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Month: March 2016

Digging Deeper in the Word {Key Words}

Digging Deeper in the Word {Key Words}

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Something I have struggled with over and over again is figuring out what to study in my Bible. There have been times where I went weeks with just reading randomly until I found a good study. And while any time in the Bible is beneficial an actual study will help you grow better than when you read randomly. So how do you find a good study?

Something I started doing in the past year or so is writing down key words or phrases I hear during preaching. Remember a couple weeks ago I said that paying attention in church can help you stay excited about devotions? This is what I was talking about!

In the front of my Bible I have written down several of these key words and phrases I am talking about:  “in faith” “fear not” “preserve thee”. Right now I am studying “fear not.” I went onto power Bible (if you don’t have that just use google) and searched the phrasefear not “fear not.” I wrote down all the references where that phrase can be found in the Bible. Each day I go to a different one and write down notes about that passage. I am amazed by all the applications found from that little phrase! It has been a great study and I am only half way through. A post even came from that study (When Fear Hinders Your Faith.)

What key words do you think you’d be interested in studying? Maybe you have done a study like this before. What key words or phrases did you enjoy doing?

The whole point in this series, “Digging Deep in the Word”, is to help women like us who struggle with personal devotions. We want to share our struggles and what we have found to be helpful. So, if you haven’t already read them go back to the beginning and read through our series (just click here). Follow along with Grace Happening, Young Housewife, and myself as we post on Wednesdays about Digging Deeper in the Word.

Easter Round Up

Easter Round Up

easterroundupEaster snuck up on me this year! I got a couple decorations put up, did a couple Easter crafts and have been singing all my favorite Easter hymns but a lot of things I wanted to do I just didn’t get to do. I managed to pin plenty of Easter pins, though! Here are a couple of my favorites that I have seen in the past couple weeks.

 

  1. Because He Lives printable. I absolutely love this printable. I have it hanging in my porch so it is the first thing people see as they come into my home. And it puts that song in my head for the rest of the day. Win win.
  2. No Bake Chocolate Egg Nests. I remember these from when I was a kid. So cute!
  3. Salt Dough Eggs. I never got around to making salt dough ornaments at Christmas time so I feel like this was a second chance for me. These are so cute, easy to make and can actually be tailored to any theme you like!
  4. Growing your own Easter Grass. I also remember doing this as a kid. It’s a great project to do with the kids.
  5. Easter Cross Wreath DIY. I didn’t actually get to make this. Living in the Arctic our ground is still covered in snow so I couldn’t go look for twigs. And since we have no craft store anywhere near that just wasn’t an option. Had we gotten out of town in the beginning of the month like we were planning I would have grabbed supplies to make this. It’s so pretty.

 

I know Easter can be very controversial among Christians. We don’t tell our kids there is an Easter bunny. Instead we tell them about what Christ did for us on that day and the days before that. But we still like to have fun with the kids doing crafts and making treats to lead up to Easter weekend. What do you do to celebrate Easter? How do you like to decorate? What do you like to make? Want more fun Easter ideas? Head over to my Easter Pinterest Board and see what else I have been pinning!

10 Verses About Waiting

10 Verses About Waiting

I find waiting an incredibly hard thing to do. I hate it usually. For the past year the Lord has told Shane and I to wait. He has shown us some direction and we have moved when He told us to move…like applying for jobs in a different community. But still, here we are…waiting. Waiting to know where we should go. Waiting to wait2know when we should go. It’s really hard to wait. I struggled with it much more over the summer than I do now. I have finally come to the point where I am okay with waiting on God. But it wasn’t easy to come to that point. I fought with it for months and months. Let me tell you, surrendering to God and His will (even if it is to just wait) has brought peace and happiness. I guess I finally learned that today God’s will is for me to wait.

With that in mind, I have grabbed a couple verse from Psalms to share with you about waiting. I am sure you have heard most of them before but it can be a real blessing to hear them again. Read them carefully and let the Lord speak to you. Then pass them along to someone else who might be struggling with waiting.

 

  1. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Psalm 25:3
  2. Lead me in thy truth , and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5
  3. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Psalm 25:21
  4. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage and He shall strenghten thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14
  5. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Psalm 37:7
  6. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
  7. Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shall see it. Psalm 37:34
  8. I will praise thee forever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints. Psalm 52:9
  9. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5
  10. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. Psalm 130:5

 

I encourage you to open up your Bible and read these verses for yourself. While you are at it read the surrounding verses. You will walk away encouraged for sure. What are you waiting on the Lord for today? What verse has helped you through? Share it in the comments. It may be a blessing to us, too!

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5 Ways to Magnify the Lord

5 Ways to Magnify the Lord

What have you magnified this week?

Magnify- to make larger, to glorify.

What have I magnified this week? Myself? Probably. My problems? Probably. My God? Maybe?

