Understanding God – Day 1 – Why Mary?

Today at Refocused Bible Study we kick off an 11 day  adventure through my son, Sam’s debut book, “Understanding God,” a journey through deep theological questions! It has been my joy and wonder to see what God has planted in his heart as I typed out the words he wrote in his book. Thank you for all the encouragement and love you have shown him by buying his book and/or words you have spoken to him in person!

How to Get The Most From This Book

  1. Underline words or phrases that stick out and journal about them

When I journaled through it I underlined phrases that jumped out to me and wrote the thoughts God gave me on the journaling page we included. I encourage you to do the same. I’ll be calling these “Power Phrases” and diving deeper into them here on the blog.

2. Read Solo or Aloud together and Use Questions here on the Blog to Discuss/Journal

Read the chapter solo or with your kids and use the Power Question I pose daily to spark a discussion or journaling prompt. Let their responses lead. Ask questions to keep the thoughts moving and use it as a time to encourage them that God is way above our understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9) but that we should never stop diving deeper into knowing Him – – if we do, we are missing out!

We pray that The Lord will use this book to make you ever more certain of His Greatness and His great LOVE for YOU and YOURS!

Day 1 |Why Mary? |

Mary responded,

“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

And then the angel left her.

Luke 1:38 (NLT)

Maybe you have also pondered, “Why Mary?’ What are some reasons you think God chose her?

We can see from the verse in Luke above that Mary was full of faith to believe the angel’s message and her assignment.

Power Phrase 1 : Mary was faithful

Where did her faith come from? Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (NIV) We have proof in Luke 1:47-55 that Mary knew who God was through the Old Testament. She hadn’t just heard them; she had memorized them in her heart. Overcome with praise, at least 12 Old Testament references streamed from deep within her in a song of worship to her God. Mary wasn’t just ready to believe God’s message, she was enthusiastic to be chosen to carry the long awaited Savior. She was faith-filled.

Are you filling yourself with faith from God’s word so you are ready to follow Him faithfully when he gives you special assignments?

Power Phrase 2Taught Joseph to be faithful

It takes great faith to keep a promise and move forward against the grain. Joseph did that. He trusted God by trusting what the angel told him. What a reward he received – being Jesus’ earthly father!

Like Joseph, there are promises that you have made or will make that require you to “go against the grain” of popularity or culture and follow God with faith instead. There will be choices to make. In those moments, trust what God is saying through His Word and Holy Spirit over your personal preferences. The rewards will be great just as they were for Joseph!

Power Phrase 3: Especially Loving 

The Word of God kept Mary’s heart soft and loving. She must have had a heart that was kind and interested in blessing God.  Let love be your highest goal!” 1 Corinthians 14:1

Power Phrase 4: Take a Good Look 

The Lord is always “taking a good look” at us in love and will gently point to areas in our heart where He wants to work His next miracle transformation to make us more Christlike and ready for our next great assignment from Him. Lean in and listen to where He’s wanting to transform you and trust Him to lead the way! “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24

Power Phrase 5: Only God

Only God will ever know why He chose Mary to be the mother of our Savior, Jesus. He had his reasons. Likewise, only God knows why He has chosen you for the special assignments He has you and your family on in this season. Ephesians 2:10, says “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Only God could have made you the masterpiece that you are. Only God could be continually transforming you to be more like Jesus. Only God could have prepared you in advance for the good work He has for you to do today. Only God could have positioned you right where you are to impact and love the people around you. His reasons for your divine placement and assignment surpass our understanding. Our job is to trust Him and respond in the same manner Mary did, with praise and willingness.

Power Question: What special assignment has God given you to respond faithfully to during this season?

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YOUR WORD for 2019

Do you have a word for 2019? I’d love to hear about it! I touched on my word for 2018 in my last post, and told you that I’d be sharing my word for 2019 today, along with some ideas to help in case you aren’t clear for yours.

