Christ Focused December


Well, December is officially less than a week away and we are preparing for a JESUS focused December to Remember. We will be reading the passages of Christ’s prophecy, birth, life and death together. I have based our reading plan off of a great bible reading plan from http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/the-christmas-bible-reading-plan.html.

I have decided to extend beyond the shorter passages and suggest reading the full chapters. The reasoning for this is because I’d like us to really soak in these chapters and spend about 15-20 minutes each day. The Bible reading plan could be as short as 5 minutes a day, but digging just a little farther will be so rewarding! However, I will provide the checklist with both the shorter scriptures and the full chapters so you can do what fits into your schedule. Pray about it and PLEASE join us! This 25 day journey is NOT about perfection but rather journeying together and reading the life of Jesus, our savior, connection with God, and building our daily discipline of meeting with God during our quiet time in the Bible! (If you didn’t know it, we will be reading through the entire Bible in 2017… stay tuned for that check list to be launched in December). I truly believe a Jesus centered December will be a much more peaceful and meaningful December.

Let’s commit to digging out a little time to spend time in the Word to get to know our savior even better. Put down the phone, prioritize the morning or squeeze in a chapter when you have a couple minutes… you may have to focus but I promise it will be worth it! Here is a sneak peak and a printable checklist will be available very soon.
Day 1 – The Word became flesh
Day 2 – The birth of Jesus is foretold to Mary
Day 3 – The birth of John the Baptist is foretold to Zechariah
Day 4 – Mary visits Elizabeth, the mother of John
Day 5 – John the Baptist is born
Day 6 – An angel appears to Joseph
Day 7 – The ancestors of Jesus, part 1
Day 8 – The ancestors of Jesus, part 2
Day 9 – Jesus is born in Bethlehem
Day 10 – Shepherds visit Jesus
Day 11 – Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple
Day 12 – Visitors arrive from eastern lands
Day 13 – The escape to Egypt
Day 14 – The return to Nazareth
Day 15 – Jesus speaks with the religious teachers
Day 16 – John the Baptist exalts Jesus
Day 17 – Jesus claims to be God
Day 18 – Jesus eases John the Baptist’s doubts
Day 19 – The transfiguration
Day 20 – Jesus is the Good Shepherd
Day 21 – Jesus blesses the children
Day 22 – Jesus predicts His death, part 1
Day 23 – Jesus predicts His death, part 2
Day 24 – Most of the people do not believe in Jesus
Day 25 – Resurrection, ascension, and invitation of Jesus

Happy People Are Thankful People. Happy Thanksgiving.

We tend to make the best of our circumstances. For the first five years of our marriage we spent a lot of time apart. Two deployments and a lot of training. Your military friends very much become family. Some years, Thanksgiving was with the friends and spouses who’s significant others weren’t home. Other years (my favorite), consisted of hosting for other soldiers and their families. Now going into our second Thanksgiving with my husband out of the service, we are very thankful for being close to family. No matter the season, there are things to smile about and be thankful for. I hope you are enjoying your day, however you are spending it. There is so much to be thankful for. 

A Prayer For Purpose & Grace

A prayer for purpose and grace
Lord, 

We adore you and are in awe of your creativity and all knowing perfection. Bless us as we Perdue you and our calling. 
Lord you tell us we are created in your image and we have predestined good deeds for your glory. We are your workmanship to do your work in this dark world. We pray that we stop and listen for YOUR voice before we make a move. 
We pray that you raise up the next generation with the help of your Holy Spirit and Godly mentors. Let us partner for your glory. Build a world of “Paul and Timothy’s”, where we can grow together and be vulnerable. Raise up mighty servants of God who live out your will in our lives. We ask you to ramp up our effectiveness for your glory. 
Lord, you have entrusted us and we know you have claimed us as worthy of whatever you have called us to do. Let us believe that with all of our hearts and souls. 
Lord, enable us to guard the gifts given to us! We are trusted first with your gospel, let us live that out and share the gospel through our actions.  
Let us to only do things with love and in love for love of people and love of God. (Because without love, our actions and words are useless). 
Let us not assume who and what we are called to, but rather, listen and follow you. Give us courage to take steps that are scary (but oh so blessed). 
Raise us up Lord, set a fire in our souls and let us be known for ❤️love❤️ and for our desire to know you, share you, and be faithful to you. We trust you and we thank you for entrusting us. 

