Joy & Sorrow {Guest Post}

Thank you very much to each of the contributors that have helped give me a bit of a break this summer!

Joy & Sorrow

Joy & Sorrow {Guest Post} #joy #sorrow #mourning #gladness #hope @godschicki
Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash
It was September 18, 2008 – my freshman year of Bible college – and I was driving two hours to Syracuse, NY to say my last goodbyes to the man who would become my father-in-law (though he did not live long enough for me to call him that in person). I don’t remember the trip to the hospital but I do remember walking into the room. I remember seeing this man I loved so much in the last moments of his life. I remember how loud the hospital seemed. I thought the whole world ought to be weeping. Didn’t they know who they were losing?! I remember the quiet sight of my mother-in-law as she told her beloved he could go, they would be ok, he didn’t have to fight anymore. I remember feeling like he waited for me to get there. I remember the doctor coming in and shutting off the machines. I remember the surreal feeling of stepping onto the elevator. It all seemed wrong. He should be with us. I learned a lot about sorrow in those days.
 
Sometimes sorrow settles for a while deep in the crevices of our hearts. It finds a home and makes itself comfortable. People hurt us, our own sin threatens to undo us, financial struggles fill us with anxiety, sickness and death come knocking at the door of a loved one’s life, and sadness creeps over us and remains. Life moves forward but the sorrow hangs in the air like a curtain separating us from the rest of the world.
 
On the other hand, sometimes joy is unexplainably beautiful. It comes in waves filled with gratefulness. Friendships are made or restored, babies are born, our income exceeds our need, health is revitalized and enjoyed, people are saved from their sin, and the joy feels tangible. It seems as though the whole world should jump for joy with us.
 
Two and half years after that awful day in the hospital, I married that man’s son and the joy hung thick in the air so that we could almost slice it. A snowstorm swirled outside but we were safe and warm, surrounded by dear ones, and making the most joy-filled covenant of my life.
 
Most of us have experienced both utter joy and sorrow. I have felt the amazing joy of answered prayer, real soul-deep friendship, a snowy white wedding day, and the birth of my two children. I have also felt the very tangible sorrow of grief, chronic illness, a broken heart, and a familial betrayal.
 
When sorrow and sadness take over my life, my temptation is to dwell on the pain and challenge of my circumstances and allow my heart to grow bitter and angry. When joy and happiness swoop in, my temptation is to find contentment in the circumstances I feel I have acquired for myself and allow pride to gain a foothold in my heart. Both are wrong.
 
Both sorrow and joy are supposed to make me long for home with Christ where everything will be restored. Pain will be taken away, death will no longer reign, friendships won’t face an uphill battle against miscommunication and misunderstanding, and familial ties will be written in the blood of Christ which is stronger than any bond on Earth. Heaven will be glorious.
 
Sorrow, like the sour taste of a beautiful lemon, reveals the utter inadequacy of everything that is beautiful here. It is all stained by sin and groaning to be made new. Joy, like a commercial for ice cream, is supposed to make me long for the lasting peace that can only come when I am home in Heaven with Christ.
 
Nothing here can fully satisfy. Sorrow reminds us of that. But a day is coming when our hearts will be resting fully for eternity and joy reminds us of that.
 
Sorrow and joy mingle together in this life, with the ultimate purpose of making me love, worship, and long for the presence of Christ eternally. It is my challenge now to not to be satisfied in the joy and not dismayed by the sorrow but to look to Christ with anxious expectation for a day that is coming when my joy will be eternal and my sorrow a distant memory.
 
And, won’t that be a glorious day? When all the saints from history will join together in one song, proclaiming the excellency of Christ. And our praise will be all the more amazing because we have experienced those heartbreaking sorrows that drew our hearts on Earth. And we will think how gracious it was for God to give us a tiny foretaste of this beauty through the joys He bestowed on us.
 
May we never think that this world is all there is. When we face joy, may our pride never cut us off from reality. When we face sorrow, may we look with longing for the day that will be so far greater than our earthly realities. And may we proclaim with the apostle John, “Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
KatieDeckert
Katie is a wife, homeschooling mom to littles, and writer from New York. She spends her days perpetually picking up toys and opening the door to her home. She blogs at Hospitable Homemaker where she discusses the joys and stresses of hospitality, homemaking, adoption, and the Christian life.
You can connect with her through Facebook and Pinterest as well.

When Anxiety Threatens Your Personal Peace {Guest Post}

A big thank you to all of the contributors this summer!