We spend so much time and effort building up ourselves or maybe complaining about this issue and that issue that we lose focus of what or Who should be magnified.

It is not a politician. It is not our workout routine. It is not our children.mary 2 It is God Who should be made larger, glorified.

Luke 1:46- ” And Mary said, my soul doth magnify the Lord;”

Psalm 34:3- “O Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

Psalm 69:30- “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”

I cannot physically make God larger. He is God, after all. How can I magnify Him then?

How can I make him larger in my life?

1. Tell people what He has done for me.

2. Praise and thank Him when He has done things for me.

3. Purposely see Him and the good He has brought in every situation.

4. Notice the beauty of His creation.

5. Sing songs of praise to Him. 

How about you? Who do you magnify each day? How do you purposely magnify the Lord?

What I Learned This Week

What I Learned This Week

From starting out as the most horrible morning in years, to an amazing mom and tots group, to a really bad cold I feel like I learned a couple things last week. Simple, yet worth sharing. So, here are a couple things I learned.

  1. I do need to start each morning in the Word. I always “try” to do this but it always ends up that the kids wake up or whatever other excuse and pretty soon it’s 8 pm and I haven’t had devotions yet. But after the most horrible morning ever last Monday I decided something needed to change. I woke up earlier and tiptoed to a quiet place, closed the door, then read my Bible. I didn’t go to the bathroom first. I didn’t make coffee first (which could be extremely useful for a good instagram pic). I just made a huge effort to have my devotions first thing in the morning and the Lord really blessed that.
  2. I need to use what God has given me. A couple weeks ago my mother and father in law bought me a beautiful new guitar. Mine had died months ago and this was such a special gift to receive. Immediately a friend suggested we do a mom and tots music group. So, we set a date and invited some other moms and their kids. I was unsure of how it would go since I really don’t know a lot of kids songs…I only know Sunday School songs. But I prepared for it, got some guitar chords, and bathed it in prayer. It was a great morning with a house full of kids. All the moms enjoyed it. I learned that not only should I be using my guitar for the Lord but I should be using my home for the Lord more often. I can do this by opening it up to guests more often.
  3. Chocolate covered bacon is amazing. I am shocked by how many people aren’t completely sold on this idea. It sounds amazing to me and it tasted as good as I expected it to. You have to watch Shane’s video on it.
  4. Cake in a mug isn’t so bad. Jenn stayed home from church with me Sunday night. I was still pretty sick from a cold but feeling like I wanted a little something sweet. We found this recipe for a cake in a mug and I have to admit that as weird as the idea sounds to me, it hit the spot! Just enough to satisfy the craving without having to make a whole cake (which I would probably eat all of in less than 3 days).
  5. I have the best friends and husband in the world. When my friends heard I was sick Saturday morning they came and got my kids and kept them all afternoon. I got to rest! Then Shane came home from work and cleaned my entire kitchen and completely took over with the kids. I really feel so blessed to have such people in my life! God is good!

Anyway, that is basically what I learned last week. I feel like there were more profound things to discuss but I am still on Tylenol brain so it’s just not coming. What are some simple things you learned last week? Share with me!What I learned this week

Peanut Butter Fudge Pancake Syrup

Peanut Butter Fudge Pancake Syrup

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If you are allergic to gluten or know someone who is you might know that most of the artificial syrups have caramel color in them. Caramel color often contains gluten. While some things (like Coke) have caramel color and don’t bother me, that artificial maple syrup gives me a horrible reaction every time. It makes me so sick. So, obviously I don’t eat it anymore.

Pure maple syrup is a great alternative. First of all, it’s just plain better for you (as good as sugar can be for you) but also it is pure…so no fake stuff. It is pure maple syrup and completely gluten free. Lucky for me, I live in the North and have to pay triple the price for most items of that nature. Because of that, pure maple syrup just isn’t a luxury I choose to have. Instead, my daughters and I have been making our own “syrup.”

It is really easy to make!

1 TBSP honey

3 TBSP peanut butter

(or soy butter if you have a peanut free home like mine)

a splash of vanilla

Just put the honey and peanut butter in a mug and microwave for thirty seconds or so. Stir until smooth then add the vanilla. Poor your deliciousness over your pancakes. YUM. 

*note, as it cools it thickens. As that still tastes amazing it does make your pancakes seem more dry. So just heat it up right before you put it on your pancakes.

Then, if you have leftovers you can smear it on oreos or brownies or- I mean, apples and rice cakes! I would never smear this delicious peanut butter concoction onto a chocolatey dessert. That would be so delicious- I mean, unhealthy.

Let me know if you try this!

Digging Deep in the Word

Digging Deep in the Word

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When I was 14 years old my camp counselor encouraged me to try to read the Bible every day for a year. I really admired this woman and wanted to be like her. So, I decided I would do what she said and come back the next year to camp to show her I read my Bible every day just like her.

