Now Free on Kindle!

SweetFreedomCover

All Affra wanted was to find love–real love, but her desperation led her into the arms of an angry, lust-filled man, a man who, like all the others she’d known, used her for his pleasure than tossed her aside. But one afternoon, she met another man–one unlike any she’d known before. Could this man love her, truly love her? And would she let him, or would her past wounds keep her heart barricaded?

He grew up in a God-fearing, loving home. So how did he end up on the streets of California addicted to heroine, not caring if he lived or died?

Not long after learning of her pregnancy, Kelly Liberto’s doctor delivered terrifying news. She had cancer. While pregnant. How could cancer turn into a blessing? When it leads to a deeper unveiling and an even deeper healing–healing of wounds she wasn’t even aware she had!

A night in the hospital plunged Jodie Bailey, author of Freefall, into deep emotional bondage, a bondage that not only trapped her heart, but kept her physically trapped in the four walls of her home. Friends couldn’t help. Psychiatrists were at a loss. What would it take to help her break free of “these” four walls?

Marriage. True love … tainted by an ugly addiction–one that threatened to destroy Joanne Joy Underwood and her precious sons. What would it take for her to break free of her husband’s toxic addiction?

Gail Pallotta, author of Stopped Cold shares a beautiful fictional story of a grandmother who appears to have lost all hope, all drive for living. How can simple slivers of fabric reignite the flame within?

Melissa Finnegan tells a beautiful story of one woman, abandoned by her husband, who needs to learn to love again. But can she release her pain and unveil her shrouded heart in order to do so? (Currently on her blog, Melissa talks about how God led her to write her story, Burned. You can read about that here.)

Tanya Eavanson, author of Unconditional, talks about the freedom found in surrendering our wounds to Christ and trusting in Him and Him alone for our healing. (Tanya will be on television Monday. I imagine you can find out more by visiting her blog and leaving her a comment asking about it.)

Beth Farley’s beautiful poems stir our hearts afresh with love for our gentle, gracious, all-powerful Savior.

Elizabeth Veldboom had every right to be angry, but would feeding her anger and bitterness lead to emotional bondage?

I know many of you have already received the free PDF version of Sweet Freedom. You should be able to read this on your ereader, however, if you’d prefer to download the Kindle version, you can now do so for free! (Through July 7th.) Feel free to share the below link with anyone you believe might be blessed by this compilation. Our desire is that each story will stir your hearts afresh with a deep thirst for Jesus Christ and His freeing Spirit. He died to set you free. That’s how much He loves you and longs for you to walk in His freedom.

Hidden Treasures

GE DIGITAL CAMERAToday my sweet friend and fellow Yahoo Bible study member, Beth Farley, is back talking about a verse I have long loved. The Word of God is unlike any other book we will ever encounter. Hebrews 4:12 tells us it is “living and active,” and I’ve found this to be quite true. When we open God’s Word, the Holy Spirit comes along 40762_reading_the_bible_1side us, making our reading a two-way communication between us and our Creator. At times, certain verses will appear to jump out at us, drawing our hearts or pricking our conscious. At other times, a passage will evoke a strong desire to stop what we are doing and pray. And yet other times, a verse or passage will prick a curiosity–no, more like a yearning–to go deeper, searching for the truth and heart of God. Our time in Scripture can become many things, but it is never, never intended to be a solitary or mindless affair. To the contrary! It is to be an intimate love affair between us and our Creator.

Hidden Treasures by Beth Farley

QuestionmarkI have to admit, that I feel very unworthy in sharing on this scripture because I must admit, that I don’t know what it really means? It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. NKJV

I did some digging and I can only pray that I am on target. For you that are participating in this study, if I am way off, please forgive me. If I am on target, Yay! Please, please share your comments.

Let me try to break it down. It is the glory of God to conceal a thing – This has been understood as referring to the revelation of God’s will in his word. We have been talking every week and praying that we would all seek out God’s will for our lives and do what He wants. There are some things that are hidden from us such as parables, allegories, metaphors so that we will continue to seek but His will is always readily available for us to see…if…we open our eyes and hearts.

