Archive | April, 2017
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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 1 – Chapters 1 and 2 – My Bible Study Notes

21 Apr

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CHAPTER 1 – LIVING ALERT – How To Hear A Heart Drop

What is a heart drop?  Have you ever heard that phrase?  I had not until Karen Ehman introduced it to us in her book, Listen, Love, Repeat.  She is introducing this girl to a whole lot of stuff in ways I have failed to see in the past.  A small group leader shared that phrase with Karen and her husband.

A heart drop is “when a person either directly, or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or hers heart.  It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness.”

Karen began Chapter 1 telling us about how she had listened to a heart drop of a friend.   Karen picked up during a conversation about a time in her friend’s life when she had felt significant and safe.  Her friend had a reading disability.  When she was at her grandmother’s house there was a book she could read well cover to cover.  Karen listened and was excited for her friend’s birthday.  She went on to E-Bay and bid on that antique book and got it for her friend.  That’s a heart drop.  It is an art Karen tells us in listening and loving others.

Karen never had a slumber party.  Her mother was single, working and she never had a friend spend the night.  Her hubby told her to get ready to go out and her hubby had invited her 3 best friends. They kidnapped her and her husband had pulled off a party for 30 friends.  He had heard that heart drop.

Have you noticed how obsessed our culture is with me, me, me?  Karen Ehman reminded us this week that we have forgotten the joy that comes when we put others before ourselves.  Do you find yourself doing that whether it be on-line, in your to-do list, in your phone conversations, at work, at home with your loved ones, with your neighbors (do you even know them) and even at church and other areas of your life?  Shouldn’t it be more about Him, less of me?  Shouldn’t it be more of Jesus, then others, then me?  

Think about this one.  Karen says we are seduced by “selfie-centered living”.  It’s all about pictures we post on-line, what we are doing, what we are wearing, what we are eating, where we are going, and on and on and on.   She says “at every turn we seem to care about only one thing:  “What’s in it for me.”

We were reminded how many “old-fashioned virtues” have disappeared.  I was reminded what a sweet man I am married to who always opens the door not only for me but others too.  I don’t take for granted how he opens the car door for me, and how he opens doors wherever we go.  It used to bother me seeing him stand and let a dozen people in behind me while I stand waiting.  Now he opens, I go in and if there are two doors I let those folks go ahead.  Do you “give a helping hand”?  Do you “look out for others?”  Do you say thank you?  We do.

What would Jesus do (WWJD)?  “Jesus was never too busy to notice.  He lived alert.  He could be among a crowd of thousands and yet focus in on one weary soul who needed a look, a word, or a touch from him.”  “Jesus wasn’t about doing big things.  He was about doing the right thing.  And often for him, the right thing was noticing one simple soul.”  Have you, my friend, stopped to notice one simple soul today?  Do you live alert?

Karen shared with us her “magnetic kitchen island” and how when they were looking for a house that was her desire.  Her island is a magnet for others and pulls so many duties during celebrations and holidays.  She reminded us to open our lives so that we can sacrificially celebrate holidays, holy days, and the everyday because it gives us opportunities to serve.

Jesus noticed.  He took time to heal a common woman who had been bleeding.  Just a simple touch from her and immediately it stopped.  Jesus took the time to meet her need even in a big crowd.

As Karen talked about “ordinary holiness”, I not only reflected on my savior, but my husband.  Karen talked about a friend “who loved his friends, his community, his family, and his God.  A man who knew how to hear a heart drop.  And not just hear it, but respond.”  Also, “but he gave quietly” , and “quietly serving the person standing in front of him.  With an audience of only One.”   That’s my man.

We are here to have a relationship with our Father who created us, and we should take every opportunity to point others to Him.  Everything we do should point others to Him, not me, me, me.

Five ways that Karen reminds us to live alert:

  1.  Pray each day
  2. Take notes: mental ones and sticky ones.  Keep a small notebook in your purse, notes app on your phone, sticky notes, etc..  When you hear someone talk about an interest, write it down – birthday, favorite childhood toy, sports team they root for, a deceased’s birthday.  Plan to do something for them when the days rolls around.
  3. Pay attention to special dates.  Surgery, sports tryouts, offer on a new house.  Pray for those situations.
  4. Start stalking.  Check out their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Look for patterns – likes and obsessions and find ways to encourage and surprise them.
  5. Be a smart shopper.  Stock an arsenal of affection, stock-piling items that will be useful as you share love with others.

