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When I heard that Ravi Zacharias was releasing a new book, I couldn’t wait to hear more. When I was offered the chance to review a copy, I jumped at the chance.

I’ve been listening to Ravi Zacharias for many years, first, way back in the early 2000s on Star 101.5 radio station in New Jersey.

I love his relatable teaching and commitment to our Lord and Savior.

Ravi, born in India, but a Canadian-American, was saved, at the age of seventeen, while he was suicidal. For over fifty years he has shared the gospel and taught millions about the saving power of Christ.

His new book, The Logic of God, addresses 52 issues that many Christians struggle with as well as providing evidence for non-believers of God’s existence. It is based on a collection of essays, written, but not previously published, by Ravi Zacharias.

Each chapter covers one topic and includes scripture and an opportunity to reflect and apply the lessons learned in the chapter. At the very end of the book there are blank lined pages for personal reflection. I used these pages to jot down additional questions that I wished to explore for further study.

The book also includes a sewn in bookmark, perfect to help you keep track of where you left off.

In the Introduction, Ravi suggests that readers read just one chapter each week. However, in order to effectively review this book, I read the Introduction, the first several chapters and a handful of other chapters.

Here’s the Publisher’s Description of The Logic of God

Jesus Christ alone answers our deepest questions.

We all have doubts that challenge our faith. We wonder whether the Bible still matters, or whether God is truly as loving and personal as we hope. In his first ever devotional, The Logic of God, apologist Ravi Zacharias offers 52 readings that explain how and why Christianity, the Bible, and God are still relevant, vital, and life-changing for us today. To all our dilemmas Ravi says, “I am convinced that Jesus Christ alone uniquely answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds.”

With a remarkable grasp of biblical facts and a deep understanding of the questions that trouble our hearts, Ravi tackles the most difficult topics with ease and understanding. But The Logic of God is more than intellectual; it is also personal, offering thoughtful wisdom on:

· when Jesus draws especially near you.
· the deep ray of hope found in God’s Word.
· how God transforms disappointments.
· why prayer matters.
· how genuine peace is possible.
· making sense of suffering.

Ravi makes profound biblical truth easy to understand. And if your life is busy, this book is designed for you! It addresses 52 topics that you can read over the course of one year or slowly digest at your own pace. Each entry includes a Scripture, questions for reflection, and some practical application steps.

When you’re struggling with questions and doubts, confused, curious, or just want a clearer way to express your faith The Logic of God has answers from that satisfy the heart and the mind.

I found the book to be a must-read for Christians and even, to a degree, good for skeptics.

In Chapter two, one thing struck me, particularly hard:

“Yet, how often the so-called Christian, even while proclaiming some of the loftiest truths one could ever express, lives a life bereft of that beauty and character”

How true this is! The Bible tells us that they will know Him through us. Are we living a life that proclaims the beauty of the gospel or are we “Sunday Christians” only and leave the righteous life at the church door?

I wrote about this in a post, When They See Me, Do They See Jesus?

The questions in the Reflection and Personal Application sections gave me food for thought and prayer and drove me right back to scripture to study more about this.

This is not a new concept. For thousands of years, Christians have verbally given their hearts to Christ, but continue to live with a worldview.

Ravi Zacharias’ devotion, however, framed it in a way that, I pray, will have me examine my heart each new day.

If you are a Christian, who, at times, struggles with doubt, or seek to know more of God’s truths, you will enjoy The Logic of God, by Ravi Zacharias. I know that I am.

In addition to hardcover, this book is also available on Kindle, Audible and as an MP3 version.

For more reviews on books and other Christian materials, see this section of my website.

Because of Him,

Sue

The post Reviewing The Logic Of God By Ravi Zacharias appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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I had heard of the She Reads Truth Bible from many Christian friends, but never the He Reads Truth Bible until I was offered the opportunity to review it by the publisher, Lifeway Christian Resources. Since the Bible is geared toward men, I asked my husband if he would be interested in it. Of course, he was excited to receive a copy. This review is based on my husband’s opinion of the He Reads Truth Bible. I have added some additional insight from the publisher and my own observations.

