Category Archives: Bible Study

Stand Still.

I was listening to a sermon this morning on the radio… I almost changed the channel because I have less than a 10 minute commute and I just wanted some tunes.  I felt compelled not to.  It was from Exodus.  Which my church is also studying… think the Lord is trying to help me get some major points? haha

Well 20 minutes later, I’m sitting in the parking garage praying, crying, scribbling notes and being late to work.

The Lord has definitely been speaking to me lately, in a way that I haven’t felt or experienced in a long time.

I won’t speak too much to the many ways He is doing this right now… I feel like it’s probably too soon and I want to use discretion and wisdom in speaking on such topics (even on my own blog).

I will say though, this both scares and excites me.  I have a feeling my standing still won’t actually physically look like standing still and yet… I will be, and God will be doing the moving.

Who knows?  Only Him in reality!

I do know though that if He moves the way I think He is moving, I want ya’ll to see it.

I want to document it.

I want His glory seen and His salvation known and people to see that He is Lord over my life.

He is Yah.

Meditate on this today (I know I will be):

If the Lord tells you to move forward He won’t let you drown, what if you never see a sea in your life part, because you are too afraid to step forward?

You are praying about it?  Great! (Me too)

Don’t use prayer as an excuse not to proceed…

Exodus 14: 13- 15

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.

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Positioning.

This past Sunday we had the privilege of hearing from the word of God. 

Our church is going through the book of Exodus and our pastor Kevin brought a lot of attention to a certain matter… positioning.

Do you know how God asked the Israelites to camp after they were brought out of Egypt?!

By the sea, with their backs to Egypt

 “You want me to backtrack to the worst strategic place possible, march back to the kill zone?”

God wants His glory to be seen, again, and for the Egyptians to know that He is Yahweh.

10 plagues weren’t enough.  He is for His glory, He wants to be known.  So He positions the Israelites to help Him see through with His plan.  This isn’t about them; it is completely about Him and His name.

Their positioning put them in a great place of fear when they saw the Egyptians coming.  There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  There was a whole lot of trust to rely on.

How often does God have us somewhere, with someone, for His purposes and all we can think about is the way if effects us, makes us comfortable, or uncomfortable?

He sometimes has a different plan than our plan.  His plan is always the right plan.

We have to believe that.  We have to trust that.  We have to walk in His calling and fear NOT.

The strongest negative imperative in the entire Hebrew bible is in this verse and it is to fear not.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Exodus 14:13 & 14

Hopefully, you know what happens after that… God clears the way, makes one obvious path for His people and uses that same path as one of destruction for those trying to hurt His people.

All this positioning of the Israelites has me thinking even more about Haddon’s positioning (I know I connect dots in weird ways).

If you aren’t new to this blog you know that I have a birth plan hope.  Sometimes I fear that it won’t go AT ALL as I hope and that I’ll have to get surgery (which I know, isn’t the worst thing). 

Sunday night Haddon changed positions into a very uncomfortable for mama one.  He didn’t stay in it.  In fact, I feel fine today (praise the LORD, seriously), his positioning makes all the difference in the world in how I move and feel.

I know he is getting cramped in there… we have a 3 day shy of full time baby so poor thing doesn’t have a lot of room.  He hasn’t dropped though and so still moves “as free as can be”.  I’m praying that he would be in the right position for his mama’s body to move him down to welcome him into this world without crazy amounts of intervention.

Would you join me in some prayers on position?  We would greatly appreciate it.

That Haddon would be physically positioned perfectly to have labor progress and come out on his own? 

On a more long term note…

That God would position his little heart to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Him and position Micah and mine’s to be able to humbly serve and teach this little boy and each other?

Anyway, regardless of how Haddon decides to lay, and what happens with Micah’s work situation, and where we live, and yada yada yada. 

I need to be still, watch, and know that He is God, hoping someday my faith will be counted as righteousness. 

  • In case you’re interested in more on God’s positioning of the Israelites, check out our sermon from Sunday
  • In case you’re interested in more on baby’s positioning and how much it affects birth, check it out (how come no one talks about this stuff?!)

 

#firstworldproblems.

I first heard this term when our water filter at work broke. 

A sign went on the filter that said something along the lines of:

 “Please don’t use this filter to fill up your Nalgene bottles,  then there is no filtered cold water for people who just want a glass during the day, thank you – the management”. 

Underneath of this typed up note in scribbly permanent marker was written:

 “#firstworldproblems”- (no doubt written by one of our hilarious graphic artists).

Every since I saw that though, I think about it, what consists as first world problems?  Since seeing that sign I see and hear that phrase used jokingly all the time, and usually in very true contexts.

One way I am learning to apply this is the way I think about our living situation now that we have a baby on the way.

