Saturday, March 31, 2018

Day 17 - Solomon

I got to sleep in a bit this morning.  My alarm went off at 6:30 and I got out of bed. I did something this morning that I don't usually do, which I don't think is profitable.  I sat on my bed for 20 minutes scrolling through some social media sites.  I need to hold off on checking my phone until after my Bible study.

1 Chronicles 28:20

Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Solomon was chosen by God to build the temple (1 Chr. 28: 9, 10)
- It was huge task.  The details were delicate.
- Solomon appeared to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive.
- David said to Solomon:
     * Be strong and courageous
     * Do the work
     * God is with you
     * God will not fail you or forsake you
     * God will see that the Temple is finished correctly

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) God chooses people to do work for Him.
ii) My tasks may appear bigger or smaller than someone else's, but everything God asks me to do is important.
iii) What God has chosen for me, He will see to it that it is finished correctly.
iv) I don't have to be afraid of what God has chosen me to do.  He is with me.
v) Don't focus on the fear - get to work!

4. Pose the question:

- What are some things God has chosen me to do?
- What has God chosen me to do that I find scary, detailed, and bigger than I can wrap my head around?
- Is fear stopping me from doing what God has chosen me to do?
- Do I believe that what God has chosen me for, He will equip me for, and He will see to it that it's finished correctly?

5. Plan obedience and pin down that date:

- Regardless of the fear or the size of the work, I must do what God has chosen me to do.
- Today I will take the time to chart my goals to get me to my dream - what God has called me to do.
- I will no longer procrastinate out of fear.

6. Pray:

God, thank You for choosing me to do Your work.  I'm sorry that I continue to procrastinate out of fear.  Help me to "do the work",  just like David told Solomon.  The end result is in Your hands.  Thank You for being with me.  I can be courageous because You are on my side and You will equip me.  Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Day 16 - Eleazar

Another 5:30am morning.  My daughter and I are volunteering at the early Good Friday service, and I have grown to love my early Bible study time so I needed to get up earlier to get in my study.  I would rather sacrifice sleep than Bible study.  I have never said that before in my life!

1 Chronicles 11: 12-14

12 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai,[d] a descendant of Ahoah. 13 He was with David when the Philistines gathered for battle at Pas-dammim and attacked the Israelites in a field full of barley. The Israelite army fled,14 but Eleazar and David[e] held their ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord saved them by giving them a great victory.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Eleazar was the 2nd of David's mightiest warriors
- During on e battle against the Philistines, the Israelites fled - all except Eleazar and David
- Eleazar and David held their ground - they didn't run from the Philistine army
- Because they help their ground and didn't run in fear, the Lord saved them and gave them a great victory

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Even if all those around me are running away from the battle, I can stand my ground.
ii) I don't have to do what the crowd is doing.
iii) I am stronger if I have even 1 friend to stick around and fight with me.
iv) Because Eleazar and David held their ground and fought back (regardless of how they may have felt, and regardless of all their friends running away) the Lord saved them and gave them a great victory.
v) They would not have received the great victory if they would have run away - they had to fight for it.
vi) Fear doesn't have to stop me from taking a stand for God and standing my ground.
vii) If I am grounded, victory will come when I hold that ground.

4. Pose the question:

- Do I have at least one person left standing beside me when everyone else runs away?
- Am I left standing up for God when others take off?  Or, do I follow the crows and leave with them?
- What am I facing right now that I want to run from ?
- Do I believe that if I stand my ground, in spite of fear, and fight the battle that God will give me victory?
- How am I doing with facing my fears head on?

5. Plan obedience and pin down that date:

- I will stand my ground, and stand for God, regardless of what others around me are doing.
- I will not retreat!
- I will face my fears with God, head on!
- Find someone who will stand with me - supporting and encouraging me, holding my hand to the end.

6. Pray:

Thank You, God, for this lesson.  I find it easy to regrets and not keep fighting.  I do it all the time.  Give me strength, faith, and a friend to keep fighting.  When I stand for You, and not back down, victory is mine.  Amen!


Victory Shall Be Mine - The Hoppers

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Day 15 - Jonathan

5:30am was the time the alarm began beeping this morning.  I have to be at an appointment at 8am, so I needed extra time.  I don't want to miss out on having time for Bible Study!

1 Samuel 14:6

“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Jonathan and the armour bearer are headed to the Philistine outpost - there was a rocky cliff on each side.
- Jonathan chose to lead them into the again land.
- Jonathan believed in the faithfulness of God, regardless of his situation.
- "Nothing can hinder the Lord."

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Jonathan stepped out on his own; he didn't ask anyone for guidance.  He thought his father would try to stop him.
ii) Jonathan chose to go through pagan land - he didn't take the safe choice.
iii) Jonathan knew God would be with him no matter which way he chose to go.  
iv) Jonathan chose not to fear.
v) "Nothing can hinder the Lord.  He can win a battle whether He has many warriors or only a few."
vi) God is not intimidated by the size of the enemy or the complexity of the problem.  He always has enough resources.

