Bible Challenge Ramblings: Practical Proverbs
God’s faithfulness is proven in difficulty, not ease.
It was a huge blow. “It’s a brain tumour.” It’s been 5 years today since that first 10 hour brain surgery.
My parents had just flown out to visit my sister in Edmonton, excited for a visit with a pile of grandbabies. But dad could tell as the hours wore on something was terribly wrong and by the time he was getting ready for the day that first morning in Alberta it was obvious a trip was needed to the hospital. Hours later it was confirmed, a huge brain tumour needed to be dealt with right away but dad chose to fly home immediately and have the surgery here in NS. Enter a massive life change. That year was tough (read a bit about it HERE & HERE ) and it’s turned into 5 years of tough that God just keeps sanding away some rough edges I had no idea were there.
Many of you know the feeling. Life is normal, life is good, then in an instant everything changes and will never be the same. How can one be prepared for such change? How can a person be prepped for hardship and anguish? I’ve got an answer.
God moves in such mysterious ways. Again and again He has shown me over the years that I’m in control of squat-diddly. And He has shown me He is merciful and gracious to me though I am but dust (Psalm 103:14). For months leading up to that night when I received the call about dad I had been thrust, and I mean thrust, into Scripture. Without realizing it God was preparing me for some heavy duty lessons. For years I had been up before my kids to do Bible reading but in the late spring before that tumour was found my oldest son had a job that required him to leave the house at 5:30am, and I got up with him. I stayed up and pretty much every morning had about 3 hours of Bible time all to myself in which the theme again and again kept popping out of Scripture of SACRIFICE. What sacrifice looks like. Why we sacrifice. Willingness to sacrifice…. I made copious notes and prayed hard thinking I was learning a deep lesson but not a clue that an exam was coming up.
It was all that I had studied and written that was then played out day by day that intense first year of surgeries, paralysis for a bit, infection, cancer later, and deep mental suffering… It was hard. But the Truth had already been embedded into my soul. What I had read and meditated on for hours each day became my strength and joy in pain. Reading my Bible was the answer to being ready. I had hidden so much of God’s Word in my heart that the tremendous life-saving essentials I’d found there in easier times couldn’t be ignored and the Spirit would give quiet confidence in the most unlikely of times. Where would I be without that? It terrifies me to think about it. God knew how much prep work I needed.
I want that preparedness for you. I want everyone to be ready for the difficulties that will surely come. It’s one of the reasons why I shout from the roof tops to ‘READ YOUR BIBLE!’.
Since those trials of tumours and seizures more trials have come. Some I dare to say have been harder than the medical emergencies of those days. God has to deal deeply sometimes and cleansing can be extremely painful. I have thought often that I would not survive… and yet His Word will not let me alone. He keeps rushing His Spirit upon me through the darker times and reminds me of His tremendous faithfulness…. something learned only in the valleys???
Jesus is the answer. He always is. I have found Him again and again, deeper and fuller, every time I open my Bible.
Join us in the Bible Challenge and build your strength for battles yet to come!
Example of my Bible Journaling… hopefully you start your own!
Have you pulled a chair up to the table of God’s Grace yet?
There’s a plate of unending flavour waiting just for you.
Make sure you read THIS before you move on with your day!
A new chat is up on the Doctrine & Pancakes page. Want yo hear us chat about everything from opposition & pinched babies to seasons & drawing boundaries in relationships?? Check it out HERE.
It’s that time of year again… time to start thinking of
New Year’s Resolutions a WORD for the new year coming up!
Each year I pray about one word to focus on. I display my word where I’m reminded of it often, learning and growing in that area all year long.
I explain the why & how on a previous blog post. You can find it HERE. I hope you are intrigued and join in along with me!
Do you understand the gospel? I mean, really understand it. Do you understand who you are, where you came from, and all that Christ continually does on your behalf? If you do then it changes the way you handle difficult relationships. I have been guilty over the years of a sickly self-righteous indignation. I’ve learned so much as much time has passed since that day that my pharisee-ism hit me full force. Through the years it bothers me greatly to see so much wrong teaching and anti-biblical mentality running rampant when it comes to believers handling sin in others whether saved or unsaved.
