Showing posts from 2018

The Gift of Solitude

Sisters and Seekers,

Let's talk about Sunday night.  It's the time of the weekend we don't want to face because our weekend is coming to an end...I don't know what yours is typically filled with but mine is often a mixture of catching up on housework, taking the kids somewhere, seeing friends, church, maybe a long walk with the dog, and then during the after-dinner dishes that feeling of dread seeps in.  Work tomorrow.  Thinking about all the unique things that week will bring.  Calling the doctor to schedule an exam, making sure I stop at the bank to get cash to pay my yard work help, getting the present for the birthday party because I forgot to order it on Amazon and that particular toy won't get here in two days because it's not prime...but did my weekend really give me the rest I was hoping for?  Did I continue to bring a spirit of busyness with me or did I carve out time to rest.  Does my soul feel reset or am I dreading the week to come because I didn…

Titus: Grace to You all

Sisters and Seekers,

Glad to have you back for the final installment of our study on Titus.  Looking at this letter in detail and breaking down the study for you has renewed my passion for God's word.  I love logging on to see how many are accessing this resource.  I hope it has been an encouragement and brought many new insights in how God is changing us to your life.

As typical of Paul's style in writing, he closes this letter to Titus mentioning travel plans and ministry partners.  Yet there is something deeper for us if we follow our study process of comprehension, interpretation, and application.

Titus 3:12-15

-seek to understand exactly what the passage is saying without adding any interpretation to it

Define words you may have circled in the overview because you didn't know their meaning.  Look them up in a dictionary, then reread the verse.  After getting the context, write a definition in the margin or above the word you circled.If there is a verse yo…

Titus: A Good Works Sandwich

Sisters and Seekers,

God's grace is now able to be seen and we now know His plan is the save all the people's of the earth.  The message of grace instructs us to change, to abandon the things we do that don't reverence God and the human passions within us that the world encourages us to do to worship themselves.  Instead control yourself, be moral according to the Word of God, and loyal to Him until He returns.  We hope in this, that Jesus will come again in glory, all will see Him as the God who saves.  He paid our ransom when we were living in disregard of the law, violating it or even holding it's restraint in contempt.  He liberated us to change us, to work a new life within us so he could acquire a people who belonged to him so fully that they would enthusiastically serve others as He did.  This is the message for you to solemnly declare-encourage people under your spiritual care to live this out and admonish those not doing it.  Don't let them ignore or despis…

Titus: Sound Doctrine

Sisters and Seekers,

Glad you are back in our 5th study of Titus.  Today we get into the "theology" behind what we studied last week, how our lives should look as we live out our faith.  By completing this study, you'll learn more about how how great our salvation is.  As previously mentioned, if you are just starting out, go back and find the blog post titled: Titus: Overview.

How did the Spirit speak to you through studying the different seasons of life last time?  Did He reveal an area where you can grow?  As we study, don't forget what He is revealing.  In fact, stop right now and say a little prayer that He would open your eyes to what He wants you to see as you approach His word and that He would bring it to mind in your time of need.  Hopefully you are praying each time you study; I know for me I find it very helpful as I battle distraction, motivation, and a hardened heart at time when I come to sit at His feet.

When you get to the application section, mayb…

Titus: In Every Season

Sisters and Seekers,

Welcome to week 4 of our study on Titus.  So far we have done on over view of the book and studied three other sections of the text.  We are halfway there!  If you are just joining us, look back a few posts to begin the study there, looking at the entire book before diving into sections.  As we study Titus we are using a method that repeats each time so you can learn to apply this to any book of the Bible!

Last week we looked at empty talkers, those that were in the church  and teaching a mixed up message.  These were men that say they knew God but denied faith by what they did.  Paul is now shifting in his letter to Titus by giving him instruction for those in the church, contrasting the behavior of the members staring up trouble with what life should look like in every season of life.  As you study, I pray that God will speak to you right where you are at and give you practical next steps in your transformation to be more like him.  Let's start with our now…

Titus: Empty Talkers

Welcome back to our study on Titus.  Glad you are continuing along.  How did you last study go?  Are you keeping in mind what a good leader is? There will be many contrasts this week so continue to hold what you learned last week in mind to better understand this section's content.

If you are just joining in, be sure to look back through older posts to start at the beginning of the Titus series to get an overview of the book and more details about the "how to" studty portions.  Like last week, our process will be largely the same, as we are taking in content from Titus and also learning a method on how to study that can be applied to any book of the Bible. 
This week the scholarship required was a little more challenging and I had a lot more questions.   This required the use of more resources to understand some of the verses.  But I persevered and you can to!  Whatever level you are at, you can grow from studying God's word.  Trust Him to teach you and highlight th…

Titus: A Worthy Leader

Welcome back to the third installment of our study on Titus.  I hope so far God has been opening your eyes to the truth He wants to you to see, to be transformed more and more each day to be like Jesus.

Our work this week will be much like last time in that we will follow similar steps during the comprehension  and interpretation stages.  Remember this study is based on Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.  The process is repetitive intentionally.  My hope for the end of this study is not only do you glean many truths for your life from Titus but you receive a model to follow on how to study any book of the Bible.  Because I won't go into as much depth, please refer to the second week of the study for more details on each step if needed.

In our very first week studying Titus, the book overview, you were to outline the book.  Today's passage will be the second "section" in the overview I made: qualifications of leadership.    In Titus 1:5, Paul reminds Titus of his purp…

Titus: How Y'all Doing?