It is mentally exhausting to house hunt working with a smaller budget and not liking certain areas of your city, and not knowing what will happen with jobs.  You might be thinking… why are you even house hunting then?

Haha here is why we have been house hunting- 

I have it in my little head that I should bring a baby home to… a home. 

Not an apartment and not a place that will be in transition, a place we are already almost too big for without our little one.  I picture a place where our child can go outside and explore and discover God’s creation and about itself.  Where I can let him or her ride their bike and not have to worry about the street.  I picture a place that does not have a busy road because they should be able to hear the crickets on summer nights and birds and lawn mowers in the spring and summer mornings.  I picture a porch where we can sit on rockers or our Adirondacks and drink sweet tea and lemonade.  I picture a yard where I can grow a little garden and teach them that God’s bounty and provision comes from sowing and reaping, and honestly a lot of hard work for little fruit, but that it doesn’t just come from groceries stores, and that other people work really hard to give our bodies nutrition. 

I could really go on and on but I’m getting choked up and I don’t want to right now.

I blame my parents; I had the coolest neighborhood ever.  Imagine tons of children playing in the meadow, making forts, riding bikes, popping tar bubbles, chasing frozen custard trucks, camping in backyards, etc.  Just kidding mom and dad, I wouldn’t trade it for a second, you just set the standards high is all 😉

Wanting a home, even that meets the description I gave above are not sinful things, none of these things are too much, too extravagant, etc.  But you know what they are?…. yep.  #firstworldproblems

My girl Court and I are studying worry and anxiety, the book of Matthew is a huge reference for this topical study and you know what is said in them: that God clothes the lilies of the field and he feeds the birds of the air.  How much more will he care for us?!

And then in Luke 9:58,

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

You know why?  Because this earth was NOT His home.  He knew where His home was.  In heaven where He was before the world began.

You know what is true for God’s children?  This is not our home.  We were made for heaven.  This earth is temporary. 

That isn’t the message we are inundated by daily by the world though…”need a nice home, need a garage, need a job with full benefits, need a 5 year plan, need investments, yada yada yada, the list goes on!  And it’s not that these things are bad in and of themselves, it’s just that they aren’t everything and they certainly are not the most important.  Most people in this world don’t own their own homes, they don’t have clean water, they struggle for food, they don’t have access to health care, etc etc!

So you see, my mind is struggling with #firstworldproblems.

Everything material on this earth is temporary and will not last.  So what kind of important home life do I want to sow in my babies?  Character, dependence on Christ, grace, truth, forgiveness, mercy, discipline, self-control and of course homemade meals, cuddle time, story hour and all those other fun things.

This is the truth though, I can do that in an apartment and we are MORE than blessed to be able to do that.  We have a roof over our head, we have more than enough food on the table, we have almost every gadget you could need, we have clothes on our back and too many in our drawers and closets, the list goes on and on.  In all honesty, the apartment feels small because we have a lot of stuff we don’t need, but sure make aspects of life fun and enjoyable. 

So in reality, we have no idea whether we will buy or keep renting in the next 2 months, 6 months, or year.  But He knows our days, the number of hairs on our head, our sitting up and our standing, our thoughts… He certainly knows what He has planned for us and that’s enough to take comfort in.  It’s not up to me to figure it all out.  I know these things; it’s just a matter of reminding myself and believing them.

He has always guided us; we have no reason to believe He won’t still and every reason to believe He will.  We are thankful for today, for His provision today and yesterday. 

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

oh and please, someone tell this pregnant lady she is not alone in this? what are your #firstworldproblems?

Grace Play.

You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.

I would recite that saying after every ballet class, and every time we left Christianson Family Land Park when I was young.

When I was young, I played all day long… our neighborhood was suited for it too.  We would spend hours outside playing “make believe”. 

  • Apple Bee Corporation – (in the crab apple trees, where we were business ladies)
  • Applesauce Making – (a whole box of mom’s Ziploc bags filled with freshly poured sand from our playground)
  • House- (in one particular episode we were single moms taking care of three kids)
  • Dancing Princesses- (my sister was the director and I had to be prince Siegfried with an eyeliner drawn beard while all the other girls got to wear their Halloween princess dresses)

We had active minds, thoroughly engaged in doing whatever it was that we were doing (even if it was make believe).

We had active bodies, playing from dawn until dusk (even after we all had gone home for baths, we would come BACK outside when we heard the frozen custard man and somehow convince our parents that we still needed to play even in our pjs).

Two nights ago, I was baking pumpkin cookies with brown butter frosting (someday I will post that must eat fall recipe) while my husband was asleep on the floor, in between batches I was starching and ironing his shirts for work.  I loved every second of it.