We pray we glorify you in all things,

In Jesus name,

Amen

Dear God, Bless my plans. Amen. 


We’ve all done this. Or, at least, I can personally confess to this. Sometimes I make plans BEFORE I ask God to bless them. I take my perfectly outlined goals and present them in prayer as if we are in a conference call going over meeting notes for the day or year’s projected accomplishments. Sounds (almost) like a great idea, right? Maybe it even sounds like something somebody you know has done.

The problem is that the Lord does not want my perfectly packaged plans for our lives handed to Him to be blessed. He also doesn’t want your plans handed to Him in a prayer either. He wants us to seek Him. Ask His will, repent our sins, ask for forgiveness, seek to forgive others and follow where He leads us. He needs to lead BEFORE we make a move. We cannot make a move without consulting God and then ask Him to bless what we have decided to do.

Let me back up and say sorry. I’m apologizing because I know that sometimes it hurts to be reminded of, especially when we may even believe it has been whispered to us by God. I have made the mistake of making plans and dreams and using God like a genie to get what I want. It isn’t a bright idea. (I haven’t claimed to be bright, have I?) Let me remind you we can only know that God has to say if we are meeting with Him on a regular basis. Otherwise, what are we hearing? What are we following?

Sometimes the Devil sounds a lot like Jesus.

-Ben Rector (If you can hear me)

It can even be great, Godly things we are praying for!! But if it’s not His plan or will, it is not meant to be ours. And if it’s not meant to be ours, it’s not what we should pray for. Especially if it isn’t the will of God.

1 John 2:17

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.                                    

Satan will try to distract us. I will go as far as to say as followers of Christ can unknowingly do the work of Satan if they are not seeking God’s will. Things that are packaged beautifully but not with the right intentions: that will get you right out of the will of God.

2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

 

God’s plans for us are far beyond what we could ever imagine.

Romans 8: 28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Once we see our goals, dreams and aspirations should be divinely proposed and pursued, we will be filled with His peace.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

He wants us to seek His will, His heart, His way. Above all things. This is a lesson that we often have to learn the difficult way through either (seemingly) unanswered prayers or “unblessed” plans gone awry. Often, (what seems to be) unanswered prayers are the best blessing we may never know we had. 

I Give You My Heart (Hillsong Worship)

This is my desire

To honour You

Lord, with all my heart

I worship You

All I have within me 

I give You praise

All that I adore 

Is in You


Lord, I give You my heart 

I give You my soul

I live for you alone

Every breath that I take 

Every moment I’m awake

Lord, have Your ways in me

A prayer for those who have been Entrusted 

A prayer for those who have been ENTRUSTED with the mission of Christ.. Inspired by video session 1 of Entrusted, a study of 2 Timothy (Beth Moore). After going through my page of scribbles from all the notes after listening to session 1, I wrote this prayer out. It’s powerful and totally inspired by the Holy Spirit. I give myself no credit in these words, I was totally led on what to write! I was coleading this study withWomen’s Bible Cafe and it is a study I would highly recommend! We’ve been praying this prayer through this entire study and I am amazed at how God just steps forward and answers prayers. I don’t know why I am always so surprised?! It’s exciting seeing prayers answered. It’s humbling seeing God re prioritize your own wants to fit His will. I know God answers prayers that are His will. Perhaps I also need to pray that I fully know how powerful prayers are. If you’re ready to pray with me, join me in this prayer. 
Dear Heavenly Father, 

