Oct 24, 2014

I don't feel like it....

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.


11 That night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” Acts 23:11

The Lord spoke these words to Paul as he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. He had just been persecuted by a huge mob of people as he testified to them about Jesus Christ. They had shouted for his immediate death. The uproar was so great that the commander was afraid Paul would be "torn to pieces" by the crowd. 

As Paul sat alone in his barrack the very next night, the words above were spoken to him. Not only were they spoken to him by the Lord,  but they were spoken as "The Lord stood near him."


Paul was human. Flesh and blood just like you and I. He had feelings that must have been raging inside of him as he was persecuted, flogged, and wrongly imprisoned.

His feelings never got the best of him though. His feelings never took him away from his mission. His resolve to fulfill his mission in spreading the news of Jesus Christ counteracted any feelings that would veer him off of his path.

As women, we are very familiar with feelings.  We have them daily. We feel a lot of things within the span of only a few minutes!

The problem with our feelings is that they lead us astray. We depend on them, we surrender to them, we give them way too much power.

How often do we hear from well-meaning friends, "How does that make you feel?" or "How are you feeling today?'

The problem with our feelings is that we were never meant to rely on them. We were created to rely on our Faith. We were created to rely on the Rock of Christ that never waivers. Not the sand of our feelings that are constantly shifting.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

The world tells us to "follow your heart!"


How wrong this is.

Our hearts lead us astray. Our hearts, when not filtered through the Truth of God's unfailing Word, lead us down paths of destruction and despair. Our hearts are led by our feelings.

If you were to ask me on any given day how I "feel"about my marriage, I would say that I feel a lot of things depending on the hour! Sometimes I feel joyful, hopeful, happy! Yet, I can also feel burdened, heavy, and hopeless some days. 

My feelings change more than this ever-changing Georgia weather.

My feelings are not consistent. They are very circumstantial. However, I have made a vow to God to love Lem, to serve Lem, to honor Lem, and to be his wife all the days of my life. Regardless of how I feel about him some days, I know that I must honor the Lord by respecting and loving my man well. My faith in the Love of the Lord sustains me when I feel like Lem is not listening to me or doesn't understand me. I have to deny my hurt feelings and depend on the Promises of God to get through hard times in my marriage.  My feelings deceive my heart because they are based on circumstances, not Truth. 

Faith is not circumstantial. Faith is solid as the Rock it is founded upon. Faith never waivers despite the storm swirling around it. Despite what our misguided hearts tell us, "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

As women, we must work on managing our feelings. We must no let them control our days. Yes, we will have emotions, yes we will feel things. However, we must not act on feelings that are contrary to God's Word.


Let's get to the nitty gritty of it all...

Feelings tell us that we should turn our backs on those that hurt us. Faith tells us to "bless those who curse you, and pray for those that mistreat you." Luke 6:28 

Feelings tell us we are tired and don't feel like waking up a little earlier for some time alone with the Lord. Faith tells us, "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." Matthew 6:33. 

Feelings tell us to do what we want to do. Be led by the desires of our hearts, and just go with the flow. Faith tells us to "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24

Feelings tell us to speak our minds. Say what we feel. Don't hold back. Faith tells us, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3

Feelings tell us we don't measure up. We are not enough and never will be. Faith tells us, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Friends, come close and listen up for a minute. I want us to get this. 

When we are led by our feelings and our emotions, we are NOT being led by the Holy Spirit. Our feelings can be contrary to the Lord and His ways for us. A Spirit filled life is one with discipline and obedience over the flesh of our feelings. 

Denying our feelings is uncomfortable. Who ever said following the Holy Spirit's path for us would be comfy?? There is not a disciple in the Bible that was not uncomfortable. They gave up their comfort to live for Christ. If we insist on molding our lives around our comfort level, we are denying the Lord and His purposes for our lives. We fail to recognize that Jesus Christ is our only Master, not our feelings of comfort. 

