Tag Archives: Bible Study

Cross to Bear ~ 2

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This story started on Friday.  If you missed that, you’ll be lost today. So here’s a quick link to pop back and catch yourself up!

As I placed the nozzle back in the pump, I walked around the back of the car and my newest decal loomed large … a reminder of who’s I am and whom I’ve just disgraced …

† = ♥

I hung my head in shame and slid back into my car.

In my head I replayed what I said to the station manager.  Was that anyway to treat another human being?  What did that outburst say about me as a Christ follower?  I shook my head in disgust.  Some witness!  Paul can survive beatings and floggings and stonings and I can’t persevere through an argument without coming unglued.  I still have so much to learn!

By the time I was ready for bed that evening the weight of the sin-millstone around my neck was palpable.  The incident and the implications of the fallout weighed heavy on my mind for the rest of the day and I knew I couldn’t go one more minute before I had to get down on my knees that night and cry, begging forgiveness from my Lord and Savior.  I went to bed with a beautiful peace on my heart, but still mortified by the way I had acted that day.

The ever-present oily pit of black goo roiled in my soul.  I imagine it to be a pool of sin sloshing back and forth in my soul.  Sometimes it lays dormant for a while, other times it bubbles up and leaks out.  Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m in a constant state of consternation – far from it.  I fully accept the grace God affords me after I repent and ask forgiveness for my sin.  My heart and spirit are somehow lighter knowing He forgets my sin “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 (NIV).  It’s just that as I come to love the Lord more and more I am ever so much more saddened when I sin.  I know I hurt His heart.  I know I disappoint Him.  All sin is an act against God.  I love how Jerry Bridges puts it in his book Respectable Sins:

“Even though our hearts have been renewed, even though we have been freed from the absolute dominion of sin, even though God’s Holy Spirit dwells within our bodies, this principle of sin still lurks within us and wages war against our souls.”

Even though we are believers, we have a tendency to evaluate our behavior by how it relates to the society in which we live.  Since as Christians, we’re usually operating at a higher moral standard than those around us, it’s easier to get caught up in feeling good about ourselves and how we behave – even though we are sinning all along.  We must watch out for that trap.  Can’t you just see Satan grinning with joy?

Unbelievably, I hadn’t even read Day 14 when the incident at the gas station occurred.  As I opened up the bible study the following day I couldn’t help but see my sin all over its pages.  Convicted over and over again (but not condemned because I’d already received forgiveness from God).  Unfortunately, there were other recent incidents where I had opened my mouth inappropriately and these occurrences tugged at my heart.  I hadn’t confessed those to the Lord yet.  I’d pushed them aside as acceptable sins.  The bottom line – would I ever learn to keep my big yap shut?

Kay asks, “If I want to live this life (a life sold out for Jesus), am I willing to pay the price?”

Am I willing to really come to grips with my inability to keep my mouth closed when it isn’t necessary to speak?  Am I able to look with such love toward others that a critical thought never enters my mind again?  It’s certainly become a prayer of mine.

Think this week about your cross.  Or at least one of them – because I know I have many myself!  What can you, once and for all, give up to Christ by next weekend?  What can you cut out of yourself like fisherman gutting a newly caught snapper – all for the sake of Jesus?  I don’t think we have time to waste, my friends.  Jesus may arrive at any time and I want to see you on that narrow path with me!

Stronger in Prayer ~ Praying Boldly

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Stronger in Prayer ~ Praying Boldly

We’re still talking about answered prayer and I wanted to relate this story specifically because even though God did mighty things at the time (2012) in hind sight (natch!) I can see immeasurably more purpose to His answering one simple prayer of a few women.  If you missed …   Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday.

I looked up to find the women’s ministry director leading a young girl I’d never seen before to my table.  We’d finished our Priscilla Shirer program the week before and were set to see a new, stand-alone Priscilla video this evening.  Deb introduced me to the young woman (whom I’ll call Lisa) telling me that she had just wandered in, was given the option of our program or the Beth Moore study happening in the other room, and had chosen Priscilla.  I welcomed Lisa and pulled out the chair next to me.  Before the rest of my ladies arrived at the table, I discovered that she was a single mom of a 2 ½ year old boy and although she hadn’t quite said as much, she seemed to be in a bad place.

We watched the video which focused on the principles found in Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV):

20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen. 

