Thursday, October 3, 2013

How I Read Truth

I love the early morning quiet. I sit at my desk and gaze at the steam rising from my piping hot cup of English Breakfast tea. I turn on Pandora and listen to my favorite praise and worship music. I wait. Before I say what happens next, perhaps I should start back to October 29, 2012.

I had no daily rhythms. I just sort of went along with things, rather than starting my day at the best possible place: The Word. And the Lord knew I needed Him in those early morning hours. It's not easy to homeschool but I love it and so I do it because I have been called for such a time as this.

The morning of October 30, 2012 God saw fit for me to find @shereadstruth on Instagram. I was so smitten with all of the images of coffee mugs, open Bibles, journals and Scripture art. At that time, I believe 15,000+photos were listed under the #shereadstruth hashtag. I spent a while looking through them, liking them and getting quickly attached to this precious community of believers. (Lord, thank you for Your Divine appointment!)

It's funny. The first thing I did after going to the website was I chose Philippians as my first study. I had no idea that I could participate in a real live devotional until later on. :) Here is a picture of my very first journal page. Even as I am looking at this for the first time in almost a year, I love how God chose this to be my first Scripture. He is so precious to me.

Recently, a few people have asked me to share with them how I read She Reads Truth. First of all, it is so nice that people want to know how I study the Scriptures. I should offer a disclaimer, though. I am no Bible scholar. I just love my Jesus and want to know everything that I can about Him and more than that, I want what I learn to impact others and change my life. Jesus means everything to me.

I can't believe that I've been part of this beautiful community of women for almost an entire year. I hate that I missed out from the beginning but I trust in God's perfect timing.

As I began my quiet time this morning, I made notes of the steps that I take while studying the Word. Your way may not look like mine, and that's ok. As long as we are in the Scriptures, spending time with Him in sweet fellowship, learning what it means to find Christ and be found in Him, then we will be successful in our individual relationships with the Most High.

So without further ado, this in a nut shell, is what I do.

1. I like to start out with worship music. I didn't start out that way but was recently convicted, about starting my quiet time in worship; to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. I highly recommend it-whether you can sing or not. (Like me)! :)

2. Pray! I told a friend of mine that I sit down at my desk and say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening." I just want to hear from Him. I want Him to point me to what He wants me to know about Him. I love that in our Christ-following, we are ALWAYS learning....and that's a good thing.

3. I use the YouVersion Bible app on my ipad and I read the Scriptures in several translations. My favorites are: The Message, The Amplified Bible, New Living Translation, English Standard Version, and God's Word Translation.

4. I have a notebook that I use only for taking notes during my quiet time. I record my thoughts, the Scriptures, parts of the devotional content that spoke to me, etc. I don't post anything from this notebook on social media. I  thought it would be neat to show a few of my journals. I LOVE to write! Fun fact: I just started on my eighth notebook. :)

5. Most times a verse of Scripture will stop me and I will focus on that by writing it in my study notebook in whatever translations I like best. Then I go to or and type in the selected verse and read the Biblical commentaries to see if I can gather more information for better understanding. A lot of times, I will find a quote to share or a similar Scripture to add to my notes.

6. Next, I read the Devotional Content from I write any quotes/phrases I want to remember, share or pray about. Tip: I buy all my notebooks at Staples during the one cent sale in August. Here's proof:

7. After, I read the Scriptures in my English Standard Version Study Bible. This Bible has been a life-saver. It has wonderful study notes and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a new Bible. Sometimes I will google different Scriptures and Biblical Commentaries for better understanding.

8. When the study portion is complete, I take out a piece of notebook paper and begin to pray and ask God for confirmation on what I am to share. Sometimes, it will be part of a page or an entire page. It could be a page full of Scriptures or a prayer or a heart-to-heart or a page of quotes or a mixture of it all. I write everything out and then I share it on: or or

9. Lastly, I take my study notebook and my prayer journal and I write out my prayers specifically as it relates to my notes. This helps me stay focused. I know that writing this much is not for everybody but this is just how I do it.