4. Pose the question:

- How is my decision making?
- Do I make the easy, safe choice or do I choose pagan land knowing that God is with me?
- Do I choose the safe was due to fear of the size of the enemy or the complexity of the problem?
- When was the last time I made a decision that was not the 'safe choice'?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- I will be more intentional about decision making.  Even if I'm afraid, I know God's Got This, and I can make the choice I want to make and not just because it's safe.  
- I will choose what I want and not just agree to make someone else happy or to keep them from getting angry.
- I will take action action, for nothing can hinder the Lord. 
- I can make decisions on my own and do what I think is right for me.
- I don't have to get other people's opinion - however, wise counsel is wise! - and I can move in the direction I want to go.

6. Pray:

God, I know You are with me.  Help me make good decisions for my life without needing approval from others.  I trust You to be with me even when I'm afraid.  Nothing hinders You. Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Day 14 - Gideon

Day 14!!  Wow!! I didn't know my body could function without snoozing, and here I am after 2 weeks of no snoozes, and my body is doing just fine!  I am not more tired during the day, which I thought I would be with less sleep.  It's pretty amazing!

Judges 7:9-15

That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them!10 But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.11 Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”
So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. 12 The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! 13 Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”
14 His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”
15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord.[b] Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- God gave Gideon victory over the Midianites.
- God acknowledged Gideon's feeling of fear and gave him a way to overcome it.
- Gideon followed God's prompting - a sneak peek - to help him overcome his fear.
- God helped Gideon overcome his fear - God didn't excuse Gideon from what He told him to do.
- The sneak peek - the option God gave Gideon that would overcome his fear - gave Gideon that courage he needed to get the victory God promised him.
- Gideon thanked God!

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) God cares about our fears - and all our feelings - and provides a way to overcome them.
ii) God didn't force Gideon to take the sneak peek, but rather gave him the option.
iii) Having fear doesn't excuse us from doing what God asks us to do.
iv) God can use your enemies to encourage you - even if they don't know it.
v) Knowledge can dissipate fear.
vi) Always be thankful.

4. Pose the question:

- God told me to do something and I am afraid to do it.  Is He providing a sneak peek for me, where I can obtain knowledge, overcome my fear, and make me "eager to attack"??
- Do I follow God's suggestions?
- Do I thank God for what He provides?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Keep my eyes and ears open! God can even use my enemies to give me knowledge that will ease my fear and give me courage to attack!
- Thank God all the time!

6. Pray:

God, thank You for caring about my fears and my feelings.  Thank You for providing ways for me to obtain the knowledge I need to overcome my fears and be eager to attack the calling You've given me and the dreams and desires in my heart.  Open my eyes and ears so I can hear from You.  Help me to obey You - even Your suggestions.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Day 13 - God's Pep Talk to Joshua

I thought by this stage it would be easier to get up when the alarm goes off.  But, it's not.  My old habit of snoozing wants to control my morning.  It is not a body game - it is totally a mental game.  I know I need to be more diligent at going to sleep at a decent time, which will help my body not to be tired, but I also need to keep working on taking every thought captive, like "I can snooze for a few minutes" or "My bed is so warm and cozy" or "I can skip one day of Bible Study."  Getting up instead of snoozing and spending time in God's Word has proven amazing every single day.  Today is no exception. 

Joshua 1:5-9

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- God confirmed that Joshua would take the people into the promised land.

** God's Pep Talk
     - No one will stand against you!
     - I will be with you!
     - I will not fail you!
     - I will not abandon you!
     - Be strong and courageous!
     - I have chosen you!
     - Be strong and very courageous!
     - Obey the instructions - do not turn from them!
     - When you obey, you will be successful in all you do!
     - Study the Bible continually!
     - Meditate on it so you will be sure to obey it - then you will succeed!
     - Be strong and courageous!
     - Do not be afraid or discouraged!
     - The Lord your God is with you everywhere you go!

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) God is on our side.
ii) He will equip us.

*** God is with us, no matter what, but if we want to be successful, we have to do our part - read the Bible and obey it.

iii) Reading, meditating on, studying, and obeying God's Word is the foundation for success.
iv) God is with us, period.  Our success depends on us.

*** Success - not the world's standard - but in God's eyes.

4. Pose the question:

- In the world's eyes, I am successful.  I am educated and I have a good job.  There are people trying to get to where I am...  YET, I am unfulfilled.  Jesus came to this earth so I could have abundant life.  The world's stand of success has not brought me abundant life.
- What do I need to change to have Godly success and an abundant, fulfilled life?
- I was listening to a Tony Robbins video last week and he said, "Success without fulfilment is the ultimate failure." - What can I do to be successful and fulfilled?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Keep having morning Bible Study.  Get into God's Word as much as possible - listen for His voice to lead me to my next steps.