The world tells us to go with how we feel. Listen to our hearts. Do what we desire. 

Jesus says, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" Matthew 16:24

"knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin..." Romans 6:6

"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."Galatians 5:24

"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry." Colossians 3:5

My feelings have gotten me into more messes than I care to recount. In order for my life to be directed by the Lord, I must follow His way. Do what He says. not what I feel. 

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24

 Let's not just "hear His Words", let's put them into practice. Beginning with denying the shifting sands of our feelings. 

How can we practice this today? Each time our feelings want to take over, let's say this to the Lord, "Your Will be done, Lord. Not mine."

We may have to say it all day. Get in the Word and find Truths that counteract your feelings. They are in there. For every shifting feeling that lies to us, there is God's Truth beckoning us to the Rock. You can bet your last pretty little lipgloss on that one.  


out of the sand and onto the rock,

jill


Oct 22, 2014

Don't Quit Your Day Job....

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.


Question for all of you lovely ladies:  Did you know that Paul was a tentmaker?

Me either.

In Acts 18:3, it says, "and because he [Paul] was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them."

Well well well. Paul, one of the most incredible preachers of all time, made tents for a living. Who knew?

Paul provided his own way as he traveled. He did not depend on financial help from anyone as he states here:

"You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all these things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:34-35 ESV).

As I was folding clothes yesterday, I was thinking about Paul. I had no idea he was a tentmaker by trade. I was daydreaming of what Paul's life looked life. When did he find the time to make tents? Obviously his biggest legacy was left in his preaching.

However, without his trade to support him, he may not have been able to travel as extensively as he did without others questioning his integrity.

So, what does this say to my wife and mother heart?

We all have a mission. A HUGE one.

 However, we sometimes feel that "other stuff" gets in the way of our God given mission. This is false thinking.

Here's why:

If God has given you a husband and children, they come first. After God, of course.

If God has provided you with a job outside of the home, not only can this be a mission field, but a way for God to use you to finance missions He may have for you.

Are you following me here?

Sometimes we can get all caught up with thinking that we are only doing God's work if we are at church, or on a mission trip, or teaching a Sunday school class.

This is not true!

Paul had a mission to preach.

However, Paul didn't forget about his day job. He still made tents. He provided a living for himself.
Did this affect his ministry in any way? Absolutely not.

As women, we are bombarded by guilt. On a daily, if not hourly basis.

Am I a good momma? Am I a good wife? Am I a good housekeeper? Am I a good employee?

Blah, blah, blah.

What the heck?

Why all the guilt?

Can we not just do our thing each day, give thanks for what we have, and spread a little joy?

YES!

We lose sight of the ministry right in front of us when we are daydreaming of being "in the mission field."

As a wife, I can tell you that being a wife is a mission field all on it's own! It's a daily surrender to the Lord to be loving, kind, graceful, and forgiving. Goodness gracious it takes all I have most days. And I mean ALL.

Don't get me started on the mission field of motherhood...whew. Where do I begin?

Just like Paul, we are tentmakers. Tentmakers in the fact that we have a daily mission. A day job that keeps us going. Day in and day out.

Whether it is a job that you walk into each day, or a job that you do within the 4 walls of your home. We all have a mission! Just like Paul.

Oh, and let's not forget our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was a carpenter by trade. He didn't just go around daydreaming of being the Son of God--he worked! He made a living for Himself as His ministry was in full swing.

God may also call us to teach, to preach, to serve....

However, it usually doesn't negate our day job.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

Wiping babies bottoms, cleaning toilets, preparing reports, grading papers, answering phones, scheduling appointments.......

Whatever you do, work as if working for the Lord. 

There's our mission.

Clear as a bell.

Go, get to work today. Your mission is waiting.


on a mission,


jill




Oct 21, 2014

Opportunity Knocks...

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!  Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Act 9:5-6

The life of Paul is blowing my mind.

