Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Scripture for Direction, Fear, Strength, and Comfort

Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

In Chapter 5 of An Untroubled Heart, author Micca Campbell mentions several Scripture verses she turns to for guidance and direction in different matters regarding her family and home.

I thought about the verses I often turn to for…

Direction
Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you. ~Psalm 37:5 (NLT)
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. ~Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)
Fear
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:1 (NLT)
Strength
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
Comfort
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, 
it won't be a dead end— ~ Isaiah 43:2 (The Message)
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3b-4a (NLT)
What verses do you turn to? Will you share one by leaving a comment?

In Christ,
Laura 


Linking up with Women Living Well Wednesdays and Word-Filled Wednesday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Psalm 5:11-12 {Something to Think About}

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love.
Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT)

Refuge…Protection…Joy…
Surrounded with a shield of God’s love.

I found comfort in these verses today.
Perhaps they will bless your day as well.

In Christ,
Laura 


I'm linking up today with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays, Deidra at Sunday Jumping Tandem, and Joan at Sharing His Beauty



An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 5

Have a great week!

Week 5 – Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2012
Monday & Tuesday
  • Read the Chapter 5 “Family Matters.” Underline or take notes on points you want to remember or go back to.
Tuesday
Wednesday & Thursday
  • Reflect on, and answer, the Bible Study Questions at the end of the chapter. (These questions can help us go deeper into Scripture and the study, but please don’t get stressed out if you can’t, or don’t want to, answer them all.)
Friday
·    Spend time in prayer and reflecting on this week’s reading. Which Scripture verses do you rely on for guidance?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My One Word for 2012 – Trust

"Do you trust Me?"

For the past year I’ve felt God asking me if I trust Him. I thought I did. And yet when I don’t understand, I question and doubt. I know my faith and trust in Him have grown, but I still have so far to go. So, I continue to work on trusting Him.

I trusted Him as He led me outside of my comfort zone. Now I look back and know that He never left me, but continued to guide me all along. By following Him I have been blessed. I have proof that I can trust Him. I shouldn’t needed proof, but He graces me with it anyway.

I know He will continue to lead and bless me. As long as I trust Him. So that is my focus—complete and unhesitant trust in God.

When I doubt and worry sets in, I will trust Him.
When I don’t understand, I will trust Him.
When I am afraid, I will trust Him.
When I don’t feel His presence, I will trust Him.
When the storms of life whip around me, I will trust Him.
And when it’s calm again, I will trust Him. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

(Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

In Christ,
Laura 
Linking up with: Stefanie at My One Word Wednesday and Ann at Walk With Him Wednesdays.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

God’s Loving Character

Welcome! If you’re reading An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell with me, I’m in Chapter 4. If you’re not studying this book, please know that you are welcome to read any posts that interest you. And stay as long as you like!

Psalm 23 from the New King James Version (NKJV) is printed in Chapter 4 of An Untroubled Heart. I’m familiar with Psalm 23 so I didn’t notice what version it was quoted from; I was more focused on the points made in the chapter.

However, when I read Psalm 23 from my New Living Translation Bible, I immediately noticed the difference in how it reads. I’d like to share it with you…
Psalm 23 (New Living Translation)

The LORD is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk 
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me 
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me 
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD
forever.
I don’t know about you, but I find these words give me comfort and a greater understanding of God’s character.

Allow me to pull out some of the parts that struck me…
He lets me rest; He leads me and renews my strength. He stays close beside me to protect and comfort me. He will pursue and stay with me forever.

So, I wonder, in God’s loving character, why would He leave anything in our lives to chance or coincidence? I don’t believe He does.

Over the past few years, I have stopped attributing anything to coincidence. I don’t believe things happen through luck or by coincidence. But what I do believe is that, from small insignificant things to life-changing events, God works things together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

God wants to be involved in every part of our lives. We shouldn’t feel like we cannot ask Him for His provision, or that we need to figure something out on our own. He wants us to turn to Him and let Him provide for us. God knows what we want and what we need, and He knows what is best for us.

This doesn’t mean life will always be bliss. Life this side of Heaven will never be without struggles and trials, but He will be there with us. God knows what we can handle on our own and how much more we can deal with through His love, strength, and guidance. No matter how dark the valley we must go through, we don’t need to go through it alone—for He gives us His Word that He will be close beside us, guiding us through each day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Every Morning {Something to Think About}

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)
Was yesterday a bad day? Maybe it was a bad week? We can breathe a sigh of relief because one day doesn’t have to define our next day.

Thanks to God’s unending mercy, each day is a fresh start!

I’m linking up with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays, Deidra at Sunday Jumping Tandem, and Joan at Sharing HisBeauty today. 