The He Reads Truth Bible that we received is the evergreen cloth over board. The Bible also comes in brown genuine leather, black LeatherTouch or charcoal cloth over board. All styles include smyth-sewn binding and two colored ribbon markers to mark your reading spot.

It is presented in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). This is a great version for all believers, but it is particularly readable in modern English, yet translated, by over 100 scholars from ancient Scripture texts.

My husband, for one, is not much of a reader. He finds many translations of the Bible to be a bit difficult to read. The He Reads Truth Bible, CSB version, he found not only easier to read, but enjoyable, as well.

In many Bibles, the commentary or explanations seem to be written in “flowery” language. The He Reads truth, Bible, however, make it apparent that it was written for reading by men.

Recently, my husband shared that he is seeking to deepen his walk with Our Father. This Bible has given him the opportunity to spend daily time in the Word and truly grow in his knowledge of God’s book.

He has already mentioned several men who he feels would enjoy the He Reads Truth Bible and has discussed purchasing several as gifts. 

I think it would make a terrific graduation gift for a young man entering the “real world”. What a better map than the instructions God has given us for life!

The Bible includes a number of features to aid the reader in their study of God’s Word, including:

  • color coding by genre
  • detailed introductions for each book
  • suggested reading plans with supplemental scripture for deeper understanding
  • full-color maps
  • charts
  • timelines
  • key verse list
  • full page featured verses, artistically presented, to help with verse memorization
  • wide margins for note taking

Enter to win a copy of the He Reads Truth Bible for a special man in your life! Deadline to enter is 11:59pm CST on Monday, June 17th, so hurry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Don’t forget to follow the publisher, Lifeway on social media to stay up-to-date with new publications and more Christian resources.

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For more reviews on Christian books, Bibles and other products, see this section of my website.

The post A Mans Perspective Reviewing He Reads Truth Bible By Lifeway appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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Bible journaling with household objects. That just sounds fun, doesn’t it? In our first post in this series, we played with Q-tips and paint. Today, we are moving to the kitchen! Yep! Today, I am sharing a few simple and easy Bible journaling techniques using tea, forks and napkins!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Bible Journaling with Household Objects: Project 1 – Tea

So what’s this about tea and Bible journaling? 

Tea is fantastic for making your pages and projects look aged. All you need is:

  • a cup
  • a teabag
  • water
  • paintbrush

(Don’t forget – for all of these techniques, you’ll want to prep your pages in clear gesso first!)

Once your page is prepped and dry, take a cup and add a teabag with about 1/4″-1/2″ of water and microwave for about 30 seconds.

Then “paint” your page with the tea.

Next, you’ll want to use a paper towel to dab on the page. The dabbing will do two things: 1) “sop” up the excess liquid and 2) leave interesting marks or patterns in the tea stain.

Here, I used a heat gun to dry the page completely, but you can let air dry, as well.

I, then, used a pencil to draw a scroll around the double page then went over the pencil drawing with a thin black marker. My favorite it the Fude Ball pen – I looove this pen and included it in my post on the best pens and markers for Bible journaling.

 Finally, I added some text from the verses on this page.

 

I may add a few more details, but here is the mostly finished page spread.

 

In hindsight, I probably should have just painted inside the scroll with tea, but hey, it’s about worship not gallery worthy art, right?


 

Bible Journaling with Household Objects: Project 2 – Napkins

This technique is fun and easy and will turn out different each time. All you need are:

  • Decorative napkins
  • Decoupage
  • Paint brush

I buy my decorative napkins from the dollar store or party store. There are so many to choose from. For this page, I chose a napkin that had large, bright and cheery flowers.

Next, I cut out the flowers that I wanted to use (Tip: Keep the napkin intact when you cut – you’ll separate the plys or layers later, but it’s much easier to cut with all the layers intact).

Then, paint a layer of decoupage where you plan to place the flowers. It helps to cut the flowers then lay them out on the dry pages, first. Once you are happy with your placement, then add the decoupage. (As you can see in the pic, my brush was coming loose and left behind bristles. I removed those and then promptly purchased brushes that I’ve had my eye on!)