In order to know God’s will we must really spend time with HIM and really get serious about studying HIS word…Before I became ill, I went through another rebellious time of not being serious about staying the studyingWord of God. I read it from time to time, but I was not intent on studying it and applying it. I know that being in God’s Word is His will for my life, no matter what! I am really ashamed of how I can get so lethargic in spending time in the Bible. When raising my kids, I was in the Word every morning. My children would wake up and find me on the couch, by the fire, with Bible and paper in hand. Now that they are adults they comment about it in positive ways. Back then though, they didn’t like it because it was taking time from them. I am thankful that I never gave up on that time with Him when they were in the house.

When I got divorced, and let me tell you, God was right there with me as I went through that difficult time in my life; He didn’t give up on me, but I gave up on being in the Word. When I had to move, I struggled finding a new trustworthy church that I could step into and they would not judge me because I was divorced. I carried that “D” on my forehead. I carried it way too long. I rebelled and stayed away from the Bible. I was hurt, broken, lonely and scared. How would I have ever known what he wanted from me if I didn’t seek him daily? His will was to know that I was walking in forgiveness and no condemnation. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

I don’t know why I have through my rebellious times. It irritates me. I am not proud of the few times that I have turned my back on God. I was not ever angry, just lazy, stubborn and scared. Come to think of it though, I can think of more times that I have remained in the Word than times when I shut the Word out. That’s a good thing. I guess I shouldn’t dwell on the negative here but rather the positive.

So again, if I am off on my interpretation of the verse, please set me straight. I am not one that is so prideful that I can’t be set straight on things. I am one that wants to learn as much as I can about God and stay committed to Him; allowing Him to reveal His will for me each and every day. How about you? Do you have times when you’ve taken a dive in your commitment to reading and studying His word? If so, what helped put you back on track? I know we are coming to an end of our study shortly, and I want to remind you that the prayer board is still open. If you have something you would like for us to pray about, please let me know; if you have a personal request and would like to just share it with me, I would be honored to pray. I can’t tell you what I would have done without the many who have prayed for me over the years at different times of my life. The power of prayer; it’s a beautiful thing. The power of the WORD; it’s a beautiful thing.

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Let’s talk about this. When reading your Bible, do you allow yourself enough time to really absorb what you are reading? To pray over what you have read? What are some tools you use to dig deeper into a passage?

Here are some tools/tricks I’ve learned to get the most out of my Bible reading time:

1. Begin with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to use His Word to speak to you, guide you, correct, and grow you, then, read expecting God to communicate with you.

2. Ask questions: Who was the original audience? Who wrote the passage? What might the passage have meant to the original audience? (Sometimes these questions lead to a bit of a historical investigation.) What is the universal and/or timeless truth revealed in this verse or passage? What does this verse or passage show me about God (His character, heart, desires, etc)? What does this verse or passage show me about myself? Is there a specific action I can take or that this verse or passage points to?

3. Follow bunny trails. 🙂 Many Bibles have foot notes or verse references in the inner or outer columns of the text. If a passage mentions a previous account or character in the Bible, take the time to review the event/person referenced. If you notice a verse reference in the text, footnotes, or inner or outer columns, take time to read the correlating/supporting verses.

4. Read the passage in a few different translations. (You can find alternate translations online at Biblegateway.com or Biblos.com

5. If a particular verse stands out to you, look it up in the Lexicon. You can find a Lexicon on Biblos.com

6. Read a commentary or two expanding on the verse or passage. You can find commentaries on Biblegateway.com

(If you would like help using any of the above tools, please, shoot me an email at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com. I’d love to walk you through it!)

Do you have any other tools or resources you like to use to go deeper into Scripture? Tell us about them! 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on Living by Grace, or join our online Bible study. We’d love to have you!

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Avoiding Mental Detours

I’ve heard it said and believe, most often, our greatest battles begin and end in the mind. Today, fellow Yahoo Bible study member and dear friend, Beth Farley challenges us to keep our thoughts on that good, straight path.

Avoiding Mental Detours by Beth Farley

The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road (Proverbs 21:8 NLT).

directionsignsWhen I read and re-read this verse, I thought about the choices that I’ve made in my life. Some of them were not the best but I think we can all reflect and say the same thing. I think there are things that we wished we had done differently. We know we shouldn’t dwell on the past; Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past (Isaiah 43:18 NASB).

