Category Archives: bible study

Just pray the scriptures…

Have you ever just sat there, wanting to be close to God, needing to talk to Him, and yearning to hear from Him, yet not knowing what to say?!  I know I have.  This morning, in my Beth Moore Devotional, Praying God’s Word Day-by-Day, I read this:

“When we pray the Scripture, we transfer the burden to God’s Word rather than our ability to pray correctly or adequately.”

“Lord God, Your Holy Spirit helps me in my weakness  I do not know what I ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches my heart knows the mind of the Spirit, because Your Spirit intercedes for me in accordance with Your will (Romans 8:26-27).

Help me, then, Lord, not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to You.  And Your peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 4:6-7).”

Thank you, God, for making it so simple for us.  Help me get rid of my own way of complicating my relationship with you.  Thank you for grace and second/third/fiftieth chances.

 

Why the challenges?!

Have you entered the AWARENESS RAISING GIVEAWAY?!

It ends on TUESDAY and the winners will be announced WEDNESDAY!

 

It’s March and we’ve begun our FOOD CHALLENGE

Since we posted our ‘unofficial list’ earlier we have changed out RICE for BANANAS

Anyways, that’s not the point of this blog

I want to talk about WHY we are challenging ourselves in different ways, what it is doing for us, and how we hope to be changed for the future

 

Since cookies, ice cream, cookies, rolos, cookie dough, and cookies are not on my list for my food challenge, I am pretty confident I will fail.

(Debbie downer, huh?!)

Actually, I know I will failif I am not putting my faith and trust in God to transform my self-control and discipline…I have no hopes of succeeding!

And I know that if I try to succeed with self-discipline alone, I will fail!  We are coming together, in community, to radically challenge each other with self-control and discipline.  We are holding each other up in daily prayer and contacting each other with regular accountability.  The clothing challenge was a tight-knit group of 5 gals.  This food challenge has grown from 5 gals to 9! (7 ladies and 2 of our husbands).  In April the challenge will be related to marriage and I hope that even more will join in on the vulnerability, sacrifice, discipline, fellowship, and growth!

Along with the Late Night Girls Bible Study where the idea for these challenges grew – I have been reading lots of literature that has been tugging on my heart and convicting my spirit to make radical, lasting changes in how I view my possessions, my wealth, and my capabilities

One of these books is Radical by David Platt

If 7 by Jen Hatmaker rocked my world (the book behind the idea for the challenges), Radical pretty much crumbled it

We listened to this a few times in 2011 and I recently bought the book so I can pour over it’s words and write my thoughts in the margin

This book stirred our hearts towards adoption

This book helped us think differently about our God’s possessions (that we are merely stewards of)

This book turned our hearts towards seeking out more of THE BOOK (The Bible, in case you weren’t quite sure if I was refering again to 7 by Jen Hatmaker again which I’ve mentioned in at least 5% of my blogs)

Big Picture:

This is about the health of my heart and my emotions and my mind
We have the luxury of buying whatever we want…even extremely expensive healthy whole foods that are great for us – but we don’t have to hardly blink about the cost because of our surplus of money!
I want to meditate on the world and what I choose to stay blind to…how they are not just hungry but DIE from hunger
Kids, exactly like mine, all over the world, that will die today because they are hungry…something that can be so easily rectified…
How I can eat less or a smaller variety of diet and avoid gluttony, and over-indulgence, and SELF-indulgence?
And begin to concentrate on self-control, and my body-image in Christ, and being world-focused?
I know as we open our hearts to be more radical – and diligently hide more of The Word away in our hearts, we will continue to be pulled towards God’s plan for our lives and how our sole purpose is to bring Him glory
God, help us rid ourselves of gluttony this month and meditate on eliminating waste of food and get back to nurturing our bodies with a conservative and respectful diligence that keeps us globally-focused on those that will die today from not having the luxury of consuming the scraps that we throw away from our table…
Help us die to ourselves so that YOU can take us over and accomplish your greatness through us!
If you want to be challenged and need some accountability and fellowship – join us in this month’s challenge!  Just a leave a comment and let me know 🙂
If you want some literary ‘food for thought’ pick up Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst and be enlightened to transform our God-given desire to crave from food and other worldy distractions, to God and His Word that will benefit and feed us eternally.
And DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Ministering around the world

Are you keeping up with our CLOTHING CHALLENGE this month?!

