She Laughs Without Fear 

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s the last day of Proverbs, a chapter a day in May! I hope you all have grown in wisdom of God and closeness to Jesus through this book. Our mission here at Refocused Bible Study is to encourage and equip women to engage in God’s Word in practical ways, and to know Jesus more intimately. Stay tuned to find out what is next for the month of June!

For the last time, let’s look at a verse from this chapter using the quiet time pattern, WISE. 

Write the verse: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:25‬ ‭


In my life: I am clothed with the armor of God – The helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, shoes of the gospel of peace, and the sword of the spirit, the word of God. (Ephesians 6)

This is my strength. Jesus is my dignity. Having a creator who loves me so much he came down from heaven to die for me gives me dignity. I am the object of his affection.

My strength comes from the armor I wear as a woman in God’s army. Life can be tough but I am prepared to fight the good fight and my sword is sharp because I am in the Word of God daily.

Although life is hard and tiresome at times I laughed and I am lighthearted because I know my future in Christ. I know he has gone ahead of me to prepare a place more glorious than I could imagine. Even if the near future looks sad, stressful, maybe even horrifying, I can see beyond to eternity so I am not afraid.

My God is causing all things, even tragedies of the moment, to work together for the good of the kingdom. My future with Jesus is bright and secure because of what he did. I am released to relax in the blood he spilt. Do I sit back and take his gift for granted? No. I work with him to build his kingdom. I find great for fulfillment in being a part of his team.

Yes sisters, these troubles are momentary though sometimes heart wrenching. Let’s look past the moment with our armor on and be joyful in our future with Jesus.

Speak the verse aloud

End in prayer: Our Source of strength and dignity, we praise you, Almighty,  for giving us the armor of God to put on daily. Thank you for showing us how worthy of dignity we are when you came down from heaven and died for us all. Help that act of love always translate into our hearts that we are worthy of love. Help us to be so full of your love that we walk strong and dignified through this Life, knowing our future is secure and better than we can imagine in you.

In Jesus’ mighty name,

Amen.

What was your verse today? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what’s next at Refocused Bible Study for June!

Advertisements

Growing in Humility 

“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s day twenty-nine of Proverbs, a chapter a day here at Refocused Bible Study. This book of the Bible is so full of wisdom. If you’ve fallen behind or are just joining us, jump in at the chapter of the day corresponding with the date. Everyday you pick the verse that spoke to you the most and follow the quiet time pattern below.


In my life: Grow in humility. Look to Jesus as the example. He was willing to humble himself in so many ways to bring us salvation.

He was born in a stable.

He submitted himself to the authority of the Father in all circumstances.

He submitted himself to his earthly parents.

He endured the ridicule, beating, and even the torture of the cross even though he had the power to stop the situation and end all his suffering, for he is God.

My favorite passage on the humility of our Savior:

3Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.6Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:3-11 

Isn’t that passage powerful?! It moves me to swallow my pride and say,

“You’re right.”

“I’m sorry.”

I just cannot wrap my mind around a God who would go to such lengths of humility. He’s too good to comprehend. Since he humbled himself so low, since he thought of us instead of himself, I can certainly take the charge the apostle Paul laid out here and ask the Lord to help me have the same attitude Christ Jesus had.

In my marriage.

In my motherhood.

In friendships.

In ministry.

Thinking of others as better than myself.

Making myself a servant and not one to be served.

Where in your life could you grown in humility?

Speak the verse aloud.

“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” Proverbs 29:23


End in prayer: Lord Jesus, we praise you for your unfathomable humility. Thank you for showing us what true humility looks like. You humbled yourself to bring us salvation. Your love for us brought you low. Then the Father lifted you up into the place of highest honor. Help us to hear your promptings for humility when we want to exalt ourselves. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What was your verse today?

 


Calling over Comparison

It’s Women of the Word Wednesday here at Refocused Bible Study! This project is near and dear to my heart. Every Wednesday, a fellow blogger will share with us how the Lord spoke to them through the day’s chapter.

Le’nae Brooks from Fancy and Fearless has a challenging message for us based on the first two verses of Proverbs chapter 24. I love her willingness to share from her heart about a struggle all of us have felt, even if we haven’t articulated it to another. Let’s shake off comparison and envy as we read what the Lord gave Le’nae to share with us.

“I believe that ministry calls for transparency. Can I be transparent with you for a minute?  As soon as Amy gave me the list of scriptures to meditate on, the Holy Spirit told me Proverbs 24. I turned my bible to Proverbs 24, and started to sink in my chair. I was doing what The Lord says not to do according this chapter. I said to myself “this is going to be a long study session.” This was the second time I was reading and writing about this particular issue. I finally received it, and I pray that you will too after this post. Lets dive in!