His life teaches us about surrendered faith. Bold faith. Fearless faith. Reckless faith.

All of this from a man who had once killed others that believed in Jesus.

Paul's ministry is transformed before our very eyes. Day by day he gets bolder, more wisdom, more courageous.

We can learn so much from this book of Acts

Paul's ministry went from zero to a million in just a few years. I mean, wow. God was stretching Paul, growing Paul, and rooting Paul deeper and deeper into his faith.

His life unfolded so quickly once he accepted the Truth of Christ on that road to Damascus where He was struck blind. [Acts 9]

He went from persecuting Christians, to being one of the absolute greatest preachers for Jesus Christ of ALL time. He wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament.

Do you see what happens when the Holy Spirit begins to reside in our hearts? God's plan for us starts to unfold. The birthing of our new life in Christ takes place! The old life is left behind...thank goodness!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I will give you one guess who wrote the scripture above.

Yes, PAUL!

Paul understood what a new life was all about! He knew firsthand what happens when we invite Jesus as our Lord and Savior!

We are NOT THE SAME. EVER.

[and did you just hear me shout "THANK YOU JESUS?!"]

So, if you have accepted Christ as your Savior, know that you are not the same person. You are a new creation designed by God to bring Him glory.

"everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:7

Maybe you woke up today to the same old grind. Maybe you are unsure of anything God is doing in your life. Maybe you are not feeling so shiny and new in Christ.

Let me let you in on a little secret...

The very fact that you woke up this morning, breathing air into your lungs...

Means that God is still doing a work in you life! He still has a purpose for you that would blow your gorgeous little mind!

We often only see the temporal in life...this is the world's way.

However, when we open our eyes to the eternal, God's view, we see an out of this world view!

When we can begin to wrap or brains around the fact that we are made to bring God glory, we begin to have a new sparkle in our eyes. A spring in our step. A purpose in our days.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Sweet ones, you were made to bring Him glory. You.

The next time you start to believe otherwise, speak Truth to that lie. The Truth of God's Word cannot lie.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

Just like Paul, your past is history.

Let me repeat that one more time: Just like Paul, your past is history. 

Take a step, move forward.

Get on the greatest journey of your life! He has so much for you.

His desires for you will give birth to more desires. Those desires will birth even more desires. Slowly molding you into the perfect creation that He has planned for you.

May he grant your heart's desires and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

Just like Paul from the book of Acts, there will never be a moment when He is not wanting to use you. Somewhere, someplace, someone.

There is ALWAYS an opportunity.

Always.

Lord, show us our path today. Guide us to the places, the people, and the opportunities that You desire for us. Give us a fresh realization of your purpose for us. Let us never forget the truth that we were created for your glory. Just like Paul, put passion and purpose in our hearts! We love you so much and we thank you for another day to serve You. 


opportunity is knocking,


jill



Oct 17, 2014

Is your faith fickle?

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.


They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved---you and your household." 
Acts 16:31


As I finished up Chapter 16 in Acts, I was astonished by several things. 

First, the sheer courage of Paul and Silas. They had NO fear of imprisonment, persecution, or death. 

They had a mission--to preach about Jesus Christ until they had no breath left in them. 

It's one thing to have "hope" in what you believe, it's another thing altogether to bank your life on it. 

Where does your faith fall? Do you believe because you like the idea of Him?  Do you believe because you are really hopeful that Jesus is real? Do you believe because it's what you have been told to do?

Or...

Do you believe because you know it to be true. You have seen the evidence of Jesus in your life or in the lives of others. You can taste the sweetness of His Love, His Mercy, His Grace. 

I want this kind of belief. I don't want a fickle, wavering belief system. I don't want to change like the weather depending on who I am talking to at the moment.

Girls, it is important to know what we believe. It is important to be informed about what our Bible teaches us.

Think about the things you are interested in. The people that you love. You know about them, right? You can tell stories about them, you know them well.