Have a great week!
In Christ,
Laura 

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 4

Thanks for stopping by! Here is this week's reading schedule for our An Untroubled Heart (by Micca Campbell) online study. Whether you're reading the book or not, feel free to look around, read past posts, and come back any time! Have a great week!

In Christ,
Laura

Week 4 – Jan. 22-28, 2012
Monday & Tuesday
  • Read the Chapter 4 “The Pressure’s On.” Underline or take notes on points you want to remember or go back to.
Tuesday/Wednesday
Wednesday & Thursday
·  Reflect on, and answer, the Bible Study Questions at the end of the chapter. (These questions can help us go deeper into Scripture and the study, but please don’t get stressed out if you can’t, or don’t want to, answer them all.)
Friday
·  Spend time in prayer and reflecting on this week’s reading. It’s also a good catch-up day if you’ve fallen behind.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where Do You Put Your Faith?

“People say all the time, ‘Just believe. Just have faith.’ I want to ask, ‘Believe what? Have faith in what?’ Those are very important questions, because just believing is a faulty method for overcoming fear.” (Micca Campbell, An Untroubled Heart)
So…where do you put your faith?

Do you put your faith in yourself? Others? Fate? Luck? Or maybe a little of each for good measure? When we place our faith in any of these we set ourselves on unstable ground.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 3

Welcome and thanks for visiting today! If you're reading An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell with me, you'll find this week's reading schedule below. You may also be interested in reading a devotion by Micca at Proverbs 31 Ministries...Learning to Trust Again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Trust and Peace ~ Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
Trust God in all things.
Let Him quiet our fears and anxieties, and give us peace.

Focus our thoughts on Jesus.
He knows the way we should go.

Fix our minds on Jesus.
Focus on Him instead of our troubles.

May we all put our trust in Him and feel His peace this week. Thanks for visiting!

I’m linking up with Fresh Brewed Sunday and Sharing His Beauty today.

In Christ,
Laura


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fear

Fear is a sneaky emotion. Sometimes it alerts us to real danger and saves us from something happening. So many other times, though, it comes upon us suddenly and without just cause. It wraps itself around our insides and robs us of our peace, makes us worry, and causes health issues.

We fear the what-ifs…What if this happens, what will I do? And at the same time, we fear the opposite…What if that doesn’t happen, then what?

Most of what we worry about doesn’t happen, but we’ve put ourselves through the fear of it anyway. And when something does happen? Worrying about it hasn’t prevented it, it’s only made us live through it twice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 2

Welcome and thanks for visiting! It's been a busy and exciting week. We now have 40 women signed up to study An Untroubled Heart! I've loved watching God bring our group together - from 17 U.S. states, plus Canada and Northern Ireland! Thank you for joining me in this!

Below you will find this week's reading schedule.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Joy and Happiness

A few more thoughts on Chapter One of An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell, and also linking up with Fresh Brewed Sunday...

One of the study questions in Chapter One focuses on James 1:2-4…
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)
My natural question is – How can I be happy when trouble comes my way? Whether through my own actions or those of another, how can I be joyful through unemployment, illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, and so many other issues we deal with today?

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about joy and happiness over the past couple of years, and I think it comes down to this... Joy and happiness are not the same.

Joy comes from knowing the Lord and having a personal relationship with Him. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances or the people in our life. It is the deep feeling of contentment in knowing Christ walks beside us every day – through trials, disappointments, and sorrows.

Happiness is dependent on others and life around us. Happiness can be temporary. When things are going well, I feel happy. When life throws me a curve ball, my happiness turns to disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness.

Life changing situations that cause me unhappiness are the very times my faith and relationship with God can grow deeper and stronger through my dependence on Him.

I can be happy and joyful at the same time, but when something or someone makes me unhappy in my everyday life, my joy still comes from knowing God won’t ever leave me. His love and desire for a relationship with me is forever, no matter what. He stays and gets me through the unhappiness. He can use any situation, happy or otherwise, to prepare me for what He has planned for my future. The knowledge that God wants to refine me and prepare me for the future brings me joy and hope.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (Paul in Philippians 4:4)
In Christ,
Laura

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teaching Through My Imperfectness {5 Minutes for Faith}

Welcome! I’m posting over at 5 Minutes for Faith today…
As a mother, I’ve observed how my daughter watches me. In some cases, I think she learns more by watching what I do than by listening to what I say.
As a child of God, I want to be a Godly mother, but as a human, I’m a sinful being. With my flaws and insecurities, I’ve been wondering…what do I want my daughter to learn as she watches me?"
Will you meet me at 5 Minutes for Faith today to read the rest of my post? If you have a minute, please leave a comment so I know you stopped by!