 “Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.” Proverbs 24:1-2


Envy: A feeling of discontented or resentful by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or work.

Sounds like jealousy. It is easy for us to look at women who are still in the world, and say “they have it all.”

They have a husband while you are waiting on God.

They have a children while you are praying for God to bless your womb.

They have that degree you want while you can’t afford to go back to school.

They have the car you want/need while you are getting denied loan after loan.

This a big one: They may even have the ministry the Lord said you would have (everyone is not in ministry for the right reasons), but you are waiting for God to release you to start it.

Get this; you may not envy a women in the world. You can envy your fellow sister in Christ. You can envy their blog. Envy how many followers they have. Envy their beautiful pictures. Envy their ministry. Envy their relationship, or marriage. Envy how God is using them! Don’t worry ladies. I have envied both. I looked at everything listed above!

An envious spirit is from the enemy. Do you know what the enemy wants you to start doing once envy has taken up root in your heart? He wants you to compare yourself to every woman you see.

The root of comparison is envy, unworthiness, inadequacy, doubt, fear, and rejection. If you have done, or are doing what is listed above,  get to the root of why you are envious. I believe God is doing a work in us this season. He is equipping us for the next level for His ministry here on earth. That means getting free from such spirits that are causing us to stay stagnate, and causing division amongst our sisters. It ends today! Ask the Lord to reveal what has taken up root in your heart, and decree and declare your freedom.

Everyone’s journey is not the same. You do no not know what that person went through to get to where they are now. Admire them, but don’t seek to be like them, or have what they have. You have your own unique calling, gifts, and destiny that no one can fulfill, but you.

Lets skip down to verse 3-4

Proverbs 24:3-4

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

Wisdom: The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Knowledge: Facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education.

The Lord will give you all that you need, but you have to trust Him, and seek Him. A wise person waits on the Lord. A wise person puts their trust, and hope in the Lord. A wise person listens for His instructions, and follows wherever He leads. How the Lord builds you up may not be the same way as the next person.

If you jump to verse 27 Solomon says “ Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that build your house.”

While you are waiting for a husband, job, ministry, degree, family, or a promise to be fulfilled seek provision from your ultimate source. He is your ever present help. Seek His way! He will not lead you in the wrong direction.

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way (Proverbs 20:24).

Your steps are already ordered.

Let’s look at Rebekah Jacob’s mother. Rebekah was barren. Her and her husband Isaac were very old, so in the natural eye it seemed as if they have missed their mark for children. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, and she became pregnant (Genesis 25:21). To her surprise the babies were very active in her womb as if they were fighting. She inquired of the Lord and said “why is this happening to me?” (Genesis 25:22). Now this is my speculation! I am pretty sure once the Lord blessed them with a child let alone two children Rebekah spread the good news. I can see her now talking to her friends that were mothers asking them questions about their pregnancy. She was not suspecting to be in pain because her babies were fighting. She compared their stories to her reality hence why she said “why is this happening to me?” The Lord spoke to Rebekah and stated:

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23

Here comes the two boys who we know as Esau and Jacob. The boys grew up and Esau was a hunter loved by Isaac. Jacob was content to work in the tents loved by Rebekah. Let’s skip to Chapter 27 Isaac was dying and wanted to give Esau his blessing. Rebekah heard what was going to take place, and I can imagine her face. The Lord spoke to her and said that the older will serve the younger. Now if Esau gets Isaac blessing he will be the next leader. Rebekah then tells Jacob to pretend he is Esau to get his father’s blessing(Genesis 27:8-17). She even stated “Let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say.” Jacob did just that. He deceived his father into thinking he was Esau, and he was giving his father’s blessing. Esau now held a grudge against Jacob, and wanted to kill him.

Ladies Rebekah is a perfect example of how envy can lead to destruction. God’s word already went forth and said the older will serve the younger. That Jacob would become the family’s leader, but instead of letting God do His work she took matters into her own hands. When our motives are not pure we are out of the will of the Father. Everything should be done in love. Surrender any envy that is your heart today. Surrender your plans today. Make a choice to move out of the way, and let the Lord take over. Submit yourself under His mighty hand. Yield to His way. I promise you He will exceed your expectations.”