The crooked path brought on a different meaning to me today. Many times I have allowed my mind to travel down the crooked path. I believe we can go down the crooked path not only in action but in thought as well. After all, sin originates in the mind first. (Ephesians 6:12) I love the Amplified version of this verse.

I read something the other day that really struck me. In the past I complained about my job. I didn’t like some changes, some people, some circumstances and I quickly fell into the trap of allowing my mind to travel on the crooked path. Daily, I had negative thoughts and words. I was consumed with work-related stress and allowed it to rob me of my daily joy. This is so ironic to me because now I am only to work part time due to my health and there are some things that I really miss about working full time.

         The Art of Getting Well by David Spero, R.N.

“The meaning we find in our work also affects us deeply. Suppose two persons deliver bottled water for a living. One might think, “This is great. I get out to different parts of the city, and I get to meet different people. I’m not stuck in an office or factory. I’m bringing people this good, healthy, water. They’re always happy to see me. I wish it paid more, but it beats welfare.”

                                    OR

“I hate this job. I could have been a lawyer if I hadn’t dropped out of college. The company doesn’t respect me; the managersstress never ask my opinion or let me plan my own routes. I can’t raise a family on this pay. My back and feet hurt from lifting. The water is a rip-off; it’s no better than tap water.”

Have you ever allowed Satan to take your positives and meld them into negatives? We can choose each day to travel the straight road with a positive mindset. I liked the analogy of path vs road; to me the path is short and the road is long. We are in this for the long haul until God calls us home to be with him. Yes, we will have sinful days, moments of defeat and minutes of sinking, but thank God we are all saved and have the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us going.

Are you dwelling on past mistakes? Don’t allow Satan to take you there. They have been washed away and forgiven. Don’t allow past hurts and mistakes to manipulate your walk with God. He loves you, broken or unbroken. He LOVES you!

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

***

GE DIGITAL CAMERABeth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Let’s talk about this. Pause to consider the things you think about in a given day. How often do you cut yourself down? Focus on the negative? Camp out in regrets?

How might your day, your service, your effectiveness change if you were to reroute your thinking, focusing on God’s truth, love, will, and faithfulness?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on Living by Grace, or join our online Bible study. We’d love to have you!

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAIntrinsically, we know lying’s wrong. I think that’s part of our inner compass. But then, we get older and socially “aware”, and somehow the lines become blurred. We might even be tempted to believe some lies are good–if they are told for a good reason, perhaps to protect someone’s feelings or create a positive, altruistic outcome. And what about deception by omission? Those times when, perhaps we don’t verbally lie, but we allow others to believe a half-truth? Today my sweet friend, Beth Farley digs into Proverbs 19:9, challenging us to honestly evaluate our honesty. 🙂

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Beth Farleyliar

Proverbs 19:9: NLT
A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.

What is a false witness? I looked up the definition and it read that it is a person who deliberately gives false testimony, someone who has lied or lies repeatedly. Why do you think people feel they have to lie? We see it so often; at least I do working with the public. I can’t tell you how many people are dishonest about library fines. You read that right. LIBRARY FINES. It shocks me.

You know, I’ve always thought about Proverbs 19:9 pertaining to telling lies all of the time as being a false witness, but just recently I had an opportunity to really think about it more. I began to monitor myself the other day and caught myself “stretching the truth” about something to a co-worker. I had to stop in mid-sentence and evaluate what I was saying and the worst part of all was that this co-worker is a Christian, so there was no need to do that. Do you ever do that? Do you allow things to fly out of your mouth before you even consider if you are about to bear false witness?

Look at what the following scriptures say about false witness: all taken from the KJV:

Proverbs 19:5: A false witness shall not be unpunished, and (he that) speaketh lies shall not escape. (ouch!)

Exodus 20:16: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 1 John 2;4: he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Revelation 21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Ephesians 4:25: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

If we are members of one another, then why do we feel the need to tell those little white lies, bear false witness, say things and give ourselves the glory rather than give God the glory? I think we need to do an honest assessment of ourselves and see if we are really being truthful in who we are. It’s easy around the house with family, praying in safe environments, at church and with other Christians, but hey, maybe not. I almost fell into it amongst a fellow Cristian.

