I Got {Almost} Nothing for You, But Just Wanted to Say ‘HI!’

Hello there!

Y’all, I’ll be honest with you…I’ve got {almost} nothing to give you.

That doesn’t mean there is nothing going on in my corner of the world. There is a lot going on, but so much of it is just heavy, hard stuff.

A dear friend hearing the ‘C’ word…cancer

Marriages shattering in a million pieces

Relationship angst

Friends with aging parents who are battling some serious limitations

You know….the really tough stuff.

My head spins with the nearness and seriousness of it all, and my heart just feels heavy. I stand at my desk to write and nothing comes. I sit to study Scripture and my heart feels dry. (I’m just being honest here.) I know there is life-giving, life-altering power in the Word but for some reason I feel numb, and I cannot even begin to serve up something to you that I am not feeling.

We writers go through these seasons when words won’t come. In fact, it was out of one of these dry, heavy seasons that my devotional When Words Won’t Come appeared.

 

So, today I am going to offer you a few pictures and words that I will use to share some of the highlights of the past month or so. It’s all I have to offer right now. (If you cannot see some of the pictures or links, go HERE.)

 

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On March 10th I represented my church in a local fundraiser called Super Chef Showdown that benefits Hope House. Twenty-five local ‘non-chef’ cooks prepared one dish of their choosing to offer as their entry into the Showdown. I chose to make Five Flavor Pound Cake. I had to make enough to feed a 4 oz serving to 200-225 people, so needless to say, I spent some time in the kitchen the day prior to the event.

 

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I made six pound cakes. Yep, six. I was a busy little cook for a full day.

On the day of the event folks from church came to help me slice the cakes and place the servings in the cups. In the picture below are L to R: Becca Medori (my pastor’s wife), me, Cheryl Dyer, Pam Corn, and Mike Medori (my pastor). We had a blast!

 

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Then, the doors were opened to the community and folks could move around the room, tasting all the chefs’ creations. There was a jug on each chef’s table. As the visitors tasted the food they voted for the dish they liked best by placing money in the jug. The chef with the most donations won the “People’s Choice Award”.  I was truly stunned when the winners were announced and I won 3rd place in that category. It was so much fun and I will definitely think about doing it again next year.

 

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What I am about to tell you may be TMI, but here goes. I got a couple of new tattoos recently.

Now, before you go looking at me all cross-eyed, I will tell you that they are cosmetic tattoos. For years and years I have had permanent eyeliner and I LOVE IT. It saves so much time in the morning during makeup application. So, recently I got my eyebrows done. I’m at that age where my eyebrows seem to have moved to a new zip code! So, I went back to my eyeliner girl and got my eyebrows tattooed. At this point, they are still a work in process.

For the first week I looked like Groucho Marx. Then for a few days I looked like I had a jungle disease of some type on my eyebrows as the scabs formed. It was UGLY! Now, I’m at the stage where they look okay, but I will be going back for a touch-up in a week to finish the work. Perhaps I will post a picture of the finished product in a few weeks.

Here is a picture immediately after the application. Yep, Groucho Marx. What you are seeing there is very dark ink (lots of it). That has lightened considerably.

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Here I am today, four weeks after the first application.

 

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If you have ever wanted permanent makeup, DO IT!! It is the bomb dot com!

 

For a writer in a dry, dry season, receiving word of not one, but TWO groups of ladies doing my HeBrews Bible study has been such a balm to my soul. One group is in New York and the other in Virginia and both groups are the cutest things you have ever seen. Take a look.

 

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Thank you so much, ladies, for choosing HeBrews. There are so many wonderful in-depth studies out there and for you to choose the one the Lord and I wrote is humbling. I pray that Jesus would be high and lifted up in your hearts because of this study.

 

One more picture….a beautiful reminder that the sun comes up every morning by God’s grace and with His favor. There is new hope and fresh manna for each day. Have a blessed Day~~~

 

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SDG/FCA!!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Come Away {retreat} 2018 – Save the Date

It’s happening!

After several months of praying and dreaming, the Lord and I are making plans for the 2018 Come Away {retreat} for women….and I am so excited about what He is giving me. His faithfulness to share every detail with me, in His timing, is mind-blowing. Dates. Location. Theme. Messages. Every little thing!

In case you are not familiar with Come Away {retreat}, let me share a bit about it. In late 2016 the Lord began to nudge my heart to host what I like to call a ’boutique retreat’. He was very clear that the retreat would be very small, intimate, and would include lots of time for rest and Jesus. Months ahead of time, He even took me to the location where the retreat would be held in 2017. I prayed and planned and prayed a LOT over it. In every single detail, HE was faithful to provide.

Come Away {retreat} 2017 happened in September last year. Six precious ladies and I tucked away in an amazing cabin in the North Georgia mountains for a weekend. We worshipped, studied Scripture, laughed, talked, ate, cried, rested, and ministered to each other. Y’all, it was beautiful and we truly did COME AWAY with JESUS. The ladies all voiced a desire for ‘just one more day’.