When Anxiety Threatens Your Personal Peace

{Guest post} How I deal with anxiety from a Christian perspective. #anxiety #help #peace @godschicki @tammykennington

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

It waits in the shadow of thoughts; sitting real and large on my chest like a rock pressing sharp edges into earth’s soft soil. Settling into tender places until the pressure builds and the corners of my heart fracture enough to allow tears to seep through and thin shocks of electricity shoot down my arms into the tips of each finger–seeking release.
I’ve been managing anxiety well for years, but its risen from dormancy the last several weeks. I’m not terribly surprised. For a short time, my husband was hospitalized. A colleague threatened suicide. A dear one is battling against the stronghold of depression. And the only evidence now of a long-time canine companion is a small pink collar and unused dog dish.
Unwelcome, apprehension greets me in the morning and whispers in my ear as I lay my head on the pillow at night.
You should have done something for her today. Why didn’t you call him? What if he doesn’t know how important he is to you? To God?
I gather the thoughts and then release them in prayers.
This sort of battle resides in the mind, but is as real as any visible enemy. For some, its roots may have sprung from a biological bent toward mental illness. A lack of feel-good chemical production. Others may have suffered trauma or loss. Perhaps a loss so overwhelming that is seems to grow uncontrolled and ever-larger–like a nightmarish beanstalk in a child’s fairy tale.
Friend, when we feel impossibly small as we hack away at anxiety–burdened by the hard of circumstance or overwhelmed by worry, remember that Christ conquered every power. Every principality. Every plot to separate us from Him. In His name we can stand against the lies of the enemy, denying satan the right to shift worship from Christ to concern.
Pray against worry. Pronounce Christ’s truth over yourself. And, cling to His promises.

Action Steps to Help When You are Anxious

P-When assaulted by an anxious thought, immediately pray against it. Renounce it as powerless in the name of Christ. (John 14:13)
R–Remind yourself of God’s promises. Memorize scriptures you can pray back to Him when you’re struggling. (James 4:8)
A–Ask others to pray with and for you. (James 5:16)
I-Develop intentional habits to help ward off anxiety. These might include daily Bible reading and meditation, regular exercise, and eating well. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
S-If anxiety becomes part of your day-to-day struggle,seek help from a counselor or doctor. (Proverbs 12:15)
E-Press into God, enduring with patience and hope for He will bless you. (James 1:12)
Blessings,
Tammy
TammyK
Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, education workshop presenter, and child abuse awareness advocate. Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy hopes to lead women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them.
You can connect with Tammy through her blog, Facebook,  or Twitter.
 
 
 
 

Verses for Overwhelmed & Weary Moms

Scriptures For Overwhelmed and Weary Moms

Overwhelmed and weary. I think every mom, if she is honest, will admit being there at some point. Days that we need to be reminded of the joy that we can have. Days where His grace is enough.
With three little 5 and under, and one on the way, I often find myself there. “One of those days” and “the struggle is real” can usually describe a few days each week. Especially the last week. The Tough Day Playlist has played a lot lately.
On those days, I have to remember to get in the Word.  To renew my mind. The make sure that I am getting drunk in the Spirit. When Satan wants to get you down, scripture is a great way to combat him. When Satan was tempting Jesus in the desert, Jesus-THE WORD, used the Word of God to counter Satan’s use of scripture.

Verses to use on days when you are feeling overwhelmed and/or weary. #weary #wornout #tired #overwhelmed #bible #jesus #biblestudy #motherhood @godschicki

Here Are Some To Put In Your Arsenal (Emphasis Mine)

Renewing Your Mind

Earlier this week I share about how important this is (especially for moms) in the first post of this series, Renewing Your Mind, please take a minute to check it out!

Peace and Rest

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ”
Matthew 11:28

Nothing compares to the rest that is found in Christ.

  The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

The peace that Jesus gives is not what we think of as peace. It is not necessarily the absence of conflict, but a peace that passes understanding because we know who is in control.

 A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. A Psalm of David. I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.  O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.  O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name.  For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:1-5

 

  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,  Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31

We must rely on the Lord and His strength, His power. He gives us exactly what we need.

  But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your loving kindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16

When we start out the day with praise, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Remembering God’s loving kindness is a great way to start the day.

 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

This goes to both peace and rest and trials, but remembering that in Him we have peace is important.

  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Remembering that He is always with us is such a comfort!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

In our lives, we have our plans. God’s plans do not always match those plans. Remembering that, ultimately, He is in controls is a source of peace.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Remembering the joy that we can have in Christ is another source of peace that we have.

 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Isaiah 43:2

Another great reminder that God is with us. We are in His hand.

 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted.
Isaiah 49:13

We serve a compassionate God, one that comforts His people! What a reason to rejoice!