Priscilla’s main point was that God is able to do – for you – immeasurably more than you can imagine.  How many times do we squander our time with God asking for the easy?  The video had affected all of us at the table as several women, and Lisa sniffed and wiped away an errant tear or two.  I thought about my own expectations of God.  I realized I was tired of asking God for the minimum because I felt some sort of embarrassment regarding my need.

At the end of the video Priscilla had us turn to each other and speak truth into each other’s lives.  I turned immediately to Lisa and am not really sure what I said (evidence that the Holy Spirit had taken over) I just knew that by the time I was done she and I and half the table were crying.  I laughed as I wiped away the tears that were coursing down my cheeks saying, “Sorry, it’s the Holy Spirit.”  Lisa was smiling brightly and her eyes shown as if lit by some inner light.  It was clear that whatever the Holy Spirit had spoken to her, it was as if some sort of weight had been lifted from her soul.  That was when she told us her story.

Lisa had been a Christian for just a few short years, divorced her husband for adultery, received full custody of her child, and moved back to Florida to live with her parents.  She had been abused by her father when she was a child, but had some hope that he’d changed with age?  Time?  I don’t know, but she was proven wrong.  When her father continued his abuse of her and had included her child, she left.  Now it seemed she was working a part-time job, was unable to find an apartment due to her husband’s poor credit and her non-credit, and was couch hopping between a few friends – and on the days she couldn’t stay with them – was sleeping in her car.

The one bright spot in her tale of woe was that she did have an interview for a full-time position the following day.  One of the ladies at the table said, “We’ll pray for you.”  The same way we Christians always say, “I’ll pray for you,” and may or may not.  But I couldn’t get the message we’d just heard out of my mind and held out my hands to the young girl and the woman on my right and said, “With what we’ve just heard about Ephesians 3:20, let’s pray right now.”

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us …  ~ Ephesians 3:20

I opened the prayer thanking God for bringing Lisa to our table … and then I thought about the promise of Ephesians 3:20 … and then I didn’t hold any punches.  I told God there was a reason He brought her to our table and asked Him squarely for a full-time job and an apartment for our young friend and her son.  She needed it now and not next month.  As the prayer grew and roamed around the table, the other ladies were equally as dynamic.  God had never heard such fervor from this group of women in any of our corporate prayer to this point.  We ended that that evening with my ladies pouring their hearts into this young woman and opening their wallets in aide.

The events in this post occurred on a Wednesday.  We Christians always talk about waiting on God because we’re also human and usually very impatient.  Some of my prayers take months and years to be answered (or at least for me to recognize the answer) and I often remind myself, “in God’s timing, not mine.”  But, it is absolutely refreshing when we can witness God work in an instant.  You’ll hear the rest of the story on Wednesday.

Please come back.

Bible Study ~ Stronger Through the Word

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Bible Study ~ Stronger Through the Word

We hear again today from David Arthur.  He relays a wonderful story about a man he met who has planted thousands of churches across India.  David had been excited to meet the man particularly because he wanted to know what curriculum the man was using to disciple all these people.  When asked, the gentleman was confused by the question.

“What materials?” he asked David. “We simply start in the book of Matthew – just reading and doing what it says.”

How simple.  We don’t need reams of studies and piles of curriculum.  We need to read the word and obey it.  Sounds a little familiar no?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

~ James 1:22

When I was a new Christian I didn’t receive any dedicated discipleship at the church I was attending.  I also backslid pretty quickly and blamed my church for it at the time.  Here I was a brand new Christian … now what?  What do I do now?  But you know what?  I owned a Bible. I have no one to blame but myself for not picking it up, and as the man from India said, “Start in Matthew and read and do what it says.”

I do find it interesting however, that because of that experience I developed a real passion for the discipleship ministry.  I am always hoping to help others from falling off the cliff like I did.  Because when you backslide you develop very guilty feelings.  You know you’ve walked away from God and back into your old life and you wonder if God’s too mad at you to accept you back into the family.  New Christians (and non-believers) are too naïve at that point to comprehend that God will never leave you.  Period.  End of story.

But wait.  Might not a portion of that be true … or at least feel true?  Each time we sin without repenting, we move ourselves farther from God.  The widening gap allows the enemy of our souls to slip in and isolate us further.  We stop reading His word due to guilt or shame and we shut off the main conduit He has to speak to us.  Have you, like me, ever felt far from God?

But guess who moved?  It wasn’t God.

