Saturday, October 13, 2018

30 Days to Understanding the Bible

Ever felt frustrated with trying to read the Bible?

Maybe you set your New Year's Resolution and quickly found that from starting in Genesis you didn't make it very far. Maybe you just picked a book from the Bible and found that while reading your mind wandered or you weren't sure what the meaning was of what you just read.

I have been reading a book lately that has expanded my understanding of the Bible like never before. 


I am not a Bible scholar and my Bible-Belt, Southern Christian upbringing had given me a view of the Bible as being a big list of to-dos and not to-dos and the punnishment that awaited if you failed. Until a few years ago I saw Christianity as about being “good” and deep down felt salvation was earned. As God has been working on my heart in understanding grace, this book has been working on my head in understanding God's Word.

The book has broken the Bible down into manageable chunks that enables me to see God's artistry & design. I am a detail oriented person who sometimes has trouble seeing the bigger picture. The way this book gives timelines, eras, themes, styles, doctrines, and geography has given me a clearer  perspective as a whole. 

I love the repetition and self-tests in each chapter. It has helped me to gain mental ownership of the information. With these study strategies it is a great tool to "unlock the scriptures in 15 minutes a day" as the subtitle says. You really can read a chapter each day and build a deeper connection to the Bible. Check out this intro video

God as an author is a genius. His Word reveals His creativity, His divine purpose & His great love for His people. There is so much to be gained by digging in The Word each day. Yet, we can be limited in knowledge of how to go about that in a meaningful way. This is why I highly recommend this book. You can use this book to expand your intellect and let that deepen your study of God's Word. 

Anyone can read this. Everyone can benefit from this. 

I received an advance reader's copy of this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson as a member of the 30 Days to Understanding the Bible book launch team. This is my honest review of 30 Days to Understanding the Bible.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Love Everybody, Always

You guys!!! You know Bob Goff? Like, THE Bob Goff? I got on his launch team for his new book and I'm plum giddy over it! His previous book, Love Does, is one of my absolute favorites! Have you read it yet? Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Well if you haven't you absolutely should. But, back to this book. 

So, it's called Everybody, Always and it's available for preorder now! I read the first five chapters yesterday and my heart is still bouncing around in my chest. His way with words and the humor that translates through the pages is my favorite. I was crying one minute and grinning the next. This man is my hero. His fearless, love everybody life exudes joy and challenges me in incredible ways! I can't wait to read the rest!

Deep into God's Transforming Love

I got to be on the launch team for this book this past month and it has been a wonderful experience! Rooted is a daily devotional book for a 6-week look into Ephesians. I have studied Ephesians enough that my journaling Bible has no margins left to write in so I honestly didn't expect to get so much out of this!
Lara brings in her personal reflections and experiences into this study which makes it feel like you are doing it with a friend. I love this book! Each day I wrote out the few scriptures and reflected on what they had to say about God and about me. I enjoyed the truths being revealed in these pages and found myself looking forward to seeing what Lara had to say about it as well.

I'm so excited to share this with my women's group, Deeply Planted this month!

Find the book here: Rooted: Going Deep into God's Transforming Love
Lara G Williams

Friday, February 2, 2018

Be Careful If You Think You Stand

Being the over-achiever, multitasker that I am I thought I could handle it all. I barely thought about it when faced with the dilemma and just said okay, I'll just cram it in somehow. I'd certainly done this before and having no real idea of what my limitations were I just threw myself into it and said it'll work out..probably.

You see, it was my friend's birthday and I didn't want to miss out. I didn't want to not show up for her. And I couldn't miss the training weekend because it would be almost a year before I could make it up and I was only a few months away from graduating with my RYT-200. So, I went to the late-night bar-hopping scene Friday and got maybe three hours of sleep before driving across the city to check in to an 8-hour day yoga training Saturday followed by another 8-hour day of the same on Sunday and a 2-hour drive home in complete exhaustion. I was actually already sick when I woke up Saturday and the weekend of studying yoga and putting my body in all kinds of advanced poses when I was so run down was a definite struggle but I pushed through. Training weekends always took a lot out of me but I thought I could handle it, even sick apparently. Quitting just wasn't an option.

