Blog Update: Bible Studies Added

Hello friends and followers!

If you haven’t heard, I recently added a new page to my blog called “Bible Studies.” Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to write a few Bible studies and devotionals for high schoolers and adults. I am beginning to post some of these on this page for you to download and print off. Feel free to share these with others or use them to lead others if you already teach a Bible study. I hope these can be helpful to you.

I wanted to point out one in particular to you called “Intimacy with God.” I have often been asked about what it takes to cultivate true intimacy with God beyond just daily religious activities. I created a 3 day devotional in response to this common inquiry because I feel it is so vital to have a living, moving, active relationship with God that is tangible and felt. This devotional goes through 3 basic approaches that I operate in on a daily basis that bring me into real intimacy with God.

Here is a preview of this devotional. You can download the entire thing on the Bible Studies page.

Say that I decided to sit with you at lunch every day because I wanted to get to know you more. I immediately start giving you an in depth account of my day so far. I talk through the entire lunchtime and as soon as the bell rings, I jump up and say, “Great talking to you! See you tomorrow!” and leave. I begin to do the same thing every day. Do you think I will really get to know who you are? Of course not! I need to hear from you to get to know you.

In the same way, we need to practice listening to God through our day, and not just talking to Him all the time. But how do you actually do that? Let me share a story with you that I think will help:

There was a guy named Tim who went to high school with me. We weren’t friends or even acquaintances. I simply knew what he looked like. I never really saw him at school; once in a while I’d see him in line in the cafeteria or in the hallway. Then one year, I had a class with him and got to know him a little better. Within a few months, I had developed a full-blown crush on him. I thought about him all the time, and looked for him everywhere I went. All of the sudden, I saw him all the time! In the hallways, after school in the parking lot, and at lunch. I soon learned where his locker was, who his friends were and knew which halls he took to get to third period.

I’m sure many of you have experienced this same phenomenon before. It wasn’t that Tim wasn’t around before. He was always there. I was just too caught up in my own conversations to notice him. He was really still a stranger to me so when he passed by, I didn’t notice. But once I had a crush on him, I began to look for him. I always had my eye out for him. Through every conversation with friends, my eyes would be darting around the hallway just to catch a glimpse of him.

In the same way, God is all around us, trying to speak to us. But so often, we rarely hear because we are too caught up in our day-to-day activities. We aren’t looking for Him and listening to Him. But when we begin looking for Him and keeping our eye out for Him, He shows up all over the place! We need to be excited and expect Him to show up and speak to us, just like I was always expecting Tim to come around the corner.

Becoming a Jesus-Follower: My Testimony

My first encounter with God was in a pew at church when I was 8 years old. Every sunday, our pastor would end the service by inviting people to come to the front of the sanctuary to pray to receive salvation. And inevitably, every sunday I would tell myself I was going to go down to the front. I didn’t know what salvation meant or what would happen when I got there, I just knew that I needed to go down. I needed something that they were offering down there, whatever it was. But even as an 8 year old, I was afraid of what people, including my parents, would think. After much debating within myself, I never went.

A couple years later I found myself at our church’s “Preteen Camp.” As I began to meet other church kids, I started to learn the “spiritual language” better. I realized that the cool thing to do was to “get saved.” And one “got saved” by walking down the aisle at the end of the service and praying a prayer with a counselor. (The prayer only worked if you cried while you prayed it though.) So naturally, I decided I would get saved while I was at preteen camp. My new bunkmate Allison was going to get saved too since we were the only ones in our cabin who weren’t saved yet.

That night, we walked down the aisle as planned and found ourselves sitting with a camp counselor. Everything was going smoothly until we started praying. I couldn’t get myself to cry! I began thinking about my dog dying and other sad things to try and muster up a few tears without much luck. But I was reassured by my counselor that now I was saved and I should call my parents to share the good news! I was a different person now, she assured me. Funny, I didn’t feel any different.
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The Influence of a Woman

Before I get into my topic for today, I wanted to give you a brief update on my blog.  Because I think it is incredibly important to be purposeful in everything you do, I recently wrote about the purpose of my writing and this blog.  You can check it out here: “No Apologies.”  In that post I had asked for any topic suggestions or questions that you had for me.  After reading through the responses I received, I’ve decided to write about some of those things in the coming weeks.  Here are some posts to be on the look out for:

  • Becoming a Jesus-Follower: My testimony
  • A Day in the Life: My life being married to a recording artist
  • The Sabbath: The forgotten command
  • Sharing Your Faith: How to live a lifestyle of evangelism
  • How to Encourage Others Effectively
  • Dating & Marriage: The purpose of romance in the believer’s life
For today however, I wanted to write about the powerful influence of a woman.  I am currently reading through 2 Chronicles and am greatly enjoying it!  I have learned so much through studying the history of the Israelite people in Kings and Chronicles and strongly encourage you to read straight through these books if you never have. (This is actually my first time to read straight through them!)

 

Chapter 21 describes the reign of King Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, grandson of Asa.  Jehoshaphat, though not perfect in his reign, was known for how he sought after the Lord.  He was humble and trusted in God in moments of adversity.  And Asa, his grandfather was also a man who sought after the Lord and trusted God in hard times.  With such a rich spiritual heritage, I expected Jehoram to follow in their footsteps.  But to my surprise, this chapter starts out with Jehoram killing all his brothers as soon as he became king.  It doesn’t even give a reason why he did this.  He also led the people of Judah astray by enticing them to worship other gods (v. 11).  So what happened to Jehoram?  How did a guy with such a great start to life turn out so bad?