 For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

Remembering to run to our Daddy for refuge and strength is important.

 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

Our help comes from the Lord who made the universe, from nothing! What more do we need?

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

He will not fail, nor forsake you. You are in His hand.

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My loving kindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

No matter what we go through, God’s loving kindness and covenant of peace will not be shaken.

 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”
John 7:37

Jesus truly gives the living waters that satisfy our souls. When we are satisfied in Him, it makes things much more bearable.

 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:26-28

There is such peace in knowing that all things-all things– work together for the good of those who love God! And that even when we do not have the words to pray in our hard times, that we have the Spirit who intercedes for us.

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

We are loved. We have eternal comfort. We have good hope. We can comfort and strengthen our hearts in every good work and word.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!
2 Thessalonians 3:16

In every circumstance. It is not going to be easy. Jesus warned that in this world we will have troubles.

 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:8

Drawing near to God is so important for peace and rest.

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

I shared Monday how important thanksgiving and gratitude are in our lives and to renewing our minds. It makes it much easier to let Christ’s peace (which is not like the world’s peace), rule our hearts.

  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Often when this verse is quoted the emphasis is on “I can”, and not “Him who”. It is only through Him that we can do things, especially hard things.

 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:6-10

Taking our worries and problems to God should be our first action, not our last resort. He cares how you are feeling. About your well-being.
Living like we have an enemy after us is important. He is serious, and will do what he can to get us distracted and off track.
God will use this for your good, and will strengthen you.

 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. …  Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
1 John 3:1, 13

How great is His love!
Sometimes our trials are not everyday things, but externally sourced. It is important to remember that we are not promised an easy road.

 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

Greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you!

 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

If we did everything effortlessly, if everything ran smoothly and we could do it all, where would the room for Christ to shine and show His power be?
Afflicted, not crushed; perplexed, not despairing; persecuted, not forsaken; struck down, not destroyed…
We must daily die to self so that Jesus can be manifested in our bodies.

  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

We should take courage in being weak, when we cannot do it all, for then it is a chance for Christ to dwell in us. There are days when His grace is enough.

 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,  and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.  We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.  Rejoice always;  pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

I feel like this is motherhood in a nut shell…Encouraging, building up, praising good done, living in peace with one another, admonishing the unruly, helping the weak, being patient, seeing that no one repays evil for evil, seeking the best good.
It does say be patient with everyone…no qualifiers given. I admit readily that I struggle with that sometimes…especially when it is the 100th time I have told someone to do something….but then how many times does God have to tell me something? How many times has He been patient with me?
Rejoice….always! In everything give thanks….it is not always easy.
When we have a constant, prayerful connection it is much easier to have a joyful spirit and give thanks, even in the hard times…

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

God has prepared these good works for us to walk in. He crafted you for a specific purpose. Put you where you are for a reason. Chosen you as the mother of you children, as the spouse for your husband.

 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14

Waiting is hard, but being still, really taking time to acknowledge Him as Lord of your life is important. We can take courage in the fact that we are not God.

 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

I have always found the psalms so encouraging. Many times when I do not know what to pray I will read then, and usually I find something that expresses perfectly how I feel.

 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.
Psalm 142:3

Even when we are overwhelmed, God knows our path. Even when we cannot see it, He does. That is such a source of peace and comfort for me.

   The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psalm 28:7

We must rely on Him for strength and protection. When our heart fully trust Him, it is a tremendous comfort.

 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Colossians 3:23-24

Remembering why we serve is key. When we focus on Him, the overwhelm begins to fade.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,  and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints
Ephesians 6:10-18

Preparing for daily spiritual warfare that goes on is one thing that helps defeat overwhelm. When we are prepared for the attack we are not blind sided, it gives us footing against overwhelm.
Remembering that our battle is not against flesh and blood is a big thing.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

Satan wants nothing more than to destroy us and have us give up. Doing good, fulfilling your calling as a wife and mother is not always easy. Do not lose heart dear one!
I hope these verses have encouraged you! What verses do you like to turn to when you are weary and overwhelmed?

The Quiet Homemaker

Verses for Overwhelmed & Weary Moms

Scriptures For Overwhelmed and Weary Moms

Overwhelmed and weary. I think every mom, if she is honest, will admit being there at some point. Days that we need to be reminded of the joy that we can have. Days where His grace is enough.
With three little 5 and under, and one on the way, I often find myself there. “One of those days” and “the struggle is real” can usually describe a few days each week. Especially the last week. The Tough Day Playlist has played a lot lately.
On those days, I have to remember to get in the Word.  To renew my mind. The make sure that I am getting drunk in the Spirit. When Satan wants to get you down, scripture is a great way to combat him. When Satan was tempting Jesus in the desert, Jesus-THE WORD, used the Word of God to counter Satan’s use of scripture.