6. Pray:

God, thank You for practical Bible lessons.  Help me to read, meditate on, study, and obey Your Word more intentionally.  It truly is the greatest Book on earth.  It is living and I can find my life in it.  Thanks for the pep talk.  Amen.


Confidence by Sanctus Real

Monday, March 26, 2018

Day 12 - Israelites and Others

Monday morning... I woke up before my alarm today but I didn't dare open my eyes to look at the time.  I don't want to know if I have five more minutes to or two hours. As much as I would hope it would be two hours, I would feel disappointed if it was only five minutes.  How much longer I have to sleep is an unknown that I can live with. 

Deuteronomy 2:25

"...Beginning today I will make people throughout the earth terrified because of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.’”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points

- The Lord told the Israelites He will make people terrified because of them.
- They will hear reports and will tremble with dread and fear.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) "With God before us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 - this was the verse verse that popped into my mind after reading this passage.
ii) God goes before us in our battles.
iii) "Moses no longer had to worry about his enemies because his enemies were worried about him." (from the verse explanation in the Study Bible).
- The Israelites complained the whole way along, but God still chose to make them mighty.

4. Pose the question:

- Do I walk into battle knowing that God went ahead of me?
- Do I fear someone so much it makes me tremble?
- Will God turn that around in my life?

5. Plan obedience and pin down that date:

- Live life trusting that God is going ahead of my into battle - and there will be battles.
- When God is with me, which is always, I don't need to worry about the other side.

6. Pray:

God, help me to trust you and to walk into battle without fear because You have gone ahead of me and prepared the way.  Amen.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Day 11 - Israelites and Me

I went to bed last night excited about what God was going to teach me this morning... and He did not disappoint.  

Deuteronomy 1: 19-43

29 “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! 30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase all major points:

- The Israelites left Mount Sinai, as the Lord told them to do
- They travelled through the great and terrifying wilderness
- When they reached the land God promised them, they became afraid
- The sent scouts in who reported the land was good
- The Israelites refused to go in.  They let their minds make up stories - reasons to not go in.  They had fears - even though this was the land God promised them
- They didn't trust God - they thought God brought them there to be slaughtered
- They feared the Amorites - taller, more powerful, giants
- They worried about the towns - large, high walls
- Moses told them not to be afraid because God will go in ahead of them
- Moses said, "God will fight for you" just like He has done before
- God will care for them the way He did while they travelled through the wilderness - like a father cares for his child
- They still refused to trust the Lord
- The Lord got angry and told them they don't get the land because of tall their complaining and lack of trust
- They tried to fix it - to get themselves into the land by fighting on their own, but God wasn't with them and they failed

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) The Israelites left Mount Sinai when God told them to.
ii) While they travelled through the great and terrifying wilderness, there is no mention of them complaining or not trusting.  They kept going.
iii) The Israelites allowed fear to take over - fear of what could be waiting for them in the new land - instead of trusting in the God who already brought them through so many hardships
iv) Moses told them:  - Do not be afraid
                                   - God will fight for you
                                   - God will take care of you
v) They still complained and refused to enter the new land - made the choice not to trust and reject God and His promises.
vi) The Lord took the land away form that generation - and from Moses
- The thought they could fight on their own and get it back - they didn't have God with them so it didn't go well.
vii) They repented and gave up.

4. Pose the question:

I journeyed through the great and terrifying wilderness for the 11 years I was married to my abusive ex-husband.  Since getting out, there has still been a lot of wilderness as I try to heal from all that hurt and pain.
Now I stand at the edge of the land God promised me and I am afraid to go in.  The people in the land are giants - more powerful than me.  I feel small and insignificant compared to them.  I am afraid to step into that new land - I just keep dancing around on the edge.

What am I afraid of?
Do I not trust God - even though He has already brought me through so many hard times and has never left my side?
Do I believe that God will fight for me?
Do I believe that God will take care of me?
Will the land be taken from me if I don't choose to take God by the hand and walk in?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

Stop dancing on the boundary line!  I need to either step inside and enter the land, or walk away from it.

Which will I choose?

6. Pray:

God, I want to talk into - run into - dance into - the land You have sitting right in front of me.  I admit that I am afraid.  I can't do this alone - I need You to walk with me.  I know You have so many great things in that land waiting for me.  Thank You for being patient with me.  I want to go all in.  Like a father cares for his child, I place my hand in Yours.  Put your arm around my shoulder and let us walk into this new journey together.  I trust You, God.  Amen.


Fighting for You
God Will Take Care of You

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day 10 - God and the Israelites

Saturday morning and I had nothing planned, so I set my alarm for 8am.  My fast isn't about being up at 6am every day, it's about getting out of bed when the alarm goes off and not lay there for an hour pushing snooze.  It's also about having time to spend in God's Word before starting my day.

