study A Confident Heart suggested that we write down all of our concerns, big and small, and look at them. Take each one of them to God in prayer and pray promises from scripture over them...leaving them with God. Any of the verses from this week will apply or you might look up the following verses as well...Psalm 16:11, Psalm 23:1, Psalm 25:4-5, Psalm 138:7-8.

God is with me during every second of every day and He is so much more powerful than any issue that I face. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is good and He can be trusted. I know in my heart that this is truth and I want to live this out in my thoughts and my actions every single day.

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Philippians 4:6-7

Philippians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This is my go to verse on worry. I have it memorized. I don't have to look it up. But do I live it out? Not exactly...

This verse says that I am to be anxious for NOTHING...for No Thing...Nada...Zilch. I mean is this even possible? There are so many things to worry about on any given day, things like health issues, financial issues, job issues, marriage issues, balancing it all issues, and don't even get me started on my kids. God says that I am supposed to bring every single thing to Him in prayer. I am to bring the big things and the little things and lay them down at His feet in prayer. I have to continually pray about all the issues that run through my brain, reminding myself to hand them over to God with an attitude of thanksgiving...regardless of the outcome. I have to admit, I have the prayer part down. But that is only half the battle. I take lots of things to God in prayer, but the "leaving them there" part is what I struggle with.

I have to admit, thus far in my life, most of the things that I have worried about have never happened. All my worries have accomplished in my life is heartache for know, lost sleep, lack of enjoyment in the moment, many upset stomachs, and a complete lack of peace. My worrying has never fixed anything, nor has it accomplished anything positive in my life.

God tells me in these verses that I can have complete peace when I bring every single thing to Him in prayer. For me, this is going to mean taking every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and making it obedient to the Word of God. I have to constantly acknowledge that God is good....that He sees me....that everything that touches my life has been filtered through a sovereign God who never leaves my side. When my brain starts to worry about something, I have to stop my thoughts and ask God to remove that line of thinking, replacing it with His truth instead. When I do that, He promises peace...peace that surpasses my understanding. The peace that He provides will continually guard my heart and my mind. I love that promise and I desperately want to live it out. I am so tired of worry robbing me of living life in the moment.

The notes in my Life Application Bible say that to worry less, one has to pray more. At the moment you start to worry, pray instead. This is what it means in 1 Thess. 5:17 when it calls us to pray without ceasing. All through the day, we have to pray sentence prayers up to God instead of worrying.

Phil. 4:6-7 can be summarized like this...Anxious in nothing, prayerful in everything, and thankful for anything.

Is this possible?
Yes, it is!

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Two Verses and Halloween

I am sorry that I never got around to posting my verse for yesterday. It was a crazy day. Gracen woke me up 3 am and she never went back to sleep. She appeared to have a nightmare of some sort and was petrified to go back into her crib. I tried laying down with her and she was simply wide awake. Yesterday, was Halloween and I had volunteered to help at Reagan's school...starting with a hayride at 8:30. I was tired by the time I got there. Gracen and I got back home around lunch. We both ate and then took a nap. Gracen slept for 3 hours and I slept for about an hour. After that I had to shower and get ready for the night... "Light the Night for Jesus" at our church in honor of Halloween. We picked Reagan up from school and I spent the afternoon bathing both girls and getting them dressed and ready in their costumes. We had a great night and I added a few pictures below.

This week in our Bible study we are leading up to a lesson on worry...a big issue for me. I don't feel worthy to teach the lesson because this is one of my biggest weaknesses. Through the study, I am starting to realize just how much Satan uses my thoughts to distract me from God's truth. When I worry about ridiculous scenarios that usually NEVER happen, I am not resting in God's Word and the many promises that are available to me.

Yesterday's verse was Matt. 11:28..."Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

This is not your typical go-to verse on worry but the author of our study makes a great point that worry makes you physically tired. It causes a heaviness in your spirit and robs you of restful sleep. Worries about our relationships, our many roles, our responsibilities, our finances, etc. can be overwhelming, causing our thoughts to get "divided" all over the place. God desires that we focus on His truth which promises to give a sound mind. Jesus calls us to come to Him and to lay everything down at His feet, which means we have to stop rehearsing things in our minds. When we lay everything down, He will truly give us rest for our spirits.

Today's verse is Psalms 91:1-2..."He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, My refuge and My fortress, My God, in whom I trust."

Again, not your typical verse on worry, but when we worry and we are fearful, we are not resting in the truths found in these verses. God is sovereign and He sees our entire lives from beginning to end. Nothing takes Him by surprise. Everything that touches our lives has been filtered through His hands for our good purposes. He wants us to continually remember that He will never leave us....He is a shelter... He calls us to abide in His shadow...He is a refuge...He is fortress...He can be trusted.

Abiding in God is spending that daily time with Him in His Word and in prayer. That time is what transforms us from the inside out. The more time we spend in His presence the more we will trust in the promises of scripture enabling us to conquer anxious thoughts.

For family, I wanted to share a few pictures. On Saturday night, we carved two pumpkins for the Halloween weekend.

Reagan loves to get the insides of the pumpkin out. She likes to get messy. Gracen on the other hand wouldn't touch it.
The finished pumpkin

And here are my little "trick or treaters" from last night.

Snow White

Princess Belle

Until next time...