5 Things You Need For 2020

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We’ve been preparing for and enjoying lots of Christmas here at home. From my youngest’s artwork I share above, to cookies upon cookies on cooling racks, and wrapping a billion presents… I’m loving the thoughts of all my kids being home and together again for the first time since May. I want to relish all the Holiday season brings and pack in as much as we can to enjoy together. But while all that is happening I have the constant thought in the back of my mind that January is coming quickly and how much I’m looking forward to another fresh start. I want you to look forward to it, too!

The year 2020 is upon us and I’d love for you to join me as I embark on my New Year’s traditions for yet another year. If they hadn’t made such a big difference in my life and completely changed everything for me I wouldn’t bother continually passing on this advice over and over and over… But seriously, it’s just too good not to share. Honestly, my mind is exploding with all the things that I, my family, and friends have learned through these five things this year as we muddled along and laughed and cried together! Hopefully there will be time to share some of them here on the blog, but start in on them yourself by joining in on these simple life changing ideas and your 2020 will be different than you ever thought it would be!

5 THINGS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE THIS YEAR:

1. Take the Bible Addiction Challenge and have your life changed in ways you didn’t know was possible. Prepare yourself, though. It’s going to rock your world! Check out the Bible Reading Challenge HERE! And for a visual reminder you can print this photo off and stick it in your Bible:img_6221-2And thanks to a fabulous friend the Bible Challenge has been translated into French! Thank you so much, Krystle!!!image22. Listen to a Life changing sermon from John MacArthur that completely turned my world upside down. Not even joking. You can listen in on how John MacArthur studies his Bible HERE! I double-dog dare ya!

3. Pick out 5 topics to become an expert in. Watch for these as you study your Bible. Get yourself a cute binder and dividers and get ready to start making notes on it all as you dive into Scripture. You can become an expert on these topics faster than you ever would have imagined! Elizabeth George suggests this in her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart. I obeyed her suggestion and it CHANGED MY LIFE!

4. Pick out a new Bible to use for 2020. Underline, highlight, write in notes… MARK IT UP!! This idea was passed on through one of our favourite Bible teachers at church, Mr. Steeves. I was hesitant to do this because I fall in love with my Bibles and ‘just know’ where everything is and they become like an appendage. But, after taking his advice I was sold. So each year I start in with a new Bible that is fresh with no marks in it and begin to devour it all over again.

5. Pick a theme word for the new year. This idea was passed on through a random blog somewhere once upon a time. Say good bye to New Year’s resolutions and hello to progress! Read up on the thoughts I shared in THIS ARTICLE.

Sound like a plan? Excited? You should be. Let’s do this! And if I don’t get back on here on the blog before the new year,… MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

~Shannon

 

Spiritual Anorexia

 Is your Bible woven intricately into every area of your life? Does it consume you? Do you understand the thoughts of the Psalmist saying ‘As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you’?

That phrase used to confuse me. I’d think to myself, “I’m not desperate for my quiet time with God like a thirsty deer hunting for a stream.’ I figured the Bible teachers I’d heard mention it must be faking that feeling….

At that same time the thought confused me I was starving for help and life was getting to be way more than I could handle. I hadn’t realized yet where my nourishment came from and I was bordering on spiritual anorexia.

As my hubby says, if you’re not going to eat your spiritual food don’t complain about your hunger pains!

When was the last time you devoured your Bible? Not a Bible study book…. not a commentary… not a Christian living or devotional book… but the tried and true Word of God all on its own? … for more than 5 or 10 minutes???

We are pretty big on getting people into Scripture in these parts because many of us have experienced the awesome consequences time after time in our own lives, and we are so excited to pass on the simple advice that will change other’s lives, too!

We’ve watched as prison walls have been torn down in lives over and over. We’ve also had to watch the consequences of many who don’t love on their Bibles, too… and it ain’t pretty. Hard to witness such things, but praise God for the many who He teaches to ‘pant for the living water’ and those that are washed by the Word daily!

