Posts Tagged With: bible study

We Can… Even though (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #11)

Life is hard sometimes. (I think I have mentioned this once or twenty times before.)

Over the last three months or so, we have been on a journey– a journey to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Christ.

While the Bible study part of the journey concludes today, our heart journey continues.

Probably for the rest of our lives. And I don’t know about you, but it is a journey that I am STILL so excited to be on!

Many women have been transformed over the last few weeks by the power of Christ through trusting in Him– myself included. And I can’t wait to see where He takes us next.

But as we reflect on these final two chapters (and this whole experience in general) I can’t help but be moved… excited… a little emotional (ok, maybe that’s the pregnancy hormones) and utterly shocked at the power of His love for us.

It doesn’t matter what life throws at us… WE CAN rejoice in the Lord, even though life can be difficult.

One of my favorite Bible verses was introduced to me by our Pastor’s wife Pam last February during staff devotional. Divinely, it was the focus verse of our last chapter in this study.

Even though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
Even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
Even though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, 
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
~Habakkuk  3:17-18

… Even though the olive crop fails… GOD STILL ROCKS. (Those are my paraphrased words, not His.)

It is very cool how God has brought this journey (especially for me!) full circle. See, back on March 14th of this year, we miscarried our first child. It was the most viewed post in the history of this ministry… and it’s title? “EVEN THOUGH.

If you want tangible proof of how God can calm an anxious heart even though it seems like the sun might not rise tomorrow– be sure to check it out. Because now, we are 26 weeks along with our second pregnancy– and most of those heart-stopping anxieties from our first experience have been laid at the foot of the cross. Christ has taken them from us– and our trust in Him is deeper than ever before.

So today, we add to our “Even thoughs” as we continue on our journey to contentment.

WE CAN trust in the Lord with all our hearts… Even though the world says, “Take control and do it yourself.”

WE CAN rejoice in all circumstances… Even though in the moment, our hearts might be breaking.

WE CAN remember His never-ending faithfulness… Even though Satan tries to convince us otherwise.

WE CAN give Him our everything… Even though some days it feels like we have nothing left to give.

WE CAN build a solid foundation of faith-based on His promises… Even though destruction seems to be at our doorstep.

WE CAN embrace the plan He has for us… Even though we *think* we have better ideas.

WE CAN know that He designed us with purpose and beauty… Even though we occasionally don’t feel like it.

WE CAN give generously with the knowledge that He is our provider… Even though society says money equals happiness.

WE CAN continue to walk with Him on our journey to contentment… Even though this Bible study season has ended.

Do you have more “We Can- Even Thoughs” to add? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Thanks to all of the gals who have walked with us through this journey. I pray that it has opened the eyes of your heart in ways that we never imagined. (Also, congratulations to Sue G. for winning our “Solid Foundation of Faith” Giveaway!)

Remember, sweet friends…

WE CAN choose to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Him… NO. MATTER. WHAT!!!

Choosing Contentment,
SGK

“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…” ~Philippians 4:11 (NIV) 

Categories: Anxiety Free Monday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Choice (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 3)

Hmmm… Coke or Pepsi? Tennis shoes or boots? Salad or Big Mac?

We make thousands of choices a day. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but seriously– just think about it. From the moment we wake up, our brain is buzzing, making decisions before our feet even hit the floor. (Even the action of getting out of bed is a choice!)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with all the choices that whack me in the face each day. Sure, I love having control (which is an entirely separate issue) but some days I halfway wish someone would just make the choice for me.

Especially the difficult ones.

That’s right– not all of our choices are as easy as what we will wear or if we will go to the gym after work or not. There’s some tough choices out there… like what career to pursue, where to live, who to marry (or to get married at all), or who/what will be the center of our lives.

Questions

Source: Oberazzi via Flickr

With freedom can come choice… and with choice can come anxiety.

But did you know that we can make a choice NOT to be anxious and instead be content? I know, I know, we gotta chalk that one up in the “easier said than done” category. But it IS possible.

Paul says in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Um, yeah… Great idea, Paul. But HOW in the name of Jesus do we make that happen?

We do just that– simply whispering Jesus’ name is a great place to start.