Meet the Guest Writer: 

Le’nae from Fancy and Feariess

Hey there beautiful. I’m Le’nae Brooks. I am twenty seven country girl living in a small county in Maryland. I started my blog as another way for me to share what is on my heart. After I shared my baptism video, and story I started to share my journey with Christ. As I started to mature in Christ my posts did a shift. In 2016 I created a new website with the sole purpose to inspire women to live a faith based, purposeful, creative, and fearless lifestyle. I love encouraging women with the word of God. It is beautiful, and alive! The Lord is doing a great work in me, and through Fancy&Fearless and I can not wait to see what He has in store! Outside of blogging, I am a full time student at Bowie State University studying Child and Adolescent Studies. I work full time as a contractor for a small company. I am a Sunday school teacher, praise dancer, reader, writer, coffee lover, fashionista, and your sunshine on a rainy day! I would love to hear from you!

What God says about WORKING HARD in the book of PROVERBS

“Do you see any truly competent workers?

They will serve kings rather than working for people.”

Proverbs 22:29

It’s day 22 of Proverbs, a chapter a day in May here at Refocused Bible Study.

Over the weekend and this morning, the verses sticking out the most to me all have to do with work ethic. 

Maybe this theme is resounding in my heart because it is frequently discussed in our home with our growing children. My son, in particular is developing a strong work ethic in his pursuit of reaching his goals in golf. He was created with a driving passion to pursue his dreams and it’s  beautiful to watch him work hard and achieve great things. He depends on Jesus to help him and gives God the glory for his trophies.

One of our other children will always have to work hard in her studies to catch up to the level of her peers. We celebrate small victories, like memorizing 2+2=4.

God sees the efforts of my children and rejoices in both of them, whether it’s medals won for things deemed extraordinary or mundane mountains conquered.

I want to encourage us all today to see the work God has placed before you as an opportunity to bring him glory, whether it’s a project in corporate America, or a mound of dishes to tackle in the sink.

I love to ponder Jesus’ work ethic; especially before he started his “formal ministry.” Can you imagine the tables his hands carved? Can you envision him, paying close attention to details of his work; taking joy in creating pieces of furniture that people would use?

Sometimes, I think we “over- religualize” Jesus. He lived thirty years as a carpenter’s Son in Nazareth. What was he doing all that time? I imagine him contributing to household chores for his mother and  learning the trade of carpentry under Joseph. No doubt, he worked hard for the glory of His Father.

Let us take his example and do the same.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭NIV‬

Sometimes, we have a great worth ethic, but we need wisdom on how to work more effectively. 


This is where  Proverbs can help us. Here are some Proverbs in the last few chapters that speak on work.

1.Plan Ahead 

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sometimes lack of good planning hinders our work. It’s smart to pray before setting to a task and asking God to help you plan your time and resources. Invite him in on the front side, so you can truly give Him glory for all He will accomplish through you in the end.

2. Master your skills 

“Observe people who are good at their work— skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don’t take a backseat to anyone.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:29‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Never stop honing your trade. Look at others who do it well. Take things they do and learn from them. Always stay humble, knowing there is room to grow.

3. Just Do It! 

“Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I love how simply this is put. If you don’t work, don’t expect fruit. I meditated on the Word “plow.” If you work from your heart for the Lord at whatever you do, let your heart stay in it. Ask God to plow up roots of indifference about mediacrocy that lead to laziness. The harder we work, the better the fruit. It’s all God’s harvest. Let’s put in our best work with his help and watch him bring forth beautiful fruit for his glory.

Like the incredible tables our Savior created with his own hands, let’s work hard and produce fruit for His glory!

What was your verse today?

Helping the Poor 

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord, and he will repay you.” Proverbs 19:17

It’s day nineteen of Proverbs, a chapter a day here at Refocused Bible Study. This book of the Bible is so full of wisdom. If you’ve fallen behind or are just joining us, jump in at the chapter of the day corresponding with the date. Everyday you pick the verse that spoke to you the most and follow the quiet time pattern below.


My verse today was:

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord, and he will repay you.” Proverbs 19:17


In my life:    Help the poor

My family and I were recently discussing a disturbing experience my husband had. He was driving to the Christian book store to buy around $35 worth of books to give to someone in the minstry where he serves.

When he was waiting  at the light in front of the store, a man holding a sign asking for money was walking the median. My husband didn’t have any cash. He proceeded to the Christian book store and used his debit card to purchase the books for the people in his ministry.

This didn’t sit right on him and it still doesn’t. 

God’s spirit was reminding him that He cares for the poor. 

Isn’t God our Father’s heart beautiful? It’s full of compassion for the needy and the broken. If we study this verse in Proverbs more closely, we learn so much about what really takes place when we obediently give to those in need.

Jesus said this on helping the needy: “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:40‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When you give to the poor:
You are lending to the Lord.

How wild is that? We could never repay God for how good he’s been to us, but we can reach out and lend a helping hand to a hurting soul and know we are actually lending to our Maker.

He will repay you.

