One thing

one thingSeveral years ago I heard a Bible Study lesson about the “one thing” verses in the Bible. These verses focus our hearts to the one really important thing in the world: Christ’s work for us and following Him above all. I have treasured these verses since then.

Psalm 27:4, as the Psalmist proclaims there is no other worthy pursuit in his life

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”

Mark 10:21, when a rich man came seeking eternal life

“And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'”

Luke 10:41-42, when Jesus was teaching Mary and busy Martha

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Philippians 3:13-14, when Paul counts all things in his life as nothing, except this one thing

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

…What other verses am I missing?

Of course it was pretty exciting recently when a worship song came out, singing about the one thing! You probably know it, but in light of our reflection on this one thing above all things, listen again with new ears.

And on and on and on and on it goes; and it overwhelms and satisfies my soul. 

Encouragement from the Psalms

Some quiet words of encouragement from the book of Psalms. Click each picture to read the full Psalm.

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psalm 3

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Secret Church

If you don’t know about Secret Church, I recommend checking it out! It’s a long, intense time of Bible Study and prayer put on by the Church at Brook Hills in Alabama each year. It is held on Good Friday and, while this year may be my first participating, I’ve always heard rave reviews. You can participate by registering for access to the study guide and the video simulcast. The major purpose is to mimic the type of study and house church many believers around the world participate in instead of the more Western idea of church. You can read more about it on their website.

It would be perfect for your church, small group, or family. If you’ve participated in Secret Church, please comment and share about your experience!

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The most important thing I could say (Part 2)

For those of you who wisely want to see the message I’m sharing actually in the Bible, I invite you to check out some of the verses below. It’s not a hidden message though — the entire Old Testament (from Adam to the last prophets) tells of how the people of God were waiting for the Messiah — the Deliverer. The gospels (that is, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) tell of His coming, and the last books tell of the spreading of the Christian faith, the early church, and our hope for Christ’s return. You don’t need special guidance to find it — it’s all in there. But, like the friend who pointed me to John 3:16, let me offer you some starting places… (This is not a comprehensive list.)

About all people being sinners (and thus in need of a Savior): Romans 3:9-20, Romans 3:23, James 2:10

The consequences of our sinfulness:Romans 6:23, Genesis 3

About Jesus being the perfect sacrifice: John 3:16, Hebrews 9-10

About salvation in Jesus and nothing else: 1 John 1:9, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3

Old Testament predictions about Jesus: There’s a really great list here.

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When I was a very new Christian, the women in my church did a Beth Moore Bible study that blew me away. It was on how Christ fulfilled the law, prophecy and promises of the Old Testament, and how that affects us now as Christians. I had not understood (or even thought much about) the connections before this, and it was a very powerful aid in increasing my confidence in my new beliefs. The Bible study was called: A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place, and it has audio/video with a workbook. I highly recommend it to a new Christian or seeker.

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A few months ago I recommended some books that deal with investigating the authenticity of the Bible and its claims. I really appreciated this sort of thing when I was considering becoming a Christian, and as a skeptic at heart, I still do. You can find that post here.

…But I have to caution you in your pursuit of all the answers. At the end of the day, you’re still going to need faith. We, as Christians, are not merely trying to convince you to believe our story, like conspiracy theorists or someone with a wild tale from their vacation. We are asking you — honestly, God is asking you — to put your faith in this. Faith requires trusting and hoping in something you can’t see or prove. Even when these things were happening, way back in Moses’ time and more “recently” in Jesus’ days, people needed to have faith in some things. We didn’t just get the short end of the stick because we were born after these things happened. So if you’re looking to be able to prove every single tiny doubt and question before you commit to give your life to this, you will likely never get there. That’s why it’s called a “faith” and not just a story… it requires faith. I still encourage you to investigate and become convinced — only a gullible fool would just believe anything at first hearing; but I am telling you upfront, there will come a point when you will need to take the leap of faith or abandon it all together. I pray you choose faith!