Today I went to Exodus 20:20

 “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Don't be afraid.
- God has come to test you.
- Your fear of God will keep you from sinning.
- The Israelites just saw how powerful God is.  They heard thunder, and saw lightning and smoke. They were afraid of God and what He could do.
- Moses told them not to be afraid - God has a reason for the thunder, lightning, and smoke.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Don't be afraid of God's mighty power.
ii) God has a reason and a purpose in the storm.  He is intentional.
iii) He created the storm as a test for the Israelites.
iv) God doesn't want us to be afraid of the storm - He wants us to have a reverent fear of the Maker of the Storm
v) Seeing what God can do should keep us from sinning.
vi) God is the Master of the Wind and the Maker of the Rain.  He is all-powerful and all-knowing.

** I've seen it over and over again when people face a difficult time in their life - thunder and lightning all around - they turn to God.  God uses the storms in life to direct our attention to Him - to show us He is the true God so we will obey Him.

4. Pose the question:

- When I hear the thunder and see the lightning, does it remind me of God's power and bring me to a place of love and reverence for Who He is?
- Do I see God's love in the storms of my life?
- Do I allow the storms to point me to God - the One True God - and direct me to obey Him and not sin against Him.

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Do I use the storm as a reminder of Who God is?
- Do storms in my life point me to Him?
- If storms are there to test me, and to keep me fearing God and not sinning, why do I see them as a negative thing?

6. Pray:

God, Maker and Master of the Universe, thank You for caring about me so much that You would send a storm just to point me back to You.  Help me praise You in the storm and direct my attention to Your the One, True God, instead of what is happening around me.  Help me to see You in the midst of my circumstances and go to You for guidance.  God, use the storms in my life - personal storms and external storms - to point me to You.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Here are some songs that were in my mind as I studied today:

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 9 - The Israelites

This was the roughest morning yet.  I sat on my prayer mat for 10 minutes just trying to come to my senses.  When I finally got up off the floor and walked out my bedroom door, I realized I left my slippers in my room.  So I go back in and sit on my bed to put my slippers on.  My nice, warm bed.  Calling out my name.  What if I just lay down for a minute? In my mind, I was already laying down and curled up with my blankets.  I knew if I laid down, I would have no control over when I would wake up.  And, that would be a big problem.  I put on my slippers, walked out the door, and left the comforts of my addiction behind me. 

I'd like to say that after making coffee and sitting on the couch the tiredness had dissipated, but that was not the case.  I was just so tired.  I could not keep my eyes open... and, I did the head bob.  I dozed off a couple of times while sitting up on the couch.  I desperately wanted to read my passage for the day, but my body would have none of it. 

Finally the coffee was done.  (Why it takes 30 minutes to percolate 8 cups is beyond me.  Maybe time for a new one? Or, maybe just time to de-scale.)  I poured myself a large mug of coffee, curled up on the couch, and talked to God while I enjoyed the first few sips.  A half a mug later, I was finally awake enough to begin my study.

Exodus 14: 10-14

10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lordrescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Pharaoh approached and the Israelites panicked when they saw the Egyptians were overtaking them
- The Israelites cried out to the Lord, then addressed Moses
- They took the "I told you so" approach
- Moses told them to not be afraid
- The enemy will attack.  Just stay calm.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) When I am afraid, when the enemy attacks, I can, I must, cry out to the Lord first.  Then, talk to a leader, and allow the leader to respond.
      - a leader reassures the people and, most importantly, points them back to God.

ii) When I see the enemy/trouble coming:
      a) Cry out to God
      b) Reach out to the Leader
      c) Listen to the Leader
      d) Return to God

iii) How to not be afraid:
      a) Stand still
      b) Watch the Lord
      c) Stay calm

iv) In the words of my friend, Wendy, "God's got this!"

4. Pose the question:

- When I see the enemy coming, is my response to cry out to the Lord?  Or, do I complain to someone else and blame it on others?
- What stops me from going to God first?
- What stops me from addressing my concerns with a leader when I see/feel the group may have trouble coming?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- When I see an attach coming, I must go to God first.  If it's in my personal life, I can then reach out to someone I trust who I know will point me back to God.
- If I see a problem at work or in a group I'm a part of, I will go to God first, then talk to a leader.

- When I'm afraid, and I reached out to God and another person, then I will:
      a) Stand still
      b) Watch the Lord rescue me
      c) Trust God to fight for me
      d) Stay calm

6. Pray:

God, thank You for this practical lesson.  Help me go to You first and foremost.  You know the situation better than anyone.  You see the enemy coming and You already have a plan.  You see the trouble coming, and You are ready to fight for me.  I don't have to fight.  You are my Protector and Defender.  As I keep my trust in You, and allow You to lead, I don't have to be afraid. You've got this! You've got all of this!  Thank You, God!  Amen!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 8 - Moses

How could it be 6am already? Didn't I just go to bed?  Yes, I was up too late last night.  As I knelt there on my prayer mat I started asking myself questions, "Why do I want to snooze everyday?"  "What do I get out of snoozing?"  "Where can I find comfort in the morning instead of finding it in rolling over and going back to sleep?"  God is starting to address the "why"'s of my addiction. 