Here’s another ministry blog to keep us mindful of why we need to live with less so we can give more to the rest of the world

Ever read Kisses from Katie?!

I love her.

Amazima ministries

This is what she started – when she was like 19.

Yep, she is so much better than me

Jump on this website and read about her life, her call to Africa, and her God

Keeping mission minded

Today is the beginning of our CLOTHES CHALLENGE

To keep us focused throughout the month I want to highlight some missions that I think are worth the time reading about and/or supporting

Forgotten Children Worldwide

This is a local ministry where we take all of our clothes when we are done with them, or when I’ve decided to purge a percentage of our closets (cut to the last 4 months of our life…)

But not only do they fund an amazing clothing distribution center, you can sponsor a child through them as well

Their annual fundraiser is coming up in just 10 days – so stop by their website soon and see how you can help!

Garage Sale for Orphans

You’ve heard plenty about this from when we hosted it in November

The whole idea behind it came from how God radically began changing my heart through reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker (the reason behind the clothes challenge this month)

Thinking of having a garage sale this year?

Consider this option instead and send your $ to a group who can distribute it around the world to fund projects bringing shelter, water, and education to all of God’s children (not just our own!)

 

Have a ministry you want me to highlight on the blog?! Let me know about it!

The Clothing Challenge

Get ready.

A small group of ladies from Late Night Girls Bible Study (interested?! Let me know and you can join us!) decided, after reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker, that we would challenge ourselves with limiting our wardrobe for one month.

To 10 items.

Yep…not counting undergarments, I will be seen in every place, on any occassion, wearing any of these 10 allotted items.

Let me tell you, the choosing process has been anything but simple!  And why?! BECAUSE I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH STUFF TO CHOOSE FROM!

In America, we are overwhelmed with choices and an unsatiated appetite of consumerism

This has lead to many issues in my own life: Dissatisfaction with what I already have, vanity in what I have to choose from, self-worth issues when I compare myself to others, unwise use of my money to acquire more, unrest in my heart, envying others, coveting others, and downright sin when I constantly put my wants in front of the world’s needs.

So…to remedy this, we are challenging ourselves to live with less (in only one way…so not that honorable or glamorous, really…) in order to change our hearts, to meditate on those who have less (which is most of the world!), and to hopefully inspire others to change, challenge themselves, or begin thinking differently about what (we think) we own.

On with the challenge…

The rules:

Choose 10 pieces of clothing (tops, bottoms, shoes, coats, accessories), that are not undergarments.  Wear only these for the month of February.

Pretty simple, eh?

The fine print lets you know that these are worn out and in, as in no extra evening comfy clothes or pajamas…EVERYTHING COUNTS!  Accessories count (ouch” says the girl who wears earrings even on days when she doesn’t leave the house).  An exception we made for a couple gals in our group was that they could have a separate 10 items to use for working out – but limiting those for the month as well (come on, we already run the risk of being a little smelly unless we manage to wash clothes every other day…we don’t want everyone to reak and repulse the neighbors!)

So how do we choose?!

Here’s what I’ve chosen:

clothes 003

And yes, that’s only 9. And yes I lack any color, which may be sad and boring.  I need to choose another t-shirt, but honestly, I’m still debating choosing some sweet glittery studs for my ears instead…

We’ll see.

So – it starts this Friday, February 1st

Who wants to join us?!?!

And who wants to pray for us!!!!!!

We’ll take anybody – we’re not picky 🙂

I would love to share some inspiring blogs and ministry websites to help us stay focused througout the month – if you have any recommendations, send them my way!

For some additional reading on simplifying, here’s a blog that Rachel Maggard (fellow clothes challenge friend) found that is inspiring!

Heart condition

Lately God has brought this theme (‘heart condition’) up over and over and over again:

Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley

The Well-Trained Heart by Ray and Donna Reish

Homeschool Mom’s group

and of course, Scripture!

Man, is this something God is working on in me.

I know that if I had continued to work (or rather, go back after a maternity leave w/Sully) I would have completely ignored the tugging of the Holy Spirit to work on this area in me.

I would not have let myself have the emotional space for intense heart work – and I would have suppressed this issue in my life, probably causing my anxiety to explode into panic and misplaced fears.