There it is! I know it seems like a long drawn out process but it's not. I adore it and I love going to the #shereadstruth hashtag and seeing what everyone is learning, too. I was thinking that I should blog each day about what I'm learning in Bible study because that is what I love. I God and His Word. I'm going to pray about doing that.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I hope this helps! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. It was honor to share this with you all.

Big Hugs!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Careless Hearers

And He said,  "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Mark 4:9, ESV

In 2011, I had the privilege of memorizing Mark 4:19. Here is The Message Version of this portion of Scripture:

"The  farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word then Satan snatches away what has been planted in them. And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it. The seed cast in the weeds represent the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it. But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams." (4:14-20)

I like the New Living Translation of verse 19, too: "And these are which are sown among thorns: such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things, entering in, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful."

Stress strangles. Strangles what? The Word. To strangle means to suffocate, to prevent growth.  The precious Word of God is choked out and when that happens I am no longer bearing fruit.

I came across this Scripture the other day so I decided to study it again in hopes to gain fresh insight. I found Matthew Henry's Commentary of verse 19 that says, "Of the many that hear the Word of the Gospel, but few receive it, so as to bring forth fruit. The devil is very busy about {careless hearers}, as the fowls of the air go about the seed that lies above ground."

I tossed around the phrase "careless hearers" and began to ponder exactly what that means because it truly struck a chord with me the first time I read it. I asked God to show me the importance of hearing, and He revealed to me the following:

-He knows us and wants us to know and follow Him. (John 10:27)
-Our faith increases by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)
-We are blessed when we hear and keep the Word. (Luke 11:28)

But what is a careless hearer? Careless by definition is: 'not paying enough attention to what one does; not caring.' A synonym for careless is 'inattentive'.  Seth S. Horowitz, an Auditory Neuroscientist said, "The difference between hearing and listening is attention."

To hear, by definition is 'to give attention to; to listen.' The English Standard Version says of Mark 4:9, "Having ears to hear involves surrender of proud self-reliance and submission to God,"

In order to hear, to carefully hear, we have to die to self, and submit to God, so that these things can happen:

-God's Kingdom can be advanced on the earth. (John 15:8)
-A consistent message of a righteous life. (Matthew 7:20)
-To show the true nature of our hearts. (Luke 6:45)

The importance of hearing is so that we can abide in Him and bear much fruit. How do we bear fruit?  Fruit only comes after  the seeds have been firmly planted.  This means that we have to abide in Him (John 15:4,5). To abide means to stay, to remain, to dwell. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is all about abiding in Him and that involves trust, prayer, obedience and joy. Without Him, we have the inability to produce spiritual fruit.

Why is this important? 1 John 2:28, NLT "Now, dear children, live in Christ. Then, when He appears we will have confidence, and when He comes we won't turn from Him in shame." This means we can have confidence when He comes back for us. We have to maintain our relationship with Christ so that we don't stray from His truths....this is why hearing is so important. We want to be ready for Him when He returns.

"God expects and requires fruit from those who enjoy the Gospel. Let us look to The Lord, that by His new-creating grace our hearts may become good ground,, and that the good seed of the Word may produce in our lives those good words and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father."-Matthew Henry

You won't be disappointed when you fully give your time and attention to God. He is worth it all and worthy of our best.  As we spend time in His Word, we can become careful hearers, able to not only hear the Word but to do it as well.

Hear the Word. Believe the Word. Bear fruit. Bear much fruit.

For the glory of God the Father.

And when we truly hear the Word and embrace it, it will produce a harvest beyond our wildest dreams.

Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

123 Days

Ahem. 123 days since my last blog post. Cue the excuses... I love to write and I have been...just not here. But, today is a new day and I'm back to share my heart here and do it for the glory of my precious Savior who is SO worth it! I thought it would be fun to share what's currently going on in my life at this very moment so we can get reconnected. I've missed writing on my blog so pray that I would be faithful with it. So without further ado....
*Thank you to Ashley @ for the cute template!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Root of Bitterness

"Let ALL bitterness (having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste such as wormwood) and wrath (fierce anger), and anger (a strong feeling of displeasure), and clamor (a vehement expression of dissatisfaction), and slander (defamation) be put away from you along with all malice (desire to inflict injury or harm out a deep-seated meanness)." Ephesians 4:31 ESV (emphasis mine)

Whoa. What does all of that mean? I'm sure you are asking yourself that question as I did. I just spent the last few hours pondering this verse because it stuck out to me during Bible study today. So without further ado, here is the best explanation of the verse along with my commentary for your reading pleasure. Laughing.

Oh but wait....before that can I just say that I love my English Standard Version (ESV) Bible? It has helped bridge the gap for me in my Bible exploration. I am fond of the study notes and you will see a lot of them here.

Here are the "ESV Notes" regarding Ephesians 4:31.

"Bitterness may head the list because it so often leads to the other sins that Paul (who wrote Ephesians) names. Bitterness comes from a heart that is not right before God; (Acts 8:21); it is a primary characteristic of an unregenerate (not renewed in heart and mind or reborn in spirit; unrepentant; refusing to believe in the existence of God); Romans 3:10-14); and it causes destruction and defilement; Hebrews 12:15. Bitterness and resentment are thus incompatible with Christian character and must be put away. People often are very careless with the speech ("slander"), even though the tongue can ignite a forest fire of harm to others. (James 3:5-6)"

My desire is that my heart would be right before God. I want to please Him. I want to display the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I have to constantly check my affections and motives to make sure they line up with the Word of God. I certainly don't want to bring shame to His Name. He has been so good to me and given me second, third, fourth chances to make it right. His grace fails not. I love Him and want to honor Him with my life.  Barnes' Notes on the Bible says, "Your heart= your affections or governing motives, your principle of conduct. Is your heart right with God?" Lord, let my principle of conduct be pleasing to you.

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." Hebrews 12:15 NLT

When I "entertain" bitterness it doesn't just affect me...according to Scripture, it corrupts many. That is something to think about at length. Maybe you think your bitterness isn't "hurting anyone else" but the Bible is clear-it is. Bitterness is a root. It doesn't really leave if you just pluck the top layer out of your heart. It's like those nasty garden weeds. They keep coming back for more and in larger amounts each time until they have been uprooted completely.

ESV Notes:
"Christians should watch out for each other, in order that no one falls short of the gift of eternal salvation. The author warns against "bitterness" by alluding to Deuteronomy 29:18, which describes one who turns away from God and pursues other gods. A bitter and resentful person is like a contagious poison, spreading his resentment to others."

Why is it that when people we know are contagious with a cold, chicken pox, the flu, all manner of illness, we stay away (as we should) yet when we have our resentment and bitterness we want to share it with everyone. Misery loves company? Or does it? I don't want to spread around a contagious poison but I have and do still at times. Lord, I'm sorry.  I have to remind myself of my life phrase when I want to resort to saying what I wanna say because I can say what I want.  WORDS OF LIFE.  When I write my first book, that will be the title! :) Am I speaking words of life when I am spreading around my contagious poison? No. Words are so powerful and they matter. We need to speak words of life so that we can live. Oh how I want to live.

"Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit." Deuteronomy 29:18 ESV (emphasis mine)

I am not a fan of bitter fruit. Bitter apples are nasty and so is that nail polish you can buy for when you want to stop biting your nails. Barf! You know what I love? I love that God takes the bitter places in my life and He makes them sweet. It makes me want to celebrate the goodness of God all the more.

"The word here is rendered "gall" (bitterness of spirit) translated 'hemlock". It is the name of a plant of intense bitterness, and of quick growth; and is therefore repeatedly used in conjunction with "wormwood (a bitter plant-absinthium) to express figuratively the nature and effects of sin. It is used to denote metaphorically the distress and trouble which result from sin." (Barnes' Notes on the Bible)

Intense bitterness and quick growth can be found in the plant that has the word sin in it. Wow! So intense bitterness and quick growth go hand in hand. In my mind I see a picture of weeds choking the life out of the beautiful flowers and plants that grow in my flower beds in the spring and summer. Intense. Not Mild. Quick. Not slow.  Such powerful, descriptive words used to describe the nature and effects of sin. Sin is no laughing matter. The effects of sin are long lasting especially to the unregenerate heart.