One of the participants in a small group I was leading was having a hard “season” (as we say in Christianeze).  Nothing was going right for her, at least nothing that she wanted or expected was happening in her favor.  She’d been a Christian for a couple of years and as I talked with her I discovered that she was pushing against everything – and I mean everything – that was happening in her life.  I asked, “Have you been praying?  What does God say?”

There comes a time when you have to take stock of your life and ask God, “What is up?”  I find that when my wheels are spinning and ‘nothing is going right’ it’s usually one of two reasons (1) I’m walking in God’s will and the enemy is trying to thwart me, or (2) I’m trying to do my own thing and bucking against God.  There is no secret to determining which it is.  In some cases it might even be a little of both.  The first thing I do is stop, drop, and roll.  Oh no wait, that’s when I’m on fire.  The first thing I do is stop spinning and ask God what is going on.  I don’t make any more moves until I hear an answer.  In the meantime and just to be sure there is only one influence in my life I will ask Him to help me control my flesh (quiet my mind and put the kibosh on my wants and desires) and rebuke Satan by removing his influence from me.

I waited for an answer from the girl whose life seemed to be falling apart.  She just looked at me with sad eyes so I backed up and asked, “Do you read your Bible?”

“No,” was the unfortunate answer.  “I can’t concentrate long enough to get anything from it.”

I sighed … probably literally.  Not one of us is going to hear from God if we are not in His word … and hopefully on a daily basis.  If you’re not reading your bible daily I urge you to work toward making that a habit.  It’ll take time but I guarantee you, as soon as our Lord starts speaking to you through the pages, you’ll crave His voice and that will make it easier.  We must remember that God’s word is alive.  It’s really the only way to begin to communicate with Him.  Read it, meditate on it, and obey it.

David Kay gives us an important lesson as he reminds us of the importance of God’s Word.  In the second letter to Timothy, Paul knows that his time is nearing an end.  Everything he writes to Timothy in this letter is going to be the most important information that he could pass on to this young man he considered a son.  Think about it, if you know you’re about to die your last words are not going to be, “Water the plants.”  They are going to significant and meaningful.  They’re going to be words Timothy needs in order to live well.

Paul tells Timothy to, “guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14).  This treasure is not gold and silver that Paul buried in the desert, but the Word of God. He shares the reason why the Bible is so important and why it must be guarded:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (and woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Like my friend from the Trinity post who regrettably believes only the parts of the Bible where Jesus speaks, it’s vital for us to remember that all scripture is God-breathed – which is – inspired by God.  To miss that one mind-blowing fact is to miss out on a Book that we really cannot live without.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Bible Study ~ God’s Attributes

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Bible Study ~ God’s Attributes

On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to thank all of those who have served this magnificent country of ours and have lost their lives doing so.  Be they first responders or military personnel, we owe so much to them.  They made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us, this country, and our freedoms.  I humbly thank each and every one and pray that your families find comfort in the arms of our living God.  

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David Kay starts this Day with a story about mistaken identity.  I was working as a teacher for Baldridge Reading and Study Skills, a private firm in Greenwich, CT that was contracted by schools throughout the world to provide their unique brand of reading speed and comprehension, study skills, and writing effectiveness.  It was a great job that took me around the world for two years.  During one season I found myself working at Elizabethtown College just down Route 743 from Hershey, Pennsylvania.  I had the students for the four weeks before Spring Break and during one of our last classes one of the kids brought in a couple bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs for the class to share.

I remember gleefully biting in to one only to find that it was so fresh that the chocolate and peanut butter actually dissolved on my tongue.  It just melted away.  I’d never, in my whole life, tasted a Reese’s that was so fresh and immediately started gushing about how remarkable the experience was.  I must have blathered on for a good 5 minutes and probably downed at least one more (oh, who am I kidding, a couple more!) before I turned to the student and said, “How did you ever find a bag of Reese’s so fresh?”

The class grew silent as the young man looked at me incredulously.  I immediately thought to myself, what a stupid question, the chocolate center of the USA is right up the road.  But the boy just asked softly, “Miss Clarke, what’s my last name?”  I thought for a minute before I realized … it was Reese.  What a dope!

David makes a point on this day to say that relationships don’t work well if we don’t make an effort to get to know each other and I certainly felt stupid not remembering that I had a Reese in my class – actually two – because the boy’s older sister was also one of my students.  Doh!