(Whenever I do any Bible journaling, particularly any with wet media, I slide scrap paper behind the page I’m working on to prevent any bleed through or pages sticking together.)

At this point, you can separate the plys or layers of the napkin and lay the cut outs in place on your page spread.

Smooth the napkin cut out with your fingers to remove any wrinkles. Then add another coat of decoupage over all.

Let the page completely dry before adding the finishing touches. I used a heat tool to speed the process (I can be a bit impatient 🙂 )

Once my page spread was dry, I used the Fude Ball Pen to draw around the edges of the flowers to make them stand out.

Finally, I added some text by pulling out some of the page’s scripture that called to me and highlighted the verse with marker. This page is not done, but it’s off to a good start with the napkin decoupage.

Bible Journaling with Household Objects: Project 3 – Forks

For our final project today, we are digging into the utensil drawer. Yup! We are using forks! You can use metal silverware or plastic. I used both on this page, but you’ll want to test the fork pattern before you go right to your Bible. Some fork tines are not even with the others which will give you an uneven print. Test on scrap paper, first.

Depending on how you use the fork, you can get a ton of cool patterns using just paint. I’m sharing just a few on this page, but have fun experimenting and trying new ways to hold the fork to get different patterns.

Of course, like all other pages using wet media, you’ll want to prep your pages with clear gesso first.

For this project, I used two forks (one plastic and one metal) and blue, red and silver acrylic paint on my paper plate palette.

I started by dabbing my plastic fork in the blue paint and stamped off excess paint, then stamped on my Bible pages holding the fork sideways. I stamped the same pattern (as well as color and direction) leaving space in between the patterns for my next fork stamp.

(Note the scrap paper underneath the page to prevent a mess or pages sticking together).

Next, I used the metal fork to do the same thing with silver paint stamping up and down rather than sideways. I stamped the silver in between the blue fork stamping patterns.

From there, I dipped the fork edges in the paint and stamped some random dots on the opposite page in both the blue and the silver.

I still had some paint left and a bit of white space so I decided to use the fork tine ends and try some squiggles.

To finish the page spread, I added some scripture text and use both black (Fude ball) and white gel pen to add some details.

Is it the best looking page I’ve ever done? No way. But, I had so much fun trying new things with a fork and paint and reading scripture that I haven’t read much before and isn’t that what Bible journaling is all about?

See? Bible journaling with household objects can be fun! In the next post of this series, we’ll play with bottles, bubble wrap and more!

Until next time and because He lives,

Sue

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Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about birds?

Birds are mentioned numerous times in the Bible. There are many references to birds in the Bible – nearly 300 of them! In an archived article in Ministry magazine, the author, a professor from Emmanuel Missionary College, writes, “More than one hun­dred of these merely use the word “fowl” or “bird,” leaving the reader to guess at the species.

It is interesting to note that in the Old Testament, birds are written about much more frequently than in the New Testament.

For example, Moses, in Genesis, alone, refers to birds dozens of times, but, Paul mentions birds only twice in all of his writings.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Bird(s) – Mentioned 42 times in the Old Testament, 7 times in the New Testament.

Fowl(s) – Mentioned 74 times in the Old Testament, 11 times in the New Testament.

Turtledove(s) (Turtle, Pigeon(s)) – Mentioned 66 times in the Old Testament, 11 times in the New Testament.

*Note that all mentions of Turtle in the Bible are referring to the Turtledove, not the reptile.

Some of these mentions of birds in the bible, are simply referring to birds, themselves (fowl or bird) while others are used to teach us spiritual lessons.

 In this post, we will focus on just two types of birds in the Bible: Doves and Sparrows. (You can read about Eagles, Ravens and unclean birds in this post). While I would love to include all of the birds in the Bible, we’ll start with these two on our study of birds in the Bible and their meanings.