We thank you for entrusting us with the mission of being a Christian communicator to share the good news of Jesus, and to share our faith with others.
Lord, we pray you (continue) raise up mentors to help raise up another strong generation of Christians. 
We pray you bless our mission: 

To be mighty servants of God turned loose on a mission in the mighty name of our God, Jesus Christ, our savior. 
We pray that you raise up communicators, speakers, writers, and women to share the light of Christ around the world. 
We pray you RAMP UP OUR EFFECTIVENESS in our persist to bring others to love Jesus. 
We pray that you bring us close to other Christians in our mission field. 
Lead us to places to share your glory and purpose. Help us to be completely focused so we can be effective. We pray you bless us to a whole new level of effectiveness. Give us the faith to accomplish that. 
We pray our husbands and families will have favor on our mission to give you glory (even those who may not be believers yet). 
Help us to keep on GETTING BACK UP even when facing tribulations, discouragement, and persecution. 
We pray you lead and empower us to fulfill the ministry we have been ENTRUSTED to. Bless us with guidance and confirmation to our CALLED MINISTRY. 

We ask all these things in the MIGHTY name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, 
Amen

The Blessings of Marking up Your Bible 

Do you mark your bible up? I ask because I have been marking in my Bible for a while now. I love being able to see what God has spoken to me, different notes I have jotted down, as well as prayers and highlighted verses that have been shouted to me as I read.

Some like to keep their bibles pristine, clean, and tidy. Sacred text that is not tainted by the bleeding through of pink highlighter from 25 years ago when their children might eventually be looking through it. (There is nothing wrong if you love your beautiful, clean pages).

Others have tattered, torn, written on and bled through pages. Tearsteaks, coffee stains from early mornings, rips and tears from quickly leafing through pages. It’s a matter of preference, really. Mine is the latter. And I love that you can see the day to day through the pages. Yes, spilled 5am coffee and all!

Let me share with you what really inspired me to let totally loose on my Bible(s) (I love my different Bibles, but that’s a different blog post all together!).

I once heard a saying in a ladies bible study, and boy, it has stuck with me. It a major goal of mine now! Here is the quote:

“A Bible that is falling apart, usually belongs to someone who isn’t (falling apart)”
And isn’t that so true? When we take the time to meet with God every day, we find our grounding in this life that is full of chaos. When life falls apart, we can count on the faithfulness of our Lord and Savior to hold us up. When we are lacking in our obedience to meet with our Heavely Father each day, we may notice we don’t do as well with day to day trials.

Back in 2014, I was in a bible study group that read a book called The Divine Mentor (Wayne Cordeiro). It was such a life changing group of women that met together as we read this book and shared our journaling time, grew together and inspired each other. I would recommend this book to anybody looking for some inspiration on how to simplify their daily meeting with God. It has a great message in simplifying sitting at the feet of Jesus and really soaking in scripture. Daily readings through the Bible and journaling each day, you find you are able to “feed yourself” with the Word of God, rather than solely focusing on being fed the Word. Of course, great teachers and Bible studies are life changing, but nothing is greater than meeting just you and God and listening to Him. One of the things I liked the most was putting the date and highlighting the scriptures of each day that spoke to you. Just one or two verses, so it’s more specific. As you journey through the Bible and re-through different areas, it’s amazing how the Living Word reveals new aspects and layers to you.

As we speak, the church I now attend is doing a study on Ephesians and they have a reading plan to go through from September to beyond January. I’ve read through Ephesians, Phillipians, Genesis, several chapters of Acts, John, Exodus, and Romans. It’s amazing how two chapters a day adds up and how they connect, too.

Each day, new places are marked and show me footprints of the journey God and I have embarked together. As I revisit the pages, I remember different things we have conversed on and I am blessed.

So, do you Mark up your bible? If you haven’t ever considered it, this would be my side of the argument to convince you!

This is the awesome book of Ephesians. Today’s verse that was revealed to me is:
Ephesians 2:8-9For 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.