Thank you, God, for discernment, support, encouragement, and obedience (and for 8 months of counseling a year ago!)

So, now that I have been home with 2 babies for over 7 months…I can honestly say that a majority of what I have ‘struggled’ with has been related to the anger that seaps out from my heart into my mind and out of my mouth and it is UGLY!

What little girl wants a mommy who is mad?

Or an infant with a mommy who is frustrated and tired and distracted?

Whew – not me, nor do I want to be that kind of mommy…

We are so blessed to have a living Redeemer who continues to redeem every day situations!

I have begun reading She’s Gonna Blow by Julie Ann Barnhill as recommended by a friend to shed some light on the taboo topic of ‘mommy anger’ (look for some posts coming about that next month)

And just this week, God blessed me with some great reminders of how I am to guard my own heart as part of being blessed to be a mommy of Mylin and Sullivan:

1. Understand our need for God’s help – apart from Him we cannot do this

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” -Titus 2:11-12

2. YIELD to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in hes heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” – Luke 6:45

(which, by the way, is our memory verse this week…so if you see me, ask me what it is!)

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.  At that time each will receive his praise from God” -1 Corinthains 4:5

So as we are the mothers and teachers of these young, precious, impressionable souls – we must remember to guard our hearst and keep them:

Teachable

Enlighted – wise and discerning

Aligned – walk in truth & trust God – NOT ourselves

Caring – compassionate

Humble – but aside pride

Righteous – pure & maintaining integrity

Steadfast – firmly established

“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” – Psalm 26:2

Let us always yearn for truth and righteous change in our lives, never being blind to our faults and growth areas

If you are in a spot where you need more support or a different kind of support than you are already getting – please let me know…I can help you find a counselor, a group, or a friend to talk to!  All of these have changed my life at different stages and multiple times! I believe in it 🙂

My world has been turned upside down by a book

I have mentioned this book before:

7 by Jen Hatmaker

And today I am going to devote an entire blog to it. (the first of many?! we’ll see…) (Oh, and here’s her blog – enjoy!)

First off – read it. (I’m such a pusher)

It’s diary-style and so stinkin hilarious I would disturb my sleeping or otherwise occupied husband and children by laughing out loud.  Not to mention 1 paragraph later I’d be blowing my drippy nose from crying so much at the global devastation we are so blind to that Jen can so beautifully slap us in the face with.

All of that to say – you cannot read this book and remain the same

It calls to us.  To radically change our lives to live more simply, more radically, and most of all, more in line with how Christ has called us to live and to care for our world

She takes 7 things: media, clothes, food, possessions, waste, stress, shopping and does an ‘experiment’ by fasting in different ways from all of these – or with all of these…depending on how you look at it

Last week in a ladies bible study I’m involved in, we began discussing this book – and what a discussion took place!

By the end of the night, we were all challenging each other to fast from or give up something for the next 2 weeks (until we met again)

Some fasted from eating out, some from spending money, some will purge and rid their houses from excess waste and possessions, and others will cut back (or out) media influence.

We all know where we can simplify – but most of us don’t want to be uncomfortable!  We want to have the purchase we’re saving for, or the retirement we’re allocating so much money in, or the cute new sweatshirt that would flatter our wardrobe… We don’t want to restrict our budgets.  We don’t want to say no to ourselves.  But if we only could………

We could give more and help more and see poverty and sex trafficking and homelessness and orphans and the hungry and the naked and the destitute and the hurting find healing and JESUS

By showing a little self-control and discipline we could be Jesus to the world

We already have enough – instead of continuing to live at or above our means, why not live below our means so we can show the world that we do care – even though we may not be as educated about or aware of their devastation…we DO care about them.  We want them to live and thrive and know Jesus and experience eternity in heaven

What can we do to help?

Will wearing only 7 pieces of clothing for an entire month help?  It may make me uncomfortable…and it may bring awareness!  Will it be difficult – I think so.  Is it necessary to not only help others but to radically change my selfish, sinful heart?! YES!

What will you do?

Fast from clothes? Or spending? Or media? Or sell one of your several cars?  Give away furniture? Go through all your kids clothes and give to Forgotten Children Worldwide?

Let me know what God is stirring in your heart – and let’s challenge each other, keep each other accountable and be obedient to be Jesus to the least of these!