Remember way back on January 1st when we all made Resolutions for the New Year? Well, this year I really wanted to make them real resolutions. Not the kind where they are so steep that you quit 2 weeks later. Real, honest resolutions to improve my life. My first one was to "get closer to God, and closer to who he wants me to become."
So, I started with a Bible Study. Something to keep me focused every day, to keep me talking to God and more importantly listening to God. I found the Good Morning Girls website and I absolutely love it. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking fellowship, friendship and a closer connection with God. My first Bible study was one that they created titled "Intentionally Focused," as a guide to becoming intentionally focused. It helped me learn how to become a better me, how to serve Him better and how to always act with intention. They give you all the supplies you need as free-print outs, post encouraging videos and send encouraging emails. It was great.
It was an 8 week Bible study, that I completed in 6 months. I don't mind one bit that It took me that long to complete because I am immensely proud of myself for staying dedicated to it and completing it rather than quitting when I fell behind schedule. I started with the mindset that I would go slow and make time for it when I could, so that I didn't get overwhelmed
which tends to happen often. Also, I've been wanting to post about Faith for a while now. There is a Faith and Fellowship link up I've been wanting to post in for weeks months, so now I finally will have something to share over there.
My mom got me this perfect Bible cover for Easter this year. She had it custom made for me with a rose fabric (Amanda Rose), it has a magnetic latch and a wonderful embroidered verse on the front. She knew how much I'd been trying to commit myself to my Bible this year and supported my journey with this wonderful gift.
I printed out this study schedule and it breaks the 8 week study down into 8 topics:
Week 1: Intentionally Focused
Week 2: Your Spiritual Life
Week 3: Your Mind
Week 4: Your Marriage
Week 5: Your Friendships
Week 6: Your Children
Week 7: Your Ministries
Week 8: Your Health
I'm going to post on the first week today, and the rest of the topics over the next few weeks.
The first step in the Bible Study is setting 3 goals for yourself during the 8 weeks.
My 3 goals:
1. Finish the entire session, even if it takes longer than 8 weeks. "Take time to interact with the Lord, for He is the purpose of everything else."
I did it! I finished in 6 months which is something to celebrate.
2. Intentionally strengthen my relationship with God. Learn what He wants to teach me. Begin to act based on what I learn.
I work on this every single day. It is hard to act in the ways that He is teaching you to act, but it is rewarding knowing that you are beginning to be molded into the person that He wants you to be.
3. Listen to God. Don't just write and pray and blabber away. Be still. Be silent. Listen to what He has to say to me.
This one is the hardest! I'm still working on this one, too.
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things." - Jeremiah 33:3
Week 1: Intentionally Focused
I wrote down the verse of the week to help me stay focused on it.
What I learned this week:
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children." -Ephesians 5:1
I need to focus on applying God's words and Jesus' way of life to my own life.
Jenny, a close friend of mine, told me there are two ways to tell when someone has let Jesus into their heart: 1. They want to tell their story. Having Jesus in your heart is awesome and is something you want to share with the world. 2. They act like Jesus is in their heart. You can tell just by watching them.
I want people to be able to tell Jesus is in my heart simply by my actions, which is a daily struggle. By imitating Jesus' actions I can bring joy into my life and into the lives of those around me.
"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12
We need God to teach us, to change who we are, so that we can grow and develop a wise heart. We can't number our days, only God knows how long we will live. We need to live each day like it is our last because we don't know how many we have left. There is no promised future to make changes to the way you live or to improve your life. Right now is the only time to be who you desire to be. This week I wrote: "Heavenly Father, I pray that you will slow me down and hold me close."
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." - Hebrews 12:1
We can throw off the things that hold us back. We are in control, not Satan. We can unchain ourselves from anger, depression, hatred, resent and do God's work with full stamina. This week I realized that everyone who has seen me is a witness to my actions: my coworkers, my facebook friends, my classmates, my family..why show them Satan's influences on the world when I can show them God's great love working inside me? Satan tempts us with frustrations, greed, material desires and tries to get us to compete with God's other children instead of love them. I have the power to resist these temptations and to do God's work. This verse is really powerful for me. How exciting is it that we can choose how to act and can use all of our energy to bring positive energy to those around us?
"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:15-16
Be careful of how you live, not just how you act, how you speak, what you wear...how you live. Everything you think, say, or do becomes your life. This verse allows me to think less about planning for the days ahead and more about appreciating the moment. I am a total type A, control freak, planning woman. So, this truth is kind of a relief. I can let go and step back, change how I live in the moment instead of planning for how to live in the future. Unchain yourself from the notion of time and make each experience valuable.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus," - Philippians 4:15
God has called me and has already reached out to me and to us, it is our turn to reach back. The prize is everlasting life, which we can all achieve through Jesus. "I press on" indicates hardship and difficulty, because it is not an easy task. Satan is constantly trying to distract us with worldy matters. But all is possible through Jesus Christ. This race is a marathon, and I need to constantly be working on reflecting God's love.
If you have read this far I sincerely want to thank you. I don't ususally post about deep things like this, but I want to start. This blog is not only for easy recipes and sewing ideas. It is a place for me to record my journey and hopefully inspire others along the way. Thank you for joining me during this time of growth.