Verses to use on days when you are feeling overwhelmed and/or weary. #weary #wornout #tired #overwhelmed #bible #jesus #biblestudy #motherhood @godschicki

Here Are Some To Put In Your Arsenal (Emphasis Mine)

Renewing Your Mind

Earlier this week I share about how important this is (especially for moms) in the first post of this series, Renewing Your Mind, please take a minute to check it out!

Peace and Rest

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ”
Matthew 11:28

Nothing compares to the rest that is found in Christ.

  The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

The peace that Jesus gives is not what we think of as peace. It is not necessarily the absence of conflict, but a peace that passes understanding because we know who is in control.

 A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. A Psalm of David. I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.  O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.  O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name.  For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:1-5

 

  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,  Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31

We must rely on the Lord and His strength, His power. He gives us exactly what we need.

  But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your loving kindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16

When we start out the day with praise, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Remembering God’s loving kindness is a great way to start the day.

 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

This goes to both peace and rest and trials, but remembering that in Him we have peace is important.

  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Remembering that He is always with us is such a comfort!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

In our lives, we have our plans. God’s plans do not always match those plans. Remembering that, ultimately, He is in controls is a source of peace.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Remembering the joy that we can have in Christ is another source of peace that we have.

 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Isaiah 43:2

Another great reminder that God is with us. We are in His hand.

 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted.
Isaiah 49:13

We serve a compassionate God, one that comforts His people! What a reason to rejoice!

 For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

Remembering to run to our Daddy for refuge and strength is important.

 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

Our help comes from the Lord who made the universe, from nothing! What more do we need?

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

He will not fail, nor forsake you. You are in His hand.

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My loving kindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

No matter what we go through, God’s loving kindness and covenant of peace will not be shaken.

 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”
John 7:37

Jesus truly gives the living waters that satisfy our souls. When we are satisfied in Him, it makes things much more bearable.

 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:26-28

There is such peace in knowing that all things-all things– work together for the good of those who love God! And that even when we do not have the words to pray in our hard times, that we have the Spirit who intercedes for us.

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

We are loved. We have eternal comfort. We have good hope. We can comfort and strengthen our hearts in every good work and word.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!
2 Thessalonians 3:16

In every circumstance. It is not going to be easy. Jesus warned that in this world we will have troubles.

 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:8

Drawing near to God is so important for peace and rest.

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

I shared Monday how important thanksgiving and gratitude are in our lives and to renewing our minds. It makes it much easier to let Christ’s peace (which is not like the world’s peace), rule our hearts.

  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Often when this verse is quoted the emphasis is on “I can”, and not “Him who”. It is only through Him that we can do things, especially hard things.

 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:6-10

Taking our worries and problems to God should be our first action, not our last resort. He cares how you are feeling. About your well-being.
Living like we have an enemy after us is important. He is serious, and will do what he can to get us distracted and off track.
God will use this for your good, and will strengthen you.

 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. …  Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
1 John 3:1, 13

How great is His love!
Sometimes our trials are not everyday things, but externally sourced. It is important to remember that we are not promised an easy road.

 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

Greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you!

 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

If we did everything effortlessly, if everything ran smoothly and we could do it all, where would the room for Christ to shine and show His power be?
Afflicted, not crushed; perplexed, not despairing; persecuted, not forsaken; struck down, not destroyed…
We must daily die to self so that Jesus can be manifested in our bodies.

  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

We should take courage in being weak, when we cannot do it all, for then it is a chance for Christ to dwell in us. There are days when His grace is enough.

 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,  and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.  We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.  Rejoice always;  pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

I feel like this is motherhood in a nut shell…Encouraging, building up, praising good done, living in peace with one another, admonishing the unruly, helping the weak, being patient, seeing that no one repays evil for evil, seeking the best good.
It does say be patient with everyone…no qualifiers given. I admit readily that I struggle with that sometimes…especially when it is the 100th time I have told someone to do something….but then how many times does God have to tell me something? How many times has He been patient with me?
Rejoice….always! In everything give thanks….it is not always easy.
When we have a constant, prayerful connection it is much easier to have a joyful spirit and give thanks, even in the hard times…

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

God has prepared these good works for us to walk in. He crafted you for a specific purpose. Put you where you are for a reason. Chosen you as the mother of you children, as the spouse for your husband.

