Studying His Heart

My theme for this month is “deeper in December” as I walk in the word God spoke over me for 2017; DEEPER. Part of this process of going deeper has been diving deeper into His word. However, not just for head knowledge or even for application, but for the sole purpose of  knowing who Jesus really is through his word; to really study his heart.

To know WHO he is at the core.

How deeply he really feels and loves us,  how his love moved him all the way from heaven to earth, and keeps him here among us.

It’s a different dimension and focus to studying his word. For a few years I’ve been structuring my quiet time by using something similar to the SOAP method:

Scripture, Observations, Applications, and Prayer.

But to know Him more deeply, I’ve been lingering at the observation level, with the sole observation being how Jesus loves us. It’s been a beautiful thing to walk through the gospels and see his love on new levels.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been writing down how to live it out and asking him to help me love like he loves. So there’s been application. But it’s a lot more Spirit led and organic, and not so rigid and structured. Studying his word this way has moved me into more relationship and less religion.

Right now I’m in the book of John, the last gospel, and yesterday I saw the story of when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead with new eyes; not the actual resurrection from the dead, but the heart of our Savior in the moments leading up to the miracle.

Jesus Weeps

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[e] in his spirit and greatly troubled.34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”35 Jesus wept.36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

Mary, Martha, their family and friends were beside themselves with grief. Their beloved brother had died. They had sent for Jesus, but Jesus didn’t show up until days after Lazarus had taken his last breath. What struck me most was when Jesus called for his beloved Mary, who had “anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair.” When he called for her, she rushed to him and he embraced her in the middle of her grieving, and he grieved with her.

Sweet sister, take this prayer weaved through scripture as your own and know Jesus more like Mary did, hearing him, running to him, pouring out all your cares at his feet and finding comfort there. xoxo

“The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.

The Teacher is here… 

Lord, we thank you for being here. Emmanuel, God with us. You are here with me, always. Always available. Always speaking, always knowing my heart. Always guiding me.

…calling for you..

You are always calling my name- whispering to me which step to take, how to obey you, follow you, trust you. You just want to spend time with me, hold your daughter, delight in me. Be with me- in my joys, in my grief, in my big and small moments. Thank you Jesus for always beckoning me near.

…and when she heard it…

Lord, help me hear your invitation to be comforted by you; to be held by you. In this Christmas season full of deep joy, but also stress and sorrow, help me hear your voice calling. Make all other voices quiet.

She rose quickly and went to Him.

Lord, no matter what condition my heart is in- whether overcome with grief- upset over a prayer not fulfilled the way I had hoped, or if my heart is grumpy and desiring my own way – please, help me rise quickly and go to you. You are my healing. You are my hope. 

…Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him,

she fell at his feet, saying to Him…

Lord, help me pour out my heart to you, like Mary did- acknowledging both your power and soverignty (that you can do anything) but also divulging my disappointments- my emotions do not have to be cleaned up before I fall before you. In fact, my tears are collected at your feet and I find comfort crying them out covered by you.

He was deeply moved…Jesus wept.

You hurt when I hurt. You meet us in our pain and sorrows. You cry with us. Thank you for being a compassionate Savior who cares. You care when we loose loved ones, and you care when everyday stresses and concerns plague our souls. You did not leave us alone. You came. You’re here.

This Christmas season, run to him. Go deeper in December. Study his heart. Pour out yours at His feet. Marvel how love came down and stays here with us.

Amy

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Deeper in December

Can you believe it’s already December? This year has flown by for me. Maybe it has for you too. Maybe you joined us for the study at the beginning of the year where we wrote down dreams and prayers and plans for the year, and you cannot believe you only have 31 days left to conquer the world! Lol

I am an optimist and a dreamer so I tend to believe God to do the impossible, especially where time is concerned. This is a beautiful gift but also a weakness that keeps me close to Jesus asking him to help me with time management regularly, and using a lot of timers!

As I was looking at my Refocused Bible Study with it’s page of plans for the year ahead, I saw my “Word of the Year” written on the center of the back of the page.

DEEPER.

I wanted deeper intimacy with Jesus, with my husband, with my children, family, and those the Lord would have me minster to.

My verse for that this word and desire were based on was Colossians 2:7

“Let your roots grow down (DEEPER) into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:7

*My word added (DEEPER) for the emphasis of my vision

With 31 days left, I can say that yes, I have grown deeper in Him in many ways this year. But the year is not over, and I want MORE. I want to know Him more deeply on December 31st than I do today on December 1st. Amen, sister?

So this month I’m sharing my journey into deeper with Jesus.

At our house we are starting 31 days of prayer today, seeking the Father’s face. The first part of that is

Diminishing Distractions.

Oh, Iphone, how you distract me from my Father’s face. You want me to click on Instagram when I’m on my bible app. I scroll mindlessly on Facebook while Jesus is wanting a face to face interaction with me.

But the phone is just a surface level distraction. My heart is distracted from what he would have me focused on.  A deeper level to diminishing distractions to focus on “US” with Jesus is for me to have a greater awareness about the condition of my heart so I can bring that before the Lord and let him help me deal with any anxiety that is there so I can have his peace in all areas.

There is power in verbalizing to the Lord what we are feeling in the moment and letting him shed light on why. Then he can show us what He really desires for us and he will help us move into more freedom and more freedom usually means a deeper relationship with him where we are focused on the things of heaven in light of the things of now.

Documenting His Voice

Another way I’ve grown deeper in my relationship with Jesus this year is by documenting his voice. He is always speaking to His children.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

How does this work? In the morning, I journal out my heart to the Lord. I ask him questions. I tell him things I’m uncertain, uneasy, or need direction or help with. The next morning, I start my quiet time by reading back through the prayer from the day before and I write in the margins any way I saw him move or answers or possible answers which may need more clarity.