Doves in the Bible

יונה (pronounced yo-nah)

*TIP:  Yonah, dove, is the exact same Hebrew name of the prophet Jonah. ‘J’ sounds do not exist in Hebrew, and if you came across an English biblical name with this letter, you can convert the ‘J’ to a ‘Y’ and keep the vowels as they are.

The dove or ‘yonah’, written about in the Bible is much more than just a beautiful, common bird. References to the dove are full of symbolism.

Though most of us think of doves as pure and pigeons as dirty, bird experts will confirm that they are, indeed, the same bird.

In each of the gospels, a dove appears as the Spirit of God. Most of us envision a beautiful, pure white bird. However, the bird that appears at the baptism was most likely a “rock dove”, a common species in the geography and time period.

A rock dove is grey with an iridescent green and purple/violet neck. Basically, my friends, a pigeon. (you tube dove sounds)

You are probably thinking, “So, you are saying, that the beautiful symbol of the Holy Spirit and the symbol of city scavengers is one and the same”?

Yes. In fact, I think it is a fitting example, as Christianity can be messy. God did not promise us an easy road. 

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 

Pigeons are often seen as dirty or disdained. Do you ever feel like that in your Christian walk? Looked down upon or judged because your beliefs don’t line up with mainstream society?

God makes us new when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. A trashy, garbage picking bird is also the symbol of peace and new life. 

(The below image is downloadable and printable for you to keep as a reminder of just how much He loves you!)


How fitting!

Let’s take a look at some important Bible verses about doves:

Doves are mentioned frequently in the Bible – nearly fifty times!

The Dove as a Symbol of Peace

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. – Genesis 8:11

The dove is the symbol of peace on earth. This dove brought back an olive branch to confirm that the floodwaters had receded and that it was safe to exit the ark. God’s punishment had ended and it was time to repopulate the earth.

The Dove as a Symbol of Love

The dove is also used as a metaphor for beauty and love as shown in the below verses in Song of Songs (Song of Solomon).

How beautiful you are, my darling!

    Oh, how beautiful!

    Your eyes are doves. –

Song of Songs 1:15

I slept but my heart was awake.

    Listen! My beloved is knocking:

“Open to me, my sister, my darling,

    my dove, my flawless one.

My head is drenched with dew,

    my hair with the dampness of the night.” –

Song of Songs 5:2

His eyes are like doves

    by the water streams,

washed in milk,

    mounted like jewels. –

Song of Songs 5:12

The most powerful symbolism of the Dove in the Bible, however, is in the Spirit of God appearing as a dove.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. – Matthew 3:16

and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  – Luke 3:22

The Holy Spirit is just that—a spirit—He is not visible to us in a physical way. In these accounts, however, the Spirit of God took on a visible appearance and could be seen by witnesses.

That symbol is just so powerful, so beautiful.

Purity, love, peace. All describing our Heavenly Father. 

I also think this can be a metaphor for our faith. Faith cannot be seen, but how can you live in such a way that people can SEE your faith?

(Click the image below for a downloadable/printable PDF of images with birds and nest to use in your war binder, Bible journaling or other forms of creative worship.)

 Sparrows in the Bible

Sparrows are next in the most referenced birds in the Bible. The Hebrew word for sparrow is צִפּוֹר   “tzippor” , which not only means sparrow, but any small bird. This Hebrew word occurs more than forty times in the Old Testament and just two times in the New Testament.

Sparrows are small brown and gray birds that tend to always be in the company of others. They were abundant in Bible geography. Sparrows like to build nests in vineyards and bushes as well as the eaves of homes or other nooks and crannies. The sparrow’s diet consists of seeds, green buds and small insects and worms.

Most are musical and sing sweet songs as they go about their bird business. (Listen to the beautiful sparrow call on this you tube video of sparrow sounds)

Sparrows, in biblical times, were held in contempt. They had little worth and were seen to be annoying.

The sparrow, however, what was Jesus referred to when illustrating our worth to God.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. – Matthew 10:29

If a lowly bird, with little worth receives the care of Our Heavenly Father, the love and attention He shows us is much greater.