 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14

Waiting is hard, but being still, really taking time to acknowledge Him as Lord of your life is important. We can take courage in the fact that we are not God.

 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

I have always found the psalms so encouraging. Many times when I do not know what to pray I will read then, and usually I find something that expresses perfectly how I feel.

 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.
Psalm 142:3

Even when we are overwhelmed, God knows our path. Even when we cannot see it, He does. That is such a source of peace and comfort for me.

   The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psalm 28:7

We must rely on Him for strength and protection. When our heart fully trust Him, it is a tremendous comfort.

 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Colossians 3:23-24

Remembering why we serve is key. When we focus on Him, the overwhelm begins to fade.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,  and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints
Ephesians 6:10-18

Preparing for daily spiritual warfare that goes on is one thing that helps defeat overwhelm. When we are prepared for the attack we are not blind sided, it gives us footing against overwhelm.
Remembering that our battle is not against flesh and blood is a big thing.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

Satan wants nothing more than to destroy us and have us give up. Doing good, fulfilling your calling as a wife and mother is not always easy. Do not lose heart dear one!
I hope these verses have encouraged you! What verses do you like to turn to when you are weary and overwhelmed?

The Quiet Homemaker

The Temple Curtain

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

Matthew 27:50-51, emphasis mine

I remember very clearly sitting in 6th grade Sunday School and after we had just read this passage thinking what an odd detail to include. Being in 6th grade, I did not want to ask about it, since all of my friends were there (yes, I know. I have grown a lot since then!).

The Temple Curtain #easter #temple #jesus #holy #god

It was not until several years later that I learned what it meant, but it was mind blowing.

To really grasp the awesomeness of what this verse means, you have to go back to the old testament.

Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies (the section of the temple separated from the outer places by the temple curtain), and only once a year after careful washing. (Leviticus 16)
The Tabernacle Place says:
“The veil was a barrier to make sure that man could not carelessly and irreverently enter into God’s awesome presence. Even as the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he had to make some meticulous preparations: He had to wash himself, put on special clothing, bring burning incense to let the smoke cover his eyes from a direct view of God, and bring blood with him to make atonement for sins.”
The curtain was 60 feet high, and heavy enough that one would not just trip and fall into the Holy of Holies. It was torn from the top down!

“Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.  For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.  Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,  having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;  and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship,  but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. ”

Hebrews 9:1-7

Hebrews 9-10 is about the old system and the new, please take some time to read it!

 “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…”

Hebrews 10:19-20

The God of the universe the holy, holy, holy God- gave His Son so that we could be covered by His blood and enter into the holy place of communion with Him. Take a minute to drink that in!
How often do we take our communion with Him lightly? Carelessly? Irreverently?
I am guilty I know. How often I lose the wonder and awe of the fact that the God who put the universe in motion desires and has made a way to be in a relationship with Him!
Take some time this Easter season to really be still and stand in awe of God.
Hallelujah! It is finished!

36 Songs For Tough Days

36 Songs for Tough Days @gosdchicki
One of those days. I’ve had a lot of them many times. Here are some songs that have each ministered to me in difficult times, and encouraged me to press on.
Music is such a powerful medium. We can learn a song as a child and remember it 20 years later. These songs all hold truths that are great to tuck away for hard days. I have shared a bit before about how songs have ministered to me in my posts His Grace Is Enough and Peace.
I would love to share the snippets of lyrics that have really spoken to me, but as a blogger I have to abide by copyright laws, and posting more than a song title is considered infringement.

This post contains affiliate links. This means that the price that you pay will not change, but I receive a small commission when you purchase through my links.

36 Songs For Tough Days

  1. Shackles by Mary Mary
  2. Held by Natalie Grant
  3. God is God by Steven Curtis Chapman
  4. This Is The Stuff by Francesca Battistelli
  5. Strong Enough by Matthew West
  6. Out of My Hands by Matthew West
  7. Trust In You by Lauren Daigle
  8. Walk By Faith by Jeremy Camp
  9. I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp
  10. Blessed Be Your Name by Tree 63
  11. Your Grace Is Enough by Matt Maher
  12. Lord Move Or Move Me by FFH
  13. You Are God Alone by Phillips, Craig, and Dean
  14. Let The Waters Rise by Mikeschair
  15. Hills And Valleys by Tauren Wells
  16. You Are Loved by Stars Go Dim
  17. Rescue by Michael Gungor
  18. Never Alone by BarlowGirl
  19. Praise You In The Storm by Casting Crowns
  20. One Thing Remains by Passion Conference
  21. Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture
  22. It Is Well With My Soul by Jeremy Camp
  23. Trading My Sorrows by Darrell Evans
  24. He Is Our Peace by Maranatha
  25. The Voice Of Truth by Casting Crowns
  26. Corner Stone by Aaron Shust
  27. I Have This Hope by Tenth Avenue North
  28. Your Hands by JJ Heller
  29. Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin
  30. Need You Now (How Many Times) by Plumb
  31. Lift Me Up by The Afters
  32. Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe
  33. Cry Out To Jesus by ThirdDay
  34. At The Foot of The Cross by Kathryn Scott
  35. Desert Song by Shane and Shane
  36. Hungry (Falling On My Knees) by Kathryn Scott

Has music ministered to you? What songs do you like to listen to in hard times?
 