We should know our faith well. We should know what we believe, and why we believe it.

This not only will strengthen our testimonies, but our own faith.

Your Fun Friday Challenge:

Get to know the Word. Even more. Read it, study it, read it again.

Take notes on what you are reading. Ask questions. Find a good online commentary to help you as you go.

We NEED to be well-informed in our faith. This day and age is getting further and further away from Truth. We need the Truth to be ingrained in our hearts, our minds, and our spirits. If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must really believe what we saying.

We must live it, breathe it, love it, and KNOW it. 

These disciples in Acts are our examples. I am challenged to live this kind of life! How about you?


digging in,



jill





Oct 14, 2014

The Time is Now......

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.

17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
    ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young men will see visions,
    and your old men will dream dreams.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
    even on my servants—men and women alike—
    and they will prophesy.
19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below—
    blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will turn blood red
    before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
    will be saved.’
Acts 2:17-21


 We find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the book of Acts. Jesus has physically ascended into Heaven [Acts 1], and the disciples are left behind to build the church. 

Wow, what a task they have been given! Can you imagine? Jesus has been with you for the past 3 years. He has been your teacher, your leader, your mentor, and now....He is gone. 

Not only is He gone, but He has given these disciples very specific instructions in preaching the gospel to the world. 

What were these disciples feeling? Lost? Overwhelmed? Scared? Their leader had JUST been crucified, spat on, beaten. 

Well, if the disciples were afraid there are no signs of this. They immediately obeyed the instructions Jesus left them, and went about their ministry. 

We see in Chapter 2 that the Holy Spirit ascends on them, and they began teaching and preaching. 

I don't believe I have ever loved the scriptures more than I do this very day. This very time in my life. I am absolutely dumb-founded and in complete jaw-dropping awe of Jesus. 

He spent 3 years teaching these men, and now it is their turn. They are now the teachers, the preachers, and the leaders. With the Holy Spirit now living inside of them, they are able to do immeasurably more than they ever thought or imagined. 

Let's go to Chapter 3 for a minute. Hello, let's talk about Peter. Peter, who in the gospels before this book of Acts was hasty, lacking faith, in denial. Peter was a complete and utter goofball at times. 

Do you even recognize this same Peter? He is BOLD. He is CONFIDENT. He is SURE OF HIS CALL. He wastes NO TIME. 

What has changed in Peter?

He now has God living inside of Him! 

We see a WHOLE NEW PETER!

Y'all!! Are you getting what I am saying?

We have what PETER HAS! 

If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior, you HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT INSIDE OF YOU!

Excuse me for SHOUTING, but it is worth a HUGE SHOUT!!!

Let me also just say for the record, just in case their are any doubters out there....

Who in their right mind would risk their life, preach to thousands of people that do NOT like the message of Christ, and be willing to be PERSECUTED--even death, for someone they did not believe in? 

They saw with their very own eyes, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! If they had not seen this, they would NEVER have continued His ministry! Are you following me here?

Not only did they continue to passionately live out Jesus' ministry, they all DIED for Him. 

Let me step down from my pink soap box for a minute. I am getting winded. :)

Girls, we are His disciples!!! We are in this timeline of God's Creation for a specific purpose. He chose us for this day and this age to continue His ministry. 

We are believers because of the ministry of these very few men! Imagine what God can do through us, two thousand years later! Christianity is not a new thing. Jesus has been proven over and over and over. 

We have what the disciples didn't have---HISTORY to prove Jesus' existence. We have eye-witness testimony, historical documentation and artifacts, and the testimonies of millions that have come before us. 

What are we waiting for? The time is NOW. The season is RIPE. 

God has put us in this book of Acts for a very specific reason. To encourage us! To infuse us! To spur us on in our every day lives!

If you have a pulse, HE WANTS TO USE YOU. 

The time is now. 