If a lowly bird, with little worth receives the care of Our Heavenly Father, the love and attention He shows us is much greater.Click to Tweet

God’s heart, kindness and compassion is so deep and wide that it extends to the smallest of creatures and the haughtiest of the them (the human!).

Sparrows have also been referenced as symbols of freedom, in particular, the freedom for humans to have freewill and choose between good and evil.

A single sparrow on a roof represented sadness, depression and insignificance.

 I lie awake; I have become

    like a bird alone on a roof. –

Psalm 102:7

Let’s look at some more Bible verses about sparrows that demonstrate just how important we are to God. They are all from the gospels. I find it so valuable to know that these verses were important enough for all of the gospel writers to include. You are so important to God. He loves you and cares for you, even more than a “lowly” sparrow.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. …

– Matthew 6:25-34

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. –

Matthew 10:29-31

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. – Luke 12:6

In the above verses, the disciples are reminding us that we are so valuable to God. 

To be transparent with you, I struggle with this. Although I believe and trust God when He tells us that our sins were wiped clean when Jesus died on the cross for us, I sometimes feel so unworthy of His unyielding love. I look at my sin and feel shame when I know that He has taught us that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12. When I’m feeling this way, I like to refer to these scriptures that emphasize just how loved we are by our Heavenly Father.

Below, I have for you a three page downloadable, printable PDF with Bible verses about birds for you to use for further study or for your Bible journaling or War Binder or just to keep as a reminder.

What is your favorite Bible verse about birds? Do you, like me, sometimes struggle with feeling deserving of the value our Lord God places on us? I would love to hear your story.

I absolutely love studying signs and symbolism in the Bible and use the below resources frequently.

What is your favorite Bible verse about birds? Do you, like me, sometimes struggle with feeling deserving of the value our Lord God places on us? I’d love to hear your story.

In His Perfect and my imperfect Love,

Sue

For references in the Bible on Open Doors see HERE or Closed Doors see HERE

The post Birds In The Bible: A Fascinating Look At The Symbolism Of Doves And Sparrows appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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Do you struggle with anxious thoughts? Let me ask it another way.. thought do you overthink conversations and events? Ever find yourself needing reassurance? Does your mind seemed to be preoccupied with constant worry? How about avoiding or procrastinating to decrease stress?

If you answered yes to any of these – you might be dealing with anxious thoughts. I’m going to level the playing field… we all deal with anxious thoughts!

So what’s a girl to do? Just push through? No way… We take those thoughts captive!

I want to outline how to prevent anxious thoughts before they begin.

Have you gotten good at thinking anxious thoughts?

Whatever you put your mind on, will grow. Meaning, if you continue to practice thinking anxious thoughts, you will get really good at it. Those anxious thoughts will grow like weeds until they rob you of the peace and joy God purposes for you.

This is how anxious thought patterns work…

We start with a thought. It can sound like a “what if”. That “what if” thought leads to an emotion. Emotions are feelings. Maybe the thought evokes fear, distress or anger. Then, we act on the fear. You might try to control a situation in order to bring the fear/distress level down.

Can you see the pattern of anxious thoughts?

Thought>>>emotion>>>action

You try it… think of the last time you had an anxious thought. What were you thinking? Now, how did you feel? And, finally, what did you do to manage the emotion?

Fear will drive us to do things out of character. We might become impatient, irritable or controlling (fill in the blank).

When I counsel others I aim to change the anxious thought rather than manage the emotion. It has longer term gains. Now that you have an idea of how these thought patterns work, let’s talk about how to prevent them from even starting!

Preventing anxious thoughts

Prevention means to keep something from happening or arising. We can actually retrain our brain away from anxious thoughts, literally improving our thought life.

Could your thought life use some improvement? (check out the complete course here)

I want to talk about prevention in another context. What do you do to prevent weight gain? You probably stay active, eat healthy and drink lots of water, right? It’s typically easier to prevent weight gain, then work on weight loss.

Preventing anxious thoughts works the same way. It’s so much easier to prevent distressing thoughts than deal with them once they arise. We can actually create a healthy thought life by practicing new patterns of thinking.