Here are a couple of links to sneak peeks into last year’s retreat. Click HERE and HERE

Recently, we had a mini reunion. The seven of us met for lunch and it was such a sweet time. We reminisced about our time together and talked about the 2018 retreat. To say that there was a bit of excitement about 2018 would be an understatement. These ladies are READY to Come Away with Jesus again.

While I am not quite ready to open registration (probably in June) or give too many details (coming soon), I do want to give you a SAVE THE DATE prompt because I would love to have you attend Come Away{retreat} this year. I am already believing that God is preparing the hearts of 9 ladies to attend Come Away {retreat} 2018. Are you one of them?

 

Save the Date Come Away retreat

I want to encourage you to pray about joining us at Come Away {retreat} 2018. It would be my pleasure to serve you there. Please check back here in May for more details.

 

A Spring Scripture Challenge…..Because You Know You Want More Jesus

Hello, I’m Leah!

I thought I’d introduce myself, because it has been a few weeks since I posted anything here. The last few weeks have been F-U-L-L of all sorts of goodness, and honestly, I just have not settled down to get my thoughts in order. I will write more about that soon, but today I am so excited to share with you something the Lord has placed on my heart for us.

As you know, Resurrection Day (Easter) is on April 1st and it is all about new life springing forth from the grave when Jesus rose! Jesus had been crucified three days before and His followers thought that all was lost. But God!!…….He did a new thing on Resurrection Day and death was defeated once and for all. Hallelujah!! (Want to know more about why I think Jesus is such a big deal? Go HERE.

What better time to start a new habit that draws us up close to Jesus than Resurrection Day and the beginning of a new month!

 

Chapter Read...What It Said Challenge

 

 

If you have hung around here for even a pair of minutes, you will know that I am like a dog on a bone about being in the Word. Scripture is LIFE to me, and I want it to be LIFE to you. I never knew how much I needed to be in the Word every day until I got in the Word every day way back in 2001. It feeds my heart and soul and gives me what I need to walk through this messy world. I’m hooked on Bible study for life!

Sometimes, though, for some of us it is hard to decide exactly HOW to be in the Word every day. So often I have women say to me, “I just don’t have time to do an in-depth study that requires 30 minutes or more of at-home work each day,” or “I want to read my Bible, but I just don’t know where to start.” I get all of that. I really do. So, for the month of April, I want to offer you a way to be in Scripture, AND to draw little nuggets out for your own heart.

Ta-da! My Resurrection Day/Spring/April Scripture Challenge!

I can make you a guarantee….100% money back guarantee. If you will commit 30 days to spending time reading one chapter of Scripture each day and journaling about it, your faith will grow and you will fall more in love with Jesus and His Word. I promise. Pinky-swear! God promised that His Word will never return void, which means it will always make a difference in the heart and life of the one who interacts with it. I am living proof that this is true.

So, here is how we will roll with this. Beginning April 1st, I am challenging you to:

1) Choose ONE CHAPTER of Scripture (any chapter, anywhere in the Bible) each day.

2) Read that chapter.

3) Write a little (or a lot) about what the Lord spoke into your heart from that chapter. (Keep reading, I have a FREE GIFT to help with this.)

Easy, huh? You may want to read 30 chapters out of one particular book in the Bible, or you might want to go totally rogue and random with your chapter choices. You might even want to read the same chapter every day for 30 days. You decide what works for you!

I have created a FREE journal page to help you keep track of your chapters and your heart ponderings. You may already have a journal that you like to use for such things, but I thought it would be fun to have a dedicated sheet for the effort, for those who would like to use it. I’ve named it ‘Chapter Read….What It Said (to me)’ and I would love for you to have it. There are two ways you can get it. Either download from the green button below, OR send me an email to info@leahadams.org and I will send it to you via email.

 

What do you say? Would you like to grow in your faith this spring? Do you desire to learn more about Jesus and His Word? Will you take my challenge?

If so, please leave me a comment below or send me an email letting me know you will taking the challenge. I am so excited to hear what God speaks into your heart and life in April.

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

When God Changes Your Ministry ‘Want-to’

Hello there!

I know it has been a few weeks since I posted here, but honestly, I have not been sure how to assign words to what I have been feeling and experiencing. What the Lord has been doing in my heart and ministry literally has me slack-jawed. So, today I want to attempt to tap out my heart.

 

When God Changes Your Ministry Want-to

 

 

As you might know from THIS post and THIS post I have the privilege and joy of serving as an Ambassador for Compassion International. In that role I share the mission and vision of Compassion and encourage people like you and me to sponsor children and release them from poverty in the name of our Jesus. My dear friend, Karen, who is employed by Compassion International, invited me to be part of her Ambassador speaker team in December and it took me about a half a second to say “YES” to that invitation.

In December I set a goal of finding 25 sponsors for 25 children in poverty over the course of 6 months. I realized that if I was able to accomplish that goal it would be because the Lord worked in the hearts of people, not because of anything I would say or do. Sometimes, I believe the Lord just looks at a situation and says, “Step back and watch me work.”