Get FIRED UP FOR HIM. The world desperately needs to know Him. Your neighbor desperately needs to know Him. Your children desperately need to know Him. Your husband desperately needs to know Him. 

No one is exempt from the calling to be a disciple of Jesus. No one. 


"So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too." Acts 6:7


You may think that you are incapable of being a disciple, but you are wrong. Just ask Peter. You are not the same person that you were before receiving Jesus. 

"....for we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Corinthians 5:17


start spreading the news,


jill







Oct 3, 2014

Taking a break....

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.


I just wanted to give you ladies a little heads up that I will not be posting next week. My family and I will be on Fall break, and it could not come soon enough. :)

However, we will not take a break from our reading. My plan is to read a chapter a day of Acts this month. There are 28 chapters. Very doable.

If you finish early, read through again. It's amazing how God can show you something completely different each time you read it. His Word really is living and active.


Our Fun Friday Challenge:


Make time for the Word this upcoming week. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, take some time to meet with Him. Download the Youversion app if you can. Listen to it in your car if you have to. God's Word can go with us anywhere. :)

When life gets hectic, I always go back to this verse:

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 16:33

When I truly seek Him first, the peace rushes in. His Word cannot lie.

Seeking Him,


jill

Oct 2, 2014

Please don't bother me.....

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.


"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”" Acts 1:8

As I read the book of Acts, I keep imagining the man who wrote it, Luke.

Luke was a travelling companion of Paul. Luke was not privy to being among the 12 disciples of Jesus. However, Luke, soon became a devout and devoted follower of Christ.

As Luke traveled with Paul on his many missionary journeys, Luke took notes. He studied Paul's preaching. He probably would eat and sleep the teachings that he was first-hand privy to being with the great apostle Paul.

Can you imagine? Oh, what I would give to be on that journey with them!

Luke was meticulous in his writing. He researched, and researched some more when it came to the life of Jesus. He detailed and scrutinized the lives of the disciples who were with Jesus. His writing proves this. He aimed for accuracy, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, he delivered.

Luke paid attention to details. They were important to him. The details string together the events and the history that he was conveying to us, the readers.

God is in the details, even the tiniest.

Recently, I was at a familiar place. It has come to be one of my favorite times of the day and week because I get a chance to sit in peace, drink a cup of coffee, return texts or emails, catch up on my calendar, and just breathe. My children are taking lessons, so they are occupied as well. So, everyone is happy.

As we got to this place, I happily sipped my coffee, let the outside breeze hit my face, grabbed my calendar and phone and was ready for my hour of peace.

Ahhh.

Minutes later, still swallowing the first few drops of my liquid heaven, I hear a voice.

I look up and see an older lady in front of me.

She is asking me something, not really sure what.

I answer her question with a short and rushed tone, and try to get my mind back to my peaceful little spot.

She asks me something again.

Oh good grief.

I answer her, again.

She's not going away. Seriously, I just don't want to be bothered right now.

For a moment, I thought about going to sit in my car so I could be alone in my happy place.

The Lord convicted my heart.

"Talk to her, Jill. Just talk to her."

In my heart I answered Him back, "Okay, but only for a minute. I have things to do. You KNOW this is my quiet place. Please, Lord, let this be quick!"

An hour later the lady and I were still talking.

We had the best conversation. I listened as she told me about her children, grandchildren, and the hard life she had been given. My eyes brimmed over with tears more times than I can count as we sat and shared our stories.

I was not expecting this that day. I didn't really have time to waste an hour chit-chatting for the fun of if. Oh, but God was in this, y'all. Every detail of it.

As I talked to her, I wondered if she knew Jesus. I included Him in our conversation several times as her eyes stared back blankly. If she knew Jesus, she didn't let on.

I imagined her life. She was important. She was a human being with a great story to tell.

Who was I to think that she was not worth sitting and talking to? I repented to the Lord for my prideful and detached heart. I was ashamed.

She had something to say. Everyone has something to say.

