A God-listening heart

 “Here’s what I want:

Give me a God-listening heart

so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?” 1 Kings 3:9 MSG

On Monday here at Refocused Bible Study, we will start studying the book of Proverbs together for the month of May. I hope you will join us!

Today we will be diving deeper into the conversation the author of many of the Proverbs, King Solomon, had with the Lord when he asked for wisdom. How do we relate to King Solomon? Why do we need wisdom as much as he needed it?

I pray that after reading this post, we will all have “a God-listening heart”like King Solomon had in the above verse as we approach the book of Proverbs!

Let’s dive into the conversation.

God has just asked Solomon to request anything he wants, and promises to give it to him.

“Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father…

2 Chronicles 1:8a

Solomon acknowledges God’s faithfulness in the past — and how it’s affected his present. 

Do you? Take a moment and thank God for the way he’s been faithful and kind to draw you into a relationship with Him. It’s been generations in the making. Just as Solomon saw how God had been kind to his father, we can be sure that the Lord has had plans in motion to call us children that predate our existence.. He loves you that much! I spent a few moments thanking him for my faithful grandparents whom I know offered many prayers for me and also for my mother who always faithfully took me to church where I fell in love with Jesus. Be assured, sister, God has been pursuing you for generations. Isn’t he amazing?

…and now YOU have made me king in his place.”

2 Chronicles  1:8b

Next, Solomon acknowledges that it is God who has made him King of Israel. You may be asking, how does this apply to me?

You may not be king of Israel, but God has placed you in a significant role today. 

Now, YOU (God) have made me ___________________________ in this place. 

You fill in the blank. God has placed you in significant roles that will affect future generations. My blank reads  “wife, mother, bible teacher.” Yours may say something different, but whatever roles God has you in during this season are significant for building the kingdom of God and affecting future generations! This is a big responsibility. Solomon felt it, and so should we.

‘ Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” 

1 Kings 3:9

For who, by herself, can _________________________________?

Fill in the blank with whatever role God’s placed you in today. We cannot fulfill the call of God on our life on our own. We cannot build his kingdom here without his help, everyday, every hour. We must stay fully aware of our need for Him, every second.

“Neediness” is often viewed as a weakness in today’s world. Independence is something that is praised and cultivated in our daughters from a young age. But God’s Word shows us to never outgrow our dependence on God.

May this be our prayer as we approach the book of Proverbs next week.

Lord, help us:

acknowledge your past faithfulness

realize and take ownership of the roles you’ve placed us in today,

and stay in total dependence of you, our Savior and Source of Wisdom.

Give us a God-listening heart through the Proverbs, Lord, that comes alive in every area of our lives, Lord, Amen.

 

A Woman Who Wants Wisdom

What if God visited you in a dream and told you to ask for anything you wanted?

Would it be hard for you to pick just one need? Or do you have a huge miracle you are pleading with him to perform?

King Solomon found himself in this very position, as recorded in 2 Chronicles chapter one, and also in 1Kings chapter four.

7That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

8Solomon replied to God, “You showed faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. 9O LORD God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth!

10Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly,  for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”

11God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— 12I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”

2 Chronicles 1:7-12 NLT

Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge, and God is faithful to grant him his request.

“God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore.”

1 Kings 4:29 NLT

Not only did God give him this wisdom, but he made sure that Solomon recorded much of it in his Word. King Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and many of the Proverbs.

Why does this matter for women in today’s world? 

Women today need WISDOM 

We don’t need  trends of the times dictating how we live our lives. As believers in our Risen Lord, we need real, ancient truth to show us the way. The word of God is old, but it is alive and active and sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  When we approach it as such, with our questions about priorities, disappointments, and flailing disobedience, God calms us and refocuses us on what’s really important.

Priorities in Perspective

With the gift of liberation of women as equal partners with men, we have been given the opportunity of many pursuits. With this gift, we must seek Jesus about how to properly put Him first, and keep all our other relationships and responsibilities in order. This is so hard in 2017! The truths recorded in the book of Proverbs help us to hear His voice and re-prioritize. We all get the same 24 hours in a day. We just need to abide in Him to put first things first. We do that through seeking Him in His word daily.

That is why I hope you will join us here at RefocusedBibleStudy as we read the book of Proverbs together in the month of May! I will be posting Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays here on the blog, and Monday-Friday on social media. I am excited to be partnering with some other Christian bloggers who will be guest posting here on Wednesdays! I love to see women who are wild about the Word of God come together and encourage each other in Him.