Often people wait until they have anxious thoughts to begin practicing new thought patterns. I’m recommending we proactively work on achieving a healthy thought life. A thought life that reaps the blessing of more peace and joy.

Preventing anxious thoughts with meditating

The meditation I’m suggesting is not magical thinking or even the power of positive thinking. God’s Word calls us to meditate on things that are true, pure and excellent (Philippians 4:8). What is more true than the Word of God? When we renew our mind, we become more aware of who God is in our life. Knowing and believing the power of God in our life has a way of shrinking fear… little-by-little, day-by-day. Get your free bible study on “Taking Thoughts Captive” here.

Prevent anxious thoughts with journaling

Research consistently shows that putting our thoughts to words has a big impact on mental, emotional and even physical health. There are so many options for journaling – gratitude, prayer and processing anxious thoughts.

If you’re wondering how you’re going to fit journaling into your already busy schedule, I have good news. All the wonderful research is based on carving out 15 minutes a day. You can even start with 5 minutes and see a change in your thinking!

Gratitude journaling helps us to remember God’s goodness to us (Psalm 77:11). This type of journaling also trains your brain to see the good in every event. Our hearts have a propensity toward the negative. Anxious thoughts are negative in nature. When is the last time you worried about something positive happening?

Prayer journaling is a wonderful way of shifting our focus upward. It firmly fixes our eyes on Christ as we cast our cares upon Him and steady our gaze while we wait in faith to see how He will answer.

Process journaling is a way of sorting through those events in our life that we can’t “shake off”. You might find yourself dwelling on the past (thought), which can create fear (emotion) and you will begin to manage the fear (action). Process journaling turns the event inward and sorts through the self reflection. It helps us to identify the thought that is driving the fear (the complete outline here).

 Preventing anxious thoughts with gratitude

God desires an attitude of gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:18) not only because it gives Him glory, but because it blesses us with joy. Research on gratitude is showing what the Bible has been saying all along. Practicing daily gratitude will give you a 25% boost in happiness. That’s huge!

And it’s doable no matter what your circumstances. Think about it like this… what’s the last movie you watched? Did they shoot the same scene from many different angles? Of course. We can look at the same scene and choose to find the blessings by looking at the situation from another angle. God promises that He will use everything for our good (Romans 8:28). We must make the choice to find the good in every situation.

How are you going to prevent anxious thoughts?

Are you ready to be proactive in retraining your brain? There are several options offered here. A healthy thought life begins with intention. Whether you choose journaling, meditating on truth or cultivating an attitude of gratitude – you will reap an improvement in the level of joy and peace in your life.

Share how you prevent a just thoughts in the comments!

About Sunshyne

Sunshyne is an online Christian Counselor teaching women new patterns of thinking, living and relating that line up with God’s Word and His purpose for their life.

For helping children with anxiety, see this post.

The post How to stop anxious thoughts before they start appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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When we hear about Martha in the Bible, it is often in a negative way. She was the sister (of Mary) who was so busy with meal prep and homemaking duties that she wasn’t focused on her revered guest, Jesus.

I can certainly relate to that. As busy wives and mothers, we get tangled up in our to-do lists and forget that the relationships, not the tasks, are what God wants us to focus on.

But Martha also displayed great faith in God, as well.

Before we get into the lessons we can learn from Martha from Bethany (and they may not be what you think!), let’s get to know Martha a bit more and review the stories where we find her in scripture.

Meaning of the Name Martha

The name Martha is translated, in Hebrew, as mistress or myrrh. It comes from the verb מרר (marar), to be bitter or strong. The name Martha means “Lady Boss”, “Mistress”, or “Land Lady”

A bit about Martha

Martha is said to have lived in Bethany, Iudaea Province (modern-day Israel or West Bank).

While we don’t know the exact dates that Martha lived, scripture referencing Martha is found in both Luke and John. Luke was written between the years 80-90 and John between 90-100.

She is the sister of Mary and Lazarus.