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Lessons in Sleeplessness

Teething + stuffy nose + out of town = one very unhappy baby


This is the equation that plagued me last week. Our poor little girl had her first cold and boy was it rough! For about 5 nights in a row, I was up almost every hour trying to get her back to sleep because she couldn’t breathe. The frustration followed into the next day because our sick baby was now a tired, sick baby. Then top that off with constant pain from teething and the fact that we are not at home with all her regular toys and Baby Einstein DVDs…. And wow. I felt like I was just trying to make it through one hour at a time.

It’s amazing what a lack of sleep over multiple days does to you. I had checked-out emotionally and spiritually. Discouragement began to set in as I wondered if this was ever going to end. As I drove around Nashville waiting to pick Jimmy up from a writing appointment, I noticed this license plate in front of me. It read: 2COR610. An acute awareness of God’s sovereignty causes me to take these “coincidences” very personally as if God were sending me a message to read 2 Corinthians 6:10. Though it didn’t mean much to me as I quickly glanced at it in my car, I decided it was worth a more in depth look later.

Thankfully, Lively soon fell asleep in the car seat as I drove giving me a precious hour and a half of time to myself. I found a coffee shop and claimed the small nook in the back as my own to sit with this chapter of the Bible and a much needed cup of caffeine… I mean coffee. I began reading from earlier in the chapter: “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger…” Wait a second!! “in sleeplessness” Those words were balm to my soul. The moment I read them my eyes filled with tears as God’s Word ministered to my soul. In just a split second God spoke so many things to my heart.

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Review: “A Place of Quiet Rest”

For some time now I have been meaning to blog about recent books I have read and would recommend. I am always glad to hear of book recommendations from friends, and in the same way, I hope that some of you may find these posts helpful. Maybe you will be inspired and pick up some new books to read.


If you have read my blog regularly, you might recognize the name “Nancy Leigh DeMoss.” I listen to her podcast, Revive Our Hearts, almost daily and believe whole-heartedly in her ministry. Nancy and Revive Our Hearts, in my opinion, are unequaled in their Biblical perspective of womanhood. Today, I just finished her book, A Place of Quiet Rest. In this book, Nancy tackles the topic of having a daily quiet time, or daily devotional time with God. She presents an overarching and in-depth view of this important spiritual discipline. Beginning of the book, she reminds us that time alone with God was a part of Jesus’ daily life, and thus should also be a part of our day to day. From there she moves to a discussion of the multiple purposes of a daily devotional life, which is a refreshing reminder to prevent us from getting stuck in a purposeless routine.


One of my favorite chapters deals solely with the reasons we find it hard to cultivate a consistent time with God. After surveying a couple hundred women, Nancy deals with their most common reasons for not having a quiet time, most of which I identified with myself. It’s always refreshing to see that there are others who share the same struggles you have, and yet be challenged on how to push through and gain victory in that area.


But by far, my favorite section of the book is one that focuses on the Word of God. From simply delighting in the great joy the Word of God is, to describing step-by-step how to study it, I greatly enjoyed this multi-faceted assessment of the Bible and the great importance that it has in our lives as follower of Christ. I believe that learning and studying the Bible is key to our growth, and so to see such focus on it in this book is so encouraging!


The purpose of the book is not to be a step-by-step how-to guide to a quiet time, but rather a “gentle nudge on every page, a pointing-in-the-right-direction in every chapter,” as Joni Eareckson Tada wrote in the forward. It is a discussion on cultivating intimacy with God and an encouragement to make this a priority. Yet, at the same time, Nancy gives many great practical suggestions and guidelines that you can grab onto and implement immediately.


Most of all, I am grateful that this book left me without any excuse not to meet with God every day, even with a 1 month old. It was a refreshing reminder of the incredible privilege I have to fellowship with my Creator and the truth that everything else really can wait. If getting alone with God on a regular basis is a challenge for you, I hope you will pick up a copy of this book!


Next book on the horizon for me… ” The Feminist Mistake” by Mary Kassian.

No Good Thing Does He Withhold – Part 1

“Where are you, God?”


This question frequented my journal last winter. I’m not sure if I have ever had such a faith-shaking season in my life as this past one. The idea of relating to God as a kind father was laughable to me. What kind of caring father would bring His daughter through insurmountable pain and emotional turmoil, and then leave her alone to deal with it.


I entered this past season of my life in an already emotionally tired state. Multiple marriages of those close to us had ended in divorce and I had already dealt with my first two pregnancies ending in miscarriage. Aching for a change and for some slight bit of good news and joy, my third pregnancy came at just the right time. I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time in early November. From the day I found out about that baby, I just KNEW their life had such deep purpose and meaning. I could hardly contain my joy for this new life. I could feel the winds changing, bringing a breeze of peaceful joy. After seeing the tiny heart beat and the steady growth of this new life, everything seemed to be moving along flawlessly.

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Everything is Loss

This was written in the fall of 2008 when we were on tour with Barlow Girl, living on a tour bus for 2 months.


Some of my favorite verses are Philippians 3:7-8: “Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of knowing Christ. What is more, I consider all things a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”


How sweet to be reminded that there is nothing greater than simply knowing Jesus; that knowing Him is not a means to an end, but the end itself. I LOVE these verses. They were on the back of my letter jacket, in my Facebook profile, and I have very often quoted them and identified with them. And although these verses were often an accurate picture of my heart, lately this has not been the case.

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My First Love – Discussion Questions

Over time, I have had many people comment on this 4 part series I wrote.  I had many women tell me they printed them out and did Bible studies over them.  So in repsonse to that, I created discussion questions to help people respond to what they were reading.  The following are the questions for each section under their previous titles.  For this blog, I tried to keep it simple and easy to find by titling them all “My First Love.”  Enjoy!

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