I have shared Compassion at five different events over the past two months. Some events had 5 people at them, while others, like Compassion Sunday at my church, had 300 in attendance. At each event I had the privilege to speak and tell about the children I sponsor through Compassion and what a blessing sponsorship is to me, as well as the ins and outs of sponsorship in general. I am so excited to share that over 30 children have been sponsored in two months. Thirty lives changed. Thirty families given new hope. Thank you to each new sponsor!!

When a child is sponsored they gain access to education and medical care that they would not have been privy to otherwise. They are taught a work skill that can help them earn money to support themselves and their families. So many children in poverty are preyed upon by those who bind them up in sex trafficking and child labor. So for a child to have a usable skill with which to make money is HUUUUUGE! A sponsored child is connected with a local evangelical church in their community where they hear about Jesus and are engaged in Christian mentoring. AMAZING!!!!

Y’all, I am nearly face to the floor over the fact that I get to play a small part in changing the life of children who live in hopelessness and poverty….AND, I get to do it by functioning in my ‘sweet spot’ which is public speaking.

It has been quite a while since I spoke publicly in ministry, and honestly, I thought perhaps those days were behind me. I love doing small group ministry via Tasting Grace and would be content if that were where the Lord had me for the rest of my useful days. Yet, He is graciously giving me the opportunity to speak again.

You know what else? I’m in such a good place because for the first time in the 10 years I have been in ministry I have zero desire to strive for a bigger platform for myself. The constant grasping for more friends, followers, comments, tweets, and pins is draining on the soul, and I am done with it. Please know that I’m not casting dispersions at other who do it. I’m just saying it isn’t for me any longer. My heart is so satisfied with mentoring via Tasting Grace and the Come Away Retreat, as well as sharing the message of Compassion children and the opportunity that sponsorship gives them to meet Jesus and be released from poverty. God has truly changed my ‘ministry want-to’, and I couldn’t be happier and more content with the whole thing!

With that said, if God sees fit to plop this Georgia red-neck on a big stage to share about Compassion, I will not say ‘no’, but it has to be His doing, not mine. This whole Compassion gig is His doing, start to finish. So thank you, Lord, for trusting me with your work. I’m humbled. I’m honored, and I’m as excited as a teenager with her first prom invitation from the cutest guy in the school.

 

It would be the delight of my day to come share Compassion with your church or group. There is no cost to your group for me to come and I provide everything that is needed. Email me at info@leahadams.org for more info.

Are you feeling the nudge from the Lord to sponsor a child? If so, go HERE to see some precious faces who are eagerly waiting for a sponsor.

Is there an area of your life where God has changed your want-to? Tell me about it.

Marriage Wisdom: #TillDeathDoUsPart

I have been in ministry for ten solid years, and in that time I have written about a lot of topics. There is one topic, however, about which I rarely write because, quite honestly, I do not feel that I have enough wisdom to offer in that arena. That topic is marriage. After 23 years of marriage, I still do not have it all figured out and I am far, far, far from the perfect wife to Greg. Yet, today, I believe that I have stumbled upon a treasure trove of marriage wisdom that I want to offer to you.

Let me give you the back story.

Our family has experienced the joy of seeing two young men choose beautiful young women as their future wives. In 2018, our nephew, Kalem, will marry his fiancee’ Erika in May. Then, in June, Greg and I will be blessed to gain a daughter-in-love when our son, Charlie, marries Morgan.

All of this wedding chatter and planning prompted me to think about when I got married and how I wish there had been a ‘marriage mentor’ to walk alongside me and pour into me. Of course, I had my parents, but there is something different and special about having someone come alongside and pour into your heart in a specific way. Someone just a few steps ahead of you in the journey who is willing to share, and yes, even to call you out when you step off the path of truth. Now, that all assumes that I would have been willing to L-I-S-T-E-N!

 

Marriage Wisdom: #TillDeathDoUsPart

 

 

Last week, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart that there is a ton of godly wisdom on the topic of marriage within my circle of friends, and that perhaps our kids, and maybe others, would benefit from hearing some real-life wisdom born of trial and error and experience. To that end, I tossed a question out on my Facebook page, and HELLO!!!! wisdom poured onto the page. Today I want to share some of that with you because it is toooooooo good to let it get buried on my Facebook feed.

So, here is the question I asked:

Our family will be blessed to witness two weddings this year: our son, Charlie and his fiancee, Morgan, AND our nephew, Kalem, and his fiancee, Erika. We will also be blessed to have young friends who are getting married in 2018. What marriage and relationship advice would you give a young couple as they say “I Do”?

One major theme of many of the responses was the importance of good communication between a husband and wife. Check them out:

 

Cindy said: Do not bottle things up, talk, talk and talk some more until it’s all worked out!

Teresa M said: Keep talking with God, each other, and as needed, reliable Christian counsel.

Shelley offered: Don’t be too proud to apologize – and make it heartfelt. There will be times when you will feel out of sync, and that’s okay, it will pass. But, if you are uncomfortable with it, just ask your spouse, “Are we okay?” Then talk about it. Girls AND guys need to feel connected

This wisdom from Kathy speaks loudly: My biggie is healthy communication and determining to work completely through an issue to a healthy resolution. You may come to an impasse at times, so call a time-out and go to neutral spaces but DETERMINE to come back to it when the dust and emotions have settled. That may be 30 minutes, 2 weeks or 30 days BUT come back to it and “finish” resolution of the issue to a healthy place, and then lay it down and learn from that process. I believe one of the biggest problems is that, with most couples, nothing ever gets fully resolved but rather just pushed aside to remain alive and festering, sure to rear its ugly head again some time….