Exodus 4:1

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Moses protested again.
- Moses had the "What if"'s
- Moses was feeling insecure, worried, reluctant, and fear.
- What if:  1) They don't believe me?
                  2) They don't listen to me?
                  3) They think I'm making it up?

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Moses went straight to God with his protest - not to other people.
ii) This wasn't Moses' first time protesting.  Exodus chapter 3 is about the burning bush where God appeared directly to Moses and told him straight out what to do.  Moses protested.  He doubted.  He questioned.
iii) Even Moses, who had the burning bush experience, was still afraid to do what God was calling him to do.

** "We often build up events in our minds and then panic over what might go wrong.  God does not ask us to go where He has not already provided the means to help.  Go where He leads, trusting Him to supply courage, confidence, and resources at the right moment." (from the verse explanation in the Study Bible).

4. Pose the question:

- What am I protesting out of fear and insecurity?
- Am I putting off something that God explicitly told me to do?
- Have I built up a scenario in my mind and then panicked about it?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- When I feel insecure, talk to God first.  Acknowledge my feelings to Him.
- When I worry about not being believed, trust that God will look after how others respond.  I cannot control how other people respond and what they believe about what I've said.
- I must do what God has called me to do, despite my fear of not being believed.
- I commit to spending a half an hour a day, at least 5 times a week, writing my book series.

6. Pray:

Lord God, when I am afraid Iw ill trust in You.  You give me strength, courage, and the promise to always be with me.  Help me work through my fear of not being believed and leave the outcome to You.  Help me focus on my calling instead of my fears.  Amen. 

Day 7 - Miriam, Moses, and the Mother

I was tired this morning.  I stayed there on my knees for about 10 minutes just trying to get my body to come to life.  Eventually it woke up and I made my way to my Bible.

Exodus 2:7-8 (Read Exodus 2:1-10 for context)

Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked.
“Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major point:

- Moses' mother knew she had a special baby (how?)
- When she could no longer hide him (Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew males to be drowned), she made a waterproof basket and put him in the Nile River.
- Miriam, Moses' sister, watched him.
- Pharoah's daughter saw the baby.  She could have brought him to those killing the boys.  Instead, she felt sorry for him.
- Miriam approached Pharaoh's daughter... how brave!!  She asked if she could find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby... brave again!!
- Moses, Miriam, and the Mother were reunited.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Regardless of Pharaoh's order, God needed Moses protected and He did what was necessary to make that happen.  God had a plan for Moses' life and need him alive - and gave him connections to Pharaoh.
ii) God used Miriam to ensure Moses was protected.  She was a little girl but had a huge role to play in God's plan.
iii) Miriam was probably shaking with fear - how could she not be having to talk to Pharoah's daughter? Or, was she still small enough to just for and have faith and not think about it?
iv) Miriam, a little girl, was part of God's master plan.

** "Special opportunities come our way unexpectedly.  Don't let the fear of what might happen cause you to miss an opportunity.  Be alert for the opportunities God gives you and take full advantage of them." (from the verse explanation in the Study Bible). 

4. Pose the question:

- Did God, or the Mother, specifically tell Miriam to talk to Pharoah's daughter?  Scripture doesn't indicate one way or the other.  Whether yes or no, Miriam still had to get up from watching what was happening and expose herself.  She got involved because she knew it was the right thing to do.  She took initiative.

** Miriam had to stop watching from the sidelines and involve herself in the story - fear or no fear.

- What am I watching from the sidelines?  My son float aimlessly down the Nile River.
      - I have to take initiative and get him out of the Nile - fear or no fear.
- How do I get my son out of the Nile?
- What other areas of my life am I simply standing by and watching it happen?

[[ My daughter also watches my son from the sidelines - she saw him at school and was the one who spoke with both the guidance counsellor and the social worker.  She brought the help (Pharoah's daughter) to me and I did nothing.  What I should be doing is nursing my son - being intentionally involved in his schooling and his life - giving his the mothering necessary to build a strong foundation for him.]]

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Talk to my son tonight about online school.
- Call or go to the school tomorrow morning.
- Spend at least 1 hour a night nursing my son - being a real mom to him - doing homework with him - being engaged in his life.

** It's not too late to nurse him.  I must choose to be an intentional mother and stop standing on the sidelines.  I must stop having my daughter watch him while I wait at home.

6. Pray:

God, thank You for opening my eyes to see that I need to stop hiding at home.  I need to talk to Pharoah's daughter.  I need to nurse my son, whom I have neglected.  I need Your help and Your forgiveness.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Day 6 - More About Jacob

I was tired this morning.  So tired that halfway through my Bible study I had to stop and take a nap.  I didn't snooze - I took a full on nap. 