As you pick up your Bible today, and every day, think of these words I found in my bible study notes from a couple of years ago (I preach to myself CONSTANTLY 😅) because maybe you need this reminder, too?

Always be willing to revisit the word of God. He is constantly revealing more of himself to the christian through it. Always ask Scripture good hard questions, it can handle it. Whether you will bear it or not may be a different story. Ask God to help you handle it.

Prepare yourself to be cut and maimed and destroyed every time you open the Word. God uses it to cut away every bit of self government and reason humanly speaking, and works to bring you under the subjection of the One who holds the sword, no matter what He may say.

Always be humble enough to hear other men’s views on what those inspired pages say but wise enough to honestly sift them through the whole of Scripture to see if they are in keeping with the Word – not necessarily in keeping with what you have always understood the Word to say.

Jump into your Bible today! Expect BIG THINGS!

Haven’t heard about the Bible Challenge? Here it is in a nutshell… It’s an awesome addiction.

~Shannon

Learning Quietness

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”

Psalm 91 – I’ve memorized this chapter to help with my word for 2019. It was medicinal. It reminds me how much power I really have. Go read Psalm 91!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

It has helped me as I have had my involvement taken away in a number of situations lately . When I can’t do what I’ve always done I am forced to learn to be quiet and trust the God that I read about in Scripture and live like I believe he is omniscient and omnipotent. I say I believe it. Now I have to live it.

It helps me remember my rightful place is being quiet and watching God work. I’m hiding under that wing, in a little nook while I watch through the feathers as God takes care of the situation. No input or help from me. He is God, He can handle it!

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.” Psalm 91:4

I am being forced to learn to be quiet and trust that the same God that works in me and has tethered me to himself, can tether those I’m concerned about to himself as well. None of it is dependant on me.

“ A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at they right hand. But it shall not come nigh thee.” (Verse 7)

That’s a big deal that verse is proclaiming! That is a huge attribute of God being spoken of right there. We are nothing. God does it all. My job is to choose wisely where to hide and whose strength, wisdom, and ability to trust in. I watch ‘inactively’ and see what God does. No input from me. No action from me.

God calls his people to action. We are to obey… but sometimes we get thinking he’s accomplishing so much because of how good we are doing. We all have circumstances that God brings into our lives to show us where He is not looked to as sovereign God.

Every hard circumstance, every anxious feeling, every terrifying thought is a place to give God the preeminence there.

Colossians 1:18 “and he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”

He already is preeminent. That’s not up for discussion. He just takes time here and there to bring us back to that reality.

Where there is a struggle to allow God to work on his own, without any interference from me, He most certainly does not have the preeminence yet.

Feelings of fear or anxiousness are not the issue. Those feelings may not go away after our humbling and submission for the simple reason that God is not safe. He may allow the hardest and lowest of circumstances. Have you read the Bible?! The possibility of horrible things happening is not promised away by submitting ourselves, therefore the sweat is still abundant. But the attempted control over which way it will go has been released.

Being troubled over what God calls you to is something that even Christ himself went through.

Matt 26:37 “And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death;…”

That word ‘troubled’ is the strongest of 3 forms of depressed, anguished, and distressed, used in the Greek language. Jesus was heavily troubled and prayed to be delivered from his circumstance. He sweat blood. It was bad.

My point is that you are able to be distressed, even unto death, and not be in sin…. If you are not attempting to be in control of the hardship.

Jesus handled his troubling time exactly as he instructed his disciples in the gospels and the further direction we get from 1 Peter.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1 Peter 5:6-11 “Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care (anxieties) upon him, for he careth for you.”

‘Humble yourselves’ means to give God preeminence. Let him do whatever he wants and trust him with it. 

I notice a big difference in how anxiety and fear are handled by Jesus than other issues with us humans. Even if you want to call it a sin (which is only a sin if you are trying to control it from what I’ve seen and understood so far), Jesus clearly gives different instructions for being troubled or depressed. It’s not a ‘stop sinning!’ command he gives, but a comforting reminder to bring our fears to Him and trust Him with the results.