As I think about Luke, as he wrote the book of Acts, I think about the fact that he listened...intently.

I doubt he ever thought his letter to his friend, Theophilus, would still be being taught 2000 years later across and around the world. But, God knew.

God put Luke in situations, in the form of a companion, because He knew he would listen. God knew Luke would hear all the details and take note of them with precision. Thank goodness Luke didn't demand alone time or quiet time to have some space. He would have missed a heck of a lot if he would have.

Luke was given the great honor of writing 2 books of our New Testament.

I wonder what we miss when we don't take the time to notice others? Could it be that God has put them in our path for such a time as this? To hear their story, to listen to them, to care about them.

Lord, let our eyes be open to others. Let us look to the interest and needs of others before our own. Gently lead us each day. Inconvenience us, Father. Put us in places that seem to not really matter. We want to be listeners, just like Luke. You have a purpose in the tiniest of details, Father. Your Presence surrounds us. In Jesus Name, amen.  

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12


becoming a listener,


jill




Oct 1, 2014

Getting to know Him.....

October Reading Plan: The Book of Acts
October Memory Verse: Isaiah 60:1-2
Prayer Requests Go Here.
New to SHINE? Go Here.


October Memory Verse: 
 

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and his glory will be seen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1-2


This week we will begin a new book of the Bible. Are you excited? Me too!

If you haven't finished reading last month in Psalm, you can always go back to that or add it to our October reading. Since October officially begins TODAY [yay!], I thought we could go ahead and jump right into our new book.

This month we will read the Book of Acts together.

A few things about this book:

-Acts was written by Luke, the Gentile physician and companion of Paul who is also the author of the Gospel of Luke.

-Acts and Luke compose almost one fourth of the entire New Testament. Wow!

-The Book of Acts was written around AD 63-70. Which means it was written about 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus.

-Luke was written for Theophilus. This name translates to "Lover of God". It may have been a specific person or a term for Christians that were in the midst of struggling.

-The book of Acts serves to encourage us and remind us of the challenges we will certainly face as Christians. However, it also reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Why is it important to know the background? I believe it is because we get a context of where the writing is coming from. As this world gets more and more tumultuous, especially in the religious sect, we must understand God's Word to us. His Word has very specific  instruction and teaching.

Think about your life story. You are familiar with all the details. You can easily talk to someone about your life. I believe we should be very familiar with God's Word. We should know it intimately and treasure it. We don't have to be bible scholars by any means, however, when something is important to us, we tend to love it well, nurture it well, and know it well.

As we dive into the book of Acts, my prayer is that God imprints it on your heart. When He is teaching us something in this book, I pray we all have open minds and ears to receive. Pray before you open your Bible. Ask God for a clear and undistracted mind to absorb the words before you.  Grab a pen and notebook and take notes!

God's Word is our teacher, we are His students. There is no greater classroom to be sitting in, friends.

If you are new to SHINE, I encourage you to read a little bit each day. Sometimes it can be hard to get in the routine of reading God's Word, however, the treasure you will find there will knock your darling little socks off.

Maybe you are not new to SHINE, but have found yourself in a rut. You may be struggling to find time to get in the Word of God. I encourage you to find at least 5 minutes in your days. Ask God to help you find this time. Ask Him to prompt you to meet Him in His Word. Oh, my precious friend, He will!

We must hide His word in our hearts if we are to have the energy and the power to be a part of this fallen word. It is impossible to survive without Him. Our circumstances may not change, but our attitudes and our hearts will most certainly change.

 His Word equips us to face each and every day.

Sometimes we just need a little accountability. Grab a friend or two, meet up, and talk about what you are reading. Ask them to help you stay accountable in your reading. They probably need accountability too!

I am praying for you to meet Him today. I am praying He provides a few minutes of your time to surrender to His leading. He knows how much you need Him.

His Hand is outstretched, will you take it?


getting to know Acts,


jill