Genesis 46: 1-4

So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.
“Here I am,” Jacob replied.
“I am God,[b] the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”

2. Pore over the passage of paraphrase the major points:

- God identified Himself and told Jacob not to be afraid.
- God told Jacob what to do.
- God said, "I will go with you."
- God knew Jacob would be afraid, so He reassured him:
        - Don't be afraid
        - Here's the plan
        - I will go with you

- Jacob was probably nervous considering Joseph was there and he hadn't seen him for a long time.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Make sure the voice is God's.
ii) God wants us to trust  Him and not be afraid.  Before He told Jacob the plans He told him not to be afraid.
iii) God tells you the plan - the part He wants you to do now - not all the details but the starting point.  He also told Jacob he would die there.  God told  him the now and the end - He left out the middle.
iv) God will go with us.  He is with us everywhere we go, but there's something special about being, and walking with Him right where He wants us.

** Jacob made the plan to go to Egypt, and left for Egypt.  Then, God spoke to him in a vision.

** When new situations or surroundings frighten you, recognize that experiencing fear is normal.  To be paralyzed by fear is an indication that you question God's ability to take care of you.

4. Pose the question:

- Do I have paralyzing fear about something God asked me to do?
- Is my fear me questioning God's ability to take care of me?
- In what situations is that true?
- Like my Pastor said in his message, "Go do it" which is what Jacob did.  Then, God assured Jacob He was with him.
- What do I need to just "GO DO"?  What door do I need to just walk through?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Be more intentional - just do it!

6. Pray:

God, You are faithful.  You are always with me.  You are Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. You always take care of me.  Help me to be more intentional in what I do.  Help me to trust You.  You already know everything!  I want to walk with You, hand-in-hand.  Help me to hear Your voice and not be afraid.  Amen.

Day 5 - Jacob

6:04am - Stumbling to the kitchen.
6:12am - Coffee on.
6:15am - Opening up the Bible to the next fear reference.

Genesis 32: 9-12

Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ 10 I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! 11 Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. 12 But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

Jacob acknowledged:
- Who God is.
- What God promised.
- His unworthiness of God's unfailing love and faithfulness.
- What God has given him.
- His need for God to rescue him.
- His fear.
- Again God's promises to him.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i)  Talk to God about everything - don't just pray fluffy prayers - He wants to hear all my fears.
ii) Believe God's promises.  Remind myself of them often.
iii) Override my fear with God's promises.  God says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
iv) Jacob's fear was legitimate.  His brother genuinely wanted to kill him.
v) If God said it, I believe it.  Don't allow fear of current circumstances to keep me from believing in the things God promised He would do.  His promises are forever!

4. Pose the question:

- What fear do I have that is over-riding God's promises?
- What difficult conflict is causing me to run about frantically instead of me praying about it and believing God?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- When I start to feel afraid, I will read/remember God's promises and pray to Him.
- I don't need to fear, but when I do, I need to talk to God about it - wherever I am.

6. Pray:

God, help me and remind me to talk to You first.  When I am afraid, help my first thought to be of You and Your promises.  Renew my mind so the promises can override my fear instead of the other way around.

Renew my mind - put a right spirit within me.  Teach me to take every thought captive.  Teach me to take every emotion captive. 

I want to reach out to You.  I want to believe in Your promises.  In times of fear, help me turn my attention to You.

Day 4 - Abraham & Sarah Part 2

6am on Sunday morning... what was I thinking??!!  After some teetering back and forth on my knees and asking God to help me stay awake, I made my way to the kitchen...

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) God keeps His word regardless of:
      - us trying to do things our way
      - us doubting what God said (or laughing at it!)

** Doubting God forfeits peace
       ** Flipside > Trusting God brings peace

ii) Doubting what God says means I believe it won't happen, or I am afraid to believe it will happen!

4. Pose the question:

- What has God told me or showed me He will do in my life that I have been afraid to believe?
- Has God told me anything that I laughed at?
- What am I afraid to believe God about?

** This is all about The Car Door for me.  If my dreams/visions are from God, perhaps I am afraid to pursue it because I doubt it will actually happen.  That robs me of the joy on the journey.

5. Plan obedience and pin down that date:

- Take steps toward my calling - don't let fear too me of the joy of the journey.  If God said it, I believe it!

6.  Pray:

God, I repent that my fear has caused me to doubt Your word.  I see what You've placed in my mind and heart, and it seems too big.  The size of my dream is making me doubt it can happen instead of trusting that because You gave me the dream, You will fulfill it.

Am I afraid to believe the plans I am making will actually happen?

I must seek the Creator of gold instead of the gold itself. 

God, help me to trust that You will work it all out and not to doubt when I think about the future.  Instead of doubting, help me rejoice in the dreams, hopes, and plans that You keep putting in my head. 