Look at the second half of the scripture: Liars will be destroyed. Let me say it again, BE DESTROYED. It doesn’t read, bad liars, huge liars, consistent liars; it reads LIARS…All sorts of liars, the little-white liars and the fibbers. I think in order to effectively mirror God with our whole self; we must find and use our authentic voices. We can reflect in unique and distinct ways, however, without our voice (telling the truth), then we are not walking in the image of God. I don’t know about you, but I really need to work on this. I don’t consider myself a liar; however, I see how easily I can get caught up in the snare of a lie.

Lord, we thank you so much for all that you do for us. We thank you that you loved us to send Christ to the cross for our sins. Please forgive us for falling short of walking in truth. Please forgive us when the little white lie rolls off the tip of our tongues. We long to be more like Christ. Have your way with us. In Jesus’ precious name; amen.

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Share your thoughts. Do you believe white lies are ever okay and/or appropriate, and if so, why and when? If not, why?

Share a time when someone lied to you or deceived you. How did you feel? Did that affect your relationship? If so, how?

If you are a parent or grandparent, do you model integrity and honesty? Before you answer, pause to consider: Do you ever ask others to tell a caller you aren’t home when indeed you are?

Join the conversation here, in the comments below, or join our Yahoo Bible study group. (It’s not too late! We’d love to have you. 😉 )


Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

You might also enjoy: In Absence of Integrity

Can Being Kind Nourish You?

The other day, on the Christian radio station, they discussed the characteristics of happy children. Apparently, a study was conducted, and research shows kids who are kinder are generally happier. A short discussion on this study ensued, and the general consensus was: 1) We are happier when we are less focused on ourselves, and, 2) We are happiest when we are most acting like God, or, in other words, when we are allowing Him to freely work and love through us.

Today, Proverbs Study member Beth Farley brings this truth home with her devotion on Proverbs 11:17:

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel (NLT).

Nourishing Your Soul by Beth Farley

            I was in the store the other day looking at the handwashingvarious moisturizers. My skin is so incredibly dry this season. Since I work at a library, I am constantly washing my hands. I am digging into bins to rescue germy books that need to be returned to the shelves. I also work with patrons all day long that have been sneezing or coughing, so for me, the hand sanitizer and frequent washing is a MUST.

Well, when I was in the bathroom the other day, God’s word came to me. I was looking at the ingredients of the hand cream that someone donated and it highlighted the word nourishing. The cream stated that it was suitable for all skin types and had hand selected ingredients that protected the skin.

When I was reading Proverbs 11:17; I started to recall those ingredients and thought about my spiritual walk God. When I am kind to others, especially in my job, when I can be dealing with some really not-so-nice people, my soul is being nourished. When I go out of my way, come out of my boundaries and am nice to others and helpful to others, I am nourishing my soul and being protected by God. I know in studying the book of Proverbs we’ve talked a lot about obedience, but if I may, let me remind us today that walking in kindness(love) is one of God’s desires, Love is the first fruit of the Spirit; but also kindness is in there as well. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. NIV.

How are you going to walk today? Are you going to carry around a nourished soul knowing that your inner ingredients have been hand selected just for you?

How can you apply this kindness to your day today? Are you dealing with a cranky boss? Sick children? Impatient husband? Needy friend? My dear sisters, we must walk in kindness and allow the nourishment to flow through us. We don’t know what God’s up to but we can trust that He’s hand selected his day for us to walk with HIM.

I am praying for each one of you!

Beth

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

***

Let’s talk about this! Beth asked some thought-provoking, and hopefully, action-initiating questions:

How can you apply this kindness to your day today? Are you dealing with a cranky boss? Sick children? Impatient husband? Needy friend?

Let’s talk about this.

Join me at Living by Grace as we talk about living out our faith by demonstrating Christ’s love and the soul-reaching nourishment this provides.

Following With Your Whole Heart

Today’s reading: Proverbs 3; Luke 5:1-11

Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 3:6

Today’s focus: Following God’s Will

This week’s memory verse:
Proverbs2memoryverse

Today, Beth Farely shares her walk with God–how He called her to make some drastic changes, and the challenges she faced to do so. Yesterday’s focal verse reminded us to trust and lean not on our own understanding. Let’s face it; our human understanding is limited and quite often, gets in our way. Don’t let your lack of understanding keep you from following whole heartedly after God.

