Psalm 107: An Invitation

DSC_0426Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.

Are you wandering, weary? Can’t figure out which way to go? Where do I belong, anyway? Are you hungry and thirsty? Have your choices left you unsatisfied – soul starving and weak?

Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

DSC_1068Is your life a prison, the shadow of death – the weight of the law and it’s wages – looming over you – bound by chains you can’t break?

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

DSC_0719 (1)Have you been foolish? Suffering the consequences of your own sinful choices, maybe losing the will to go on, just looking for a way out – even the gates of death begin to have an appeal.

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

UnknownNot even your fault? Just going about your own business and suddenly a storm blows out of nowhere, and the waves threaten everything?

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

DSC_0664-001CRY TO JESUS.

Cry to the Lord in your trouble, and He will deliver you from your distress. It was His steadfast love that turned the rivers into a desert, gave you the hard labour of the prison chain gang, allowed you to “taste the soup that you have made” with your wise-in-your-own-eyes choices, brought the storm that defied all your ability to cope, so that you would see how much you need Him and cry out to Him. He knew it was the only way you would seek Him. He will not let you go, but He will not allow you to fool yourself into thinking you can do it any way but His.

IMG_501133 He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.

39 When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
    and makes their families like flocks.

DSC_0874Cry to the Lord, and He will lead you out of the desert to Home and Belonging, to good things that satisfy your soul, to a fruitful life. He will break the chains and bring you into the light – children of the day – and free you from cruel labour. His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will meet you in the middle of your circumstances and lead you out, heal your depression, make you thrive. He will speak to the waves, “Peace, be still!” and they will obey their Master. He will bring you safely to shore, not just any shore, the right shore, exactly where He wants you to be.

42 The upright see it and are glad,
    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

And your sacrifice, yourself, still living but willingly bound to His altar, will be evidence of your thankfulness for His steadfast love, for the hardship that brought you to the Truth that set you free: Jesus.

~Charmin

 

Christian Allegiance

(Guest post by Jenn Slauenwhite)

The government was never meant to be our God.

I saw a meme that said, “Noah didn’t go swimming in the flood to prove his faith in God. He showed his faith by staying in the ark and waiting until it was safe to come out.” Although this seems like a lovely sentiment at the surface level for today’s pandemic situation, we need to understand a couple of things first. 1) Noah was listening TO God, directly FROM God. 2) Our current instructions and orders to stay inside to be safe and protected have come from government leaders. Some of you may argue that God put our leaders in place so we should obey them. I would partly agree with you. Those leaders are there for a reason and they aren’t a surprise or a mistake to our sovereign God. Romans 13:1 tells us this very thing. That doesn’t mean we obey their every command and whim without question or thought. We need to use discernment and a biblical worldview to filter pretty much everything around us. All the time. Till we die. 💁🏻‍♀️ And that includes discerning what is wise government instruction and what is not. When God gave us governing authorities, it was so that the rulers would not be a terror to good conduct but to bad. We are to be in subjection to them for THAT reason. They are to be avengers that carry out God’s wrath on the wrong doer. (Romans 13:3-4) What has happened over time (and pretty much since the beginning of time) is that man has taken it upon themselves to be ultimate authority with no care or thought to the things of God with governing authorities taking more and more liberties to gain more and more power.

So let’s compare a couple of situations. Most born again Christians would agree that abortion (at any stage) is murder and we would disapprove of the ruling that makes abortion legal, accessible, and acceptable. We do not agree with the secular world that human life can be terminated at any stage. But since the government says it’s ok should we just agree? Or should we have discernment because we know what the bible actually says about the sanctity of life?

Let’s do another comparison. Homeschooling. A lot of Christians who homeschool do so because we believe that God has assigned the task of education to the family and not to the government institutions. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand , and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”)

So why are we seeing a large number of Christians completely rolling over to the authorities while they wag their fingers at us with threats and tickets for something that is just common sense? (wash your hands, avoid the vulnerable, stay home if you’re sick) I believe that the answer is fear. Fear of an unknown virus. And that fear was heavily propagated by mainstream media for one reason or another. Now, I’m not saying this virus isn’t real or even deadly to vulnerable populations. It can be! But now that the numbers are no where near the projections, we are still being told that being good citizens means we must stay away from all other people for an indefinite amount of time. And don’t you dare disobey. (But don’t worry, the liquor store, and Tim hortons are still open!)

When we are fearful of something that is new or feels threatening, we look to someone to protect and reassure us. As Christians, that someone should be our Creator. When we look to the government to save us, we err in where our allegiance lies. The government was never established to save us, Jesus alone saves. The leaders aren’t there to save lives, they were never given that authority by God because our days are already numbered (psalm 139, psalm 39, job 14:5) and nothing we do can change or effect God’s plan for the number of each person’s days.

Should we use common sense? Of course we should! The bible is full of instruction about common sense for helping and serving others; to protect widows and care for orphans (James 1:27) And so we should!

I’m awfully long winded but my point here is that as Christians, we need not react out of fear. We need to trust God and know His Word so we can understand His plan for our governing authorities, which will help us recognize when we need to stand up against injustice. It just might be time to get off the bench and play. Most of all, we need to pray!

~Jenn

Ready for change?

This is a perfect time to start in on the Bible Challenge if you haven’t joined us already. You are definitely missing out if you aren’t reading your bible this way!

Are you a young single gal or guy? Are you a mom, a housewife, a grandma? Are you a pastor, a teacher, a husband, a dad? Are you a skeptic who thinks people like me are crazy and need a crutch? This challenge is for you! I double dog dare you to try it.

If you have had the Bible Challenge change you, post a video on Facebook or Instagram sharing about it… or leave your story in the comment section below. Others need this and you might be the one to help them join in and start on their way to big changes!

Would a French version be helpful for your family and friends? Bam! Here ya go…

No matter what’s going on in your life… good, bad, or ugly.. this is what you need. Give it a try.

~Shannon

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!

don'tbestupid

~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:

bible-addiction-challenge.jpg

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