Most would agree with me that God calls us to love seventy times seven. It may be hard and no fun sometimes, but easily seen from Scripture that it’s what we’re called to… Our mentor in this of how to handle the ugly in others is Christ… and he dealt with it by naming the sin and then dying for us. He didn’t raise the standard and expect us to learn to toe the line. He died. He died for us while we were in our rebellion. He kept loving and giving until he was put to death. I’ve probably got lots of amens from y’all so far. But we haven’t entered the temptation that comes when someone is being ugly toward you. Follow me…
Transfer this Scriptural principle of living the gospel out in all your relationships over to parenting your unsaved or rebellious adult child. When your child shows no love for the things of God and shuns righteousness is that your cue to ‘divorce’ them and not associate with them until they learn to act in a holy manner again? Give me one example of Jesus handling people in this way. Can you find even one? If I am to follow Christ’s example with those who act in opposition, I have to follow through with all I see from the life of Jesus and also what Paul states in Philippians 2. When did we Christians become so holy that we have the right to hold a standard for our friends and families to meet?! How can we tell someone they aren’t welcome in our presence anymore because they’re sinners….. just like us!?!
If you understand this gospel it changes how you handle marital conflict, too. I would never encourage/counsel a woman to divorce her husband for any reason. Leave his presence for safety reasons? Yes! Divorce and walk away from a relationship? That goes against all the gospel shouts out to us. God never calls us to make the judgement of whether someone is too much of a sinner to associate with, or too much of a lost cause to continue praying for and ministering to… that’s His domain (1Cor.4:5). And let’s not forget that I am NEVER without sin myself and so never justified in condemning another human being (James 3:9,10). When God NEVER divorces and gives up on me in my sin, how can I turn around and demand righteousness, as I see it, from the guy next to me?
Jesus knew Peter would mess up big time but told him with those hugely comforting words that he shouldn’t let it conquer him, and it didn’t change their relationship. It would actually make it stronger when Peter realized he was accepted even with his major guilt and shame before he ever repented of it (Luke 22:31!). Jesus said, “I have prayed for you.” You will still be welcome, Peter! You will fail miserably and show the kind of sin-stained wretch that you are, but I AM YOUR HOPE and I will NEVER give up on you!
Jesus told Judas to come eat with him and sat chatting and ministering to him all the while knowing he was a traitor. He washed his feet, he didn’t tell him to leave his presence until he could act in a more holy manner and truly repent.
If you have a difficult relationship right now ask yourself how you can play out the gospel in it. What would Jesus do if he had your husband, son, daughter, friend, sister or brother etc. If you think your place is to shun them to guilt them into obedience or not welcome them to your table to prove just how unholy they are you will have to do some major twisting of Scripture to show me that Jesus would do that as an example to us.
When it comes down to it most of the parenting guidance we hear these days leads me to see that most of us want our people around us to appear good and clean as if it’s a reflection of us when really we should be focused on Christ’s reflection in us and showing it to the world.
Don’t let Galatians 6:12-13 be your attitude.
“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
You can sometimes guilt/ scare/manipulate a person into looking righteous and checking off the right boxes but it isn’t calling to their heart. It’s not ministering to them. Let your attitude be taken from Prov 9:3 – Be one of the maidens that wisdom has sent out to invite more and more sinners to the table that is spread and waiting for them. Call them to beauty with mercy and kindness on your lips and a towel and washbasin in your hand. Don’t chase them from behind with condemnation and a cattle prod.
Learning the reality of offering grace while calling sin sin is what we are called to. Jesus was the perfect example of being able to acknowledge the sin all around him while offering grace and mercy at the same time. Let’s strive to be more like Jesus!
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.
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!
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:And thanks to a fabulous friend the Bible Challenge has been translated into French! Thank you so much, Krystle!!!2. 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!!!
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.