Ambitions, Impact

Impact #2

My last impact entry was about 2 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Health scare, which was relieved by a less serious health problem. Good news! (Bad news is: POTS is the reason for worsening symptoms. All before Spring.)

Feeling – Lately, I have felt a myraid of things. Home Sick. Loneliness. Frustration. (Dis)Contentment. Peace. Joy. Laughter. Mmmm, variety of emotions. Good, Bad, and in between. POTS has been rough, but I am still here. So, that is good news. I am not hooked up to a hospital bed with monitors. I am finding joy in unlikely places of chronic illness.

While all days aren’t joy-infused, I have the hope of my Savior Jesus Christ to remind me who I am. . . in spite of illness. Looking forward to Heaven, but trying to make the most of my time on earth to do something worthwhile.

Studying – Since my last impact, I have nearly finished studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Last week, I began the book of James. I am really enjoying it. One of today’s verse hit home for me, and is found at the end of this blog post. I have been reading and studying using The Living Bible found on Bible Gateway, which is a paraphrase like the Message. I am absolutely loving it! It is soo nice to have the privilege to open up the Bible in a new translation, using different wording, but having the same meaning. The Word of God is coming alive!

Reading – I am not quite sure that I am reading anything right now, since I have gotten out of the habit of reading actual books. Desiring God and reading the Bible in chronological order (that things happened) is what I am reading. Our church is reading the Bible together in a specific schedule. We have gone through Job, Genesis, Exodus, and are in Leviticus. Even with the audio Bible, my reading track record isn’t perfection but who says it has to be?

Listening To –

Celebrating – Many things.

  • Jesus is the top celebration. He loves me, and stays with me no matter what!
  • Doctors who care about their patients.
  • Good music that speaks God’s truths
  • Seeing how God can revive my broken spirit.

Loving – the gift of streaming biblical teachings, for anyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truths we need to know.

Praying – for my health, family, and a new blog series idea.

Holding Onto – Jesus! I am holding onto Jesus. Jesus is the One who is holding me, through all of life’s storms.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God… (Ps. 56:3-4)

Other Scriptures – James 1:9 (found below)

A Christian who doesn’t amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord’s sight (James 1:9).

Thessalonians

Let the Thessalonians’ Journey BEGIN!

Hey friends,

We kick off our Thessalonians study in the morning. Normally, we will begin the week by focusing on our memory verse. I had a blog post in the works about our memory verse, but here’s the thing: it’s not done yet (Saturday was a horrendously bad POTS day, which oddly enough was supposed to be my writing day).

I have to remember days like these will occur, when sickness or something else arise that put a slight pause on some of the blog posts. But, we are here. We are committing ourselves to Jesus Christ and His Word! As these days come, it is an imperative opportunity to lay our plans aside and see the plans Jesus Christ, our King, is going to carry out. To see what the God of the Universe is going to accomplish in that situation.

In these moments of unmet plans, we are able to stop everything and remember His presence. Not only is His presence available to us, we can fully come to Him and just cry out to Him.

In these moments, we realize the power of prayer and just allowing Jesus to hold us – when everything seems to be on hold (or nearing falling apart). But, we aren’t giving up. Let’s use this study and whatever arises in our lives as opportunities to get closer to Jesus Christ.

… So, my goal is to have the memory verse post to you all by Wednesday.

So, let’s just focus on our memory verse.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thessalonians 1:4, NIV).

Grab an index card or piece of paper. And, write out our Bible verse in your preferred translation. The translation I use varies. I think my Thessalonian index cards are TNIV. I adore using the Voice or New Living Translation (NLT), but often go for my main Bible – which is TNIV.

Whatever Bible translation you use and love, use it. I use a variety of Bible translations for clarity, and find it really helps me to engage more intently in Bible study when I use my favorite Bible translation. Some people use King James Version (KJV). While I am not a KJV reader myself, I adore the Modern King James Version I have on my ESword app for my phone. Really, I do. It’s awesome. Not only can I use it away from WiFi, it is filled with God honoring commentary and a few different Bible translations . . . as well as the much loved Strong’s Concordance to help me understand what the individual words mean in their original language. It is literally my favorite Bible app (but I also utilize Bible Gateway and YouVersion, if I have WiFi).

One of the biggest things I could say, as we all prepare to start our Thessalonians study is: Plan the study and memory verse into your day. Don’t allow it to become an afterthought. Because when we do, why hellooooo it’s Wednesday and you still haven’t broke out your memory verse cards yet (more on memorizing Scripture and my honest struggle in a couple days).

My hope for us in treking through the Thessalonians is to just meet with Jesus. We need to carve out space in our lives to just center our lives around who God truly is, His power, and His glorious presence. Knowing God, through His Son Jesus Christ, should literally change our lives, and this week we get the abundant joy of seeing how meeting Jesus completely changed the Thessalonians’ lives. They were transformed not for a moment, but a lifetime!

Until next time,

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Updates

ANNOUNCEMENT::: 2017 Studies

I have some exciting news to share, my friends!

I realize many of us are in a frenzy of shopping and cooking, as the Christmas countdown is going on. Only two weeks left. For me, that is hard to believe. The New Year is almost upon us!!

While this year has been crazy for me, as it has for many of you, I am looking forward to what God has in store for us in this new year.

As we continue to seek Him, God is going to do some unbelievable things in our midst. 2017 will be a new beginning, filled with all kinds of new opportunities to know Him on a deeply intimate level and join Him where He is at work!

Today, I am planning what will await us this new year. We have some good things in store.

