Fitting in or Belonging (Included in Christ review)

posted in: Bible, Books | 1

There are some themes that take over the Christian conversation world from time to time.  And by that I mean so many of the books being published are about the same topic, or podcasts are interviewing people speaking on the same topic.

Right now is seems to be about friendships, belonging, community, etc.  And one of the questions or tips with figuring our my enneagram number has something to do with this.  One of the reasons I chose my enneagram number is because I have the ability to fit in anywhere, but I don’t always feel like I belong.

Belonging is a deep sense of “I’m loved no matter what” and “these people get me” verses just being able to get along, hang out, or blend in.  As someone who has been in ministry leadership for 20 years and moved around for 17 years, I’ve been rather good at that.

But fitting in is not belonging.  Belonging is sitting down and having your soul poured into for hours on end, and you don’t even have your flip flops on.

Belonging is sharing whatever is on your heart without a lull in the conversation because you don’t have to worry about what to say.  You won’t be condemned because you aren’t perfect or don’t fit the mold.  I’ve lived in areas where I’ve not fit the mold and so I’ve neither fit in or belonged – and that is so lonely.

I was listening to a podcast just yesterday and they were talking about Sabbath, resting, and loneliness.  And usually, I have found if I am lonely, it is not primarily because I am not around friends.  It is because I’ve been absent from the Word in an intimate way, slow to pray, and seeking all of my fulfillment from those who can’t fill it.

Heather Holleman writes a Bible study called Included in Christ – a study on the book of Ephesians.  She does a really good job at helping us know where we are in Christ – rooted in Him – and known by Him – and tells us that we can belong.  She helps you see your part of the story in this wonderful book of the Bible.

Some folks are very detailed and organized in their Bible study.  I’m not.  I kinda pick a book then study it in different ways: a Bible study, sermons, books, lettering, drawing, writing it out, etc.  So, this is a good one to help me along my journey in Ephesians.

If you would like to win a copy of it, just leave me a comment about anything and I’ll pick a winner soon!

Thanks to Sidedoor Communications and Moody Publishers for my copy. All thoughts are my own.

Glory and Grace: Ephesians 6

posted in: glory and grace | 0

Ephesians 6

God is strong, and he wants you strong.

So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials.

And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything

the Devil throws your way.

Ephesians 6 – The Message

Are you ever weak in your faith?  Do you ever wonder what God has in store for you?  Are you tempted to doubt?

I have these thoughts.  I know many ladies who fight every day to believe that God is their BEST!

I love knowing that God is true to His Word!

Glory and Grace

Ephesians on Kindle (SO EXCITED)

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Big announcement: Prayers for the Journey: Ephesians edition is finally on Kindle!  That’s right – I have a self-published book on Amazon!!!

Here is a review of it on the CBMW site via my friend Courtney Reissig

If you haven’t heard of Prayers for the Journey – it is a kindle book devotional with journaling pages that literally walks through specific verses in Ephesians (or other books of the Bible) and helps wives know how to pray the word for their husbands.  I’ve been writing these since I got married, but have been learning about praying for my husband for two decades.

There are so many people to thank:

My parents and in-laws : thank you for always being an encouragement and my greatest fans

My Mister: thank you for being one who sanctifies me and prays for me – and also my first editor

Amy Torcasso: My designer – who also did the work on Treasuring Christ when I was writing it – but now we stay in touch through this!  Super talented and selfless

Sarah Popovczak: My editor for this edition of the Prayers for the Journey – she’s about to be a mom too!

Amelia McNeilly: A great publicist and encourager and the one who got this worked out for Kindle

Phyllis Robshaw: Amazing mentor and the one who lives out this act of praying for her husband and family and me – by praying the Word.

My Little Misters: Dudes that will make amazing husbands one day – and I’m already praying for them as they will be husbands to precious wives.

Margo Bowen: a mom of many and grandmom to many and a wife to one.  Thank you for loving my Mister as a son and for writing the introduction to this edition.

Future Editions: Nehemiah is available now on the blog for free.  Colossians is being typed up now and getting ready to be sent to my editor before she has her baby.  James is being written and prayed.  1 Peter is the the next one in the works.

Thanks all.  Please feel free to get the word out.  2.99 is a great deal and its for your kindle!

W&BT: Found in Him

posted in: Books, Women & Books Together | 0

Wedding Dress

I think I love this book more and more – the further I get in it. Thank you Elyse!

“The glorious incarnation that we’ve been considering means that we will never be alone, never separated from God.” (155)  This is such amazing truth.  When our sin separates us from others: family, friends, spouses – know that because of the grace and the cross of Jesus – we can never again be separated from the One who saved us.

Ephesians 5: we had this passage preached in our wedding by our pastor Andy Davis.  It was an amazing sermon.  You would think I would know it by now – but each time I read it something else amazes me by it.  Here is what stood out to me in this reading.  Listen to how it starts: Christ loved the church.  Do we live by love or by law?  Do we live by grace or by “do this”?