The Enemy

The Enemy @godschicki
Imagine that you are on an African safari. Something happens to your jeep and you are stranded. You are going to be more aware of the dangers around you. Especially if there are lions in the area.
You are going to make choices based on the fact that there is a lion out there seeking to eat you.
Scripture says that the devil is like a lion:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Let us think about that for a bit.
What are some are some of the characteristics of the prey that a lion goes after?

  • The Weak
  • The Slow
  • The Young
  • The Old
  • The Unsuspecting
  • The Isolated
  • The Injured
  • The Different

Imagine those characteristics as spiritual things. What are one or more things that you do that might put yourself in one or more of those categories?
Here are some of the thoughts that I had:

The Weak

Lack of exercise and nourishment can leave us weak. Are we feeding your soul daily? Are we working the muscles of our faith?

The Slow

Lack of sleep can leave us slow. Are we taking time to be still with God? To observe a day of rest?

The Young

Are we new in the faith? Have we found a mentor and an accountability partner?

The Old

Has our faith grown stagnant?
Sometimes we get arrogant. We think that we have nothing more to learn about God, His Word, or faith.
Have we grown weary in doing good?

The Unsuspecting

Are we preparing for the devil’s attacks by putting on the garment of praise, love, and the full armor of God? Are we familiar with your weapon?
Are we so busy that you are distracted?

The Isolated

Are we active in a community of believers? We are called to fellowship with fellow believers. Not just get our church from the tv, but really be part of the church body (yes, there are people who cannot get out of their house, but that is where the body should come in through visits, etc).
Sometimes lions will work to isolate prey. He knows that there is safety in numbers.
Imagine breaking a pencil. Not always easy, but very doable. Now, imagine holding a handful of pencils. If you have 10 pencils in your hand, it is nearly impossible to do unless you are the Incredible Hulk or Superman.

The Injured

We all feel broken at times, but we should not stay there. Allowing God to heal our brokeness is important.
Maybe we have been hurt by someone in the church.
Maybe we feel the devil’s attacks daily and that we are losing ground, we have gotten distracted by the storm.

The Different

Unlike the other things, this is not a bad thing. We are called to stand out as people of God. Sometimes that makes us easier prey because we are more visible. In this case, it is encouraging when we face trials for a our faith.
 
 
We must live our lives like we are being sought by a prowling lion. Preparing for the daily spiritual warfare.
How do you prepare yourself for the day, and more specifically, for the enemy’s attacks? What are some verses that you use to sword fight?
 

Peculiar A Lesson From Beauty & The Beast

Peculiar A Lesson From Beauty & The Beast @godschicki
Little girlie is a bit in love with the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. She has been walking around belting out bits and pieces of the songs for a couple of weeks now.
Have you seen it? Remember the part where Belle is walking through her town and everyone is singing about what an odd duck she is? How she does fit in? That she’s nothing like them? Her head is in the clouds?
I was thinking about it, and that is really how Christ followers should be seen.

 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercyBeloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:9-12

 
I have shared a few times (Getting Drunk, Grace Filled Speech, What You Eat Matters, Feeding Your Soul, With Every Breath, Imitating, Putting on Love
on how we should be different.  It is something I am very passionate about.
If there’s no difference between us and the rest of the world, what is the point? (I am not alone in my frustration, in Galatians,  Paul calls out Cephas for being no different than Gentiles. While the picture there is Jew/Gentile, I think it is equally important for Christ followers to be different from those who do not know the Lord.)
Christianity in the Western world is watered down to the point of danger. It’s all about feeling good and prosperity. Sin is a taboo word because we might offend someone. How you live your daily life does not matter.
Our faith is not a real a living part of our lives. Just something done on Sundays and possibly Wednesdays.
I can say this with confidence because IF people who claimed the name of Christ LIVED it the word-Titus 2:11-14, James 2:14-26, Philippians 1 and 2, Ephesians 4 and 5, Colossians 3 and 4, and Galatians 5 and 6 (to name a few Scriptures that specifically touch on how Christ followers should live), if claiming the name of Christ wasn’t just some sort of fire insurance, the world would look much different.