In this session David pulls out several passages where he wants the reader to highlight what the passage says about God.  He uses Psalm 103:19, Jeremiah 32:17-19 & 27, Deuteronomy 32:3-4 and Romans 11:33 to name a few.  However, the verse that made me pause was when God is speaking about Himself in Isaiah 45:7

The One forming the light and creating darkness,

Causing well-being and creating calamity;

I am the Lord who does all these.

Did you blink right there?  Whaddya mean God creates calamity?

I had an occasion once to tussle with a Pastor over this issue after being told in a classroom setting that God causes pain and suffering.  I was not well read (biblically-speaking) and couldn’t comprehend that God would cause pain, suffering, and even disaster.  The Pastor talked a lot about Job which I acquiesced was God allowing Satan to bring suffering to Job to make a point, but that He didn’t actually cause the suffering.  Even though it still didn’t sit right with me, I walked out of our meeting thinking that I might be able to wrap my mind around God allowing disaster.  I wasn’t there yet but I would give it serious consideration.

Somewhere in the years that followed I settled in my mind that God was sovereign over all, and realized that if I am to believe that God is completely in control, then I must also believe that God allows the good and the bad and will even cause joy and pain if it accomplishes His purposes.  It’s not an easy concept to come to grips with and I can’t tell you how long I wrestled with it before I let it saturate my psyche until it was planted as truth.  This knowledge has certainly helped me in my bout with cancer.

Recently, I read the book Knowing God by J.I. Packer.  In it he uses a verse in Romans as a similar example and brings up a very important point.

“Therefore consider God’s kindness and severity …” Romans 11:22a

Packer’s point is the importance of the word “and” which you also find in the Isaiah scripture above.  We must comprehend that it is our limited thinking that has given human attributes to God when we say we have to accept “the good and the bad” about God.  He is not neither good nor bad.  He is Him.  In these scriptures we must realize that God is both good and severe – He brings light and darkness – He causes happiness and disaster.  He is both, He is all, He is everything.  He is omnipotent and He is sovereign.

It’s so popular today to just want to believe in a God of grace without consequence.  I can only imagine that people who espouse this view are attempting to lessen the devastating truth of sin but all it does is end up cheapening Christ’s work on the cross.  We cannot forget that Jesus is our Savior and our ultimate judge.

So while I pray and ask God to expand my mind to accept what is written in Isaiah 45:7, I’ll leave you with just this …

Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we will ever have in this life or the next.  As we would with any friend, let’s make a concerted effort to get to know Him better.  Make it our life’s work.  Don’t ever stop because we both know He is unfathomable.

Next up … Days 5 and 6: Stronger in the word.

Bible Study ~ The Trinity

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Bible Study ~ The Trinity

Days Two, Three, and Four of the bible study discuss the Trinity.  I mentioned Wednesday that we would discuss God’s attributes today, but I came across some other items that I want to discuss first.

There is a person in my life who doesn’t consider Jesus God.  Because he calls himself a Christian, I didn’t realize this until he mentioned after church one day that he didn’t like a song we sang in which we called Jesus, God.  I was flabbergasted to hear that he believes Jesus is the Son of God and the Father is completely distinct.  Literally speechless … my mouth might have even been gaping open.  What a teaching moment!  Actually, I did teach, or at least tried to, but it didn’t work out so well.  Sometime later, when I was listening to Moody Radio, I heard a pastor say that people who didn’t understand this core concept of Christianity should read the book of John because in it Jesus calls himself God several times.  I was kicking myself.  I’d told him to reread the bible but if I’d thought about it (and given the Holy Spirit a chance to speak) I could have given him better direction.  Especially since he also mentioned that he only believes what Jesus says in the bible (but that’s a topic for another day!).

In reading several of the scriptures pulled out by the study, John 10:30 must be especially jarring for those who don’t see the connection:  “I and the Father are one.”  Really can’t misread that sentence.

Isn’t funny how Jesus called himself God over and over and no one either (1) believed him or (2) even heard him?  It really wasn’t until He asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15) where Peter answers, “You’re the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” (v.16) the first time that this revelation is voiced publicly.  Jesus tells the disciples then that the only reason Peter knew the truth was because the Father allowed it to be revealed to him.  Why doesn’t God allow this truth to be revealed to everyone?  The same can be said for the Holy Spirit, but we’ll get to Him next.  I stop in the middle of the study and thank God that He has revealed this truth to me and pray that He will reveal it to my friend as well.

