Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Thing is Needful, Choosing the Good Part of Life

As we begin a New Year, I'm not big on making resolutions, per se. However, I do love a fresh start and setting goals!  As I reflected on this past year and planning the next, there was one thing that I knew I wanted to do this upcoming year - spend more time at His feet. The Bible account of Mary and Martha is one I can relate to all too well.

I am Queen Martha. I THRIVE on planning and doing. If I was completely honest, I often plan and do so much that I, just like Martha, miss the good part! 
But one thing is needful:  and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."  Luke 10:42
This year my goal is to remember what is truly needful and then choose the good part!  Spend more time at His feet and less time being anxious and overwhelmed.

Sounds great in theory but what does sitting at His feet actually look like today? Well, I started digging into God's word a few weeks ago to find out and ending up creating a Bible Study for our GMG group and thought I'd share it with y'all! It's 8 weeks long and uses my favorite method of studying, the SOAP method

We will spend the first week studying out Mary and Martha. Then we will spend the next 6 weeks looking at the most important areas of our lives: Our relationship with Christ, Church, Family, Friends/Community, our Home, and our Health. Then we will end with a reflection week, applying what we've learned and seeing what sitting at His feet actually looks like in our lives today! 

You have two options with the study. You can print out the first page and use it along with a notebook to SOAP; or you can print out all the pages and stick them in a binder for a complete journal (approximately 86 pages) to use. 

Each week contains the following:
  1. Bible Memory Verse
  2. One Thing is Needful section - The first 10 minutes of your 10 spent at His feet focusing on a specific area of your life.  Seeking his will, encouragement, direction, and peace for your life!
  3. Choosing the Good Part - This is where we are intentional and apply it to our daily lives.
  4. Five days of scripture, along with SOAP pages if you choose to use them.  
  5. A blog post to go along with each week to keep us accountable (OK-mainly to keep me accountable).

If you'd like to join us for this study, here's what you need to do:
  • Just comment below with your e-mail and I'll send you the file containing the Reading plan and SOAP journal. 
  • One you receive the email, print out your choice of either the one page Quick Sheet and grab a notebook to write out your SOAPS; or go ahead and print out all the pages to write out your SOAPS.  Just depends on how much ink and paper you want to use!  I love to print mine out and put in a three ring binder.
  • Grab an accountability partner.  I LOVE my GMG group.  We check in with each other everyday on FB.  Sometimes it's a long post sharing what God has revealed, other times it's  "Good Morning girls, I read the scripture today!"  So whether you want to send a text, email, call or do it via Facebook find a friend(s) to hold you accountable!  If you don't have anyone else, then feel free to check in here each week at my blog.  I'd love to hear from you!
Can you imagine what a year of spending the first few minutes of each day at His feet would look like?  Trust me, I have!  I see peace, joy, fulfillment, hope, love, and a prosperous New Year!!  So my New Year's challenge to you is to start tomorrow at His feet!  While you're there please pray for this upcoming study and then join us on Monday! 


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Journey to Bethlehem

It was over 2000 years ago and a census had been ordered by emperor Caesar Augustus. Everyone was to return to their home city to be taxed. For some, maybe this wasn't a big deal. It may have even meant a joyous journey back home to visit family. But there was one young lady, a virgin, on the verge of having a baby, that was about to make a journey of her lifetime. This journey would forever change her. She was on her way to become the mother of the King of Kings.

It wasn't going to be an easy journey. It would be approximately 80-90 miles through some rough territory. Rough in more ways than one - terrain, weather, wild animals, and possibly even thieves along the way. It wasn't going to be a quick journey either. From what I've read, a normal person would travel around 20 miles a day but with Mary being so pregnant they may have went slower and it probably took anywhere from 4-9 days. There are two possible routes they may have taken. One was a trade route which went through Samaria and would have been more physically demanding because of the many hills. It also would've been more dangerous because of the social relationship between the Jews and Samaritans. It is more likely they took the second route, which was a little longer, but also flatter and went through the Jordan River Valley. However, still near the end of this route, they would have had to travel the Jericho Road or the "Way of Blood" as it was referred because of the dangers of robbers. (This is the same road referred to in the Parable of the Good Samaritan). Not only was it dangerous, but it was steep too, ascending 3,500 feet over 16 miles.

As someone who's been pregnant three times, I can't imagine preparing for a long, dangerous trip on foot just a short time before delivery. In fact, I would have been just the opposite-wanting to stay closer to home, to what was familiar to me, and near my doctors (or perhaps midwife for Mary). I also would have feared for the life of my child, considering all the dangers that lay ahead of them on the journey. I can imagine how anxious I would be. I would have began to question, "Lord, why didn't you just choose someone already in Bethlehem? I mean, you've known since the beginning of time where you wanted your Son born. Don't you think that would have been easier?"

However, God didn't choose Mary just because she was in the right place at the right time. He didn't choose her because of her social status or great riches and He certainly didn't choose her because it was going to be easy for her. Mary was chosen because she was ready and willing. We can see that in her response to the angel Gabriel's message:

"And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38)

Now there may have been moments Mary wondered and maybe she too even had a few doubts. But I believe God used this journey to prepare her for what was ahead. This was a journey of faith for her. A time where she had to trust and depend on Him more than ever before. Her faith was stronger than any doubts and because of that she didn't miss out on her greatest life accomplishment-being the mother of Christ.

Perhaps you find yourself this Christmas season questioning why God has you in a certain place in your life or feeling like what He has asked you to do is near impossible. Guess what? So is a young virgin girl having a baby. We're not here just by mere chance. God has a journey for us too. 

The good news is, there can be purpose and joy in your journey. No matter how rough or tough it may seem at times, God can still be with us. God can still use US! However, it takes some faith on our part. We, like Mary, must fully surrender to Him.

I can see Mary as she traveled to Bethlehem maybe a cold rain started coming, or she looked ahead and saw someone questionable in their path. Instead of living in fear, she continued to press forward praying and praising Jesus just as she did when she visited with her cousin Elizabeth. Her soul continuing to magnify Him. 

This Christmas season and throughout the new year, it is my hope that I too can be more like Mary. "Look at me Lord, I'm here. Take my life and use it for your glory. Allow me to be just a small part of your story!"

Praying this Christmas season, you find joy in your own journey.