"The sinner is described as one whose heart turns away from his God; there the mischief begins, in the evil heart of unbelief, which inclines men to depart from the living God to dead idols. Even to this sin men are now tempted, when drawn aside by their own lusts and fancies. Such men are roots that bear gall and wormwood. They are weeds which, if let alone, overspread the whole field. Satan may for a time disguise this bitter morsel, so that thou shalt not have the natural taste of it, but at the last day, if not before, the true taste shall be discerned." (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)

Gall and wormwood. My Lord was offered gall and vinegar to drink when His precious body was beaten beyond recognition on the cross. Gall is a root of bitterness. Gall and wormwood are the fruit of idolatry. Ouch.

Lord, may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in Your sight oh Lord, my Rock and my Defender. If there be any root of bitterness left in me, please in Your Might, uproot that in me. You know I desire to be whole in You; complete, lacking nothing that I might be used to represent You and to do it well. May I speak words of life everyday of my life. Amen. 

Feel free to check out the following:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday's Theme

I love how God works. I say that all the time. But it's true.

Here is a picture of my journal from earlier today.

Tonight, after finishing my She Reads Truth devotional (which was about sight) I immediately turned to My Utmost for His Highest  Devotional by Oswald Chambers. Here is a little part of what I read:

Acts 26:17-18
"I now send you, to open their eyes...that they may receive forgiveness of sins..."

"This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple of Jesus Christ in all of the New Testament. God's first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, "that they may receive forgiveness of sins..." The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People may make vows and promises, and may be determined to follow through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely forgiveness of sins."-Oswald Chambers

I read the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible. I love it so much because it has notes that explain certain verses and it has been such a great resource for really digging in the Word and finding gems of truth. I am a word girl-I love to study words and meanings.

As I was flipping through my Bible, I opened to Acts 13:38-39 (which was highlighted and underlined-and it grabbed my attention so I read it) as I was making my way to Acts 26:17-18. This is what Acts 13:38-39 says:

"Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses."

Yes! It is for freedom that Christ set us free! (Galatians 5:1)

The ESV note provided this further description of the verses:

"The law cannot free a person from sin, not only because all people fail to keep it but also because it was never designed to bring out effective atonement (reconciliation) for sins; only the one who believes in Christ and His saving sacrifice is free from sin and acceptable to God."

I am acceptable to God. I am accepted. I am enough. I didn't have to get my act together first. I didn't have to wear a plastic smile. He just wanted me. A little 8 year old girl; with my little girl hurts and wounds. He found me acceptable and wanted me to know it's not about rules (the law) but rather relationship. He wanted my heart then and He still wants it now.  He wanted me to receive His forgiveness.  To receive means to take into one's possession something offered or delivered. 

Something was offered to me; to you. The forgiveness of sins was offered. He granted a pardon to me for my sins; in exchange I received life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Consider Jesus. (Hebrews 3:1) When He went to the cross He considered us. It is a choice to receive the forgiveness of sins (it will not be forced) and have relationship with Him and to really see Him as Father, Redeemer and Friend. I am so thankful that at age 8 I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9,10) 

He truly is my Father. My Redeemer. My Friend. And as Beth Moore would say, "And you thought you loved Him then." Lord, thank you. I love you so much more.

Mark 10:51 NLT
"What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asked. "My rabbi," the blind man said, "I want to see!"

Thursday, January 3, 2013


What is it?

Creativity by definition is:

Creativity: n. 

the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc; originality, progressiveness or imagination.

The back story to why I posted the definition of creativity is this: We started back to our regularly scheduled programming homeschooling today after many, m a n y y y days off. We had a restful and fun winter break. My hard-working husband had been home on vacation almost the entire time and by the end of the day tomorrow, he will have only worked five days since December 14th. It was awesome!  And I thank God for that opportunity for family bonding.

