Jesus and the Judges

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

There are times when we miss the mark. We sin. There are times when we are misunderstood. There are times when those around us throw darts of judgment, and they miss their mark. Why? Because they have no idea who we really are or what our heart intentions are. They have not lived our lives and been in our skin. Regardless, those darts sting even if they aren't on target.

And then there is Jesus. The One who was without sin and who was completely misunderstood. It's why He understands. He knows our sorrow on being confronted without mercy. He comprehends how criticism can wreck a soul. He understands we are sinful and so in need of grace. So He stands between us and our judges.

I am judged. Judged by others for my sins. Condemned for my life decisions (some of them not sin). Looked down upon because of who I am. No mercy. Just rock-throwing. How about you? Seen a few stones fly your way? Maybe it was because of real sin in your life. Something you did that you regret and can't seem to get out from under. Maybe it was a total misunderstanding, and you now are stuck with a reputation you don't deserve. Maybe there were stories about who you are that no one bothered to verify.

Whatever the reason...He still stands...He stands up for you. He stands between you and your accusers.

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" --John 8:7

And the ONE who never sinned stoops down again to write in the dirt. The ones who have drop their rocks move on...

Because of His grace we can move from the condemnation of others into the hands of our Defender knowing He will not throw rocks at us. Instead He hands us a stone...

To everyone who is victorious...I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. --Revelation 2:17

Fighting Fear

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

31 Days to Overcome Fear
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It's been a fight since I was little. There are many mornings I wake up scared. Day in and day out I talk myself through my fears. I even fear FEAR! For those of us that struggle deeply with an anxiety disorder or constant fear, daily life can be a terrible battle. And even if you don't struggle, we ALL face fears. It is a part of the human existence. It is why God says over and over again "Fear not" in His Word. Frankly, He knew this world would be a scary place. He knew we would struggle to strangle the fear our of our lives before it strangled us.

My dear friend, Candace, over at His Mercy is New, has a new e-book coming out today on fighting fear. Last week she gave me an advance copy to read through. For a woman who has fought fear for decades this book touched my heart! My soul resonated with it as the ideas she offers up are exactly what I use in my struggle with anxiety. So what is Whom Shall I Fear?

Each day Candace provides a short passage of Scripture and a devotional on those verses. Then there is a prayer in which the passage you just read is used {See example below.}. Basically, the idea is to pray God's Word back to Him. {To read more on this concept, click here.} She then provides a space to write your own prayer. Finally, each day has a space to list your blessings. One of the ways to fight fear is gratitude. I have been doing a gratitude journal for several years now, and I can tell you it does wonders to calm my anxiety {Candace explains why in her book.}

Whom Shall I Fear? will be $5.99, but today because of its release and the fact that Black Friday is on the horizon all of Candace's e-books are half the price! I have personally read all of them and love them! This would be the time to get them! I pray that they will bless you as they have me.

Black Friday All Ebooks 50% off

Journaling Bibles with Devotionals and Bible Studies

Monday, November 23, 2015

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I LOVE my journaling Bible that I purchased last year. While many women combine these types of Bible with art, I use it during my study time. More and more lately I have been combining it with whatever devotional or Bible study I am doing. I  have found that a journaling Bible is a great way to say those quotes, thoughts, or concepts that I have gleaned from my studies or devotionals that I use.

Recently, I did the Bible study, Stuck by Jennie Allen. Some of the points she talked about in regards to denying yourself really hit me hard. I decided to write them down near the verse she used. {See above and yes, sometimes I make mistakes and have to scratch things out. It's OK!}

Other times I read a devotional and a thought or concept will jump out at me. I make sure I highlight the verse and write down the thought or quote. My current favorite devotional (actually, it has been my favorite for a long time) is Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings.

Right now, I am using the app/website She Reads Truth during my Bible study time. Because I normally don't purchased the books that go with the studies having my journaling Bible to record concepts has been very helpful! I am so loving these studies! If you use their website it is totally free. If you download a study in the app it is a few dollars for each study. Check it out!

So what are the resources I use? I have a journaling Bible, black pens, and my FAVORITE highlighters (pencils that don't bleed through the pages).  Here is a list of some great supplies:

Eco Highlighter Pencils-I can't get over how much I LOVE these! Best highlighters ever!

6-Piece Pigma Micron-01 Ink Pen Set, Black

There are so many journaling Bible available, but I like the single column ones. Here are some options:

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (TruTone, Chestnut, Leaves Design)-This one is beautiful. I did a gift journaling Bible for my son when he graduated high school this past May. This is the one I used.

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Brown, Flap with Strap)-I don't have this one, but I so want it. I love the style of the cover.

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black)-This is the one I currently have. Basic and practical.

Also, if you are going to write in a Bible,Writing in the Margins: Connecting with God on the Pages of Your Bible is not to be missed! It will give you tips and ideas for using the margins of your Bible to aid in your spiritual growth.

Happy Writing!

Faith-Based Coloring Books

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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About a month ago I was all alone at home. My husband was out of town for his job. My youngest son was out of town competing in a swim meet. It was just me and the dog. I struggle with anxiety and depression and being alone can sometimes make it unbearable. I needed something to keep my mind occupied. I had been seeing on the web and in stores coloring books for adults. At first, I thought it was a strange concept. They say it is supposed to be calming and relaxing. I wasn't convinced. Being a "recovering perfectionist" means you struggle with making mistakes...even when it comes to coloring within the lines. But because I had extra time on my hands I decided to get a couple of books and give it a try.  Here's my verdict...

It really works!!! I sat down to color and I was able to give my racing mind a break from it all. I was so shocked! It was not what I expected. AT. ALL. There is something healing when it comes to creating beauty. I can't explain it. I just know it works. It especially worked for me because I didn't have to worry {there's that anxiety rise up again} about designing anything. I just had to pick colors.

God's Word is healing also. That's why I love that there are several faith-based coloring books out there. Here are a few of them...

Garden Blessings: Scriptures and Inspirations to Color Your World-I have this one and LOVE it.

Simple Blessings: Coloring Designs to Encourage Your Heart-This one is my the same artist of  Garden Blessings.

Faith in Color: An Adult Coloring Book

Beauty in the Bible: Adult Coloring Book

In the Beginning: Coloring Creation-One that depicts the first few chapters of  Genesis.

Color the Psalms: An Adult Coloring Book for Your Soul (Color the Bible)

Inspire Bible NLT: The Bible for Creative Journaling- Will be released in February. I love this idea of a journaling Bible PLUS illustrations to color!

There are also a plethora of other coloring books out there. Here are a few that I have either seen or own and love...

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book-These ocean scenes are incredible!

Splendid Cities: Color Your Way to Calm-I so want to get this one...cities around the world.

Color Me Mindful: Birds-I have a thing for birds so I love this one.

And finally, try these pencils for coloring...Prismacolor Pencils. They come in sets of different sizes...12, 24, 48, etc.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some colored pencils and one of these books. You will be surprised how it takes you back to childhood and calms your soul.