Dry

Have you ever been in a rut? You know the kind where you just can’t bring yourself to spend time in His Word. Now don’t get me wrong. I love God with all of my heart. I know that He is my Father and that I am His child. He loves me unconditionally despite my many faults. Knowing all of this makes me feel even worse. I go to bed at night looking forward to reading my Bible and journaling while sipping on some hot coffee. The morning comes and I go about getting my kid’s their breakfast and making their lunches. I then make my cup of coffee and sit down on the sofa. I turn the lamp on and get out my One Year Bible and journal. I start to read the scripture verses for the day and then become distracted by my children. I guess I will have to wait until they leave to go on the bus. Once they are out of the house awaiting the school bus, I reach for my Bible once again and open it to today’s date. I start to read the scripture verses of the Old Testament and before I know it my eyes start to close. I continue to try and read some more and my eyes close again. What on earth is going on? Why am I so tired? This is so frustrating!

Have any of you been there before? So wanting to breath in His Word and be renewed for the day and yet your body has something else in mind. Or maybe the problem isn’t that you are so tired and unable to concentrate on the scripture you are reading. Maybe the reason is that we allow distractions around us to consume us and ttake us away from what is truly important.  I know that I am soooo guilty of this. Recently it seems I find any excuse to not spend time with God. Whether it is reading through my many emails and text messages or getting sucked into the many posts of Facebook and Pinterest. Wow! Just writing these last sentences makes me feel so convicted. Unworthy to be called a child of God….His child.  The fact that I would let earthly distractions get in the way of spending quiet time with my God is exactly what Satan wants.Self discipline 2 Timothy 1.7It is time for this (my) dry season to end. It is time for me to turn from Satan’s distractions. Will you join me? Will you hold me accountable and help me to be in His Word daily and to pray throughout the day? We can be accountability partners :^)

I would like to end this post with a song that lifts my spirits. I love to listen to christian music throughout the day and sing along. This is one way that I worship the Lord. I pray that you enjoy this song.

I am not alone. You are not alone. God is with us all the time. He will never fail us. He will never leave us.

Take time today to meditate on these words. Listen to the above song by Kari Jobe “I Am Not Alone”, throughout the day and really take in the words she is singing. They are so powerful. I will not give in to this “dry” season. Satan will not win!  The time is now to re-hydrate (so to speak) as I breathe in His Word daily. Will you join me?

Keep Calm and Study On

I have lead and have been a part of several bible studies including online bible studies.  Each one impacts me differently.  I just love being in The Word daily.  I find when an online bible study, from Proverbs 31 Ministries, ends I feel kind of lost.  It is really hard for me to explain.  I guess I feel like I have lost a close connection that I had for 5 weeks or so.  I become so connected to the women in my small group and although some of us continue to keep in touch between online bible studies, it is still somewhat difficult.

Recently I have had an amazing opportunity to learn about the Bible through verse-by-verse teaching.  Wow!!! To be in God’s word during a church service with my Bible open reading through it verse-by-verse is something I have never experienced in all the years I have attended church as a small child to the present.  If you have never experienced this way of teaching I would recommend you try it.  Attend a church which teaches verse-by-verse and experience it yourself.  I would love to hear from you in regards to what you thought.  

While attending this church I learned of a bible study through the Women Ministry.  It was on 1 John, 2 John and 3 John. These are books of the bible I am not very familiar with.  Well, I decided to give it a try as this study goes through these books verse-by-verse as well.  Wow!! To learn about more books of the bible through verse-by-verse teaching.  I am really liking this way of learning about the bible!  Can you tell I am pretty excited?  Through this study I am able to meet other women in the church and get to know them.  We meet once a week and have daily homework in God’s Word.  This helps me to stay in The Word daily.  Being in The Word daily gives me a sense of peace.  If I miss a day I just feel off.

 

OK, so I have shared with you how I remain in The Word in between online bible studies with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  As you can see, I am pretty busy between my daily Women’s bible study as well as the online bible studies.  I have to say with both of these studies what I really enjoy is the small groups.  You may say, how do you experience small groups online?  I will tell you.  The online small groups are through your Facebook account.  You will have a closed group in Facebook that will consist of those in your small group only.  You will only be able to see postings from your group members.  Because this is a secure, closed group, you will be able to grow close together in fellowship and share personal experiences with one another.  This is what I really enjoy.  We encourage each other and support one another.  During my Womens Bible Study we are able to share the same experiences in person.

 

If you haven’t experienced an online bible study, I would encourage you to check out Proverbs 31 Ministries.  We will be starting a new study next week, October 13th.  We will be studying “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope.  Do you want to learn how to stop doubting yourself?  I know I do!  This is the study for you.  Come and join me!  Who knows, maybe we will be in the same small group together.