I want to enjoy all the moments given in this lifetime, from dawn until dusk.  So often we go through our 40hr work week, go to church, bible study, run errands, and frankly, just stick to our “to do” lists.  The things we should do, or need to do.  I realize time is precious but how often do we do things for play?

Do we learn or engage in a hobby or try and pick up new skills?  Do we try to identify the gifts the Lord has given us to be used for His body?  Do we worship through our hobbies, skills, and personal play or is it just for our enjoyment?

Last night at kingdom group we had to say what we wanted to be when we were 8 years old.  I have always wanted to be a mom and wife.  Always. 

I will never be an actress or help people be healed through acting and movement like my sister.

I will never be a corporate, innovative car business man making enough money to support missionaries and give like my brother.

I will never be a pilot and rescue people or deliver supplies, etc like my younger brother might grow up to do.

However, I will use the common grace the Lord has given me through being able to breathe, move, connect, think, relate, speak, hear, and engage and use those graces to point towards His special saving grace. 

I want to be actively engaged in preparing for eternity.  I don’t want to waste the days thinking just on my “to do” lists and earthly goals. 

I am praying that the Lord would give me a vision of what He wants for this family, now and in the future.  Until then, as my dad would say, we will, “bloom where we’re planted”. 

I am hoping that I will not get old and realized I stopped playing when I was 25 because I was too busy with “to do” lists and tasks of this world to prepare myself, my family, and others for eternity.

I am praying the Lord would use Micah and me mightily for His kingdom.

  • What about yall? 
  • Do you get too caught up in the here and now? 
  • What are your gifts and how do you use them for Him? For yourself? 
  • How do you keep kingdom focused and keep your lamps burning, waiting for our blessed hope that is coming quickly?! 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Imperishable Beauty.

I don’t prefer math, ever.

Here is one equation I can understand, and one I am willing to work out and let the Lord work out in me.

Hope in God + Fearlessness of the Future = Tranquility, Peace, a gentle and quiet spirit.

1 Peter 3:3-5 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves.

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come

By the Book.

I received a devotion the other day about how we often treat the bible like a manual, you know… only read it when we or something in our life is broken.

Then last night sitting around the pool (with grilled hobo meals and corn on the cob, banana pudding ok anway) we were asking about what has been the most transformative  or what has been our favorite book.

I’ve read a lot of good books in all types of genres.  I had to give the christian cliche answer though, the Bible.

Although many books Ive read have been practical, eye-opening, gripping, made me cry, laugh, or made me stay up all night under the covers with a booklight, not get in the ocean cause I cant put it down, ignore my phone type of reading, one book has rocked my self, my senses, my emotions, my mind, my soul, it says even my marrow. 

that book is the Bible, those 66 books (well 65 cause I still havent read all of Revelation).

I would read it every now and then when I was younger, I would always ask my dad to read the stories that had babies in them.  Just cause I liked babies.

I would read it every now and then as an adolescent, I had a teen study bible and it had interesting topic inserts on money, dating, sex, feelings, etc.  The inserts are really what I read.

I read it my junior year of college because I was broken.  I treated it like a dusty old manual I thought might give me some insight on life. But I read it. (The Macarthur commentary one came later…)

Reading the Bible did more for me than any Bible study, any mentor, any evangelist, any trac, anything or anyone. 

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

God showed me in His word:

  • who I was without Him
  • who He was making me to be
  • most importantly, who He was and has always been 

From those three lessons came a ton of subtopic lessons which brought  a complete heart, mind, and life change and they change still as His word continues to teach and reveal new things to me.   

His sacrifice saves me.  His kindness leads me to repentence.  His grace frees me from guilt and condemnation.  His promises are what I hold onto in good times and bad. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God  may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Dont wait like I did, go read it now.  Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen?  What’s the best?  You’ll have to read consistently for a bit to find out! 🙂

The Reason for God.

The Reason for God, Tim Keller dvd study at By Grace this summer.  Super excited!

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
Tim Keller, The Reason for God

Daily Devotionals.

When you have something worth sharing, share it right?

Truth, testimony, advice, experience, expertise, daily devotionals? CHECK!

We were given this devo book on our honeymoon by a guy Micah met at a book table at the Legacy conference.  He was super excited we were on our honeymoon. 