CHAPTER 2 – FIND YOUR WHY

Karen started this chapter with a new term for me – summum bonum.  It’s meaning is the highest good.  She was writing a paper in college and decided that she would write about relationships.  She decided that nothing was more important in life than people.  How about you?  Is it really people or are things more important to you than people?  One thing I’ve learned myself the older I get is it truly is people.  Things will rot, things will be blown away by tornadoes, things will burn, things end – memories with people do not.

Her mentor, Pat led her to the Lord  and shared the two  reasons why we are on earth – have a relationship with our creator who offers us a place in heaven and to tell other people about Him so they can go to Heaven.  Relationships with our family members, friends, co-workers even those we meet only a few moments and even relationships our enemies.

Jesus performed miracles – He healed the bleeding woman, He healed a demon possessed man.  Immediately the bleeding stopped.  He healed, He was alert, and as Karen said, “he didn’t Instagram it.”  Even when peopled crowded around He noticed, and we are reminded that when people and projects bid our attention that we Jesus is calling us to stop and notice and give a special touch to that one person who might need some cheering up.

Often it seems like Jesus was going to be these big grand things, but for Jesus  ministry usually  was the person standing right in front of Him.Not the big thing he was going to do but the person standing right in front of them

Who is in front of you longing for you to notice them.  We have to start making relationships our big why.  We value possessions over people or maybe it’s a position or popularity among our circle of friends.  About a year ago she spent 3 weeks in a hospice with her SIL after a battle with breast cancer and bone cancer.  She never talked about the things they accumulated, the big house, the cars.  Her sister-in-law asked her to tell her about the time we were kids and the boat turned over, her son in a Christian rock band.  It was about people, not things.

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Matthew 5:14-16 you are the light of the world.

“If you want to find your big why you have to lose it.  In order to bring joy to yourself first you need to be concerned with bringing joy to others.  The reason God brought us to earth in the first place was to have a relationship with him so we will enjoy him forever in heaven and take other people with us.  We want to be a mirror that lets his light shine so that he gets all the glory.”

Karen shared with us when she got away to write in the quiet at a friend’s home without distractions, and how a neighbor working in the yard kept coming over and interrupting.   She reminded us that “often interruptions,  especially of the people sort,  are God’s agenda for our day.  Sometimes we get caught up in what we think is big ministry like writing a Bible study but most often for Jesus true ministry was the person standing right in front of him.”

Is someone standing in front of you today?  Would you even notice if they were?

Our Bible verse this week reminded us why we should let our lights shine.  I’ve done it using the KJV.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven..png

Heart Drop photo designed using Pixelscrapper and Canva.

Max Lucado quote photo used free Canva photo.

Matthew 5:16 – Personal photo taken at Billy Graham Rooms

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I’m Going To Give You A Bear Hug – Giveaway and Book Review

20 Apr

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I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug  is a wonderful book written by best-selling author, Caroline B. Cooney

This book is based off of a verse Caroline wrote for her now grown children many years ago.  It’s a beautiful book to read for a bedtime story, and so beautifully illustrated.

A Mommy transforms into different animals to give hugs.

Here are a couple of lines out of the book:

“I’m going to give you a dog hug.
A knock over chairs,
Chase up the stairs,
And sleep like a log hug.”  

“I’m going to give you a duck hug.
A webbed feet,
Feathered seat,
Waddle through the muck hug.”

Aren’t they cute?  You can have a really playful interaction with your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew or just a friend’s child.

So many kinds of hugs,  From the Inside Cover:  “Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy fish hug—children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples of how to hug. Cooney’s engaging rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep. ”

Pop open this giggly, charming book and enjoy!

I’m giving away a copy of this book.  All you have to do is comment below by Monday, April 23.  U.S. participants only.

I received this book from the Blythe Daniel Agency for an honest review.

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Bible Basics, A Baby Believer – Counting Primer – Giveaway and Review

19 Apr

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I just finished enjoying and reading the Bible Basics Book – A Baby Believer – Counting Primer  by Danielle Hitchen.  This is a board book designed for babies and toddlers, but as I looked over it I see it could even be for any new believers no matter what age.

It’s so easy to read and understand.  It begins with God – I AM, explains the natures of Jesus, the trinity, gospels, Pentateuch, the days of creation, the I Ams of Jesus, the beatitudes, fruits of the Spirit, and the ten commandments.   I am not sure a toddler could understand all of this – but a small child just becoming a believer probably could, and it is a book that can grow with a toddler, and probably many adults reading this to them.