We must CHOOSE to pray instead of worry. It’s a choice we can make with each thought, no matter how big or small our challenge or circumstance might be.

In Linda Dillow’s book “Calm My Anxious Heart,” she addresses this very question with four of Paul’s basic practice principles to CHOOSING God over our worrisome inclinations:

*Choosing to give our anxieties to God
*Choosing to pray specifically
*Choosing to be thankful
*Choosing to dwell on the positive

It’s a choice. Daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute. It’s not going to happen over night, (darn!) but as with all things that God calls us to do, He doesn’t expect us to do it alone.

Ultimately, we have to CHOOSE God over ourselves. See, our flesh loves to have control and when things don’t go OUR way, we tend to worry or get upset. Instead, we can make the choice to trust God with EVERYTHING in our lives. When we do, He will help us to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Him alone.

So I have a couple of questions for you today:
1. What is the biggest barrier to choosing to pray instead of defaulting to being anxious?
2. What practical things can you do to choose prayer over worry?

I always love hearing your thoughts– leave a comment below! 🙂

They say it takes (at least) 21 days to change a habit. What if, for the next 21 days, each time our heart flops and a worry bubbles up, we mentally STOP… And pray it away? After awhile, we wouldn’t just have a new habit– But God would have transformed our heart.

Choosing prayer over worry can be one of the best choices we will ever make. So what will you choose?

Choosing Him First,
SGK

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG) 

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If you are “officially” participating in our online bible study for Calm My Anxious Heart, here is Chapter 3’s “homework” for the upcoming week. Enjoy! 

Day 1: Study Guide– Question 1, Memorize Psalm 139:14

Day 2: Study Guide– Question 2, 3, 4, 5

Day 3: Study Guide– Question 6, 7, 8 a.,b.

Day 4: Study Guide–Question 9a,b, 10

Day 5: Study Guide– Question 12

***Extra (as in, you don’t have to do it– but if you are into it, go for it!***

Word Study:  Psalm 139:14 (Remember Old Testament is written in Hebrew)
Fearfully; Wonderfully; Made; Works; Wonderful; Know

Word Study:  Phil. 1:6
Confident; Began; Work; Completion

Categories: Anxiety Free Monday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Our Cup Filled Up (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 2)

Few things in life make me happier than a smooth, warm beverage.

From peppermint tea to hot chocolate to my favorite doctored-up cup of coffee, drinking a warm beverage out of one of my favorite mugs makes my heart sing with joy.

It’s not just a taste thing for me– it’s a total body experience. On those cool fall mornings or perhaps right before bed as I wind down from a long day, my whole being is just moved by my cup filled with liquid awesome.

There’s really only one warm beverage that not only fails to bring me joy, but it is something I avoid at all costs… Theraflu.

When I was younger, I would, as most kids do, tend to get sick on occasion. My loving Mama would doctor me up. I would be snuggled down on the couch, kleenexes within reach, Vicks Vapor rub smeared on my chest… then suddenly, it happened.

The microwave beeped. I knew what was coming.

Theraflu. I tell you what– I just couldn’t do it. If upset stomach wasn’t one of my symptoms when I started, it sure was by the time I finished choking it down.

Psalm 16:5 says Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup…”

And lets be honest. Sometimes the portion in our cup is glorious peppermint tea… and other times it’s closer to the likes of  Theraflu (or whatever beverage you aren’t such a big fan of.)

But God expects us to drink it. He gave it to us– and He knows what is good for us.

Even if it makes us gag. (Or cry. Or rebel. Or whatever your choice reaction/emotion happens to be.)

This concept of gratefully drinking the portion God dumps in my cup was really brought to light as I worked through our current Bible Study “Calm My Anxious Heart.” I was really moved by the thought of being grateful and content no matter what.

And then I was convicted. Kind of a lot.

Because I have to admit– there are some days that God gives me a Theraflu-like portion, and instead of saying thanks and choking it down because I trust Him, I throw a tantrum.

Enter stage left: The ungrateful, discontented heifer. (SIGH.)

When something that I don’t want to drink what is put in front of me by God, I cop an attitude. My heiferish self slaps the cup away, I cross my arms and start back talking. “God, I don’t WANT this! It is too hard to swallow! Why can I have something better?!” 