 

Many Blessings to All,

Danielle

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Waiting

I don’t know about you but I have a hard time with “waiting”. I mean don’t get me wrong. I can wait in a grocery store line or a department store line and for the most part not get impatient, but if I am looking for an answer from God and I have to wait then I have a problem. You see, when I ask God a question I am looking for an answer fairly soon. I may even be looking for a “physical” sign to my question. I don’t think I am alone when I say that I don’t like to wait to see what His answer is going to be. I want it right now. I mean isn’t that how the world has become. We want everything right now. Take a look at technology for instance. We now have smart phones where we can ask it a question and it will give us an answer. Or how about navigation systems. It was not enough that we had to plug-in our Garmin or Tom Tom into our car outlets, now we have a built-in navigation system on our phones. We are connected to everything we feel is important to us 24/7.

Sorry for the tangent. Well let’s get back to the waiting part on God. Lets start by taking a look in the Bible. Can you recall anywhere in the Bible where God says, “Hurry up and do this”? Was anyone able to find a scripture verse or verses pertaining to this? (If you do please share in the comment section below.) You see. God wants us to be patient. He wants to us to relax…….and wait. It is in His time not ours that the plans for our future will be revealed. Let me just tell you that it is fairly easy to type or write thees words but, Wow! I don’t know about you guys but this is really difficult for me. I know in my heart God knows that patiently waiting on Him is very difficult for us BUT not impossible. It is something that we all should strive to work at.

I am currently in a “waiting” period. I am taking this opportunity to try to quiet myself. I have a hand-held labyrinth to help me quiet my mind and stay focused. I also have a dancing flame to help me visually focus and to meditate. Both of which will quiet my mind and help me to just be still and listen to God’s voice, or at least that is the plan. I would like to share one of my favorite scripture verses with you. It is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord”, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is a verse that I carry with me in my heart. I repeat it daily, sometimes quietly and sometimes out loud. This is the verse that helps me during my “waiting period”. Do you have a particular verse(s) that you carry with you and/or recite throughout the day, that helps you in your “waiting” period? I would love to read what your favorite scripture verses are. Are you in a “waiting” period? If so, would you like to share what has led you to this point in your life and what you are doing during this time to help you “wait”?

I would like to leave you with this verse from Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.

Many Blessings to you all until we meet again.

Rest

What does the word rest really mean? Well, I sat down at my computer and “googled” the word rest. Here is what I came up with:

1. Cessation of work, exertion or activity
2. Peace, ease or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
3. Sleep or quiet relaxation
4. The repose of death: eternal life
5. Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance
6. Mental or emotional tranquility
7. Termination or absence of motion

Wow, the word rest has a lot of different meanings. Out of these seven meanings, which one(s) are what you think of when you think of rest? Why do you think that is so? I would say for me, the meaning that most comes to mind is sleep or quiet relaxation.

I am now in week three of an online bible study, Stressed-less Living. With each new day I am trying to carve out some time of quiet relaxation. A time where I can just sit still and listen to the Lord. I have started to create a “spiritual garden”. This garden is fairly large in size and is located in front of my patio. Currently I have several rocks, with inspirational words on them, scattered throughout the garden. A couple of hostas are planted there and are already starting to bloom. I just love this time of year! I really want this to be my “go to” garden. You know, a place where I can rest in the arms of my Lord. To do that I felt there should be more than just flowers. I am looking into purchasing either a garden fountain or chimes in the garden. I am also going to create a labyrinth out of mosaic tiles and place them on a “stepping stone”. The labyrinth will then be placed in my garden. I will be able to trace it with either my finger or a stick. Do you have a “go to” place? A place where you can connect with the Lord without “outside” distractions? If not, I encourage you to think about what that space may look like for you. If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear your plans.

As my “spiritual garden” develops, I will post some pictures of it. I would love to see your pictures as well. I pray that you have a wonderful weekend. Take time to smell the roses and to hear the voice of God.

God Saves

“Lord, help!” I cried in my trouble, and he saved me from my distress. Psalm 107:19 (NLT)

This is the scripture verse I focused on this week. I chose the NLT (New Living Translation) version because it spoke more to me. It just made more sense to me as I was reflecting on it. “Lord, help!” How many times have we all cried this out to God? Maybe it was a few days or weeks ago or maybe it was a few seconds ago. No matter what time of the day it is or where we are, God is always there listening.

I know in my life, I have cried out to God more times than I can count (I think this is a pretty good thing, right?). God has never let me down. He has always been right by my side. He may not respond or reply back to me as quickly as I would like, but as I am quickly reminded God is in control, not me. God has saved me through so much turmoil just in my immediate family through the years. He has helped me to forgive and to rebuild relationships. I am so grateful and thankful for this. Through these trials I have grown even closer to God. I however yearn to have an even closer relationship with Him.

Through this online bible study (Stressed-less Living) as well as other bible studies I am involved in, they have helped me to be more intentional in reading and studying His Word. I feel so close to God when I am doing this. I am learning so much through the stories of the Bible, even though I grew up hearing them since a very young age. The Bible stories seem to come to life more now. I am always learning something new and that excites me. I look forward to each time I open the Bible. I feel so blessed!

Are you carrying stress and just want to cry “Lord, help!”? What stressful things are you hanging onto that are out of your control? Give your stress to God and let him control it. I know this is easier said than done. But if you are able to do so, you will feel the weight leave your shoulders. A sense of peace will wash over you. If you are visual person, like myself, take a few moments to close your eyes and picture this. Amazing, isn’t it?