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Laura

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

God is Always with Us

Welcome! This week we’re in Chapter One of Micca Campbell’s An Untroubled Heart.

“No matter what our emotions or circumstances may say, the truth is there is nowhere we can go to escape God’s presence. Though it might not feel like it or look like it, God is always near.” (Micca Campbell, An Untroubled Heart)

Can you relate to this? I certainly can! There are times I can’t feel God’s presence. I know He’s near me, but I feel like I can’t get to Him.

I recently wrote about knowing God is with me even when I can’t feel it. It fits this chapter and what’s on my mind so well, I’m going to repost it. If you have read it before, I ask your forgiveness for reposting. (I don’t make it a habit.) However, because I often benefit from rereading my own posts, I’d like to ask you to also reread it.


I Know He’s With Me
by Laura Rath

Sometimes I can’t feel God’s presence…but I know He’s there.

Usually it’s when I’ve hit a feeling of despair…a situation isn’t going well…I’m tired, stressed, or angry…life isn’t going the way I hoped or wanted…and I can’t feel His presence.

But I know He’s there. And sometimes knowing instead of feeling has to be enough.

Those moments of despair are times I can either grow closer and more dependent on God, or turn away from Him. The enemy would love to watch us turn away. He wants us to question God’s love for us, and the enemy knows that in our times of desperation, we are most vulnerable. We are wounded and susceptible to his lies.

That is when I have to rely on what I know, and not on what I feel. I may feel alone, but I know God is with me. When I cry out to Him, I may not hear an answer, but I know He is there.

God’s Word says…
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 NLT)

When I get to those times of crying out, “Where are you, God?!?” I know He’s there, but I long to see and feel Him. Sometimes He answers right away, through a feeling, a Scripture verse, or something that calms me down. But other times, I have to wait…patiently.

Because I know God is there and hasn’t left me, I continue to pray and talk to Him. I must keep myself in God’s Word, trusting in His promises. And I look back at times God showed Himself to me—in His time and His way.

The waiting is not easy, but knowing He’s there helps me wait until I feel it again. The moments of desperation are often when my faith and trust in God can grow the most.

However, I can’t wait only for the times of despair to turn to Him. I must be in His Word at all times or I won’t be prepared for the tough times.

Every school practices fire drills. Why? So that if there ever is a fire, the children know what to do. In an emergency, panic can immobilize us, especially if we are not prepared and don’t know where to go.

When I get to a low point and I can’t feel God’s presence, panic can be immobilizing. It helps greatly if I already know where to go—God’s Word. I start with Scripture verses that are my favorites or have brought me comfort in the past. Then I’ll often let myself continue to read wherever I am in the Bible, and that’s how I find new verses that help me wait on God and bring me peace. I believe He guides us to those verses, knowing what we need to hear from His Word.

There are other things we can do to keep us turned toward God when we are waiting to feel His presence:
- Know that He is there!
- Continue to pray.
- Stay in God’s Word.
- Write out favorite Scripture verses to keep with you at all times.
- Remember other times when you have seen God’s work in your life, remembering that He knows what’s best for us.
- Listen to Christian music.
- Talk with friends or other people who are like-minded in Christ.
- Get enough rest. (Being overtired is sure to affect my thoughts and feelings when things are already not going well.)

Do you have others to add to this list? Please share by leaving a comment.

In Christ,
Laura

Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Untroubled Heart Online Study - Week 1

Welcome and thanks for visiting!

If you are participating in the online study of An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell, I'm so glad to have you join us! We have 24 women from 13 states signed up for this study. If you haven't signed up and would like to, it's not too late. Just email me at laurajrath@gmail.com with your name, email address, city and state.

Below you will find the suggested reading schedule for week 1 of the study. Feel free to follow the schedule or go at your own pace. The posts for each week will remain on my blog, so you can read or reread at any time.

Feel free to email me with any questions, and leave a comment on any blog post so I know you stopped by!

Blessings on the New Year!

In Christ,
Laura

Week 1 – Jan. 1-7, 2012
Monday & Tuesday
  • Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 “When the Unthinkable Happens.” Underline or highlight points to remember or go back to, or use a journal to record notes and your thoughts. 
Tuesday/Wednesday
  • Visit Laura’s blog at www.laurarath.blogspot.com for the weekly post, and leave a comment with your thoughts. (I try to post on Tuesday, but sometimes it’s not until Wednesday.) 
Wednesday & Thursday
·  Reflect on, and answer, the Bible Study Questions at the end of the chapter. (These questions help us go deeper into Scripture and the study, but don’t get stressed out if you can’t, or don’t want to, answer them all.)

Friday
·  Spend time in prayer and reflecting on this week’s reading. This can also be a catch-up day, if needed.