Cathy gave us four rules of communication.

1 be honest

2 keep current

3 attack the problem not the person

4 act don’t react

And this from Larry: The men need to learn 3 phrases – 9 words: 1.) I was wrong. 2.) I am sorry. 3.) Please forgive me.

And all God’s women said, “Amen!”

 

Another theme that emerged was conflict resolution in marriage. Kathy’s comment from above was on this theme, as were these:

Gloria reminded us that: You don’t always have to be right… it’s okay to admit that you are wrong. And fight fair.

Karen said: Tell on your spouse to God and not to others. Always do this. God is the only way for change either in you or your spouse.

Once again, Kathy added a wealth of wisdom with this: Make it your daily practice to try to “out-serve” each other…and i think that speaks for itself. Can you imagine how many things would never even make our “grumble lists” if, as couples, we were trying to serve the other the most while they have that same goal?!?!?!? About the only thing we’d have to fuss about would be being served and loved TOO much!

 

A third major theme of finances emerged. This one is huge because research shows that the NUMBER ONE thing couples fight about is M-O-N-E-Y. Let’s take a look at some of the comments on finances:

I said: Since money is the number one issue about which couples argue, do not get into debt (the borrower is slave to the lender).

Teresa T said: Start a nest egg for retirement as soon as you get married. Don’t buy everything you want and see, save your money and pay cash and you might realize it wasn’t needed, after all. Follow the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace rules. Stay away from credit cards! Have a joint checking account and decide together what you will spend your money on.

Beth echoed Teresa with this: No separate checking accounts. Full disclosure in finances will keep everyone accountable.

 

The issue of romance and dating your spouse also garnered a couple of comments:

Kathy T said: Keep dating. Even after children, time with your spouse is crucial.

Anna, who is celebrating 50 years of marriage this year said: Marry someone you like first and then fall in love with… enjoy doing things together but also have your own time for hobbies.

Lori offered: Know and understand your spouse’s Love Language. Learn to “speak it” if you don’t have the same one. (See Amazon link below to Chapman’s book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’)

Alysa said:  I cannot express how important it is to keep dating… Having a child throws a huge curve ball however, we are closer now than ever because we still date!!!

 

Another topic that elicited some wonderful feedback was the issue of praying for your spouse:

Natasha said: Fight for your marriage daily. We each keep a prayer journal and every day we pray together and separately and I pray to be the best help mate for my spouse and to help mold me into being a better wife and mom. For so long I prayed for change of him, when really it was me who needed changing!

Martha gave some incredible wisdom in her comment: Many many years ago as a teenager, my Pastor’s Wife taught us to begin to pray for our future husbands. I began to pray for him very specifically. I prayed he would learn the things that would prepare him to care for me and our children. I ask God to build my husband and equip him long before I ever met him. Now I recognize the Holy Spirit was preparing me to accept and respect who He was assembling for me. When trials and hardships come as they often do. This truth has been a constant encouragement to me. When my son was in the second grade I began to specifically pray for his wife in the same fashion. I cannot began to tell you how this has impacted our relationship. Now I pray in this manner for my grandchildren. I expect great things from my God because I have invested Great Confidence in Him in prayer. The most amazing thing to me, is for almost 40 years He has been Absolutely Faithful to every prayer I’ve ever prayed.

I want to leave you with a comment from Paula that blessed and challenged me so much as a wife. I hope it will bless and challenge you, too.

 

Recently I did an online study on the book “YOU & ME FOREVER, Marriage in Light of Eternity” by Francis and Lisa Chan (see Amazon link below). It was soooo good and so eye opening! The main thing I took from it, is we have to remember, God joined us together in marriage as an illustration to the world the love of Christ for His bride. How I treat my husband and vice versa is SUPPOSED to reflect the love, grace and forgiveness that Christ gives His Church.

It has completely changed my perspective in many ways. Now, if I feel like John isn’t acting in a way toward me that I like, for instance maybe he’s had a bad day and is being hateful. It may be quite irritating to me because I know it’s not my fault. But rather than get mad or pout, now, my first thought is…how many times have I acted this way toward God? And how many times has His grace and mercy loved on me through my bad attitude? So how then can I be Jesus to my husband, and extend grace and mercy to him and love him through this like Christ loves me?
To me, this just changes everything!

Then secondly I ask myself, as the world watches how I respond to my husband when he isn’t really my favorite person, or when I feel like he has treated me wrongly, am I showing the love of Christ to the world? Do they see grace, mercy, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (this is a concept that too many people only attribute to what God has for us, but we are called to love others this way, and we even VOWED before God to love our spouse this way)? Does my marriage reflect the image of the Gospel of Christ? Am I willing to serve my husband when he doesn’t deserve it? Am I willing to always put His needs first, even if I feel my needs may have been neglected (because that’s what unconditional love is… giving and loving as a choice, not because it’s earned and not as a reward to them for meeting your needs)? Am I being Christ like to my spouse?