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For those of you who struggle with believing the Bible is true and truly the word of God, here are some resources (among many) that you may find helpful:

How do we know the Bible is True?  (article)

How do we know the Bible is True? (different article, same name)

Why Believe the Bible? (article)

How do we know the Bible is True? (YouTube clip of a respected scholar’s response)

Is the Bible True… Really? by John McDowell (book)

Also, as a very new Christian I read dozens of booklets from RBC Ministries, which deal with topics ranging from Baptism and Communion, to prayer, to suffering, to the validity of scripture. I really appreciated the short, to-the-point and trustworthy information they offered. The booklets (and now the pdfs) are still offered free of charge. You can find them here: http://discoveryseries.org/

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P.S. …What I’m not saying

I would guess a lot of people might read an invitation to repent and follow Jesus, and have a lot of “buts” come to mind…

But I can’t listen to that weird music.

But I don’t want to homeschool my kids.

But I could never dress like those Duggars.

But I can’t be a Republican.

But I’ll never watch Duck Dynasty. 

…and a million things like that. And I’m guessing some even more serious concerns. To these concerns I just have to say… No one is asking you to do these things. In fact, no one is really asking you to do anything. You are asked to believe. Your salvation is based on nothing else. Now, when we speak of “repentance,” we speak of turning from sin completely. So, if you’re living with a sin issue, like a drug addiction or sleeping with your boyfriend, then your repentance will lead to a change in these things. But (though the internet and TV might make you think otherwise sometimes) there’s not a special list of things you must do and be to “join the club.” You must repent and follow Christ. You must be born again. History is filled with a lot of people, from the beginning of time, who tried to do a lot of things to earn God’s favor (and always failed). Christ already did something to earn God’s favor — that’s all you must accept.

Once again, I invite you to contact me with any further thoughts or questions. If you would like help in finding a biblical church near you, please also contact me.

A Discussion of Psalm 115 — A Psalm written to you by name

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Read with me for a moment, Psalm 115. Read it aloud to yourself. (I’m serious, no skimming! The word of God is only as powerful in you as much as you actually read it.)

Psalm 115

That is such a precious Psalm (yeah, ok, they’re all precious). It’s always been one of my favorites. I love that he starts with the great cry of every Christian’s life:

 Not to us, O LORD [literally, O YHWH, or Jehovah, which is God’s real name],

not to us, but to Your name give glory!

 We could stop right there. Close the book. Close the browser tab. That’s all you need. That’s the life prayer, amen and amen.

But ok, we’ll continue…

I cherish verses 2-3. I wrote a long time ago (i.e. 5 months ago, but a long time in blog time) about how often I wrestle with how my infertility presents our faith to non-believers. I wrestle the most with this because I live in a land dominated by another religion, so mine stands out drastically to everyone I meet. Moreover, in this culture having a child is basically the entire purpose of every women’s life. So I fear that God won’t get the greatest glory when they see my barrenness. I literally do hear their voices when I read verse 2…

Why should the nations say, “Where is there God?”

 –But, mercifully, immediately, we have our mouth-shutting response. –

Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.

After berating their make-believe gods in verses 4-8, we hear this plea cried out in verses 9-11:

 O Israel, trust in the LORD!

            He is their help and their shield!

O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!

            He is their help and their shield!

You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!

            He is their help and their shield!

At first I wanted to say that as the Psalmist is crying out in desperation (can you hear it in his voice?), begging everyone he knows to trust in the LORD, you can almost hear him inserting your name – but I don’t even need to say it, because he does just that in verse 11! Continue reading “A Discussion of Psalm 115 — A Psalm written to you by name”

2014 – The year you read the Bible?

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution, it’s not too late! Or, if you decided to grow spiritually this year, I have a tool to help!

I should say, I’m definitely a believer that it’s never too late to grow. Even if you’re reading this in November, it’s still a year from next November, so why wait until January? What’s so special about that month? I’m not really a fan of New Year’s Resolutions because I really think we should be making consistent goals, especially spiritually, throughout the year. One for the year is unreasonable, and not really enough. But I think resolving to read through the Bible is one of those exceptionally reasonable goals that can easily be achieved, and that you can benefit from throughout the year. And what else could you resolve to do that could be of such eternal value to you and most likely change your earthly life as you know it?