Linda Dillow reminded me that “Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs.”

Touche.

So I have been literally visualizing my current “cup” that God has given me: I see a big sturdy mug with the words “Army, Georgia, Ministry, Drill Sergeant, Pregnancy” written on it. Then my portion depends on what God gives me each day.

One way that I have really been focusing on this journey to contentment is taking to heart, memorizing and living “Ella’s Prescription for Contentment” in our study. It says:

*Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else
*Never compare your lot with another’s
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise
*Never dwell on tomorrow –remember that [tomorrow] is God’s, not ours

Profound, huh?

Here’s a couple of questions to ponder (and perhaps answer/leave a comment below!):
1. Which one of Ella’s Prescription steps do you struggle with the most?
2. What does your “cup” and “portion” look like right now? Is it like peppermint tea? Or more like Theraflu (or whatever other beverage you aren’t a huge fan of?) How can you drink it more gratefully?

Sweet friends… I’m so thankful to be sharing this journey with you. For my heart today, the bottom line is that GOD GIVES US OUR PORTION… As in, it’s FROM HIM.  Our cup has been filled up. So we need to drink up.

Bottoms Up,
SGK

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” ~Matthew 26:27-28

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For those of you doing the online bible study “Calm My Anxious Heart,” here is the homework for week #2. Happy learning!!

Day 1: Read Chapter Two of “Calm My Anxious Heart”
Write Philippians 4: 6 -8 on a card and go over it every day.  Pray it.  Praise God with it!  Memorize it.  You can do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Day 2: Study Guide (back of book)
Questions 2, 3

Day 3: Study Guide
Questions 4, 5, 6

Day 4: Study Guide
Questions 7, 8a and 8b

Day 5: Study Guide
Question 9

Write in your journal what you learned about God this week, what you learned about yourself this week.  Write a prayer to remember what God has taught you.

The following stuff is “extra.” As in, if you have time and like this kinda thing, great. Otherwise, don’t worry bout it!

Word Study:  Phil. 4: 6
Prayer
Supplication (Petition)
Thanksgiving
Requests

 Word Study:  Phil. 4:7
Peace
Understanding

Word Study:  Phil. 4: 8
True
Noble (Honest)
Right (Just)
Pure
Lovely
Admirable (Good Report)
Excellent (Virtue)
Think

Helpful Study Tools:
Strong Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Zondervan.  (around $20.00)
The  Complete Word Study New Testament, edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., AMG Publishers. (around $40.00)
A Good Study Bible – NIV has a great study bible
Crosswalk.com  search engine

Categories: Anxiety Free Monday | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Journey of a Lifetime (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 1)

The sun is barely peeking over the horizon. I lug my last suitcase out to the car and with a final heave, toss it in. Slamming the trunk, smile and let out a satisfied sigh.

Let the journey begin.

I have been blessed to travel to many different places so far in my lifetime. I’ve been to about 30 states(ish), a few foreign countries– Spain, Portugal, Italy and China. All of these trips have been educational, challenging and blessing to my heart.

Although traveling as a “big kid” isn’t as frequent as my college days, I can’t help to still be filled with anticipation and excitement with each new journey.

Starting out our journey of wedded bliss on our honeymoon, just “Rome-ing” around.” (Get it? Rome? Italy? Ok. Sigh. I’m done.)

But now my journeys have started to shift– they aren’t in the form of road trips for college football games (Go Kansas State!) or boarding a plane for a solo trip to China “just because I can.” Now, it’s a journey through marriage. A journey to parenthood. A journey of walking with Christ.

And today starts a new journey– one that you are personally invited along for…

A JOURNEY TO CONTENTMENT.

I hope you are packed and ready to ride. (Oh, and buckle up. Safety first.)

Today my friend Kelli Wommack and I are starting a journey to contentment via an in person AND online bible study called “Calm my Anxious Heart.” 

I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, I always have some kind of anxiety– usually stemming around “I feel like I am forgetting something” and “Did I turn off stove?”

But we are excited for Christ to take us on this journey and calm our anxious hearts. (Rumor has it, He’s a pretty stellar travel guide.)