I say all of that to say, we picked up with our Biblical worldview book 'What We Believe' Volume 2 'Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here?' by John Hay and David Webb published by Apologia Press If you homeschool now or plan to in the future, may I recommend that you find a way to include this in your curriculum choices? You will not be disappointed.

We had not read anything in this book for many weeks as I took a detour for a while and began showing my oldest son how to study the Bible for himself. The book I used was "How to Study your Bible" for Kids by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt

So back to this morning. I opened up and read the following passage:

"God created all things for His enjoyment, but people were specially made to reflect God's glory. One of the ways we reflect His glory is when we create things." (page 47)

I just want to bring God all the glory in whatever it is that I do; whether that is art journaling, scrapbooking, card making, taking pictures, coloring with kids, painting, homeschooling, drawing, cooking, making frames, whatever.

Colossians 3:17 reminds me, "Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God every step of the way." 

My heart stands in awe of the One I love. The One I serve. The One I want to display to my children each day during school. To my family. To those who don't know Him...yet.  I am a detail person by nature so this verse resonates with me.

Details: attention to or treatment of a subject in individual or minute parts

Words: speech or talk

Actions:  something done or performed; habitual or usual acts

It is of utmost important to thank Him every step of the way. If you haven't started counting and writing down 1,000 things to be thankful for, you must start immediately. It is a life-changing activity and way of life. I have been counting since Spring 2011 and it has brought me great joy to recount the wonderful ways my Lord works. Check out to learn more.

Now back to creativity. I have been told by family member and friends that I am "so creative" and I do believe God has given me the ability to be creative but I read something this morning that helped clear up the creativity question:

"Creativity is not about what you can do or what you're good at. Creativity is a response. It is a way of worshipping God and who He is, a way of worshipping His infinite beauty and love. It's a way to demonstrate your love to someone who positively adores you." (page 48)

I am positively adored. Thank you Lord! My God-given ability to be creative is a gift. I don't say that in a boastful or proud way. I say that in a thankful way. He gave me a way to reflect Him. There is purpose behind everything that God gives or assigns to people. Some play instruments, some write music, some sculpt, some build, some write poetry, etc.  Whatever.  It is to reflect You, Lord. 

"The Heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship." Psalm 19: 1 NLT

My prayer is that as I am being made whole in 2013, that I would proclaim the glory of God and to reflect Him in my everyday, ordinary life. Every detail. Every word. Every action. Every creative thing I put my hand to; whatever. That it would be all done in His name, to honor Him. To bring Him glory.

"The glory of God is man fully alive." -St. Irenaeus

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Word

Happy New Year!

I love a fresh start and a new word for the New Year. God is so faithful to provide. On December 19, 2012 I was reading Matthew 6:30-34 in The Message and at the top of my journal page I wrote: FOR 2013! Here it is:

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

These are the truths I received from reading that passage:

*Don't be preoccupied.
*Respond to God.
*Steep your life. (I like tea. Steep your life in God's reality, initiative and   provisions.) Let them sit in my tea cup for while.
*Don't worry.
*Give my entire attention to God.
*He will help when the time comes.

How GREAT is our God! It's funny (it's God) :) to me that on that same day, I had been reading Jesus Calling and the verse was Colossians 2:10. I wrote it down in my journal and moved on.

Fast forward to today. I originally planned to write this post yesterday but decided against it because we took the boys sledding and to our friends for the day. Family first, baby! :) God's timing is truly perfect. This morning as I was reading the devotional for She Reads Truth and learning about how God made Adam and Eve complete-out of nothing. How we as wives complete our husbands as God designed it to be and displayed so beautifully in His Word. And immediately after reading that, God placed this verse into my spirit: Colossians 2:10 NLT:

10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

I am complete (lacking nothing; whole) through my union with Christ. Whole. My word for 2013 confirmed so beautifully by the One I adore. Last year's word was 'zeal'; (eager desire). And He fulfilled that in me. I have never felt more closer to my Lord then I do now. Only He could take my heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh.

How I love my Lord.

Happy New Year precious friends!