Starting in January, we will begin a brand new study!! Meeting Thessalonians is going to be an AMAZING time of worship and getting to know God for ourselves! It will be a NINE WEEK study!

I am doing our studies differently this year, though. I must warn you. In order to make sure it is a pace I can follow (because we all know how I can make plans and naturally struggle to keep them – it is part of chronic illness, but also just part of life happening as it does for us all), I am choosing to make our studies “week day” studies. Basically what this means is – we will have two “catch up” days per week. This way… when life surprises us, it doesn’t leave us missing our Jesus time that we are in desperate need of.

The journals will have the same format as before. Well, almost. Our Thessalonians study has a reflection at the end of each week, to help us process what God has taught us during the week as well as preparing for the new week. It also includes a new format for the weekly memory verses, as well as tips to help us memorize God’s awesome word!

After Meeting Thessalonians, I do have a ‘nother set of studies I am planning and learning what I need to still do – in order to make them happen. We will spend most of the year studying a specific New Testament book in a way that helps us to grasp more fully its truths. I will share the name of that book, when the time comes.

… More details to follow!

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The Overcomer Life

Allowing Gratitude to be Present

Life has a way of becoming increasingly interesting these days. With Summer over and now we are almost in Winter, I am still waiting/looking for the better days – as far as my health is concerned. I have my days that are marked by their difference, in comparison to where I was last year. This year is looking quite different. The bad days make it different, but there is good present as well. It just takes a while and serious focus, to note the good.

Gratitude is what allows us to turn our moments of sorrow into times of dancing and joy – even in the midst of suffering.

The good, being – seeing how God’s work continues on. I am looking to work on my blog over the coming weeks/months, as I feel able to. We are getting ready to kick off our new study. It will begin in January, so I am working toward fixing what will be the journal (which will be available for purchase on Amazon) for the particular study. It will be a bit less demanding, to help me to stay caught up on it (but very similar to what we have been doing). But, I am really looking forward to it. It will be such a wonderful time of digging into God’s Word together – as a community of believers. More to come on the study soon.

The bad – well, that is hitting kind of close to home. You don’t expect family members to be in a place, where their doctor suspects they have your number 1 health enemy. In fact, you hope they won’t ever be in that position. Then, it happens. Loved ones become sick with the same illness that plagues us. It’s hard to look at it any other way, than joking. It’s not really the kind of things to joke around about, but it helps the soul to not feel the sorrow over the difficulties you know – that your loved ones will face.

Yet, you remember that all you can do is keep them in prayer, be there for them, speak encouragement over them, and deliberately look for the good in your life. Find the really good things you can rejoice over!

Finding the Good

With chronic illness, you take the bad with the good. Is there honestly good found in chronic illness? I think so. I think, it can produce good. But, it isn’t going to be automatically on our minds – before the bad is. You have to be deliberate in seeking out the good.

We have to be deliberate in seeking out the things we can be grateful for!

The R E A L L Y  Good Stuff

(1) While my health may fail me on any given day, my God still reigns. Even on the most difficult days, God is still God, faithful, strong enough, and ever loving!

See Ps. 73:26

(2) We can be there, comfort, and remind others they aren’t alone in their struggles. Also, we can be a voice that fights for our family members. God has used my health journey, to help those around me who develop similar symptoms and I can offer help of some sort.

See 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Phil. 4:4

(3) God has chosen to go before me. He has fixed our broken relationship, by the way of the cross and His Resurrection. He understands my weaknesses, and helps me – so I can come boldly to Him!

See Heb. 4:14-16

BookLook

Fearless by Jo Ann Maxwell (A “BookLook” Review)

_225_350_book-2103-coverIn her book, Fearless, Jo Ann Maxwell shares her faith in Jesus Christ and how she is learning to cope with MS. While MS is a roller coaster none of us want to try and ride, she shares her journey of the crazy ride – which offers honest God-sized hope to any sufferer of chronic illness or pain.

I am thankful for Jo Ann and her book. If I could say anything to briefly describe this review, it would be a heartfelt “thank you” and “you seriously need to read this“.

While there are many books on suffering, even Christian life and suffering, this is one of those we can classify as a “must read”. This book is a Bible study, sort of book. It is not based on other people’s random ideas, but Jo Ann pulls out her Bible and actually does Bible study with you (example below). While it is a rarity to find a book that combines real life suffering and the earnest desire to see God in it, she does it (and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit)!

Jo Ann shares her journey. She doesn’t share just the pretty things. She shares her entire heart, and pours it out as an offering to God through her writing. This book is consumed with hope we, too, can have in our lives. She offers much encouragement in Fearless.

In Jesus Christ, there is an abundance of hope!

Throughout this book and the Scriptures shared, we learn how and why we can come to God – even in times of great suffering. God is for us. While we may carry a tremendous weight of suffering, God is absolutely for us and wants to be our ever-present help!

While sharing in a Bible study with her readers, she shares some insight into Mark 6:45-52 –

He sends me into the storm, sees my struggle, comes to me, talks to me, is in the circumstance with me, and the storm ceases. Perhaps my circumstance doesn’t cease, but the storms in my thoughts and emotions cease when I allow Jesus to “come into the boat” with me.

Let’s allow Jesus to invade our circumstances, friend! I cannot tell you what He will do, once you invite Him into your circumstance. He may remove it, but He might not. He might choose a different way. A more relational way, like staying with you in the storm – making you completely certain of His love for you. I invite you to join me, as we learn what it means to live Fearless and enjoy the presence of Christ!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.