The point is, I write the directions He is leading me. I pray and then I write down his answers. Sisters, he answers! If we ask we should be writing down what He says in response because He is always responding to His children. Many times it is not the next day or week or month, but we keep asking and keep watching and documenting so that we can keep walking into deeper and deeper, more meaningful relationship with the one whose depth is immeasurable. His love for us goes to depths that we cannot not reach, but we can let our roots keep growing that way, making us stronger and more fruitful.

I pray that you grown deeper in Him this December!

Amy

Pray for your husband to love you more like Jesus 

It’s Day 34 of the 40 Day Marriage Challenge at Refocused. 

Today’s challenge is short and sweet: 

Day 34 

Today’s Challenge: 

Spend 5 minutes praying for  Jesus to help your husband love you with more of his supernatural love through His Spirit.

His love transforms! Praying for you. I’d love to hear from you. On how I can pray for you or your marriage. God is good. ❤

Acknowledging His Sacrifices 


It’s day 33 of the 40 Day Marriage Challenge here at Refocused. 

Today’s challenge is: Recognize ways your husband is giving himself up for you, and thank him for it. 

The devotion based on L.O.V.E: 

L – Log the verse: “He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

O -Observations: Jesus gave up his life for the church. Gave up his life. Sometimes I think we skim over the depth of love Jesus has for his church; for us. He loved her to death. He held nothing back. He gave it all. This love is a model for marriage. 

V -Verse’s implications for marriage: Husbands are to live their wives in this way- to use words that evoke her beauty, and bring out the best in her. Ask God to help you see ways your husband is, in fact giving himself up for you.

It is so easy to get caught up in recognizing flaws and disappointments. 

 Are you missing the beautiful ways your husband is sacrificing himself for you? 

It could be small things like going to watch a chick flick with you – or could be like a larger sacrifice like going to your family’s holiday get together instead if his. Thank him when you see him lay down his desires for your sake.

E- End in Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for your bride, the church. You gave it all. You show us how to love each other in marriage. Please help us show our husbands respect by recognizing how they are giving themselves up for us, and thanking them.  Help us never nag them into sacrificing for us. Help our husbands to love us more like you loved the church, and help as radiate your love back onto them. In Jesus name, amen.

The unpopular marital word: Submission 

It’s Day 27 of the 40 Day Marriage Challenge here at Refocused! 

Join in with us and let’s finish strong seeking God daily to do more in our marriages.  

Today starts a controversial topic: submission.

L- Log the verse:And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

O- observations:The whole passage is really crucial to this verse. 

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:21-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In light of the whole passage, what does submission really mean? Have you ever asked the Lord why he ordered our home in this way? Has he ever gently shown you the goodness of submission? 

Who should have the final say in decisions? Should we fight and stand our ground and not soften even if we can’t reach an agreement? 
There’s got to be a plan, some order to this thing. Thankfully, the Lord gave us that. Verse 21 starts us out having a mutual respect. Bending for one another and being compassionate toward each other. 
But… the next few verses show us the ultimate order of the home, created by God and modeled after Christ and the church. 

“As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:24

V- Verse’s implications for marriage: Don’t be your husband’s Holy Spirit. If he doesn’t agree with you on something, that’s OK. Share your heart about it with him. If you are in a hard cycle of communication heed the Holy Spirit’s advice on how to communicate.

God is FOR your marriage!  

If you can’t reach an agreement let your husband move forward with what he thinks. Really try and love him well and see from his point of view. 

The goal is ONENESS in marriage. All other goals or reasons behind your point of view should be secondary.

Trust God’s design for marriage. Trust his sovereignty, the ability to work out every detail. He is faithful all the time even if you feel like you have the “short end of the stick.” Ask him to show you how that is a LIE, and to show you how blessed you are.

End in Prayer: Lord, Thank you for the gift of marriage. Thank you for being a beautiful picture of biblical submission by giving yourself up for your bride, the church. Please take away any negative connotations of submission. Please change our hearts and show us how beautiful submission in marriage can really be. Help us to trust your design for marriage. Bless all of the marriages represented reading these words. Grow them in more and more oneness in you. 

 In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Declare Jesus is Lord over your marriage 

It’s Day 20 of the 40 Day Marriage challenge here at Refocused Bible Study. 

Today our challenge is: 
Declare Jesus is LORD over your marriage 


Devotion pattern based on L.O.V.E.

I challenge you to journal the verse this way yourself. See what the Lord speaks to you about your marriage. He is so personal and good! 

L- Log the verse: “and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

O – Observations- Jesus is LORD 

V- Verse’s implications for marriage- Is Jesus Lord over my marriage? Am I bowing and kneeling before Him and placing my most important earthly relationship at His feet? Am I verbalizing that Jesus is ALL POWERFUL- able to demolish every stronghold and destructive pattern? That He is my Savior, my husband’s Savior, and if He saved us for eternity, then He can make something beautiful here and now? Do I believe Jesus is FOR my marriage and He wants to do a NEW THING – even if things are “good,” He wants to transform us further? 

E – End in Prayer – Lord, we confess aloud that You are LORD over our marriage. With you, all things are possible. Please help my husband and I kneel before you and ask you to create greater oneness in you than we have now. Bring us even closer together. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen. 

Here’s the next 10 days of the Challenge: 


I hope you’ll join us! Try the devotion pattern and let me know what the Lord shares with you. Praying for you, 

Amy