My WORD for 2019 is:

HERE.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Revelation 3:20

First of all, let me say, I don’t believe we should box God in to giving us a one word focus for the year. However, I do believe that The Lord so desires for us to walk closer with Him, that he often gives us a WORD from HIS WORD.

I’ve put together a guide below to help you lean in and listen for your WORD for 2019 based on the acronym, WORD.

1)Want to know

Do you really desire to know what God wants you to focus on for 2018? Sure, we have our own great ideas for resolutions but do we really want to know what God would have us hone in on for the next 365 days? Ask God to give you a heart to hear His heart for you. Then ask Him to give you a WORD from HIS WORD. Then…

2)Open your eyes and ears

God speaks to us through His Word. Often, a passage or verse will seem to come to me FROM ALL DIRECTIONS. I will hear it on a podcast. Then, I will see it pop up in my email. Then my husband will mention it, and so on. This is when I pay close attention and know The Lord wants me to take note. So, I do in fact take note…

3)Respond to His Guidance

Do a word study using a concordance on the WORD you hear Him speak to you. Write down relating scriptures containing the Word. Memorize and meditate on the number one verse that speaks to you. This will help you to….

4)Declare the WORD over the next year

Speak YOUR WORD inside of YOUR VERSE aloud to God. Pray it back to Him. Everyday, declare who He is and what He’s doing through the Word and who you are and what He wants you to do through the Word. For me, this would look like me saying, God, I know you are HERE, helping me and counseling me in every step I take. Since you are HERE, I want to be HERE too. Help me to live out the verse you gave me for this year, realizing that you are HERE and that I need to let you in to the deep places in my heart that need your touch. 

So, friends, what is your WORD? I’d love to hear below! Tomorrow I’ll be going deeper into some application about how to set yourself up to DECLARE YOUR WORD all year long.

Happy New Year! Cheers to a closer walk with Jesus in 2019!

Amy

New Devotional!

At the end of every year, I like to look back and see all The Lord has done in our family the last 365 days. For 2018, He gave me the word, “GLORY” for the upcoming year, with this verse attached to it:

Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought GLORY to my name, and I will do so again.”

John 12:28 NLT

I prayed and believed The Lord would continue to use this imperfect vessel and the precious ones He placed on my blessing table to bring glory to Himself alone.

And He has! I haven’t had much time to blog or be on social media lately because I’ve been doing “all the things” wives and mamas and Jesus beloved daughters do where their feet are touching the ground.

Oh, how I’ve missed touching the keys of the board and sharing with you all the amazing ways The Lord is revealing Himself to me and hearing how He is revealing Himself to you as well!

I had to jump on here and send “an end of the year newsletter” of sorts to connect with those who may have read my words last year at this time and share a little snippet of what The Lord has done,  and an invitation to draw closer to Him with me and celebrate with our family.

So here goes..

Even though I haven’t published a new devotional lately, someone in my family has…

Our ten year old son, Sam Terry, has written this devotional titled, “UNDERSTANDING GOD.”

It’s available on amazon and I’ll be blogging through it to kick off the New Year.

Here is GLORY to Jesus over what He’s done, yet again. This project was not assigned to our son through his homeschool. It was birthed from a place in His heart the LORD planted for Him to share the hope of the gospel. I did not co-write it. He handed it to me fully written. All I did was type it and edit it for spelling and grammar!

It is a short, 11 day devotional that takes you through some of the foundations of Christian faith. I just finished journaling through it on the journaling pages provided in the book and I have to say, it caused me to think deeply through my current understanding of God and broaden the horizons of my faith to see God is greater than I’ve made him out to be. I am confident this devotional will do the same for you!

He is selling them here on amazon for $5 and plans to invest the profit back into his writing ministry. He has already started writing his second devotional!

I’ll be blogging through it here at RefocusedBibleStudy.com starting January 14th-24th, so grab your copy of UNDERSTANDING GOD and make plans to join us!