Although my motives weren’t exactly on track I know for sure that is when I really learned what it was like to be close to Jesus. I grew spiritually that year, developed personal standards and even a burden for the mission field.

Since that time I have had spiritual highs and lows like any other Christian. I have not always been faithful to my Lord in having daily devotions. I have not always been eager to open my Bible and honestly there have been times I struggled to find the time to pray let alone read psalm6my Bible. But none of that changes the fact that we need to be in our Bibles daily. Without a doubt, the times I have been closest to Christ have been the times I was having devotions every day.

I know it can be hard to find time to have devotions. I know it can be hard to find a Bible study that keeps your interest sometimes. I have been there. That’s why I am so excited to team up with Anna from Grace Happening and Young Housewife from Psalm1830 to bring some of our favorite ways to Dig Deep in the Word. Stay here for my current Bible study then click along to Grace Happening and Psalm1830 to find what they have been doing. Leave comments along the way to tell us what you think and what your favorite Bible study has been. My prayer is that we encourage other women to get into the Word and grow close to the Lord.

Prayers in Psalmspsalm

Starting in Psalm 1, as I read I will write down things that I see I need to work on in my own life, or ways I should be praying. I will write down how a Christian should live if I come across verses speaking of that. Basically, anything I could work on in my own life if a verse speaks of it I write it down along with it’s reference.

For example, I see in Psalm 1 that I need to delight in God’s Word, meditate on His Word day and night, and not be easily moved. So I wrote those things down. Some days I do a whole Psalm, some days I do a couple verses. Some days I do 3-4 Psalms. This is the no excuses Bible study because whether you have 10 minutes or 60 you have time.

Then this is where it gets really exciting. The next day before I begin the next Psalm I will first go through the Psalm I did the day before and pray over them. psalm2So, if yesterday I did Psalm 1 then today I am praying that the Lord help me delight in His Word, that He help me to think on His Word all day, and that I stand firm in the convictions He’s given me.

I really love reading my Bible and praying this way. I believe the Bible is a great guideline for our prayers and it helps me to stay on track and not day dream as I pray. Also, it gets me out of the rut of the repetitious prayers we sometimes get stuck in. It challenges me.

It’s important to find a Bible study that keeps you excited. What do you do? What struggles do you find when it comes to your own personal devotions? Ready for more ideas to get you digging deeper? Go ahead and visit Grace Happening and Psalm1830 now.

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6 Ways to Stay Excited About Your Quiet Time

6 Ways to Stay Excited About Your Quiet Time

What do you get excited about? What do you look forward to most out of the whole day. Coffee? Okay, you have your coffee. Let’s move beyond that. What are you most looking forward to? Many of us might say our quiet time with the Lord. Then many (myself included) might admit that that isn’t always the case. Yes, there have been seasons of my life where my alarm clock would go off far too early in the morning and I would literally jump out of bed (I have a high bed) to get to my devotions before the kids woke up. But there have also been many seasons of life where I sit and stare at my Bible and my notebook and all I can think about is finishing some project or running an errand. So, how do I stay excited about my devotions?

  1. Find a devotional or study that you like…no, love. I am not going to go too much into that topic because Grace Happening, Young Housewife and myself have some exciting things planned in that department. You will just have to stay tuned to see what we are talking about. But I do want to say that it is mandatory to find a study you love if you want to stay excited about it.
  2. Use a notebook. Make it look pretty. Make it something you would want to come back to and use as a resource one day. Have you guys seen the gorgeous notebooks that Kristin Schmucker has?file5661288045116
  3. Find a quiet spot. My spot is at the dining room table. I have tried the couch and the bed attempting that nice cozy feel but no. It just didn’t work for me. Maybe it works for you? Try it. Find your spot and then *cough* keep it clean *cough*. Moving on…
  4. Pay attention in church. Take notes even. As sleep begets sleep, I believe learning begets learning. Getting excited about learning something new in God’s Word will only cause you to want to know more.
  5. Tell others what you are learning. If you learn something new and it gets you excited tell someone! Shane is usually the one I am texting during my devotions but my sisters often get a bit of this, too.
  6. Follow the right social media. I feel a little strange adding your social media list to ways to stay excited about devotions but I really find this to be true. I recently went through my facebook list and unfollowed A LOT of people and brands. Same with my Instagram account. Then I went through and purposely found the people out there posting about their walk with the Lord. The Better Mom, The Unveiled Wife, Women Living Well, Karen Ehman, etc. They all post encouraging things and often post about what they did for devotions that day. That gets me excited about getting to my own devotions. BE CAREFUL THOUGH. Just because you are following a Christian account does not mean it is edifying or encouraging. Wow, I spent way too much time on this point.