These are hard questions, but, if we put our focus on the Gospel, and realize the world is watching us and the message of the Gospel is at stake based on how we act, then our marriages will be changed, and our lives will be changed. And most importantly, we will bring glory and honor to God in the process.

I hope this post has been a blessing to you…or maybe if you are like me, it has been a bit uncomfortable because it shines a light on areas in our marriages that could stand a little, or a lot, of tweaking. Whatever the case, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us in to husbands and wives that look more like Jesus.

What marriage advice do you have for young couples? Share it in the comments. 

Have a great week!

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Who Are You When Everyone Is Looking?

A few years ago I went to the funeral of a woman I had known all my life. I wish I could say I remember her fondly, but the truth is, I don’t. The memories I have of this woman consist of her saying very ugly things to some of my family members. Often when she saw us in public, she would turn her head so she did not have to speak to us. She was highly critical and downright mean with her words where my family was concerned. In spite of the bad history, I have forgiven her for her actions toward my family.

When the funeral service began, both preachers who delivered the eulogy talked about what a wonderful encourager this lady was to those in her church and community. They spoke glowingly of her generosity to those in need and her love for Jesus, her family, and her church. The pastor informed us that he was reading her favorite Bible verses which had been taken from her apparently well-marked Bible. Her memory was honored by the speakers with glowing words of praise for her character, generosity and love for the Lord.

I was in total disbelief.

I had this insane urge to scream right in the middle of the service.

 In fact, it was all I could do to keep myself from standing up and saying, “Excuse me, I must be at the wrong funeral. I don’t know the person of whom you speak. Don’t mind me. I’ll leave now.”

I maintained my decorum, smiled kindly at the family, got in my car and shrieked to the teddy bear that rides in my back seat, “I CANNOT STINKING BELIEVE WHAT I JUST HEARD!”

Who Are You When Everyone Is Looking?

It was the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced. I go to the funeral of one person, but the person who is eulogized appears to be a totally different person. I kept pinching myself, but I know I was at the right funeral. All the family was there, but for the life of me, I did not recognize the person of whom the pastors spoke.

The Lord used this to drive home a lesson in my heart. If you know me at all, you know that the topic of LEGACY is my hallmark message. It is what I write and speak about. (www.leahadams.org/legacy) My desire is to leave a godly legacy for the generations that come behind me, and to help others learn how to do this as well. I want others to look at me and see Jesus.

In the midst of all that was going on in my head during this funeral, the Lord reminded me that it is so important for me to be consistent in who I am; to be the same person on Monday or Friday that I was on Sunday. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “Leah, do you want people at your funeral to not recognize the person being described because you presented one face to one group of people and another face to another group of people?”

“NO! I do not want that,” my spirit groaned.

So, how do we accomplish this consistency of person?

I would submit to you that we find the answer in Galatians 5: 16 (NLT),

“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”

There is no way to escape differences of opinion and personal preferences in this life. We are all unique people with unique desires and tastes. In spite of this, if you and I name the name of Christ over our lives, we serve the God who is unchanging. He never has a bad day, never gets mad and walks out on us, never chooses to ignore us when we don’t act the way we should. Yes, He is just and holy, but He is also merciful and loving.

If we have God’s Spirit living within us, in the midst of disagreements, we can be still be loving and kind. When someone does something that does not please us, we can still be patient and offer grace. Oh, WE cannot do it in our flesh, but the Holy Spirit can do it through us. Because Jesus, the One who is love, light, peace, gentleness, grace and mercy, can help us to be the same person on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday or Saturday that we were on Sunday in church. His love can shine through us…..if we will allow it.

Is there a consistency of person in your life? 

If you died today and could write your eulogy, would the people who attend your funeral recognize you?

What would you hope would be said about you?

Who are you when everyone is looking?

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

10 (More) Bible Studies to Savor

I am a lover of lists. In fact, I pretty much live and die by a list.

Grocery list

Errand list

Project list

Gift list

Daily to-do items list

All kinds of lists in my head

Lists are my friends! You, too?

One of the most popular blog posts I have ever written (that was not published on my own site) was one that detailed my top 10 Bible studies for women. Here is the link to it over on my friend Arabah Joy’s site. It has been a while since I wrote that post and I have delved into many more Bible studies since then. So, I thought today would be a very good day to offer a new list of what I consider to be some wonderful Bible studies that would be worth your time and effort to dive into.

 

10 More Bible Studies to Savor

 

May I share with you that I believe studying the Scriptures is as vital to life as the air that I breathe?  I know, I know…that seems a bit dramatic, but it really is true. As a Christian, the only way that I can know the heart of God is from the letter that He wrote telling us all about His heart, what pleases Him, those things that He hates, and how to draw up close to Him. God’s power, available to us through faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible, offers us ‘everything we need for life and godliness’. (2 Peter 1:3)

This issue of Bible study is one of the things in this life about which I am absolutely dogmatic. You and I cannot have an intimate relationship with Jesus without regular time hearing from Him through Scripture. Nope! Ain’t gonna happen!