Amy

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the WORD and verse the Lord has given me for 2019, with a step by step seeking guide to help you hear The Lord’s personal heart for you as YOUR WORD as you start the New Year!

If you need a Refocus for 2019, my first devotional is still available here for only $7 as well!

She Laughs

“Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.”

Psalm 100:2 MSG

Our eyes were locked as we laughed hysterically. Nothing was really that funny, but when one person starting laughing, it was like a joy train nobody could stop, and in few seconds, everyone in the room was giggling. My son had drawn the “laughing” stick in the review game in his school class. I was standing in front of him listening to his answer as he threw his his head back and said the words in between snorts. Done for, I busted out hysterically myself.

I “got the giggles.”

It felt so good to see my son laughing with abandon. He looked so happy and carefree and it made my heart glad.

The Lord whispered to me, this is how I feel when I see you, trusting me so much, that you can laugh without care about present troubles and without fear of the future, because you know I’m good and I’ve got it. 

As I pondered on this the next few days, I worked through some things with him that were preventing me from busting out in laughter. I want to share them with you so that you can also bring the Lord a gift of laughter, and sing yourself into his presence with true joy instead of worry.

Verses to Help You Sing with Joy to the LORD

1) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

Trust in this verse means “to have confidence, to be bold, secure, and careless.”

Pray that God will help you trust Him with ALL things. Proclaim your confidence in Him.

Lord, help me trust you with all things. Hep me have confidence in you. I am confident Father, that you are working all things together for good. Help me be bold, so confident, I have no shame or worry. Amen.

This confident trust will release you to bring Him the gift of laughter of things to come.

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

Make a list, remembering things the Lord has faithfully done in your life.

I remember and thank you Lord, for…

From my list – the joyful face of my husband the day he was baptized, our son whom I once wondered if we would ever have. Going into ministry. Adoption. Laughter.

As I wrote out my list, I started laughing at myself for being worried about a few things and wondering if a few things were going to work out.  I wrote a note to myself in the margin:

Like your Father isn’t 

GOOD?!!

That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.

Laugh it out.

It’s really silly, sisters, when you take time to think about a lot of our worries. Our Father is so good, we should laugh about things to come.

No matter what you’re facing today, thank Him for what He has done, and find yourself carefree, bringing your Father a gift of laughter.

Amy

Want to join in Simply Thankful? Click the pic to download the plan:

How to Have a Pep Rally in Your Prayer Closet

“On your feet now – applaud God!” Psalm 100:1 MSG

It’s day one of Simply Thankful 2018 here at Refocused Bible Study! I don’t know about you, but I need to focus on giving thanks to the Giver between now and Thanksgiving Day. I already feel a huge weight lifted after the first morning coming to Him with a heart of praise. He definitely gave me praise instead of heaviness today.

I will be using different versions of the bible, but this week, I will be sticking with the Message paraphrase because the Lord is leading me straight where my heart needed to go with it…to have a PEP RALLY IN MY PRAYER CLOSET.

Yeah, it sounds kinda wacky. But when you get a little mopey and start dragging around like Eeyore from Winne the Pooh, sometimes you just need to go there. I didn’t even intend to get that into it, but, the Lord just set it up for me that way.

I turned on some worship music (I’ll link below) and the first thing the leader said was, “let’s rise to our feet to posture our hearts correctly.

On your feet now.

So I did, and then once I started applauding God and thanking Him for the many things he has done, my hands could not quit clapping to Him.

applaud God.

As the minutes went on, JOY was welling up inside and I felt like I was back on the cheerleading squad in high school, spirit fingers and all.

He’s so good, yall. So worthy of all our applause and thankfulness. He wells up joy – pure joy from our hearts when we enter His courts with radiant thanksgiving.

Try it, sisters. In your car, your kitchen while you cook, the rocker as you put your baby to sleep, or your bathroom as you hide from the children. Thank Him. Clap to Him.

I can’t wait to share about what The Lord is showing me about the gift of laughter to God tomorrow.