What things do you do to stay excited about your devotions? What does your notebook look like? Where is your spot? Who are your favorite people to follow on Facebook and Instagram?

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God Based Comforts

God Based Comforts

Last week I spoke about sharing our struggles and finding help knowing that we are not alone in our struggles. Well brace yourselves. You might be about to learn more about me in the next couple months than you might have wished to. Or maybe you’ve seen these struggles all along and are thankful I am finally discovering it myself!

Something that I struggle with on a daily basis is turning every situation around to be about me. Self centered much? I hate it. I usually don’t notice myself doing it until mid sentence or even sometimes completely after the fact. Someone will talk to me about their pregnancy and all I do is talk about how that compares to my pregnancies. Someone will tell me about their workout and I just want to tell them what I have been doing. A friend might tell me something their struggling with and in some strange attempt of making them feel better about it I will tell them how that reminds me of some struggle I have had recently. And I don’t mean in the “yeah I struggle with that, too” sense. I mean I completely turn the conversation to be about me. It’s an awful character trait.

Isaiah 35:4 says, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.”

What does this verse tell me? Our comforts are to be based on God, who He is, and His capabilities. Not on me and my past experiences!

  1. Who He is- “your God will come…” He is mine. He is my personal Saviour. He will care for His own.
  2. His capabilities- “with a vengeance, even God with a recompense…” He knows what situations you have been in. “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) God will take care of it. He will compensate you. When Job lost all his God's capabilitiesfamily, riches, and health he was given far more in return.

When you are comforting someone how often do your words of comfort turn into a story about yourself? We are human, failures. What comfort can that really bring? Point the fearful in heart to the Lord. Remind them who He is and what He is capable of.

5 Things To Do Tonight To Have A Better Morning Tomorrow

5 Things To Do Tonight To Have A Better Morning Tomorrow

What makes a good morning? Getting up early? Sleeping in? Maybe you enjoy a quiet cup of coffee with your devotions or you are the type to get a morning workout in before the sun rises. Any of these situations sound ideal to me, but they just aren’t realistic now a days.

No matter how hard I try to have my devotions before the kids wake up it never works. The kids hear the ‘sqeaaaakkkk’ of my door and almost as soon as I step out of my room I hear, “Mom!” So now I am bombarded with needs and wants before I have even had a chance to wake up myself! This can make for a seriously rough morning. I have discovered a few things, however, that make my morning go a little better.

Whether you are a mom, wife, daughter, etc. you probably wake up and instantly have something you have to do. Having a plan in place can make your morning go smoother. Here’s what I do before bed to have a better morning the next day!

  1. Go to bed with a clean sink. And to have a clean sink one must wash all the dishes. This was a hard one for me to get in the habit of doing. It took a couple weeks to get the habit deeply ingrained into me. It was tiring. I wanted to just sit and watch tv or crochet instead of doing dishes. But I was also tired of having to do a whole load of dishes before anyone could eat breakfast in the morning. I had to make a choice: tiring evening or frustrating morning. I chose tiring evening but it only lasted a couple weeks. Now it is habit and no longer tiring to keep up with the dishes. I don’t spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen every night after the kids clean livingroomgo to bed.
  2. Do a 5 minute pick up. This serves the same purpose as cleaning up the kitchen. When I wake up, already frazzled that three little voices are calling my name before I have even used the washroom, the last thing I want to see is toys scattered all over the living room floor. That gets me worked up…just ask my kids. Before the kids go to bed at night we all spend 5 minutes just picking up the toys and putting them in their place. Even if you don’t have kids I am sure there are dishes laying around, socks on the floor, books out of place, etc. By taking 5 minutes in the evening you are freeing up your morning for more important things.
  3. Prepare for the next day. Pack your husband’s lunch, pack your kids’ lunches and backpacks if they are in school, make sure everyone has clean clothes for the morning, iron what might need ironed, decide what will be for dinner the next day, make your grocery list. The possibilities are endless. Look at your schedule, see what the next day holds and prepare for it! Doing it at a normal pace in the evening is so much more effective than doing it at high speed in the morning when you are running late.
  4. Make a plan. Before I go to bed at night I like to make a list of the most important things to get done the next day. Some days I have just one thing on my list and other days I will have 5 or 6 things. Having a plan in place makes it easier to hit the ground running when you wake up. I talked about making a great To Do List herefile000515032268.
  5. Go to bed early. I hate the truth in this. I wish I could stay up late sewing and just wake up bright and early ready for the day. But you need a good night’s rest. You just do. Going to bed too late and expecting an awesome start to your morning is crazy. Find that perfect hour for you (everyone’s different!) and stick with it.

 

You all know by now (I hope) that I love lists. I have a cute little list just for organizing the morning chores and the evening chores. You can find it here. What are some things that help you get a good start on your morning?

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