Jesus In Your Relationships

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!

~Shannon

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

One Word for 2019

It changed entire years when I started. It wasn’t like those New Year’s resolutions that you get depressed about because you fail almost as quickly as you start. This is totally different.

Some blog, somewhere long ago, gave the idea to choose a word/theme to work on for the new year in place of setting resolutions. You have a whole 365 days to learn, mull over, make progress in your word. It changed my life!

My first year with this idea I think I chose the word ‘Prepare’.  I was tired of always feeling under the gun, like I would be late, not have enough food, not have that gift ready, etc. So I began, day by day, focusing on preparation for the day ahead. I was learning to think of what would be expected of me in the next 24 hours and what I could do to best take control of my domain. I didn’t set a resolution of having every single thing prepared for every single day, or I would have felt defeated within a very short time. Instead I tweaked how I did things each day as I progressed a little at a time and created new habits both in thought and action that made my life go more smoothly as the year progressed. I learned so much without being overwhelmed! And many of the lessons I learned that year while caring for my home and family are now implemented to prepare for our conferences each fall!

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In other years the words I’ve chosen have been Simplify, Organize, Family, Surrender…. And every single one has been used by God to teach me much throughout the 12 months I’m focused on it.

My 2018 word has been Hearts. The word Hearts has been written on my little Dollar Store chalkboard sign in my kitchen since January 1st of this year. A constant reminder that all day every day I am preparing for, molding, feeding, reprimanding, cleaning for, spending time with, HEARTS.

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When my door bell rings I am meeting another heart that has just as many emotions and worldly cares as I do. When my child comes down the stairs in the morning and sits at the counter with bedhead and asks what’s for breakfast, I am looking at a fragile being that I can make or break with how I respond and speak. I’m interacting with hearts all day, every day.

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A number of times I’d catch a glimpse of my Heart sign and have immediate twinges of guilt because I had forgotten my important word and knew I had failed much. I was also thankful for the visual right there to remind me before I lost too much time. God is gracious and I have learned much this year about myself and God has been kind and not allowed me to lose my mind as I waited up many late nights for my ‘hearts’ to return home after evenings of hockey games, campfires, and random fun times with friends. This past weekend I automatically thought of all the Hearts involved as I waded through the mounds of boots and jackets and toys and food scraps from my house full of family and friends saying goodbye to some special people who will be moving soon.

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Hearts… I’ve been given a new focus for the people in my world this year. I see them differently. I have been humbled, given courage from, learned to care deeply for, and connected on a whole new level with the hearts in my world.

As you can tell from our pictures we often have a houseful. We love having our family and friends around us. I have had to let my dreams of a Pinterest style home go, and enjoy the relationships with all my people. The words that I’ve chosen over the years have all lended themselves to this same conviction that our life is about relationships. When I chose ‘Simplify’, I realized I was simplifying so that we could enjoy the right things, not the extras that weren’t eternal. When I chose ‘Organize’, life for all my people became easier and more enjoyable and we were able to include more relationships into our days. When the word was ‘Family’, I learned to focus more on my innermost circle because its super easy for me to get caught up in all the action going on around me. The ‘Surrender’ year taught me that I was selfish and need to let go of a lot of my own wishes because there were others I live with all day every day that had wishes, needs, and dreams too.

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I can’t even hope to pretend that I’ve mastered any of those areas. But since that wasn’t the point, learning was, I can walk away from those years thankful and know that I’ve grown and made some progress.

So, since this simple practice has changed my life in a bigger way than I ever expected, I want to share the idea with you. Take the month of December to think about your word for 2019. Ask God if He’s got a word already picked out for you. 😉

I’d love to know what word you decide to conquer!!!

~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 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

So Much More Than a Daytimer!!!

***Updated & Fixed!! Thanks for your patience!!***

Our conference time was slipping away from us during our “Host Favourites” session last weekend so I didn’t get to go through the Franklin Covey section with you all like I wanted to. Thankfully, I remembered this week that I had already gone through mine in a video a few years ago for a cousin of mine who was interested in the concept of a life binder, and I can share that with you now! Things have been updated since I made this video and I changed how I use it a bit, but life is ever changing and my needs are ever changing. So here is my 2 cents worth and you can adapt it to your own life. I have snipped out the password & prayer requests sections…. because those are none of your business 😉

Enjoy my urchin beside me as I go through my binder. She’s a free spirit. 🙂

And remember that on the Franklin Covey site you all have until October 8th to use promo  code: VALLEY to receive a 20% discount of your order! Thank you Franklin Covey for this code!!!