So I hope you will join us as we read Proverbs, a chapter a day that coincides with the date. There are 31 days in May and 31 chapters in Proverbs! We will start on May 1st, so grab some friends and join us!

Join our Facebook group >>> here <<<

 

He has risen! 

“And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.”‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬


It’s the last day, day sixteen of “Mark, one chapter a day for Easter.” here at Refocused Bible Study. If you missed the details of the study, you can find them here. If you missed out, you can scroll through all my previous posts while le you study on your own. 

Today we are reading in chapter sixteen.  and I was mostly drawn to verses 1-8, focusing on verse six. I’m sharing today following the quiet time pattern below. Try it or something similar in your own personal study and see if it helps you find focus and structure to help His Word come alive in your life! See the image here:

My verse: “And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.”‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Application: Live like He’s ALIVE and like you’re ALIVE in Him. Don’t live so temporarily. I needed this reminder. I get caught up in today, this week, month, and year. I forget that God has conquered death. But if I keep my  eyes fixed on Jesus, and the truth that he is alive, my heart and priorities are going to be set on things that are lasting. 

Review: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome went with burial spices to Jesus’ tomb. It was open! The stone was rolled away! An angel was on the right side inside the tomb. He told them not to be alarmed, that Jesus had risen! 

Kneel in prayer: Almighty Jesus, we praise you for your power that raised you from the dead. Thank you for giving us the same resurrection power (Romans 8:11). Resurrect dead, locked up parts of our souls and lives that need new life and hope in you. Help us continue to spread your message in love and power. Make us women of your Word, filled with truth and strength from you. In Jesus’ name, Amen! 

That’s the end of Mark! What did God show you through this book? I’ll be announcing soon what’s next! 

To Know Him More

“And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”‭‭

Mark‬ ‭15:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬


It’s day fifteen of “Mark, one chapter a day for Easter.” here at Refocused Bible Study. If you missed the details of the study, you can find them here. We’d love for you to join us! Tomorrow is the last day of the study!!!

Today we are reading in chapter fifteen and I was mostly drawn to verses 33-41. I’m sharing today following the quiet time pattern below. Try it in your own personal study and see if it helps you find focus and structure to help His Word come alive in your life! See the image here:
My verse: “And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”‭‭Mark‬ ‭15:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Application: Enter into the Holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary) into the presence of God, because of what Jesus has done.

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”  Ephesians 3:12

Are we taking full advantage of the intimacy with Christ which he died to give us? There’s no way. We can always, always, go deeper into the inner sanctuary because of what Christ has done. Because of who he is, we can always keep asking him to take us into deeper intimacy with him. Let’s take the opportunity he died to give us seriously. Ask him to help you keep walking further into the Holy of Holies with him. There is no end to him. We can’t know him enough.

Review: When Jesus died, the curtain separating us from his presence was ripped open. We can now boldly approach the throne of God.

Kneel in prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the high price you paid to give us open access to our Creator. We can intimately know the One who knows how many hairs are on our head, how many days we have left on this earth, and who counts all of our tears. Thank you for going ahead of us to prepare our eternal home. Thank you for dying for us. We praise you, Jesus. Amen.

What did the Lord speak to you today? Only one day to go!

Living in the Freedom of Forgiveness

“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Mark 14:36

It’s day fourteen of “Mark, one chapter a day for Easter.” here at Refocused Bible Study. If you missed the details of the study, you can find them here. We’d love for you to join us!

Today we are reading in chapter fourteen and I was mostly drawn to verses 32-36. I’m sharing today following the quiet time pattern below. Try it in your own personal study and see if it helps you find focus and structure to help His Word come alive in your life! See the image here:

My verse: “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36


Application: Take time right now to worship Jesus for his deep obedience through suffering. As we come before him on Good Friday, let us just sit in awe of him for taking the pain and torture he went through that day in history. Don’t try and make yourself better. Don’t try and think of ways to apply this verse and want his will in your life instead of your own. Just sit. close your eyes, and think about what he really endured for you.

This is what I heard in my spirit today as I read: Forgive yourself and others.  Don’t just say you’re forgiven and that you forgive. LIVE IN FORGIVENESS.  Think all day about how he took the punishment for every sin I have ever committed or will commit. Further, to meditate on and search my heart for any feelings of contempt I may have for anyone else. The blows he took were for their forgiveness, too. I can’t hold anything against myself or anyone else, or Jesus took all of that in vain.

Spend some quiet moments right now worshipping Jesus for the  moment in history- where he fell face down in anguish in the garden.