I want to make it easy for you to find a Bible study that gets your head and heart into God’s Word. As your mentor and a Titus 2 ‘older woman’, I long to see you grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus, and it is my biblical mandate to offer you whatever help I can to aid you in that journey. I hope this list is a blessing to you and I would love to hear back from you about any of these studies, or any others, that you have done.

Allow me to offer a few disclaimers before I begin my 10 (more) Bible Studies to Savor list.

Disclaimer #1, this list is in no particular order, and it was a huge challenge to stop at ten.

Disclaimer #2, this list does not supersede or discount the first list, but rather, adds to it. So, just because a study that I listed in the first post is not on this list does not mean that I no longer feel it to be a study of worth. I’m simply seeking to give you more whipped cream to add to the banana pudding!

Disclaimer #3, this post is chock-full of Amazon affiliate links. You may click any Amazon product picture in this post and be taken to a site where you can purchase the book. If you decide to purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small commission from Amazon. It is just one of the ways I help keep lights on and food on the table. Thank you!

 

10 (More) Bible Studies to Savor

 

Precept Upon Precept – Romans by Kay Arthur

 

PUP Romans

 

My Tuesday morning small group has just begun Part 1 of 4 parts of this amazing study. Part 1 has us studying Romans chapters 1-5 for fourteen weeks. Seriously, y’all, we are digging deep and really learning these five chapters. (this is truly separate 4 studies, but I’m listing it as one.)

I was super excited when Kay led us to examine Romans 1:16-17 and told us that these verses were the theme verses for the entire book. Why was I so excited? Because, well…my tattoo is symbolic of Romans 1:16, so I bear the mark of the book forever on my body.

 

Romans 1:16

 

Can I be honest with you? I resisted Precept studies for many years because of some interactions with a few women who were rabidly adamant that if you studied anything other than Precept you were not really studying the Bible. God bless their ministries!! But, eventually I moved past it all out of necessity to find studies that my small group had not done. When I did, I found a wealth of opportunity for being deep in the Word. Precept is a very different format from many in-depth Bible studies, yet it offers an opportunity to really dig deeply into Scripture.

 

Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance by Charles Swindoll

If you have never gone through trials, then you can skip over this particular Bible study. However, if you are like me and have a few gray hairs in your head and wrinkles on your face because of trials and difficulties, then this study is one you need to get under your belt.

I am a major Swindoll fan and he did a marvelous job of teaching what is a difficult book of the Bible. In typical Swindoll fashion, there are lots of quotes that stick to your ribs and offer comfort for future trials. This study is appropriate for men and women.

 

Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright

 

I get it. This is not a typical Bible study, but sweet mercy, there are tons of Scriptures in it that pertain to communication, both in marriage and in other relationships. If you have a desire to improve your marriage communication this is the book for you. It is SOOO good.

 

Precept Upon Precept – Revelation by Kay Arthur

 

PUP Revelation

 

Okay, so I offer this recommendation with a sizeable caveat. This study will eat your lunch and your Little Debbie snack cakes, but man, oh man, is it ever worth it!! It, like the Romans study mentioned above, is a four-part study that will take the better part of 2 years to complete. It stretched me in so many ways unlike any study I have ever done, yet sister (or brother), I learned so much about the book of The Revelation from it. No longer does Revelation frighten me. Rather, it is a source of encouragement and blessing. Find a Precept group in your local area and JUST DO IT!!

 

Finding I AM by Lysa Terkeurst

 

 

In this study Proverbs 31 founder, Lysa Terkeurst leads the reader through a study of the I AM statements of Jesus. The at-home work is rich and can be done in a short amount of time. As you study these statements, they become very personal to your heart and life. Jesus said them for our benefit and we are wise to delve into them.

 

What Love Is by Kelly Minter

 

What is not to love about a study of the books of 1, 2, and 3 John? There is so much goodness in this study by one of my favorite authors. The themes of love and light echo stunningly in a culture that has lost its way in the dark. This study, too, is time-efficient and pertinent to your life today.

 

Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore

In recent years, Moore has added a delightful component to her already great studies. That component is writing by her youngest daughter, Melissa. I totally enjoy Melissa’s very scholarly portions of Beth’s studies and this study of 2 Timothy is no different. In 2 Timothy Paul is writing to his son in the faith to encourage him to not be ashamed of the calling that God has on his life. Is this pertinent to you and me? I think so. God has entrusted the gospel message to those of us who name the name of Christ. Let’s do this thing well.

 

 

The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer

Okay, so I’ve got a confession to make. I never studied the armor of God before this study. I think somewhere in my sub-conscious I felt like it was not really something I needed to study. Why? I have no idea! But, y’all, we all need to study this passage of Scripture, and Priscilla Shirer knocks it out of the park with this study. She makes practical application easy for the student and you will know the armor of God when you finish.