Take away my fear.  Help me to trust You.  In doing so, give me courage to take steps towards my calling and believe that You will close the door I'm not to go that way.  Amen.

** I won't know a door is open if I don't try to walk through it.

Day 3 - Abraham & Sarah Part 1

I awake to the sun shining in my room.  I am a little disoriented and I begin to wonder why I woke up before my alarm went off.  And, why it was light in  my room.  I look at the clock... 7:24.  Crap!  I slept through my alarm!  I was supposed to leave my house by 8am that morning, so I knew spending an hour doing Bible Study was not an option.  I felt very disappointed that I didn't have time to do what I had already begun to enjoy so much.  I didn't go back to sleep (hence, not snoozing) so I don't call that a break in my fast.  

When I got home from the scheduled outing, I took some time throughout the afternoon to do some study.  

Genesis 21: 1-7

The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised.She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. And Abraham named their son Isaac. Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.
And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter.[a] All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- God kept His word and gave Sarah a son - even thought Abraham went about things his own way and had a baby with Hagar.
- Abraham doubt and tried things his way.
- Sarah laughed when she was told she would have a son (Genesis 18:12).
- Because Sarah doubted God's promise, she forfeited peace - the peace she could have had throughout her pregnancy.
- Sarah was afraid to believe it just in case it didn't happen.  She told no one.  She laughed about it instead of believing in faith.

** Doubt in what God said (His promise) caused her to be afraid to believe it could and would happen.

** Sarah doubted God's plans for her future.

That's as far as I got on this day.  I had a full day of activities planned.  I did not want a repeat of that morning to ever happen again, so that night before getting into bed, I moved my digital, plug in alarm clock over beside my phone and prayer mat.  I needed to make sure I wasn't going to miss my morning Bible study any more!

Day 2 - Job

"Beep... Beep... Beep" goes the alarm.  I get out of bed and take the few steps across my room and kneel down on the prayer mat.  I turned off the alarm and just stayed there.  I was not fully conscious.  My mind was telling me to lay back down.  My body was leaning one way then the other.  I really wanted to stay awake... but how??

I came to my senses enough that if I wake up my brain and my mind, then I should be good to go.  I started talking to God.  "God, thank You for today" ... my body tips to the left.  "Please keep me awake" ... my body tips to the right.  "Speak to me through Your Word" ...  Then my mind woke up - thinking about coffee.  I got up off the mat, started the coffee, gathered my items to position myself before God, and went to the next passage listed under "fear".

Job 28 (long but totally worth reading!)
Proverbs 25:12 - To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- People have learned how to search and dig for silver and gold - digging, mining, gold-mining, etc., yet people don't know where to find wisdom and understanding.
- Only God understands the way to wisdom - He sees all the places people search for silver and God. He knows where all the hidden treasures are.

- God sees everything.
- God made everything.

- God evaluated and placed wisdom.
- To fear the Lord is true wisdom.
- To forsake evil is real understanding.

** Fear God - have respect and reference for God and to be in awe of His majesty and power (Google)

** To the one who listens, valid criticism is like gold.

** Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.  Fools despise wisdom and discipline.
       - listen and learn from your parents correction

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) God put the silver and gold in its place - He hid the treasures
ii) Silver and gold are not life's most hidden treasures - wisdom and understanding are
iii) God hid wisdom and understanding.  The only way to find them are:
       a) Fear God - true wisdom, true knowledge
       b) Forsake evil - real understanding
iv) Listening to valid criticism is better than gold.  Fools despise discipline.

** Seek and fear God... He knows where everything is!  He is the One who hid it! Why seek the treasure when I can seek the Maker of the treasure?!

4. Pose the question:

- Am I looking in the places for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding?
- Where do I look for these things when I should be looking to God?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Instead of talking to my peeps, my 1st stop needs to be God.
- He knows where everything is.  He will give me the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding I need to move forward in the calling He has given me.
- No one else knows my calling and how to get there better than God - the One, my Father, who placed it inside me... and has already begun forming the world to have me walk into that calling.

** Go to God first!

6. Pray:

Father God, Creator of the universe, You know where everything is.  You put it there! Only You can give me true wisdom, true knowledge, and real understanding.  I'm sorry for going to others to get life direction instead of going to You, the Creator of my life.  You gave me a calling - You know how to get there.  Help me go to You first.  Amen.

Day 1 - Abram

While the coffee percolated, I sat on the couch and pondered how I would begin this  journey into studying the Bible.  Would I do the "let-the-Bible-fall-open-and-point-to-a-verse" method?  Would I choose a book of the Bible and go through it beginning to end?  Would I choose a different topic every day? I thumbed through the concordance of my favourite study Bible - one I got for Christmas about 10 years ago.  When I got to the topical section, I saw the title "fear" and stopped there.