Christ took it to the Father and he knew he still needed to die. The stress of all he was going to endure didn’t disappear because he gained a godly perspective. All the difficulty was still there waiting for him. It was just a humbling moment where it was modelled for us how we will wrestle with God’s will vs. my will.

You know the humbling has taken place when you lay all your tools down and let God call the shots.

Think about this thought taken from Exodus when the Ten Commandments had just been given along with instructions from God how he wants sacrifices to take place…

Exodus 20:23-25 “And the Lord said…An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it.

Every place of my humbling is a place God ‘causes his name to be remembered. It’s a place you lay yourself down as the sacrifice on the altar and the only one that walks away is God. Your tools stay on the ground and the stones of that sacrifice stay raw with God’s perfect beauty. I don’t get to chisel the altar and make the stones fit like I want anymore. When I’m okay with how God’s going to have this end up looking I am done wrestling with God. I may still be piling the stones for that place of remembrance and preparing myself to climb on the altar so my will dies, but the chisels are profane to me. They call for MY control and MY glory – sickening to a truly repentant heart, arrogant to a humble soul disgusting to a willing servant.

Humbling. Sacrifice. Repentance. He shall be preeminent!

~Shannon

(Photos snatched from my daughter’s phone 😉)

2018 Printable Downloads

Very pleased to finally be able to share the art prints that were mentioned at the conference. Sarah Meadows created both of them for me and I am so thankful for her talent and willingness to help her poor aunt out! She said to share them with you all free of charge.

Our theme verse this year for conference helps us to remember constantly to reevaluate where each choice is taking us every day. Ponder the path of your feet and make sure you aren’t losing focus! Let this  beautiful printable be an encouragement to you through your days.

Click HERE to download  Psalm 119:59 art print!

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And another somewhat sarcastic printable for those kindred spirits out there who like to say it like it is. In my first conference session I shared about how important it was to create a Bible addiction and that Sarah had made me a pretty little print for Christmas last year. Now it’s all yours, too!                                                                                                    We say it jokingly around here, but there is truth in jest. 😉

Click HERE to download Read Your Bible art print!

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~Shannon

How to Study the Bible (with sermon link)

At the conference last week I shared my version of how to become addicted to your Bible. I’ve had the addiction for a number of years and I was thrilled with the chance to introduce a new way to dive into Scripture to so many women all at once. Many have been intrigued by the ideas I shared.

Here is my Bible Addiction Challenge in a nutshell:

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My Bible reading plan is based on John MacArthur’s sermon I listened to many years ago.   It changed my life! I recently looked it up again and gave a listen and enjoyed it even more this time through. I promised to share it with you and here it is.

John MacArthur’s How to Study the Bible

I want to do what John MacArthur talked about and am concentrating on the New Testament for my Bible challenge and am starting in on reading through the Old Testament in a year using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological Reading Plan.

Let me know what you think!!!

~Shannon

Add this to your Bible Challenge!

Another Bible Challenge update for you. This time I’ve added one of my favourite and most helpful ideas to the video. You just might want to adopt it as well! 🙂

New here? Check out the previous videos to catch up:

Bible Challenge Introduction 
Bible Snippets 1
Bible Snippets 2  

Have you been trying the challenge out? I’d love to hear from you! The testimonials I’ve heard so far have been wonderful!

~Shannon

Bible Challenge Snippets 2

Another video about creating your Bible addiction. Talking about how to go about journalling in this one… and a new idea to add to your Bible Challenge reading.

Keep in mind that as I share these videos, they don’t have to be perfect to be encouraging. 🙂  I’m just using my iPhone and grabbing whatever quiet time I can within a 2 week period to get some fresh thoughts and ideas out to you. I try to keep them short and sweet & as to-the-point as I can, to reach as many women as I can.

Thank you to all who have contacted me and let me know you are in on the challenge and how God is working. YOU ARE ALL A HUGE ENCOURAGEMENT TO ME!!!