I’m not a prosperity preacher. I don’t believe this necessarily means monetarily. God is much bigger than dollar and cents. Don’t we want the repayment that the Lord of the universe wants to give us? We trust He will always provide for us. So we freely give and trust him to take care of us.

So the next time you see someone in need, know that you are reaching out to the Lord himself when you help them, doing his work. He will repay you.

End in prayer:  Lord, we praise you, for you see the hungry, the homeless, the lonely, and you care. You are a compassionate Father. Give all of us your compassionate heart to help the poor. Help us to make the most of every opportunity to lend to you by helping the needy.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Seeking Wisdom in Our Words

It’s  Women of the Word Wednesday here at Refocused Bible Study! This project is near and dear to my heart. Every Wednesday, a fellow blogger will share with us how the Lord spoke to them through the day’s chapter.

You’re going to love what our guest writer, Nichole of Courage.Hope.Love has to share with us about seeking the Lord’s wisdom in every word we speak, based on our chapter of the day, Proverbs 17. Nichole is gifted in sharing insight about God’s word in a compact way that leaves you with a clear application of scripture. Visit her blog and be encouraged by her message below. 

Proverbs 17: Seeking Wisdom In Our Words

I grew up in a loud home. Words were many, arguments were commonplace and all shouted to be heard. I’ve always thought this was normal, I enjoyed talking as much as the next person. But when I brought my husband-who I was dating at the time-home, I recognized a very different perspective.

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” -Proverbs 17:27


Restraining words was not something I was used to. 

After all, in a world where everyone talks so loud, you have to shout to be heard. And so I shouted.

Sometimes it was just a story about my day, other times it was an opinion. And many others, it was an argument founded on the desire to be heard and the desire to be right.

But as I processed this newfound truth, Jesus began to teach me something.

True wisdom is not about being right. True wisdom is not about having all the answers.

True wisdom is when we seek God above all else and seek to follow Him with our whole heart and our whole life.

In my search to grow closer to the Lord, I realized that I needed to surrender my desire to be heard and surrender every one of my words to the Lord.

What would come from my winning of an argument?

What could result from shouting over another’s words?

“A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” -Proverbs 17:24

As I sought out wisdom, I needed to align my goals and my desires with the Lord.

We must remember our purpose and our calling with each word that we speak.

We are called to love and to forgive.

We are called to be humble and to serve.

We are called to minister and to care.

Every word that we speak is an opportunity to spread God’s almighty love and everlasting hope. 

This isn’t easy. In fact, I often fail to speak words that align with this call. But I see God’s transforming power at work within me.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” -James 1:5

In James, we find the promise that as we seek wisdom, God will transform us.

Proverbs is a book full of the picture of perfect wisdom.

Today, I encourage you to seek the Lord’s wisdom in each and every word that you speak.

Seek to align your desires with God’s heart.

And remember this: “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver.” -Proverbs 16:16



Nicole Kauffman is a wife, blogger and passionate follower of Christ. Her blog Courage. Hope. Love. was founded to encourage, inspire and guide Christians to deeper hope and joy in the Lord. Nicole lives in Pennsylvania with her amazing, God-seeking husband and family. She is an aspiring author who loves to grow relationships, mentor, and explore the beauty of God’s creation all around.

Gentle Words 

It’s day 15 of Proverbs a chapter a day here at Refocused Bible Study.  (Each day we read and discuss the chapter corresponding with the date).

This month we are digging deep into the word through a quiet time pattern based on the word ‘WISE” (see the image below). We’ve been talking about the Word traveling from our minds to our hearts and coming alive in our lives. When we see how God can use just one verse of scripture to renew our minds and transform the way we think, act and become more like Jesus (Romans 12:2).

Friday we studied Proverbs 12 and discussed how encouraging words can cheer a person up. It’s easy to speak encouragement when a conversation is going well; but what about when the atmosphere is tense and you or the person you are speaking to are frustrated, snippy, or angry? It’s much harder to answer a person kindly When they have spoken to you in anger.

Our verse of the week and my verse of the day show us what to do when we find ourselves in this situation.

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

Proverbs 15:1 NLT 

In my life: Rely on the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of gentleness in my words – even when the words coming at me are not gentle. Remember what this verse says; tender, soft words make wrath turn away from you — that is the desired result. I don’t want to stir up anger. I want peace in the relationships in my life.

Speak the verse aloud.

End in prayer: Lord, thank you for the wisdom in your word about how to handle it when a person is speaking angrily at us. Please help us respond with a gentle, soft answer through the power of your Holy Spirit so we can bring you glory and diffuse anger. Thank you for your help in this, Jesus, Amen.

For more study on life giving words, click here. 

Which verse spoke to you today?