So if it’s hard to believe that Jesus is God, how does that fare for the Holy Spirit?  Just who is this guy anyway?

Well the most amazing thing I learned during the third day of the bible study is … wait a second … do you ever come across a verse and swear you’ve never seen it before?  I know for a fact I’ve read John and I’m willing to bet I’ve even read it several times; yet here in the study is a verse I swear I’ve never read.  It was so foreign to me that I even looked it up in several different versions trying to fathom how I’d missed it.  Yet in each version there it sat plain as day.  The verse is in John 14 where Jesus is talking to the disciples about having to leave soon.  You know they’re reeling.  It seems they’ve just hit their stride and their rabbi is now talking about his death – the end of it all.  In verse 16 Jesus talks about how he will ask the Father to send another Helper to be with the disciples forever.  I can appreciate that they’re not really hearing this.  But then, just as he’s discussing the Holy Spirit coming, we hit the bit that sent me running for different translations, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

I will come to you … meaning I am the Holy Spirit.

Of course, I know that we worship a triune God, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one – but I can’t believe I’ve missed that verse my entire life.  Jesus stating in no uncertain terms that He is the Spirit.

As I let this verse roll off my tongue over and over again, I grasp that I’ve been guilty of treating the Holy Spirit and Jesus as different entities.  Even though my head knows they’re one in the same with the Father, my heart and my mouth have probably prayed differently to them.  I make a pact with myself and God to not let that happen again.

We’ll talk more about God’s attributes on Monday and what I learned in the study which may spark a hot debate.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Bible Study: Day One

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Bible Study: Day One

In the take away for Day One of the Bible Study, David Arthur asked us to write our story.  Here, then, is my testimony:

Hind sight is 20/20, right?  Isn’t that what they say?  When I recall my life in the years before I surrendered to Christ I can see that God was with me the whole time.

God was with me.  Through all of it.

He was with me through the pot-smoking, the speed-popping, and just half a Quaalude-please-taking.

He was with me when I was so starved for affection and acceptance; I gave my body to any man who showed any interest in me.

He was with me through all the years I spent getting educated and, I thought, sophisticated.  When what I really was doing was walking away from Him.  Determined to prove I didn’t need Him.  That I could do my life better.  Cut my own path through the forest, be self-reliant and self-dependent, and that I could make my own religion.

He watched silently as I took a little piece of most every ism and belief and new-age, occult idea that I stumbled across and somehow managed to crumple them all up in a little ball, wave a magic wand, and call the mess:  “What I Believe.”

Today, I can only shake my head in sadness.  I was so off-track.

Running the other way … the wrong way … and all the time away from God.

I told myself lies to pretend I was doing life right.  That I felt good.  That I was happy.

I told myself that I’d arrived.  You’re making great money.  You’ve got a great job.  You’re successful.  Your parents are proud and your friends are jealous!

Now this is living!

But it wasn’t.

I was dead inside.

There was a deep crevice inside of me.  A deep fissure in my soul filled with black goo that sometimes would lay dormant, sloshing around just enough to remind me it was there; but most of the time it would roll and boil and whisper that I still needed more to fill it up.  That the crevice might be closed with the wrong people and more possessions and alcohol and cigarettes and food.

I slaved away at work to fill the empty pit inside of me.  But I was never full.  I never was content.

I was existing … but I wasn’t living.

How do I know that God was with me through it all?

Because when I did drugs and got drunk I didn’t like the way I felt.  Something inside said, “Stop it. This isn’t what you need.”

Because when I laid down with which ever male walked into my life, and started to lose myself in fleeting affections, something inside said, “Stop this. You are worth more.”

Because even though I practiced divination with tarot cards, numerology, and astrology and offered praise and worship to the four directions with sage and tobacco; any time I had a big question … a really important question … something inside me said, “Open your Bible.”

Some thing inside … that ‘thing’ would be God’s Holy Spirit.

He was with me.

Waiting my whole life for me to need Him.  To be quiet long enough in my own head to hear Him.

And one day I did.

Like a rush of love and frustration and heat and passion and hope and glory, I looked at the shambles of my life and fell to my knees in the middle of my lonely apartment and cried out …

God!  I need you!

And as I cried, God loved me.