It’s a simple, beautiful book.   I loved the illustrations.  Loved the sturdiness of the book.  Love how it grows with a child from the simple things like numbers beginning with the number 1 and God and then it advances from there.

8 Beatitudes

You will enjoy how the babies in your life will learn to count and also Bible basics at the same time.  You’ll love how it includes scriptures,  words from hymns, and even some writings from the early church.

I can’t wait to read this book to my toddler grandsons, and new grand babies that were born this month.

I have one to giveaway.  Just comment below who in your life you would love to sit down with and read this book.  Giveaway is for U.S. only, and closes on Monday, April 23.

I received this book to give an honest review by the Blythe Daniel Agency.

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FINDING I AM STUDY – WEEK 5 NOTES – I AM THE TRUE VINE

15 Apr

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Monday Video Notes

How to get rid of Distractions – Lysa reminded us to make sure no matter what roles we are  in that we do not get distracted, or better yet, her suggestion was when we are studying to put our phones on airplane mode .  She says to set the scene for our study.  Don’t go from busy life to Bible study.  She may for the first five minutes light a candle and turn on a praise song, and make that slow  transition from busy life to Bible study.  If using First 5 App to look at the phone, make sure no matter what roles in (for me it’s an email or Facebook post) don’t pay attention to it.  It’s so tempting out of reflex to go there.   So lately I have been ignoring all those pop ups on my computer and my phone when I’m trying to study or even write or blog.

We get a picture this week – 2 pictures – Jesus is the true vine and he references his father is the husbandman or gardener in other translations.  A connection of us and Jesus and the gardener.  God makes a decision where the vine will go and maybe what branches need to be cut off.  The gardener always has the best interests of the vine, and the fruit and the branches and everything.  WOW!  I know that.  I know when times are tough in my family He’s pruning one of us or all of us, but through all the pruning we must remain faithful and trust in His perfect plan.  It is tough sometimes.  Sometimes it is gut wrenching, but He knows what we need always.

We can trust God.  We may not understand some of the things that God does, we may not understand some of the moves that He makes, but we don’t have to because we are connected to the life-giving reality of Jesus and Jesus is connected to the Father.  That was such a beautiful picture for me. So many times I have not understood, but I’ve tried to stay positive and trust God.  There have been things in our lives like miscarriages, disease, death of two nephews, loss of twin grandchildren as well as another grandchild in the womb, and other things.  We don’t understand, but we do know who is in control and His plan is always, always perfect.

DAY 1 – I’m Not Good Enough

Lysa started Day 1 sharing how she was not invited to a party.  Ever been there?  I can’t remember not being invited to a party, but I do remember being hurt at times about not being invited to  maybe a lunch by someone.  One thing I know for sure even in those times when I feel uninvited my Savior is here with me waiting and yearning to spend moments with me.  You and I are always invited to sit down and spend moments with Him.  He’s waiting 24/7.

Lysa asked us in what ways do we feel not good enough.  For me yep I answered this one.  I don’t feel good enough in my eating or exercising always, in fact, most days.  I start a day trying to do my best at both, but then life happens and I get in a hurry and BAM!  Sometimes I feel like I am not as good a leader as many of my other sisters in the ministry, but you know what – I am the leader God has made me to be.  He called me here and He is equipping and changing me daily, and putting me with sisters that I am learning from every single day.  Lastly, I can feel “not enough” as a mother, wife, Nana, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law and sister.  I fail daily in this ministry God has given me, but I also shine daily with the light He has given me.

Has God called you to do something?  Lysa reminds us that “we cannot do what God has called us to do without Him.”  He has called me to do a lot of things, and a few of them I failed over and over and over – like dieting and exercise.  I am the vine and my Lord is the gardener and He is not finished with me yet.

Day 2 – Pruning, Abiding, and Bearing Fruit

John 15:1-11 reminds us Jesus is the true vine, and the gardener (husbandman) is Jesus, and you and I are the branches.

Lysa talks about the three key parts to that passage are pruning, abiding, and bearing fruit.

God prunes us.  When I sit here and think about pruning our fruit trees, and years they have not borne fruit, it brings action to this verse for me.  We don’t cut enough, and probably don’t even prune enough.  John 15:2 says that He prunes those branches that bear fruit, and He cuts off the branches that do not bear fruit.  Lysa was funny on pg 142 when she said, “Where is the verse that says, “Way to go, branch that bears fruit, I will leave you alone because clearly you are doing something right.  Keep up the good work!  Carry on with all the wonderful things you are doing right!”?