After this you'd think I'd be at home in bed, right? Nah, not me. I let my partner take one or two of my scheduled classes but I powered through the rest still running the kids all over the country-side and going about my to-dos at half speed. I had a surgery scheduled for the next week that would require me to be down a few days so I didn't have time to be sick now I reasoned.

As the surgery date approached I got my voice back and started to feel like I was getting better so I didn't really consider post-poning it. Everything went fine with it and back home I took it easy.. for the rest of the day. I woke up feeling good so I invited a friend over with her babies. By the time they left that afternoon I was not feeling well at all and chided myself for not having taken a "power nap" before all that I had on my schedule to do that day. It wasn't until I was driving through town that I started contacting the necessary people to cancel everything. When it was discovered that I was running a 104 degree temperature I finally allowed myself to give in and just be sick. 

Of course I thought that meant I could just go to bed. The whirlwind of doctors, needles, tests, and drugs that followed for the next month was nowhere in my imagination. I had ran myself down into Septic Shock and near death and still hadn't figured it out. 

I am not invincible. 
I cannot do it all. 
I am not God.

Pride is dangerous. 

For who/what am I working? I ask myself this now, simply because hindsight is 20/20. Now that I've had to ease back into my life little by little slowly taking back all the responsibilities others had to carry for me in my break down I see how much I've allowed on my plate. I finally feel the weight of all that I've allowed myself to carry. I've started to analyze the risk and the benefit and consider my frailty. 

For the first time in my life I have admitted defeat. I have come face-to-face with my weakness. And it wasn't by choice. I fought against it with all of my being. 

I thought I knew what it was like to come to the end of myself. I thought that having a melt down meant I'd hit rock bottom. I thought disappointing someone or dropping the ball was the worst thing that could happen. I was wrong. 

This has been the most humbling experience of my life. And yet here I am only a couple months later efficient but exhausted once again. Why? What on earth makes us feel like life is about a to-do list? Why are we so driven to achievements and tasks? If I truly believed life was a spiritual journey of sanctification and the world's view is just a kind of a temporary smoke & mirrors then why wouldn't I live like it? 

I cannot let such a massive life experience fade from memory without taking the lessons with me. What should I learn from this? 

To take care of myself. I spread this message with my yoga studio urging others to make this a priority in their lives and yet I do it at the sacrifice of myself. Is that ironic or just plain ignorance? 

To accept my humanity. My desire to be self-sufficient and independent and strong is my PRIDE. Plain and simple - I just need to get over myself already. I'm only human. I can give others grace in this area but not myself. Is this because I think I'm above it or something?

To stop being a people-pleaser. I am not capable of not letting people down sometimes. As much as I want to be everything to everyone (as if I'm so special? so important?) It's okay if someone is upset at me for awhile or if I'm not their favorite - I'll live.

To stop feeling like the world depends on me. Life goes on perfectly well without me. Even the kids can be cared for by others when needed. I don't hold the earth up spinning on my shoulders. Everyone will be fine. Everything will be fine. 

To rely on God and not my own strength. The most glaringly obvious thing I did not do in this whole deal is seek God. I didn't pray for wisdom in making my decisions. I didn't ask God to reveal my limitations and help me see truth. I didn't ask for his strength for what I was facing. I only begged for the pain to stop after I'd screwed everything up and was laying in that hospital bed crying in defeat. 

That false sense of self and my pride and my lack of dependence on God is precisely my problem. I operate that way by default. And Satan knows it. 

So my hope for this year is that God put this to death in me. I hope that this all brings me closer to Him and farther from my sin. I hope that my prayer life be strengthened and my faith deepened. I hope that my empathy and grace will be doubled. I hope that I will be kinder and less critical. I hope that someone sees what I went through and it causes them to pause, to consider. I hope that God will use this for His purpose, for my good and for His Glory. I hope that this will be a year of hope for me - seeking what is good and eternal. I hope that this has opened my eyes. I am praying that it will be so.

30 Days to Understanding the Bible

Ever felt frustrated with trying to read the Bible? Maybe you set your New Year's Resolution and quickly found that from starting in...