  • We would stand out, being so radically different from the world because we lived the WORD.
  • Our faith would be real and living, not something we put in a box for a certain day or time or place when we take it out to ‘use’ it. We would not be able to contain it.
  • Our faith would affect every little aspect of our daily lives. The choices we make, the media we consume, the things we say and do.
  • Bibles would not be collecting dust on a shelf or coffee table.
  • We would be able to quote Scripture like we quote sports stats or celebrity gossip or the latest plot twist of our favorite tv show or our favorite song lyrics. (And be as excited about sharing what God is doing in our lives with others!)
  • We would be a light for the lost, reaching out to them instead of worrying about offending them or buying into the “to each his own” philosophy.
  • Loneliness would not be the public mental health crisis that is now considered.
  • We would not be so wrapped up in our BUSYness (post on that coming later!) that we do not have time for our brothers and sisters who are struggling.
  • We would take care of the poor instead of thinking they need to get a job when we do not know a thing about them or their struggles or how hard they have tried to make ends meat or thinking someone else will help.
  • Women would teach each other as commanded in Scripture.
  • We would train up our children in the way they should go, teaching them to love the Lord, they would not be leaving the church in such numbers as they are today. (There is still free will, but we have bought into the philosophy that we should not push our beliefs onto our kids. We do not live the difference, lead by example.)
  • Relationships and marriages would not be the disposable things they are seen as. (I am not talking about instances of abuse here, but those who “fall out of love”.)
  • The church would be known for it’s love and not it’s hypocrisy.
  • We would value life as God does.
  • We would be His hands and feet.

:takes deep breath:
Got a little carried away there, but for real people, the Word is full of instructions on how we are to live, and many who claim the name of Christ have no idea, or worse, choose to ignore it.
C.H. Spurgeon once said:

If there is no visible difference between you and the world, depend upon it there is no invisible difference.

Ouch.
Does your life look different than the world’s normal? Does it reflect the light of Christ? Not by empty words, but by how you live your life?
My challenge for you, is to look up these Scriptures and use them as glasses to view your life and walk with Christ. Join me in asking God to reveal short-comings in our lives to us and for the wisdom and strength to make the changes necessary  for our lives to line up with Scripture. For the strength to be peculiar.

I often link up posts at:
Christian Blogger Community | The Art of Homemaking Link~up | Raising Homemakers Link~up | Making Your Home Sing Monday Link~up | Monday Musings Link~up | Monday of Many Blessings Link~up | A Wise Woman Link~up | Modest Monday Link~up | Soul Survivor | Titus 2 Tuesday | Tell it to Me Tuesday | Think Tank Thursday | From House to Home | Wow Us Wednesday

Introducing The Aprons & Pearls Link-up

I have been thinking about setting up a link up for quite some time, and I finally made a graphic that, while not quite what I envisioned, will work until I find that perfect image.

About the Aprons & Pearls Link-up

Aprons & Pearls Link~up @godschicki
This will be a Christ-based weekly link-up to encourage others in their walks, and help Christian bloggers get their work out there.
Leave up to three links to posts that are:
Homemaking/natural living/parenting/Christian walk related.
This could be natural living posts, recipes, cleaning, parenting, devotions, lessons, homeschool, Christian living, mentoring, modesty, gardening, homemade, diy, marriage, relationships, frugality, etc.

Linking Guidelines:

  • Link directly to your post (not to your homepage).
  • Please, no marketing posts (Plexus, Jamberry, Oil Selling or the like).
  •  Life happens and we all get behind sometimes, but for each link you leave, please comment on at least two posts (1 link=2 comments, 2 links=4 comments, 3 links=6 comments).
  • Comments should be meaningful (at least 10 words and relevant to the post) and use keywords from the post title.
  • Add the Aprons & Pearls Button below to either your post or your sidebar so others can join in.
  • Use the hashtag #aprons&pearls when posting on social media so we can find your posts as well!

The link-up will run Tuesday at 6am-Sunday at 5pm. Please come back Sunday and check out some of the posts!