Why does God prune you?  Why does He prune me?  He loves us and wants us to bear more fruit.

Lysa reminds us of John 15:6 where our Lord gives us a reminder to abide in Him so that we can bear fruit.   Do you abide in Jesus or rest or remain in Him in your everyday life?  For me, it’s kneeling in prayer, sitting on my patio listening to a waterfall or birds, watching butterflies, dragonflies, and birds, or sometimes just taking a walk and seeing beautiful clouds, a sunset, a sunrise or things along the way.  Sometimes it’s sitting here and writing like this morning as the sun rises.

Lysa said “But there are three words that stir me.  Move me.  Show me.  Propel me.  Three words I hear Jesus saying over and over.  “Abide in Me.”  Tucked within these three words, four syllables, nine letters is the wild secret of deep connection with God.  If we want to know God, we have to abide in Him.”

Abide in Him.  When I do that very thing, I know Him more, and I love Him more.

Lysa ends this day with John 15:8.  Here it is in the KJV.  “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples”.  He prunes you and I to be more fruitful because, after all, that is how our wonderful Father is glorified.

That verse.  When I am fruitful, my Father is glorified.  Does that touch your heart like it did mine?

Day 3 – Final Words

Some of our precious Lord’s final words on this earth.

John 15:12-27King James Version (KJV)

 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.   Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  These things I command you, that ye love one another.If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

  So many of us feel a love deficit.  Lysa says that “we get so busy going and going and doing and doing and start to feel that grind of keeping up and checking off every item on our to-do lists that we forget that we are deeply and wholeheartedly loved.”

Oh sweet people you are loved.  Lysa said that “if my only view of love is what it will give me, love from others will fail me every time.  It’s not that love fails.  It’s that other people were never meant to be my god.  God’s love never fails.”   She says, “I can choose to lay the cup of my heart at Jesus’ feet and stop twirling, twirling, twirling, hoping – no, demanding – that those around me do thins for me they were never meant to do.”  Ouch, ouch, ouch!

She talks a little about 1 Corinthians 13 which is a passage my husband shares anytime he does a wedding.  I sit there as he does and silently quote it in the NIV.    I invite you to do that and see what an impact it can have on you.  It reads a little different in this King James Version.  That version uses charity instead of love.

1 Corinthians 13King James Version (KJV)13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and.png

1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that faith, hope, and charity or love abideth, but the greatest of these is love.

There is so much more on this day, but I will end with this.  “Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world.  Love is what I have the opportunity to give.”  Pg 149

Day 4 – Seven I AMS

This was the last day of the study.  Lysa asked us to go back and look at what we had underlined, starred, and highlighted during each week of the study.  My book is so starred, underlined, and highlighted that is impossible thus is why I try to blog about it so it will be here and won’t be tossed out someday in notebooks all over the place.  Perhaps a loved one will stop by years from now and see how my heart was blessed, or a stranger who may see something that turns his or her eyes back to Jesus.  I don’t know what impact it may have, but I do know it has had an impact on my life, my heart, and how I feel about my Savior.

Here are just a few things I wrote with the little room I had in my book for this day:

Week 1 – Bread of Life

“God doesn’t just want to be all we need, but all we want.”

Apart from Him there is no true satisfaction

Week 2 – Light of the World

I refuse to let the people I’ve been entrusted with get my “less” instead of “my best” because I’m distracted. Pg 43

Jesus isn’t trying to expose you to put shame on you.  He’s trying to expose the sin that has its chains on you.  Pg 53

Jesus is the Light and He wants to bring healing to us, but sometimes that means a step of obedience on our part.  Pg 61

I will never doubt the power of one woman reaching into the life of another woman with some written whisper of love.  Pg 93

Week 3 – Good Shepherd and Sheep Gate

I’m so thankful God chooses the least likely people to do His work because I am certainly one of them.  Bless His holy name.  Pg 91

Week 4 – Resurrection and the Life and the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Gripping my Bible as the sweetest love note anyone has ever dared to write to me.  Pg 107

John 11:4 The purpose was for the glory of God……………….

Chapter 5 – Abiding, Delighting, Dwelling

Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from the world.  Love is the opportunity I hae to give.  Pg 149

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