GE DIGITAL CAMERABeth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Following in God’s Footsteps by Beth Farley

Oh Lord, I’m on fire this morning! I woke up early with such desire to get my coffee, climb into my rocking chair and re-read Proverbs 3.  I am now stuck on verse 6. May I share my thoughts with you please?

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight…NIV

Seek his will in all you do and he will direct your path. NLT

2012 brought many challenges and changes to my life.  In January I started a major house renovation due to my bathrooms being riddled with black mold. This black mold was causing some health issues, so it had to be done. However, it caused a renovation domino effect with the rest of the house. I ended up replacing all of the carpet throughout the house with non-allergenic carpet and re-painted the bedrooms and kitchen. The house looked beautiful with its new face lift however it didn’t heal the health issues. I continued to get sinus infection after sinus infection.

In April I re-married and had family I hadn’t seen in eight years come to my home. I was excited but also so nervous. They were meeting my husband and his family for the first time. Although this was a special time in my life, it was also stressful and at this time, my legs began swelling. I thought it was stress and the summer heat approaching.In May, my health deteriorated, and by my 50th  birthday, it felt like my whole body was shutting down, organ by organ.  During this time I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and was put on medication. One of the side effects of the drug prescribed is sore joints. No kidding! I feel like I have arthritis all over my body and the swelling is not getting any better.

I’ve had heart tests, bone density tests, blood work after blood work and I still look like the Good Year Blimp.I was missing so much work and had three visits to the emergency room with massive headaches due to the chronic sinusitis. Each and every time I was attacked by this, my husband was out of town so my best friend would take me. I even threw up in her car; now that’s a good friend. I remember crying in the emergency room; feeling so defeated and knew I had to make some changes in my life.At that point, which was in August, I began to dig back into the Word and read Proverbs 3:5 & 6 and asked God for His direction. I knew that I couldn’t keep on this path.

I had to either quit my job or ask for the opportunity to drop my hours to half time and keep my benefits. Every day I sat at His feet crying, praying and surrendering to His will. Finally in November, I felt God was calling me to work part time and write for Him. I nervously approached my boss pleading my case, and by December I went on the pay roll as a half time librarian. I didn’t lose my benefits however, in working half time, they are no longer free. I have to pay for my benefits, and of course, my salary is cut in half as well. I didn’t step onto this path without His direction. To this day I have no idea how we are going to make it financially, and I don’t know how I am going to get my writing off to a financial start.

Since working part time, my medical tests have all come back good. I do not have the sinus headaches, the bad allergies and although my swelling is still bad, we are working on it. It is much more manageable not being on my feet all day, every day.  I have no doubt in my mind I am on His path and that He is the Director of my steps. All of this has led to my blog www.firsthalfday1.wordpress.com. Follow along if you would like. I am keeping track of my faith, my failures, and triumphs. Yesterday I actually figured out how to post a picture to my blog. Hey there’s progress going on here. Are you clapping for me?

Let me close with this: Matthew 6:33 NLT: Back up to the end of verse 32: Your heavenly Father already knows all of our needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. It’s not about the money. It’s not about the recognition. It’s about doing what he is calling me to do. Yes, I would love to earn some money with my writing. Who wouldn’t, but if I remain in Him, He will reveal himself faithful and unchanging. He will have me follow in his footsteps.Only one question to be asked here…whose footsteps are you following?

***

Today, if it’s not too cold, I encourage you to take a prayer walk, or, more accurately, to take a leisurely stroll with your Savior. If it is too cold or if you are unable to go for a walk, find a quiet place where you can quiet your heart and really connect with God. Ask Him if you are following whole-heartedly after Him and whatever He is calling you to do. Ask Him if there is anything getting in His way, then ask Him to remove those things from your heart/mind/schedule. Ask Him to make His way clear and to give you the desire, perseverance, strength, and courage to follow whole-heartedly after Him.

Choosing to Trust

Today’s reading: Proverbs 3:1-8, Psalm 139 , James 1:2-8

Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 3:5

Today’s focus: Choosing to trust

This week’s memory verse: 
Proverbs2memoryverse

 This has been an interesting year for me. I’ve seen healings I’ve fervently prayed for not come to pass. I’ve seen a family with young children lose their mother to brain cancer. I’ve seen hurting and hungry children and broken adults. I’ve experienced some health challenges and watched helplessly as my daughter cried out in pain from a bad case of shingles. Worse, I listened to her express her broken heart as she wondered why God would allow her to experience such pain. And there were times when all I could pray was why. Why, Lord, would you let these things happen? Where is Your healing? Can you see us? Do you care?