Here’s how this journey is gonna work…

~Each Monday, Kelli & I will post our “take” on the previous week’s reading on our blogs, as well as post the “homework” for the coming week
~We encourage you to join in the fun and share your thoughts/comments on our blogs, regardless of if you have decided to so the bible study with us
~We will provide an opportunity for interaction on the Calm My Anxious Heart Facebook page
~Specifically for my blog: Homework will be posted at the very end of each of my Monday entries, which I am lovingly dubbing “Anxiety Free Mondays” or AFM for short (sounds like a radio station abbreviation to me… I like it!)

Then, we let Jesus do the work.

So as we kick off this journey, I have a couple questions for you…

  • What things cause you the most anxiety in your life?
  • What do you think a “content heart” truly looks like?

Please leave your comments below. 🙂

I hope you are all packed and ready to go! (Everyone bring their toothbrush? What about your cell phone charger? Your favorite beverage and snack?)

We are off and running… on a journey to free us from anxiety. On a journey to contentment. On a journey of a lifetime.

Revved up and ready to roll,
SGK

“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” ~Philippians 4:12-13 (MSG) 

If you are “officially” participating in the online bible study, here is your “homework” for week #1. Pencils up? Annnd GO!

Day 1: Read Chapter One
Write Philippians 4: 11 – 13 on a card and go over it every day.  Pray it.  Praise God with it!  Memorize it.  You can do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

 Day 2: Study Guide (back of book)– Questions 2, 3

 Day 3: Study Guide– Questions 4, 5, 6

 Day 4: Study Guide– Questions 7, 8a and 8b

 Day 5: Study Guide– Question 9
Write in your journal what you learned about God this week, what you learned about yourself this week.  Write a prayer to remember what God has taught you.

Helpful Study Tools:

  • Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Zondervan. ($20)
  • A Good Study Bible

Great websites for searching and learning:

  • Crosswalk.com
  • Biblegateway.com
  • Blueletterbible.org
  • Studylight.org

Great apps:

  • Strong’s Concordance Lite (free)
  • eBible.com (free)
  • Tecarta Bible (free)
  • Biblestudytools.com (free)
  • Prayer list app (1.99)
Categories: Anxiety Free Monday | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Treasure in Jars of… Salsa??

Today, I would like to provide you with a practical, real-life lesson and application:

How to Semi-Effectively Clean Up A Smashed Jar of Salsa

1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and say a silent prayer for the Lord to forgive you of the very loud and prominent obscenity you just yelled as you watched your new quart jar of homemade salsa crash onto the floor.

2. Shuffle the pup out of doors so he is not inclined to “help” with clean up.

3. Put on shoes as to avoid glass shards in the feet.

4. Clean up the glassy salsa with whatever tools you have available (might I recommend: An old dust pan and empty Diet Dr. Pepper box)

5. Mop and/or vacuum a couple times to ensure any nearly invisible tiny glass shards don’t, in fact, end up in your feet.

6. Continue with your lunch and ask God how or what you can learn from this experience. (Other than don’t let clumsy people with wet hands handle salsa jars when they are in a hurry to eat their nachos for lunch.)

This is what my treasured jar of salsa looked like BEFORE it hit the floor…
Clean up on aisle 3! Anyone? No? Sigh.

True story, folks. As I was moving towards step 6, I stepped into the bathroom to wash my hands. I looked in the mirror and literally laughed– in the few minutes of my salsa-crisis, my cheeks were flushed, my messy ponytail became messier and I somehow ended up with a bird feather in my hair. (I’m not kidding. The only explanation would be when I went outside to get the old dustpan, a tiny little feather made its way to my bird nest of hair.)

As I was trying to gather my nerves and frustration (hey, homemade salsa from back home is a treasured commodity down in these parts!) I literally prayed for God to tell me what I could learn from this…

My brain immediately flashed to 2 Corinthians 4:7~

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

Huh. Ok, Lord. Cool.

So I sat with that for a while and realized that my little salsa mess was not just a mess– it was a sweet (spicy?) message.

That jar of salsa brought me to scripture that reminded me that when we try to be perfect on the outside, God’s power and goodness can’t be seen. So we either have to be very transparent (think: glass jar of salsa) or allow God to crack open our shell of perfection so that His inner light can shine.