 

Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller

This is not an in-depth Bible study like others mentioned here, but IT ROCKED MY WORLD last year and I would be hugely remiss not to include it in this list. I had never been obedient to observe a Sabbath rest until God had enough of my disobedience and put me flat of my back, quite literally. He forced rest, and on the back side of all, I can say that it was good. This book contains a world of Scripture and wisdom about the topic of rest and Sabbath. I’ve dog-eared and highlighted this book until it looks like it is twenty years old. Please, do yourself a favor and order it today.

 

 

Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind by……..ME!

Please forgive me for tossing in one of my own studies, but there is a method to my madness. In 2017 I revised and re-published this 2010 study with the help of a sweet friend, Jen Stults. I adore the new cover and interior design. In my previous Bible studies to savor list, I had included the first edition of this study, which is now no longer available, so I wanted to offer the link to the new and updated version. This study encourages the student to be intentional in the creation of their legacy through examining their faith, their character, and their holiness. It is packed with real-life examples of legacy building that will encourage you in the creation of your legacy.

 

I would love to have you share your favorite Bible studies in the comments, OR share how one of these studies has impacted your life and faith. Friends, we will never be sorry we spent time studying Scripture. Never!

Have a great week!

SDG/FCA!!

May I Introduce You to Ruth, My Compassion Child?

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.

 

This quote by former First Lady of the United State, Lady Bird Johnson, rings with amazing truth and clarity. I know that, in my own life, it has proven to be true, and is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about the Child Sponsorship program of Compassion International.

 

Meet Ruth, My Compassion Child

 

In 2009 the Lord impressed upon my heart that I could make a difference in the life of a child in poverty by speaking truth and love into their hearts. I’m not talking about a child who doesn’t have a smart-phone or has to wear the same one pair of Jordans all school-year long. That’s not poverty.

I’m talking about a child who owns only one or two sets of clothing.

A child whose household income is less than $50 a month….fifty dollars a MONTH!!!

A child who lives in a house with dirt floors, adobe walls, and a tin roof.

A child whose diet consists of maize, beans, rice, and potatoes.

A child who might live in an area where AIDs is highly prevalent or child prostitution takes many young children and ravages them physically and emotionally.

A child who might rarely hear “I love you”, or “You are beautiful”, or “You are important”.

That is the child whose life I could change through Compassion.

I am not exactly certain how I became aware of Compassion and the work they do. Perhaps it was at a Beth Moore Living Proof Live event or some other women’s event. What I am certain of is the call the Lord issued to my heart to step out and change the life of a child.

Accordingly, I clicked onto the Compassion website and began to search for a child. I knew I wanted a girl, and I decided that I wanted her to share my birth month. I also knew I wanted to make a long-term commitment to this child, so I chose a younger child. After a bit of searching and applying those filters, I found Ruth.

 

Ruth 1

 

Yep, she was my girl….and she has been since 2009.

Ruth was 6 years old when I became her sponsor. The area of Africa that Ruth lives in is rife with malaria. Most adults in her region are unemployed, but some work as subsistence farmers and can earn the equivalent of $16 per month. This is the life that Ruth could expect to live into adulthood……BUT Compassion stepped in.

My sponsorship of Ruth costs $38 dollars a month and it gives her so much. For a mere $38 a month, Ruth has access to:

  • education to combat illiteracy,
  • school uniforms,
  • desperately needed medical care and nutritional supplements,
  • recreational activities that give a child focus and help them stay out of trouble,
  • Christian mentoring in a community based church,
  • and the opportunity to hear about Jesus.

 

What are the long-term benefits of sponsorship to a child? Sponsored children:

 

  • Stay in school 1 – 1.5 years longer than their unsponsored peers
  • Are 14-18% more likely to have salaried employment in adulthood
  • Are 35% more likely to find white-collar jobs in adulthood
  • Are 25-40% more likely to finish secondary education
  • Are 50-80% more likely to finish college
  • Are 30-75% more likely to be leaders in their communities as adults
  • Are 40-70% more likely to grow into church leaders

Over the years that I have been Ruth’s sponsor I have sent letters to her, and received letters back from her. We share our lives with each other and I consistently encourage her to work hard in school. I tell her that she is important to me, and that I love her and Jesus loves her.

Remember, children are likely to live up to what you believe about them. I want Ruth to believe that she is beautiful and important and capable of excelling. I want her to know that Jesus loves her and so do I.

 

Ruth 2

 

Today, Ruth is 15 years old. She is in Class 7 in school and is doing well. My heart is full when I think that perhaps I have made a difference in Ruth’s life.

 

Would you consider sponsoring a child through Compassion?

Please click on this link or the one below to see the beautiful faces of some children who are waiting for someone to sponsor them.

Finding Joy Ladies Night Out ~ You Are Invited!

Hey You! Yes, You Beautiful Lady,

I’ve got some exciting news to share with you. It is my heartfelt belief that women need other women. We need other women who will laugh with us and cry with us. We need other women to encourage us and to smack our hands when we err. We need other women in every area of our lives. That is not to say our men are not important. They are! But God designed us with a need for girlfriends.

Today I want to share with you an opportunity to spend a few hours with some women who will encourage you to have courageous faith and joy in your journey.

(If you are receiving this via email and cannot see the video below, please click HERE to be taken to my website.)