One morning, while asking those very questions, God gave me this answer, found in Ezekiel 36:9 “See, I care about you and will pay attention to you” (NLT).

And truly, that was all I needed to hear. You see, we won’t always receive answers this side of heaven. Nor will we always be rescued. But we will always be heard. And held. So what do we do when life doesn’t go as we expect? We choose to trust. When we don’t understand the what or the why, we must focus on the Who–knowing God is in complete control and that at every moment, He has us in mind. He is attentive to our cries, and He has a loving purpose for everything He does and everything He allows. But more than that, one day He will set everything right. One day He will wipe away every last tear, will heal every disease and heartache. So hold on, beloved, for our bridegroom is coming and oh, what a party He has planned for us!

Today as you read Beth Farley’s devotion, prayerfully direct your thoughts onto the nature of God. Choose to trust Him, for He is worthy.

GE DIGITAL CAMERABeth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Proverbs 3:5 in several versions

New King James:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;

New Living Translation

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.

American Standard Translation

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

Amplified Bible

 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

No matter how many ways the above scripture is written, it means the same thing; trusting in God and not myself. I had an opportunity to chat with a close relative the other day about the shooting in Connecticut. She is a mother of three young children and about ready to have another. She told me that she didn’t want her kids to go back to school and did not understand why God would do such a terrible thing.

I had to let her words soak in for a few before I answered. I wanted to be very careful and wise because she is not really a believer. She is not sure what she believes in. Before answering, I quickly asked God that His words come from my mouth, not my own because I was sure to botch it up.

I told her that I believed that God did not make that happen. He may have allowed it but for reasons we can’t possibly understand and won’t understand until we meet Him face to face. I shared with her the above scripture about trusting in God and not in her own thoughts and strengths.  I also spoke to her about Isaiah 55:8 where God tells us, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” NLT I also told her that so often I will have circumstances arise and not know why but if I do trust in the Lord then I know everything will work out fine.

Today I pray as you continue to study Proverbs 3 that you will ask the Lord to give you the strength and discipline to trust in Him and not in yourself. I pray that when you are approached by an unbeliever or someone who is just not certain about events that make no sense, that you are trusting in God to give you the best guidance possible. I pray that if you are hit yourself by something during this study that tempts you to quit, that you just trust and not give up.

Are you truly trusting God in all that you do? In all that you say? In all that is going on in your world right now? I ask myself these questions as well. I have to trust. Without trust, I have nothing.

Remember; no matter how many versions of Proverbs 3:5 you read; it all comes down to the one important word…

TRUST!

LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS!

1) List five things you know to be true about God. Now pause and prayerfully think about His nature in light of whatever difficulties you are facing. Fill in the following:

Because He is loving ___________________________________________________.

Because He is faithful __________________________________________________.

Because He is all-knowing _______________________________________________.

Because He is with me __________________________________________________.

2) Yesterday, we learned the heart means the inner man, or the core of who we are. What does it mean to trust in the Lord with *all* your heart?

3) Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages. Take a moment to read the chapter. Do any verses stand out to you? What might God be trying to say to you this morning?

Here’s what stood out to me:

God examines my heart–searches deep to my very core and knows me intimately, even better than I know myself. (v. 1)

He goes before me, to guide me, and stands behind me, to catch me when I fall or slip. Like a loving, attentive, gentle father, He places His hand upon me. (v. 5, 10)

He knows what I will face tomorrow, why I will face it, and how He will see me through it. Nothing I encounter is by accident, and because God’s loving hand is always upon me, I can rest assured everything I encounter is truly for my best. (v. 16)

God is constantly thinking of me. (v. 17)

4) Now I will ask you again, what might God be trying to say to you this morning? Will you trust Him? Will you walk with Him, not dragging behind, complaining about the journey, nor forging ahead in impatience, but instead, humbly matching your step with His, trusting He knows what is best for you?

5) Pause to consider the following passage:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

I’ve given you a lot to think about this morning. I’d love to know how God used this devotional or the suggested passages to speak to you. Join the conversation here, in the comments below, on Facebook, or at our online Bible study Group.

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