As I marinated on this idea (and continued to mourn the loss of my salsa) my thoughts were drawn to the upcoming bible study that we are hosting here at 7 Days Time. In case you missed our big announcement last week, starting Sept. 9th my friend Kelli and I are going to be teaching Linda Dillow’s study “Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment” in person at Christ Community Church. But for all of my non-local peeps, (which is a vast majority) we are going to do an online version of the study starting September 10th.

And I don’t know about you– but one of the things that sometimes makes me anxious is being vulnerable and letting other people see my brokenness.

Kinda like that messy jar of salsa on my kitchen floor.

So, if your life has ever felt more frustrating than of dropping a jar of salsa (or pickles, or jelly or whatever) on the floor, or you worry about others finding out about your shortcomings, or you struggle to find contentment in your everyday life… we invite you to join our study.

For the online portion, we will meet here each Monday and also interact in  a closed Facebook group. Should you like to join in our journey, be sure to order the book ($10 on Amazon) and leave a comment below so I can be sure to include you as our start date grows closer.

Oh, and even if your time/schedule doesn’t permit you to actually DO the study with us– feel free to leave comments and participate here anyways. We are all in this together!

After all, we all learn in a variety of ways from a variety of sources– even from a broken jar of salsa.

Using my mess for His Message,

SGK

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 4:6 NLT

Categories: God, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

So long, Anxious Heart

I scan my list… Do I have everything? What if I forget something? I swallow the lump that is growing in my throat. My heart starts to beat faster. I glance down at my watch… Should I leave now? Or do I have more time?

If you have been hanging out with me here at 7 Days Time for a while, you have figured out that I am something of a worrywart. Honestly, it is super annoying and exhausting. Fortunately, God has used 2012 (and a majority of my adult life) to slowly but surely start weaning me from worrying. But he’s not done yet.

I’ve always heard that worry is like a rocking chair– it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere. (Can I get an amen?!?!) And let’s not forget to mention that worrying is a sin… Every time we let our mind/heart melt into that puddle of anxiety, it is like we are saying that God isn’t enough and we don’t REALLY trust His plan for us.

Just the other day, I was pouring out my heart to my sweet husband about my current worries that I was battling: Health, family, finances, army life, future etc. And that wonderful man spoke some much-needed (but kinda difficult) truth into my life:

“Sharita… there are ALWAYS going to be things we CAN worry about. But we have a choice… We can choose to worry or choose to simply TRUST GOD.”

Sigh. I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go…

But here’s the awesome and encouraging news: We don’t have to go alone. God has given us tools and community to combat this issue in our life.

Which leads to my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT for today. Ready? I hope you are sitting down…

If you are a worrier, know a worrier, have been a worrier, worry that you might become a worrier (ha!) or anything of the sort, I invite you to come on a journey– a journey to calm our anxious hearts.

Eternal Youth

I don’t know about you… but I could definitely use a makeover.
(Source: Jan Tik @ Flickr)

Starting September 9, my friend/boss/mentor Kelli Wommack and I will be offering a bible study called “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow on Sunday nights from 5 – 6:30 pm at Christ Community Church in Columbus, GA for those of you who are local and can attend.

For those of you who aren’t local (which I know is a majority of my audience,) beginning September 10, we will be offering this study via online right here at 7 Days Time and on Facebook! WHOOT! Cool, huh? So whether you are local or in South America, you can participate! We are super excited about this and will be giving more details very soon. So if you are interested in either the Sunday night study or the online study, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Oh, and please share this with your friends if you think they might be interested!

I have a sneaky suspicion that this could change ALL of our lives. I’m not even kidding. I’m stoked. And hope you are too!

I feel incredibly blessed that God has placed this opportunity for us to trade our anxiety for trust– together, as a community, both online and in person. Please, if this study sounds like something God has brought across your path for a reason, don’t be shy– jump aboard and let’s prepare to let God transform our hearts and minds. Again, leave a comment below so I can get you signed up 🙂

It’s time my friends… Time to say “So long, anxious heart.”  Who’s with me?

Goodbye worries, Hello Trust,
SGK

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG) 

Categories: God, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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