Review: Though Jesus knew the Father had power to do anything, he accepted the Father’s plan and chose to follow it through to suffering and death.  Thank you, Jesus.

Kneel in prayer: Lord Jesus, we sit in awe of you. They blindfolded you, hit you in the face with their fists, and then continued to attack you, and you took it all for us. Please help us all to walk in the freedom of forgiveness for ourselves and all others, remembering Good Friday as a day that wasn’t good for you at all. Today, it is good. We can see your smile as we remember you today. We can see your smile as we walk in the freedom of forgiveness today. As we sing and dance and have new beginnings because you became our Passover Lamb. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

 

Watch for His Return 

“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return.”‭‭Mark‬ ‭13:34‬ ‭NLT‬‬


It’s day thirteen of “Mark, one chapter a day for Easter.” here at Refocused Bible Study. If you missed the details of the study, you can find them here. We’d love for you to join us!

Today we are reading in chapter thirteen and I was mostly drawn to verses 32-37. I’m sharing today following the quiet time pattern below. Try it in your own personal study and see if it helps you find focus and structure to help His Word come alive in your life! See the image here: 
My verse:  “It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch.” Mark 13:34 MSG


Application: Sometimes life can get complicated and our “assigned tasks” can get blurry. When it’s hard to know what to focus on, we can always revert back to the greatest commandment, to love the Lord and love others. The Lord also reminded me of the great commission to “go and make disciples.” Take time to ask the Lord if you are doing the good work he prepared for you in advance in Ephesians 2:10.

Review: Jesus is coming back. He has left us with purpose and anticipation; this wonderful hope that cannot be taken from us – that he is returning! The sun swill be darkened, the moon will give no light, the starts will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then, JESUS will come, on the clouds with great POWER and glory.

Kneel in prayer: Lord, we praise you, our Creator, Savior, and Master. Here we are, looking for your return with sweet anticipation Please help us all to stay focused on the work you’ve given us to do through your power. Help us keep our eyes and heart set on that moment, when you return in all your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What was your verse today? Easter is only a few days away! Let us continue to remember the reason we celebrate. ❤

Love the Lord 

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” 

Mark 12:30-31


It’s day twelve of “Mark, one chapter a day for Easter.” here at Refocused Bible Study. If you missed the details of the study, you can find them here. We’d love for you to join us!

Today we are reading in chapter twelve, and I was mostly drawn to verses 30-31. I’m sharing today following the quiet time pattern below. Try it in your own personal study and see if it helps you find focus and structure to help His Word come alive in your life! See the image below.

My verse: It was easy for me to choose verses 30-31, because the greatest commandment simplifies scripture and the law Jesus came to fulfill. Falling more in love with Jesus and giving him more of our heart will start a progression of obedience, and we won’t have to tell ourselves to “do this” or “not do that” because we will be so focused on loving him and full of his love that it will overflow onto others.

How do I fall more in love with Jesus? 

Take time to study how much he loves you.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:18-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I wrote a bible study to help grow in the knowledge of how much he loves you, you can find it here. 

Application: This week, as Easter approaches, we can see how much he loves us. We see Jesus, enduring the suffering we deserved, feeling the pain, and staying in it so that we could be free and invited to live free of the curse of death and sin humanity was once held captive to . We don’t have to enter into his presence after killing an innocent animal or going through a ceremonial cleansing. This alone should make our hearts swell with a love for him that moves us to be willing to do whatever he wants, whatever he prompts us to do: to give generously to his kingdom, to love others sacrificially, to welcome in and protect the vulnerable orphans and widows. It is all an overflow of a heart full of Jesus’ love. His love compels us.

Review: In this chapter, Jesus was answering the Pharisees and Sadducees about different questions as they were trying to trap him and condemn him. But of course, Jesus had these amazing answers that none of them could come up with a rebuttal. (He was God of course, so who could outsmart him?!) He sees the reason and the entire picture and we see only a speck of the paint. Every answer and reasoning boils down to an all encompassing love for God and others. Jesus shows one of the religious teachers that when he was asked which commandment was the most important. Focusing on how much God loves you and loving him and others will always simplify life and give lasting purpose to all the work we do on this side of eternity. Without love, we are all bankrupt and our works mean nothing.

Kneel in prayer: Love Himself, we thank you for showing us true, selfless love by leaving heaven and walking on this sin filled earth. Help us to love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love others as ourselves. Amen.

I’d love to hear your verse today. Easter is only a few days away!