This is my absolute favorite devotional to date – “Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings”

 If you can get past the funny “old” way that the older saints wrote, I promise you will gain much perspective from these men that searched scripture, here is an excerpt:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
Colossians 3:16

The Word of God is a spring of living water, a deep mine of costly treasure, a table with all sorts of food, and a garden with a variety of pleasant fruits. It contains the church’s charter with all of her privileges. It has precepts for the Christian’s reformation, and precious promises for her consolation. If the saint is afflicted, it can hold his head above water and keep him from sinking when the billows go over his soul. There are cordials rich enough to revive the most fainting spirit. If the saint is assaulted, the Word is his armour. If the soul is unholy, the Word can sanctify it. This water can wash out all the spots and stains. If the soul is an heir of hell, this Word can save it. This Word is deposited as a special treasure into the hands of the children of men, that they might obey God’s will and know the Just One. It is our duty to search and study this Book. It is a mercy that the tree of knowledge, the Word of God, is not a forbidden, but a commanded fruit. It grows in the very path to the tree of life. If you are a child of Adam, you have a deadly wound by neglecting the Word. You are like a frantic patient that throws away the only medicine that will give a cure. The Scripture is the word of Christ, and God commands your allegiance to hear him. The Word is the cabinet in which your Saviour, that pearl of infinite price, is found; and therefore you are commanded to look into it (John 5:39). You should search as a covetous man does for silver. If you are a child of God I do not doubt that you delight to look into your heavenly Father’s will, and weigh every word in it, knowing that it is a great legacy bequeathed to you. It is your daily companion and counselor; you dare not go without this cordial, being liable every day to faint; nor be without this weapon, being called every hour to fight.
George Swinnock, “Words,” I:141-143

Junebug.

We’re in June, yall.  How did that happen?  Life really is a vapor!

Well now that it feels like summer here in Newport News, we are thoroughly enjoying the area.

Some of our favorite things or things going on-

–          Walking to work

–          Working out consistently (something about the cold and comfort food makes me not do that…)

–          Beaches (Buckroe, Hampton Grandview Nature Preserve, Riverside, Virginia)

–          Bay (Chesapeake)

–          River (James, Anna)

–          Kayak (all of the above by the end of summer maybe?!)

–          Being 2 hours away from Grandma Ruth’s OBX cottage (t-minus 4 hours)

–          BerryBody (imagine Coldstone, but frozen yogurt and fresh fruit toppings)

–          Friends & fellowship (when you’ve been at a place for a little while, this comes easier)

–          Bible study (we’re going through a Piper one and new people are coming out every week)

–          Quiet times on our little patio (when you are in a cube all day, outside is heaven, kind of)

–          Fruit pies and cobblers (don’t get me started)

–          Warm weather (it just makes me happier, it’s weird)

–          The pool at our complex (it’s pretty and blue and clean and has a fountain and I like doing laps when I get off work)

–          Brodie and Jenn get married (whooo)

–          Lots of other friends get married (gotta love June weddings)

–          One year anniversary (oh my word, so blessed to have had at least one  year with this man)

–          Tennis (Micah)

–          Volleyball (Micah mostly, a little me)

–          Racquetball (Micah)

–          Running (we sometimes run a loop together, it’s pretty fun, I don’t talk after the first ½ mile, because well, I can’t)

– cookouts!

that’s all I got right now!  Praise Him for His faithfullness in all SEASONS of life.

what are some of your favorite things?!

Repetition.

I can hear Charlene (from my turbo jam workouts) saying, “repetition breeds results”.

So true, I can already see the ways He is making me more like Him and bringing me so close to Him.  He is strengthening me.

The discipline and chastising I am experiencing right now does not come from the evil one, my God has more power and control than him, my learning is coming from my Perfect Father who loves me.

Hebrews 12:6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

He is using all sorts of things in this lesson {Beautiful godly friends, bible study, situations, sermons, books, blogs, advice I gave to someone else that now I have to adhere to, quiet time reading, His dear dear promises and sometimes the same verses showing up in different ways}

For example- Psalm 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

Check out this awesome post about gospel centered womanhood.

Check out this awesome sermon on His discipline.

In talking about our roles as biblical woman last night at bible study, I was reminded that in every role I try to fit in or even that Christ has ordained for me as a woman, I am to act like HIM. 

So, through my trials and chastising, I will act like Him, it’s only by His grace that I can.  Here are a few ways I’ll try, hold me to em! 😉

  • I will be merciful because He is merciful.
  • I will be humble because He is humble.
  • I will be kind because He is kind.
  • I will longsuffer because He longsuffers.
  • I will (try to  be) be slow to anger because He is slow to anger.
  • I will forgive because He forgives.
  • I will love because He is love.
  • I will sacrifice because He did.
  • I will even comfort because He comforts.

I am seeing Him like never before.  I am seeing His purpose, in all things, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phillipians 4:13

I am not not taking anything lightly, I dont want repetition of the same thing…

I want repetition of acting like Christ in all areas of my life with all people in my life, and I want to teach others how to repeat.

 “repetition breeds results”, results will be peace and righteousness and so much more!

—————————

What are some of the BIGGEST lessons you have ever learned from His discipline?