Finding Joy Ladies Night Out is a ‘night of food, fellowship, fun, and encouragement’ that celebrates the joy that is found in Jesus. For the first time ever, this event, hosted by founder Lauren Gaskill, will take place in 8 cities around the United States. At each location there will speakers, dinner, worship music, and….oh, my……swag bags with all sorts of wonderful gifts for you to take home.

The theme for Finding Joy Ladies Night Out is COURAGEOUS FAITH, and seriously, who does not need some courage to fuel our faith in the day in which we live.

I have the privilege of being part of the speaker team for the event that will be held in Atlanta on October 7th. If you live in the area it would be such a thrill to see you at FJLNO and hug your neck. If you don’t live in the Atlanta area, do not despair. Check out the other locations  and speakers where FJLNO is being held.

 

FJLNO

 

 

FJLNO WOODSTOCK

 

FJLNO Raleigh

 

FJLNO ELKHART

 

FJLNO JACKSONVILLE

 

FJLNO NASHVILLE

 

FJLNO TEXAS

 

JFLNO Des Moines

 

JFLNO FAYETTEVILLE

 

Tickets for this exciting event are on sale now through iTickets. Click here to purchase your ticket for the city and location near you. If you are part of a women’s ministry at your local church, bring some of those sweet women and make this a fun time for all of you. I hope to see you and your girlfriends at the Atlanta/Woodstock event! Let me know if you are coming so I can look for you.

Follow FJLNO on Facebook by clicking here.

SDG/FCA!!

Me, My Selfie, and I: What Selfies Might Tell Us About Ourselves

Perhaps I am just getting old….or maybe 53 years of breathing earth’s air has planted a bit of wisdom and caution in my heart. Whatever the cause, the wariness I feel toward social media these days is very real and a cause of legit concern. Our devices are impacting us in so many ways that are good, but also in an equal number of ways that are not good. Today, I want to ponder the selfie phenom that has taken over our world.

Let me state at the outset that I am NOT pointing a finger at anyone with this post. If the shoe fits your foot, then wear it. If it doesn’t, leave it in the box for someone else to put on. I am simply sharing what the Holy Spirit has been working in MY heart.

 

Me, My Selfie, & I: What Selfies Might Tell Us About Ourselves

 

Have you ever looked up the definition of a ‘selfie’? Check it.

 Selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks.

 

In my heart, there is a great deal of discomfort with this ‘selfie’ obsession that has invaded social media. Have you ever Googled the word ‘selfie’? Sweet mercy, I did not just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but what I saw shocked me. It is incomprehensible to me that people would take such pictures of themselves…AND POST THEM ONLINE. It is also hugely disturbing to me the sheer number of ‘selfies’ that many people take and post to social media in a 24-hour period.

An article published by the American Marketing Association in November 2015 entitled, Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High, tells us that there is a physical component to social media. Who knew? The neurochemical dopamine, known as the ‘reward molecule’ is “released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal.” Apparently social media activity is also a trigger for the release of dopamine according to a study of Australian consumers.

“Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the AMA study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”

Nowhere is this more true than with selfies. Although the word ‘selfie’ is a relatively new one, the impetus behind the action is an age-old one. Obsession with, and glorification of, self. Taken to the extreme, that’s what a ‘selfie’ is…and it runs so counter to God’s desire and command for His children.

Let me clarify one thing, please. I am not talking about the occasional family/friend/group picture. Those are great, and I totally enjoy seeing them. Even the occasional ‘selfie’ posted to social media is acceptable. What I have become so leery of is the repeated pictures of self that are posted to social media. Five, ten, twenty or more ‘selfies’ in a day.

John, the beloved disciple, said that Jesus must become greater, but I must become less. (John 3:30). Paul emphatically stated that ‘to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21).

As Christ-followers, we are called to humble ourselves, look like Jesus, and ultimately, draw other people to Him. If my calling is to point others to Jesus, it is virtually impossible for me to do that when I am so focused on taking a dozen pictures of myself each day so that I, and others, can see my face on social media.

Psychologists have discovered that, taken to the extreme, the ‘selfie’ craze can lead to a psychiatric problem called body dysmorphic disorder, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to some studies, more than 3 selfies in a day might signify a mental disorder. Seriously!!

Hebrews 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and Him only. I fear today’s ‘selfie’ obsession places self in the spotlight and dethrones Jesus in our hearts. Remember the definition of ‘idol’….anything that takes the place of, or occupies more of our heart than God is an idol. Y’all, I want my relationship with Jesus to be what other people remember about me rather than endless selfies that point to Leah.

I wonder if it is time for us to examine our motives in the area of ‘selfies’ and social media? Why are we posting selfies? What is our reason for being on social media? As I have done this self-examination recently, I decided that, for me, the right decision was to delete Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat from my mobile device. I’m not saying that decision is right for you, but for me, it was the right move. And you know what? To my surprise, I don’t really miss them. You may recall that my #OneWord365 for 2018 is ‘Christ-like’. I believe that as I seek to make much of Jesus and less of Leah I will become more like Jesus.

I would love to hear your thoughts on selfies and social media. Would you share in the comments?

 

SDG/FCA!!!

 

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