Many people I know have recommended the YouVersion Bible App, specifically the component for reading the Bible in a year. It gives you a plan for a section from both the Old and New Testament each day, and keeps track of your progress. It will even link you up with a friend for accountability. And it’s free!

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If you don’t have a smart phone, you can easily track down a reading guide online. Here are a few:

If the thought of reading the whole Bible overwhelms you, I recommend starting smaller, instead of not starting at all. Try reading just the New Testament — it’s the size (and probably shorter) than any “normal” book you’d read, and much of it is stories, so it will hold your attention if you’re not accustomed to reading the Bible.

And to be honest, you don’t really need a special plan. Continue reading “2014 – The year you read the Bible?”

Psalm 23 – He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul

Psalm 23

If you feel anxiety about entering the new year in the midst of your trial, this one is for you.

I’ve been thinking of Psalm 23 lately. It probably gets overlooked a lot because it’s really famous and everyone has heard it so much, but I’ve started realizing how many amazing truths it holds that apply to our trial.

  • God cares for us, so there is nothing we want or need (v.1)
  • He leads us to calmness and cares for us, He restores us in our weariness, and all for His glory(v.2-3)
  • Even in our darkest times, He is with us so we don’t have to be afraid; He comforts us (v.4)
  • He blesses us abundantly and defends us (v.5)
  • He will bless us, His sheep, and will give believers eternal life (v.6)

Play the audio below… it has piano accompaniment with a reading of Psalm 23. You may want to read along or close your eyes and just soak in the words anew. I hope you can gain a new appreciation for this ancient poem.

A useful practice, which I recommended in my post about Psalm 33, is to choose a Psalm to add to your normal Bible time, and read the same one every day for a week (or longer, if you wish). This helps me to really catch everything in the Psalm, appreciating each part and be able meditate on it more thoroughly. You may want to do that this week with Psalm 23.

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What’s a special infertility verse for you? (Interactive)

This is another interactive post, so get your pencils ready.

retreatI want to know (so I can mooch it off you, of course), what is one verse or passage that has been very close to your heart during your infertility?

If you’re like me, there have been many, maybe even a new one every week or month, that God has given you for hope and encouragement. Will you share just one (ok, I may allow two, if you really can’t pick) that has stuck especially close to you?

If I had to pick one, I may still go back to the one that started it all (including this blog – Post #1!) for me:

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

-Matthew 7:9-11

…Ok, now you go!

isa

She Reads Truth — a cool website for Bible study

I stumbled upon this really neat website today. It’s called shereadstruth.com and it consists of some normal Christian women pursuing the Lord by reading His word together. They have reading plans they follow, they comment on what they read and invite you to interact as well. They also have a blog which speaks of real life issues and lessons. One way I started using this site was by adding it to my daily Bible reading. When I found it, I happened to have been reading through Proverbs (a chapter a day). I looked under their “Previous Plans” tab and selected Proverbs, then chose the chapter I was on and read their post after I read the chapter. It’s a nice addition to my Bible time to hear someone else’s thoughts on the passage, as if they are reading it right there with you. I think when I’m done Proverbs and need to choose a new book of the Bible to read, I’ll select one from their “Previous Plans” and follow that. They have lots of studies through individual books of the Bible, as well as topical studies like Prayer in the Bible, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Women in the Bible.

If you’re looking for something fresh and truth-based, go check them out! (By the way, they’ve never heard of me nor did they ask me to write this… I just got excited and decided to share!)

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Click here to access the website.

Women’s Bible Studies by Book of the Bible

by RACHEL WOJNAROWSKI

I stumbled upon this on Pinterest today. This woman is compiling a list of Bible Studies for women, many of them free, by the book of the Bible they are based on. It’s not infertility-related, but it’s a great idea for growing or continuing in your personal Bible study. Click the image below to go to her site. It’s a growing list, so Pin or bookmark it to come back again and again, and feel free to add any you may know!

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