You can download the plan here:

Simply Thankful: Scripture Writing Plan

It’s almost November, ya’ll!!! I can hardly believe it. However, the fact that my kids were asking for candy at breakfast quickly confirmed, it’s true.

We will blink our eyes a few times, and it will be Thanksgiving day. Here’s the thing, I want to really be thankful. I want to really give thanks to the Giver. I want to give back.

Here’s what I don’t want to do: get stressed about things or miss out on the slow, simple gifts that he’s placed right at my feet.

I want my kids to know what this season of gratitude is all about, and to know the Giver.

So, I made this scripture writing plan:  Simply Thankful. (We did this 2 years ago here at Refocused and I want to do it again!I hope you join us!)

It’s a simple plan:

Write out the verse of the day.

Thank God for one thing.

Do one simple, slow activity a day to enjoy the Giver. (take a walk, pick flowers, gather leaves, bake muffins, etc.)

Give back from an overflow of God’s love & as an act of worship.

I’ll be sharing on the Facebook Group (Link here: Refocused Bible Study FB)

I’ll also be sharing on my Instagram account and twitter.

Download the simply-thankful plan and make gratitude intentional in your heart and home this month!  

Amy

A Psalm for giving thanks.

Psalm 100

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

How to See Jesus when You Serve at Home

“How do they have no clean socks again, Did I not just wash clothes yesterday?!” – I think to myself as we have T- minus five minutes to head out the door.

As a mom, it feels like my work is never done. I’m never caught up at home and never enough. With five people living in our home, something always needs to be prepared, washed, bought, unloaded, put away… etc.

I’m sure if you run a household, you can relate. There is so much to be done, always.

I know in my gut I am super – dooper blessed to have a full house. (And many of you have a much fuller house than me).

But sometimes- OK, a lot if times, my face doesn’t show it… because my heart isn’t feeling it.

It’s disconnected the fact that whatever task I’m doing is for somebody.

Jesus rocked my world this week by reminding me how we were made to serve.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.”

‭‭John‬ ‭13:3-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“If I then, your LORD and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

Jesus – King of Heaven – took off his entitlements along with His outer garments, and He tied a towel around His waist.

We, His heirs, take off our “rights” to have a lighter load, and we put on the character of Jesus.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Jesus served. He put on the “work apron, rolled up his sleeves, and did the work the servant would have done.

Jesus served in a way that touched the people intimately and tenderly. His example of washing the disciple’s feet is so beautiful. He could have made this example for us to follow by filling empty wine glasses, clearing the dishes, or sweeping the floor. Yet he chose, on purpose, to wash dirty feet. He made it so personal, cleansing their skin, touching their toes, and piercing their hearts by His humble love.

Jesus taught us to serve with the intention of touching the heart

The people in our homes have needs, spiritual and tangible, just as the disciples did. But Jesus, reached through to their hearts when he kneeled down before each of them.

I see him now, standing before one of them. Bending down, one knee, and then, another. Locking smiling eyes with them, knowing the cross was coming, but knowing three days later, their future in heaven with Him would be secured.

I see him taking his time. He knew this moment was special. He knew he had 24 feet, 120 toes, to wash. Yet I know he took his time. He didn’t rush. He knew the gravity of the moment with each of them.

I see us, looking to Jesus, and taking in these moments of serving in our homes. We are only given this moment. This plate handed to a hungry husband. This clean pair of socks handed to a child excited to play. This moment. This act of serving and loving is the only one we are surely given.

As you take hold of the work in your homes this week, see Him taking hold of another dirty foot. King of glory, bowed low, smiling eyes, tender touch.

Pray for the ones you’re serving. Thank Him for them. Call heaven down over them and cover their needs in prayer as you sweep, mop, fold, cook, and clean for them. He is with you as you do, smiling and cheering you on.

What chores do you feel behind on as you start this week? Ask Him to help you see Him beside you, and picture “washing feet” together with Him as you do them. He is with you and all you need.