Please share your comments below.

Out of My Control

How many of you feel like you are in control of your life? That you have it all worked out. Well, no matter what we think, God is the one in control. I don’t know if I truly embraced this fact until recently. You see, ever since I was around 6 years of age, I just knew I was meant to go into the medical field. My Grandfather had passed away due to cancer. I remember it just like it was yesterday when I told my Mom that I was going to find a cure for cancer. I continued with this life plan into my college years. I took classes to major in Biology to get into a pre-med program. I was well on my way, but God had a little something else in mind. My family doctor had known me from my middle school-aged years to my early college years. She knew I had aspired to become a medical doctor. During one visit she spoke to me about becoming a “Physician Assistant”. I had never heard of this profession before. Well, as soon as I went home I had to research this role. I found that becoming a Physician Assistant would give me the flexibility I wanted. Several years later I graduated from Hahnemann University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physician Assistant studies. I have worked in various specialties as a Physician Assistant (PA) for a little over 10 years now. I have enjoyed all of my many roles as a PA. I could not imagine a more rewarding profession. So, now you know a little bit about my background but my journey doesn’t end here.

During the latter 5 years of working as a PA, God was nudging me little by little. What a patient God we have! I, of course, kind of dismissed these gentle nudges. I was however feeling a connection to Women Ministry. I had attended several women’s retreats and groups. I loved the topics that were covered but mostly I enjoyed the fellowship. I then knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a group for women of all generations to get together and support one another. I had read various Bible studies by Lysa Terkeurst and Beth Moore and would say to myself “Now, this would be a great study for a women’s ministry.” These two women continued to influence my thoughts of a women’s ministry. Another year or so went by and the “gentle nudges” become more like “tugging”.

To shorten the story a little bit, there was a need for someone to lead “Small Group Ministry” at my church. Because the tugging was becoming stronger and stronger and harder to ignore and my work situation had changed somewhat, I was able to become the Director of Small Group Ministries at my church. Now you might think that maybe this is where God has called me to be, working in ministry as well as working as a PA. Well, I’m afraid not because the tugging continued. The tugging became more like a “magnetic field” pulling me further into the field of ministry.

Right now I am trying to process all of this. I know that God is in control, but it is human for me to want at least some of the control, isn’t it? I am still trying to digest all of this. I mean, I went to school for 8 years and became a Physician Assistant. I am still paying off my student loans! Am I supposed to stop practicing as a Physician Assistant and follow this new path God has set before me? My financial situation will change then, as well as my lifestyle. Do I want this? Can I do this? What will my husband think? Due to all of these questions I have and more, I currently meet with a Spiritual Director as well as a Life Coach to hopefully help me figure all of this out and to accept God’s will for me. I have “fought” these nudges, tugging’s and now magnetic field, thinking I can change God’s calling for my life. Obviously I was wrong. We may be able to prolong the process for a little while but in the end it is God’s way not ours. God is in control.

Please continue to join me on my journey. I believe my faith is strong, but it could be stronger. I have tried several times to place everything in God’s hands and give him all of the control. I really do mean well when I do this. There is a sense of calmness that I feel when I do so but then something comes up and before I know it, I have taken the control back. Do you find that you are playing this “tug of war” game with God as well? How are you making out? What would you like to turn over to God today and give him control?

I look forward to journeying with you. Please share what you are holding on to. What are you trying to control in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Many Blessings,
Danielle

All Things Are Possible With God

Currently I am participating in an online Bible study using the book “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles. This is being offered through Proverbs 31 Ministries. This book applies to all of us. I mean, who isn’t stressed these days with the economy the way it is and people becoming unemployed. We are also just stressed in our day-to-day lives. Come and join me and together we can work on becoming less stressed. Go to http://www.melissataylor.org. On her website she tells you how easy it is to join. You will also see that we just started this study. If you are like me, you will enjoy that she gives you an outline of what to expect for the upcoming week. I hope you will join me!

I would like to share something with you. One of our first assignments with this study was to look at the scripture verses at the back of chapter 1. Tracie calls these “Stress Busting Scriptures”. We then were to look up the verses in our Bible and highlight them. Now I am going to share something a little personal with all of you now. You see, I grew up learning that you do not crinkle, crease, draw, highlight or make any marks in your Bible. Can any of you relate? As I grew up and became involved in small groups I realized that what I was told all those years was not necessarily true. There is one particular woman who has strongly influenced me. I will share that story in a latter blog. Since then, I have wanted to “mark up” my Bible but I just could not bring myself to do so……until now. I was just so excited when Melissa had, as one of our assignments, asked us to highlight these verses. She even said to use “sticky notes” in our Bibles and even write on the Bible pages if need be! Wow!! Let me just tell you. I whipped out my highlighter and I went to town on those verses. After that I had a smile from ear to ear. I felt so much joy. I would like to share these scripture verses with you.

“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22)

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.” (2 Samuel 22:7)

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Let’s lift our worries, fears and stress up to the Lord. With God all things are possible.

Tell me what scripture verse(s) above speak(s) to you. Why do you think that is? What things are you stressed about? What would you like to lift up to God?

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Many Blessings,

Danielle