Then He told me how I didn’t need to cloud my judgment and dull my pain with drugs and alcohol – how I was His precious child and worth more than I was being treated by men who only wanted my body – how I needed to turn to Him for guidance and answers in my life and not tarot and numbers and stars.  How I was His beautiful daughter and He loved me.

No, God had never left me.

He had always been with me.  Waiting for me.

After I made the choice to follow Jesus, it took a while to kick the dust and dirt and disgrace of the world off me.  I lost some friends because I began changing.  I no longer wanted to sleep around and drink until I was drunk.  I only wanted to learn everything I could about the Messiah.  The man who died for me so I wouldn’t have to be a slave to sin and the way the world thinks and operates.  And as I learned my heart swelled with love for my Savior.

I discovered that the Bible is filled with so much wisdom and hope and love that you need no other book.  I understood that finding a church that teaches biblical truth is vitally important, and that meeting up with other Christ Followers who will help educate and inspire and encourage is the tender and beautiful fellowship my heart ached for.

Once I got my feet planted firmly on the path following Jesus a genuine peace settled in and began to pour into the pit of black goo, covering it … neutralizing it … cleansing it.  Once I received my spiritual gifting from the Holy Spirit, I began to use it for the church, both local and universal.  Once I started speaking to God, He spoke to me and our relationship flourished.  And now there is joy.  So. Much. Joy.

He Is Forever with me and I am forever with Him.

If you’re participating in the Bible Study with us, on Friday we’ll discuss “Who is God?” from Day Two.  Specifically, God’s attributes that most intrigue us and what verse we’re working on memorizing.  See you then!

Fight Back With Joy

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MF book2-300x272I know you’re ready for this.  Once you heard that my friend Margaret Feinberg had written a new book, you knew I would read it and tell you all about it.  Whelp … you were right!  Released this month is FIGHT BACK WITH JOY:  Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare down your Greatest Fears (2015, Worthy Publishing, TN).

In FIGHT BACK WITH JOY Margaret chronicles her fight with breast cancer and how her walk with God grew ever deeper in the fight.  But, lest you think that this book is only for those suffering a killer disease, let me assure you, it’s not.  We all suffer trials and tribulations in our lives.  At times we are strong, knowing God is with us, marching along beside us – and sometimes carrying us – through the fire.  But there are other times, times we may not like to admit, when our faith may weaken, where we look up into the heavens questioning, struggling to hear His voice.  It was by discovering joy that Margaret made it through the fire.

It wasn’t easy, by any means.  She didn’t just discover joy, she manufactured it.  She purposed out actions that would bring joy to others and in turn, received joy herself.  Isn’t that the way God always works?  We obey and He blesses.  We bring aide to another and receive a gift in return.  Give joy and get joy.  Give praise and thanksgiving to God and get joy and blessings in return.  But just how does one find joy in a situation such as this?

I don’t think I’m telling too much out of school when I tell you that one of my favorite parts was the chapter entitled Three Simple Words to Set You Free.  Margaret tells us, “The journey to joy begins with acceptance.”  I nod as I’m reading.  Isn’t it true?  As I grow older I’m able to consider Paul’s ability to be “content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11) and not laugh it off like something I’ll never achieve.  The deeper my walk with Christ, the more and more content I become.   Chalk it up to the Holy Spirit.  I could never have developed it on my own.

The book has also spawned a companion six-week Bible study which I have purchased but have not yet begun.  FIGHT BACK WITH JOY is laced with humor and desperate with pain all the while bringing God’s word to the party in support, guidance, and our prize.  As with other studies that Margaret has penned (Wonderstruck, Scouting the Divine, The Sacred Echo) this one has made me think, brought me closer to our Lord, and shifted my walk with Jesus in a delightful, expansive way.

No matter what your circumstances, you can practice defiant joy. When you do, you will embrace a life that’s richer and fuller than you’ve ever known before—a life radiant with joy.

Below you’ll find some links (none of which are affiliates so feel free to click away!).

Learn more about Margaret at http://margaretfeinberg.com

Here’s the link to the book on amazon: http://mar.cta.gs/0bi.

Here’s the link to the book at Barnes & Noble: http://mar.cta.gs/0bh.

To purchase the Bible Study Kit:   6-Session Bible Study Kit: http://mar.cta.gs/0aq.

Margaret Feinberg teaches at churches and conferences including Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping church and culture by Christianity Today. Her books and Bible studies, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck, have sold nearly a million copies. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing and being silly.