<a href=”http://aboutachik.wordpress.com/category/aprons-pearls/”><img src=”http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/godschik/614b1d18-a4cb-414a-a454-13881598be0f.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”The Aprons & Pearls Link~Up”/></a>

Now, to the link-up!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth:THe Art of Homemaking Monday

Our Home of Many Blessings
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

How to Start Studying the Bible

 
How to start
When we first see a big, thick book, it can be intimidating,  right?
Fortunately for us, the Bible us a book of what are essentially letters.
Some people just open to a random page and begin reading.  While this might be okay for a quick extra dose of the Word, I am not a fan of this as a way to study the Bible.
Imagine that you got a letter from a dear friend or someone you highly respect.
Would you just flip to page two and begin reading?
How well would you understand what is being said?
What if the part of the letter that you skipped totally changed the meaning of the passage you read?
Context is so important in Bible study.
Begin at the first part of a book and read through the entire book if possible.  Most of the New Testement books are easily read in one sitting.
Remember that that is how they are meant to be read. Chapters and verses have since been established to help us find verses easily.
Just because there’s a new verse or even chapter number does not mean that the thought being conveyed has changed.

Find A Time

I have heard people say “I don’t have time for reading the Bible”. I will not sugar coat this next bit:
If you are a follower of Christ and think yourself too busy for Bible study, then you are too busy. Bible study should be a priority in your life.
Yes, there are seasons where Bible study does not mean pulling out tons of books and doing word research and highlighting, etc., but we MUST be intentional about being in the Word. If you missed yesterday’s post on why this is so important, please take a minute to check it out: Bible Study-Are You Feeding Your Soul?
Back to finding a time. I like to start my day off with study. Being a mom of two littles, I need to get moving before I start, or I will fall asleep again. I try to get up, shower and get dressed (yes, sometimes it is just in clean jammies or sweats) before I start my time with the Lord.
What time you do it does not matter. What does matter is making the time. There is no right or wrong time.

Where to start

Here are a couple of ideas of places to actually start:
‘John’ Reading Plan
A good place to start is the book of John.
Start with the Gospel of John, then start back in the Gospel of Matthew and read through the New Testament. Then go back to Genesis and read back through the entire Bible.
Chronological Reading Plan
The books of the Bible are typically grouped by genre, not necessarily in chronological order.
A chronological reading plan gives you a great sense of the time and history of the books.
BibleGateway has a Chronological reading plan here.
Good Morning Girls Studies
I love these studies. While I have never found an online group to join, I have done them myself and with a couple of friends. You can also go back and do past studies that they have done.

Translations

There are many different translations, some word for word, some use thought for thought and some paraphrase. I am looking into a new translation to use because the NIV, which I have used for the biggest part of my life, has changed. Not so much in a good way. Political correctness type stuff. Seriously, the 2004 NIV is not the same as the newest one.
Since we are talking about doing study in the Word, a word for word translation is important to me. I am leaning toward either the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New American Standard (NASB).

Concordance

Once I decide on a translation, I will get a concordance to help me dig into the Word. A concordance is a wonderful study aid, that lets you look up the words used in a particular Scripture so that you can get a deeper understanding of the original meaning in Greek or Hebrew. They are translation specific, so I do need to figure out which translation I am going to use for study. I will share more on how it all works when I get one, but here is a handy page with some great info.

Method

There are several great Bible study methods out there. You can study book by book, or themes or keywords in the Bible. I prefer to do book studies.
The one I use a lot is the SOAP method. I use it as I am studying a book of the Bible.
Good Morning Girls used this method a few years ago (they have changed it a bit and it is now called the SOAK method), and I love it.
S. Scripture-writing out the Scripture
O. Observation-jotting a couple of observations about the verses
A. Application-how can I apply it to my life today?
P. Prayer-Pray the Scriptures, pray for the changes you need to make, pray that God would impress the Scriptures on you heart and mind
I use plain journals to write it out. Cute ones I usually find at Michael’s arts and crafts for a dollar. I usually use one page to do Scripture and the opposite one to do notes on it. I recently found some amazing journals that are designed for just such a thing, I will link to them in tomorrow’s post of resources.
I have found that writing them out makes me think about them more, makes them stick in my mama needs more sleep fog.
Some more information on different Bible study methods:
Inductive Bible Study
Bible Study Methods and Applications
TASTE Bible Study Method
What Are Some Different Bible Study Methods?
SOAK Method
 

Application

It does not matter what you read or how you read it if you do not apply it to your life.
What good would taking driver’s education be if it did not shape the way you drive?
 
I hope this helps you on you journey closer to the Lord. Tomorrow (hopefully) I will be sharing how I organize my study supplies, some of my favorite resources and articles on Bible study.
Edit:
I have now finished this series! So here are the links to these posts that go together.
Feeding Your Soul-Why Bible Study is Important
Where Do I Start? Tips and Methods for Digging Deep
Bible Study Posts and Resources
What method of Bible study do you use? What is your favorite book of the Bible?