Sisters and Seekers,

Welcome back to our study of the book of Titus.  How did it go last week?  Here are some things I hoped you gleaned in your overview of the book to catch us up as we look closely at the opening section this week.  
The book of Titus was written to a pastor named Titus by Paul.  It is a letter closely aligned to first and second Timothy in content and style.  Titus and Paul had a special relationship in that they had served together in ministry: Titus attended the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) with Paul as an example of a Gentile convert full of faith.  He also delivered letters for Paul and was entrusted by taking money to churches in need.  This letter was to encourage Titus to complete the mission Paul had for him when he left him on Crete: appoint leaders and instruct the body in what life looks like as a follower of Christ.    This new way of living came out of an authentic response to the gospel and was a witness to the world around them that needed Jesus.  A …

Titus Study Overview

Sisters and Seekers,

So excited to announce that I will be writing a bible study for you on the book of Titus.  I recently read a book by Jen Wilken called Women of the Word and was inspired to study using her method and create a study out of what I'm learning for you!  Please check out her book as a resource if you want to dig a little deeper.

Before we get started, I want to highlights some concepts from her book that I think are important to cover because they give a framework to keep in mind as we go.  The bible is a library, a collection of books with one big message.  It is the message of God and His story, it's not a book about us.  It has an overarching theme of creation-fall-redemption-restoration and every book in the Bible tells part of this one big story that God is telling through His word.  You may have heard this referred to as the metanarrative.  Knowing how what we are learning fits into this big story will help us make connections throughout what we are read…

Please Pray for Me

Sisters and Seekers,

This is the post that started my recent quest to grow in prayer.  Throughout my faith journey, I've counciled many women, taught God's word as a way to help us grow in faith, and basically been at the front lines of walking with women through every season of the soul.  I've had consistently in all the things that have cultivated my own deep life of faith over the past 20+ years now-- regular time with God through prayer, study and worship, fellowship with other believers,  receiving great teaching, and  serving others.  Because of my role in the body of Christ, a women of exhortation and a teacher, I'm often asked by others to pray for them.

Prayer is something that has come naturally to me because prayer is just talking to God and I have a great intimacy with Him and a sensitivity to His spirit.  John in Moving Mountains calls this type of prayer a Cry of the Heart (see a previous post for more of my reflections on this).   Yet praying for others&…

Multiplied Seed

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!  2 Corinthians 9:10-15.  
I've been thinking a lot about planting lately. It is late spring in the northwest and all the plants still have enough of the rain to grow and hot temps haven't hit yet.  This leaves the flowers with a in an optimal environm…

This One's for the Moms!

Let me set the scene for you this morning.  I'm sitting on the couch with my son.  It's 8:30 am and the smell of coffee is in my house.  He's wrapped up in his fuzzy red blanket and I can only see the tip of his hair.  My husband is sitting adjacent to me, white mug in one hand and bible app open in the other.  The sun is up but none of the lights are on so there is a lazy, ease-into-the-morning diffusion in the living room.  We are sitting together in a comfortable silence.  Reading, reflecting, thinking our own thoughts.  When Ethan emerges from his bleary-eyed cocoon he grabs his Bible and reads a morning devotional.  Afterwards he asks a question and a rich discussion begins.

Friday nights and Saturday mornings have a unique culture around our house.  After a long week of work, sports, piano lessons, the family gathers around the table for homemade pizza and a movie.  We have "intermission" where we stop to make popcorn and grab other munchies.  Our family ca…

Praying With Authority

Matthew 8:5–10

The Faith of a Centurion

[5] When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, [6] “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” [7] And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” [8] But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. [9] For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” [10] When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. (ESV)

My posting today will cover the topic of authority as we pray.  It is a natural extension to thoughts I shared in my last writing on this series on prayer because if we know who we are as we pray, we will know our place in God's kingdom as well-and all the applications o…

Holding Our Gaze

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.  Psalm 61:1-3

What is effective prayer?  That has been a thought in my mind since starting this series.  Is it a prayer that gives you the outcome you desire?  Is it a prayer that makes you feel the presence of God and that He's listening?  Is it a prayer that brings peace in the face of turmoil or courage in the face of fear?

I have sat through many sermons that tell I should pray and read books on it's importance.  I've read verses in the Bible like pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and agree that biblically it's important.  I am on board!  I agree yes, I need to and I even do it as a common practice but it's hard to learn how to pray or know if my prayers matter and are making a difference.  I'm so grateful for biblical examples and great teaching on the subject, but the f…

Growing Me Up

In my journey in prayer this year, God is using the book Moving Mountains by John Eldridge to help me think through beliefs about prayer and how those understandings have shaped my practice of it.  As I'm unearthing my conceptions and facing my questions, I'm drawn more to prayer and seeing the need for more of it in my life.

First, I want prayer to be easy.  We say God is holy, yet something in us wants Him to meet our demands much like a genie in a bottle.  We throw up a quick, Lord help me with...or Lord I need...or Lord please change.  We see life as circumstances that need to be changed around us.  When I utter these kind of prayers, I'm saying that life is about me and I see best.  I want my will to be God's will.  This is the opposite kind of prayer that Jesus prayed.  He asked "Your will be done on earth" Matthew 6:10.  I often jump into prayer without asking God what He wants, I just share my point of view without settling myself to start with align…