If this is new to you, check out the introduction and follow up post here:

Bible Challenge Introduction and Bible Challenge Snippets 1

~Shannon

Bible Challenge Snippets 1

So excited to hear how many are jumping in to this Bible Challenge, and the difference it’s making in their lives already! Praise God for the simplicity of reading the Bible and how He works through it!!

Here’s an update for those interested, with some snippets from my conversations with Jenn (fellow Bible Addict). Feel free to watch and stay tuned for more thoughts in this journey of loving your Bible.

Here’s the link to Video Introduction to the Bible Challenge. If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ve added the poster to the bottom of this post to give you the challenge in a nutshell.

Challenge poster

~Shannon

 

 

A 2018 Challenge

Here’s something I’ve wanted to pass on for a looooong time. I just used my iPhone, and it isn’t awesome quality, but that’s not the point…. When I say this will change your life, I do not say that lightly. I hope to be sharing often this year on the blog all the ways this simple challenge has made a difference for me since I began 19 years ago. Check it out and I double-dog dare you to try it! 😉Challenge poster

 

 

~Shannon

Not The Time For Subtlety

You can be sure that hard times will come. If they don’t you are either living in oblivion or you are simply not a threat.

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We are told to not be surprised at the fiery trials that come upon us (1 Pet.4:12). If we are true followers of Christ then we will have opposition. Simply the fact that we are Christ’s is enough for Satan to wage war against us much of the time.

Many difficulties are just the offspring of our own foolish choices. We all mess up and create problems for ourselves naturally. But there are times when it is obvious that Satan is turning up the heat in battle and we go through a heavy time. Life is not perfect. Life is not always good. It is during this time that I read Psalm 60…

“Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. Thou hast showed thy people hard things; thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.”

We are in a hard place. My family feels pummelled. It just won’t stop. There is always just one or two more things that happen in an attempt, I believe, to wear the whole lot of us down.

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Have you seen Facing the Giants? Remember that part when all the guys are exhausted and lying around on the football field after their practice and the coach does something unexpected? He straps one of the guys onto the back of the captain of the team and blindfolds him. Then, tells him he has to crawl with the extra weight of his team member on his back across the football field as far as is physically possible….. already tired from the previous practice. Nobody thinks he’ll make it far, but then when the going got really tough the coach starts yelling ‘encouragements’ at his side, “I need 3 more downs!! Don’t you give up on me! I NEED 3 MORE DOWNS!!!”,  and his teammates cheer in amazement from the side as he makes it all the way to the end zone. All shocked that, indeed, it really could be done and there was so much more stamina left in him than they all thought in the beginning.

That’s what we feel like right now. We feel like right when it was supposed to be all over, more is heaped up on our plate and we have even more to do…

…but God is at work.

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“I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performers all things for me.” Psalm 57:2

These times of trouble and exhaustion are not the time for subtlety. It is during this kind of time that I read the Psalm about the Lord allowing hard things in the lives of his children.

Those times when God allows His voice to seem silent and the very earth moving unsteady under our feet.

That time we are in horrid astonishment of how far we have been taken…

Then… Then, there is that next verse that caught my eye. Follow me…

“Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.”

When the earth around you shakes with the uncertainty of the future. When nothing is going right and it feels that God has gone quiet or turned away from you, that is the time to take His banner and raise it as high as you can. In the middle of the battle field, raise that banner of truth up for all to see…. for all that want to follow His ways to get connected once again and refocused. Raise it up, gather together, and press on, waiting in confidence for the deliverance that God promises to those that trust Him.

It truly is God that performeth all things for me. I can’t do it. He has to accomplish it; whatever it is that He purposes.

“Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.” vs.11,12.

In the dark times get into the Word even more and  raise that banner even higher! Display the truth even more. Proclaim God’s goodness in the midst of the darkness you are in.
Show the hope of Christ.
Because, through God we shall do valiantly!! He it is that shall tread down our enemies!!!

~Shannon