Fear is something that I have been struggling with for some time now, and I knew this is where God wanted me to start.  So, I went to the first passage listed - Genesis 15:1-8.  Then I had to decide how I was going to study it.  I have friends who "SOAP" (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer),  which I considered doing.  I Googled "how to study the Bible" and you can imagine how many results showed up. Then I remembered a Priscilla Shier Simulcast I attended back in the Spring of 2016.  She has a method called "5 p's of Bible Study."  I went searching through my room to find the booklet that accompanied the Simulcast, and, there it was.  I opened it up, excited to see if this was the method I would use to start this new journey.  Then I went back to Bible and started applying it...

Genesis 15:1-8

The Lord’s Covenant Promise to Abram

Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
Then the Lord told him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.  8 But Abram replied, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?" 

1. Position yourself to hear from God:

- I sat on my couch, a couple of lights on so I wouldn't fall asleep, my Bible, pen, notebook, and highlighter.  I was ready to hear whatever God wanted to show me. 

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- God spoke to Abram," Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you and your reward will be great."
- Abram complained about what he didn't have - a son.
- God showed him the sky and told him his heirs would be as many as the stars.
- Abram believed God and God counted him righteous because of his faith.
- God then told Abram why He brought them out of the other land - to give him this new land.
- Abram said, "How can I be sure that I will actually possess it?"

a) God told Abram not to fear
b) Abram complained about what he didn't have
c) God showed him what he will have
d) Abram believed
e) God called Abram righteous
f) God gave Abram more
g) Abram doubted

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Do not be afraid.  God will:  Protect me
                                 I will: Have a great reward
ii) When Abram complained about what he didn't have, God showed him what he will have
iii) Abram believed and God counted him righteous because of his faith
iv) God showed Abram land - God gave him more
v) Abram doubted

** I act without fear > God protects me > I have a great reward
     - this starts with me choosing to obey

** Abram doubted.  He couldn't see the bigger picture.  God reassured him, like a Father does, and Abram believed.  God counted him righteous because of his faith.

** Only seconds later, God showed Abram more of what is his, and Abram doubted, again, even though he was just counted as righteous because of his faith.

** Even righteous people doubt.

** Abram doubted and God gave him more. 

4. Pose the question:

- Is my fear actually me not believing that God will protect me?
- Do I believe that God will protect me? Or, am I doubting God's protection?
- What is God asking me to do that I'm afraid to do?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:  

- I may share the plan sometimes, today is not one of them.

6. Pray (I added this one):

You are Sovereign.  You reign forever.  You knew I'd be sitting here right now while You were talking to Abram thousands of years ago.  Thank You for putting this story in the Bible and pointing me to it this morning.
I repent of my unbelief that You will protect me.  You have protected me every single day thus far - why would I think that now is any different?  Your protection extends and is greater than anything man can do to me.  
Protect me as I begin to act without fear.  Remind me in situations that I am am afraid that YOU ARE WITH ME AND PROTECTING ME.  You are Jehovah-Sabaoth - the Lord my Protector.  Amen.

Monday, March 19, 2018

How Snooze-Fast Began...

I am a member of the leadership team of a group I attend.  The challenge was shared with us last week to choose something to fast from for 21 days.  "This should be easy" I thought.  Then God revealed what He wanted me to give up... something I have been struggling with for as long as I can remember... the snooze button!

I have a love/hate relationship with the snooze button.  I love pushing the button and rolling over for a few more minutes of sleep.  I had 3 alarms set on my phone to make sure I wouldn't just turn it off and go back to sleep, and then over sleep.  I could fall into a deep sleep in the matter of seconds. And, I could push snooze for two hours if time allowed. I absolutely love snoozing. 

I could see several problems with my snoozing.  It would make me get up late because I always thought, "Just one more snooze".  That would make mornings rushed - every morning.  I had little time for devotions, which, when I did do them, were a devotional on my phone.  (I really enjoyed those, but I knew I was at the place where I needed something more).  I had zero spare minutes - because I snoozed them all away.  If anything went off track, I was late to wherever I was supposed to be that morning.  I had no flex time.  Snoozing was my addiction. 

I had been thinking about my morning issues for some time now, but I had no incentive or desire to change my behaviour.  I wanted to spend more time with God in the morning, but that wasn't even enough to make me want to stop the addition and change my ways.

When the challenge was given last week, it only took a few minutes of thinking to know what I needed to do. I was so excited about finally having a purpose, reason, incentive, and kick in the pants to make a morning change, I got right to it.  I put my cell phone across the room beside my prayer mat so I would have to get out of bed in the morning to turn it off.  

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, when my alarm went off across the room, I got out of bed, knelt on the prayer mat, and turned off the alarm.  I thanked God for the new day and asked Him to help me stay awake.  I got up, left the room, put the coffee on, and sat down to embark on the "replacement" part of my fast - Bible Study.