There is a song by the Gettys “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” (that may or may not be the title)… and one of my favorite lyrics: “how great the joy before us to be his perfect bride.”  Every time I’ve heard that song and especially that line I think, man, I want to live a more holy life, more according to the Word of God.  How erroneous of my thoughts to start there.

I have to start where this passage in Ephesians 5 starts: Christ loved the church.  It is Christ’s love that makes me His perfect Bride – not my good works.

“We are Christ’s trophy wife now.” (160).  I’m by no means a trophy wife to Eric. I’m not a size 6.  I’m not the perfect mother for our boys.  I burn food sometimes.  There is dust everywhere in our home.  But, the joy to know is that Christ has made me HIS trophy wife – by the blood – and is continually sanctifying me!

This was a packed chapter.  What did you get out of it?

One Sobering Thought in Praying for Our Son

posted in: mothering, parenting, writing | 0

I’m in the middle of a prayer-writing project in Ephesians.  Will hopfeully get it off to my editor by the time I find out if the next baby we have will be a boy or a girl.  Exciting times.

But, also, this has proved to be a very sobering time for me.  Much of Ephesians is about the dichotomy between life and death, between darkness and light, the difference between believers and unbelievers, adopted son and daughters or forever separated.

As I’ve been praying these for E – I know he is a believer so they are easier to pray with assurance that these verses of new life apply to him.  As I pray for little e, I do not have that same assurance.

Mister and I can pray for our little e.  We can train him up.  We can desire that he be saved.  But, that is all we can do.  The saving comes to God.  I don’t know for sure that God called and adopted our little boy before the foundations of the world.  All I can do is wait and see – and live with the knowledge that all God does is good and for His own glory and live my life in such a way that it would point our son to Christ.

The proverbs are sayings of wisdom not necessarily to be taken as divine promises.  And how many people do you know have sons and daughters they have raised in The Lord but they reject Christ.  And how many spouses pray for their entire lives for their husbands or wives to come to know Christ, but they never do.

God is our eternal Father and sent Jesus to save some.  There will be some in hell.  I can pray with all my might  that our little boy will be one of the elect, chosen in Christ – but God is the knower of all things.

I will pray and live to that end.

Far More Abundantly

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Do we pray often (or ever) we this phrase in mind?  Is our faith and our prayer life lacking?

I wanna make this post biblically accurate and not venture into the land of name it and claim it – poor theology that leads us to believe that God is a bank lender or santa clause or the easter bunny or even the tooth fairy.  God is the Sovereign Giver of all things to us for our good and His glory.  We need to take from his hand both blessing and trial (look at Job and Joseph).  But, how can we incorporate this type of praying into our prayer life?

Far More Abundantly…this phrase comes from Ephesians 3:20-21 – let me start a few verses earlier and walk us through it – since proof texting is not a fundamental way to understand Scripture.

Eph 3:14-21

The main point of this passage is that Paul is asking on behalf of the saints of the church at Ephesus that they would be filled with the power, love, and fullness of God through faith in the One (Christ) who worked for them and the power of the one who lives in them (the Spirit).  He wants us to dwell every day in ALL the fullness of God.  Do you or I live that way every day?  I’ll speak for myself – I don’t.  Sin.  Yup – that’s the answer to all that ails us.  Sin: pride, weak faith, laziness, unrepentant heart, those are some sins that keep me from knowing the fullness of God dwelling in me.

Then Paul goes on to confirm with the church at Ephesus that God is so big He can do (according to His plans – See other parts of Scripture) far more abundantly than anything we ask for – FOR HIS GLORY.  We may think we are asking big prayers – but are we really?

1.  Do we ask God for a ministry but really doubt in the back of our minds that He can grant us that?

2.  Do we ask God to save loved ones and bring them to Himself – but then give up when we don’t see that happen in the first week of our praying.

3.  Do we ask God for healing for ourselves or others and then faint at the weariness of the burden of praying endless prayers when the illness continues, the baby dies, the womb stays empty.

4.  Do we fail at continued prayer when there are financial troubles and we see no way out but blame shifting and going deeper in debt.

5.  Do we pray for husbands or wives that we don’t have yet and grumble to the God when our ring finger remains empty for one more holiday, New Years, or someone else’s wedding shower.

Last year during the month of May, I started praying this passage of Scripture for my husband in a situation we were facing.  During that same month He began answering that prayer.  And even when times are hard because of that answer to prayer – I must remember that our God can do FAR MORE ABUNDANTLY than we can ever ask or imagine – ALL FOR HIS GLORY.

And when we pray like this we must be ready TO ACCEPT HIS ANSWER – not our answer.  His answer may look completely different than ours – but are we willing to lay aside what we thought would be the way God would work and live fully in His answer.

Another study I’m working through is going through Psalm 119 verse by verse, many of them have to do with the Word of God and its truth in our lives.  But, what is the basic idea of the Psalms in general – the writer’s crying out to God.  Do you cry out to God with a hope and a knowledge that He will answer.  Do you wait in unhindered anticipation that He will answer – and He will answer in such a way that will be FAR MORE ABUNDANTLY than we could ever ask or imagine?

All (his answer is always for this reason) for His glory for now and forever.

Pray on.  Live in Faith.  Dwell in Fullness.