Some early writers and biblical scholars, have connected Martha as the daughter, wife, or widow of Simon the Leper. Upon his death, she inherited the house. This would make sense based on the reference to the house, in Matthew 26:6 and Mark 14:3, when the resurrection of Lazarus was celebrated.

Others think that Martha may have been a near relative of Simon for whom she acted as hostess. But the narrative seems to suggest the home belonged to Martha and being older than Mary and Lazarus, she carried the responsibility of all connected with household affairs in the home.

We do know that she was a personal friend of Jesus.

Key Bible Stories About Martha

We find Martha mentioned in three places in the Bible.

Serving Jesus at Her Home

The first mention of Martha in the Bible is found in Luke 10. She is in her home and hosting a meal for Jesus and the disciples.

Jesus was a close friend of Martha and her siblings. Scripture says that “…Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5).

On this day, Martha was bustling about preparing the meal and trying to be the “hostess with the mostest”  for her honored guests. Her sister, Mary, however, sat down to listen to Jesus, which irked Martha to no end.

Scripture says that Martha “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40), and she, in her anger and possibly, stress, snapped at Jesus saying  “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”.

Oooh boy! Can you imagine talking to the King of Kings in this way???

She tells the Lord that a) He doesn’t care about her and actually gave Him a command to make Mary help her! Woah!

Getting wrapped up in her to-do list, she turned her focus away from the our Savior.

Jesus, so kind, so compassionate, knew her heart and that she was worried and troubled. He calmly told her that she needn’t worry about all of the preparations and that spending time with Him was all that was needed, as Mary had chosen to do.

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42

;

Mourning the Death of Lazarus

The next time we see Martha in scripture, it is just after the death of her brother, Lazarus (John 11).

The sisters had sent word for Jesus when Lazarus became sick. They said ““Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:3), but Jesus arrived after Lazarus had already died.

When Jesus approached the town of Bethany, Martha ran out to meet Him and said, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:21–22).

Two things stand out to me here:  First, she has complete faith in Him that He will heal her brother. Second, is her statement “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” a bit accusatory? Martha seems to speak before she thinks, sometimes.

Martha’s faith, however, was rewarded as, four days after the death of Lazarus, Jesus resurrected him.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; – John 11:25

Serving Jesus and Another Faux Pas

The last time we come across Martha in the Bible, she is back in the role of hostess at a dinner in Jesus’ honor. (John 12:2). 

This was the dinner where Mary, Martha’s sister, anoints Jesus’ feet with the expensive perfume. One of the disciples questioned this act and insinuated that this was wasteful and that the poor might have benefited from the money if the perfume were sold. This disciple, Judas, (the same one who would later betray Jesus) wasn’t concerned about the poor. Oh, no, he was greedy and saw dollar signs in his eyes when he saw the perfume.

“But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,  “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.:

Anyway. I digress.

When we read about three three stories about Mary and Martha in the Bible, we learn so many lessons. Lessons about trusting God, using our resources wisely and keeping our eyes focused on what is important – Jesus.

Read below for nine important lessons we can learn from Martha in the Bible.

Key Bible Verses About Martha in the Bible

(Click on the below image to get the downloadable/printable version of Key Bible Verses about Martha in the Bible. Use them for deeper study, in your Bible journaling or War Binder)

Nine Important Lessons We Can Learn From Martha in the Bible1. Be Humble

Martha wanted recognition for her good deeds and her hard work. She said to Jesus “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

She wanted Jesus to brag on her and praise her for cooking and preparing the meal. She was probably more than a little taken back when He, instead, gently corrected her, telling her that she is focused on the wrong thing.

Can you relate to Martha here? I’m sure, if we are being honest, most of us can. At least a time or two. We want someone to notice our hard work, the delicious meal we prepared, the blog post we wrote (insert your own answer here). It’s always nice to get a pat on the back, but if we are doing something for that recognition instead of as a service to the Lord or to show God’s love to other people, we have the wrong motivation.

Are you so bogged down in doing that you are neglecting those you are doing it for?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, – Colossians 3:23

2. Ditch Comparisonitis

In the first story of Martha in the Bible, Martha compares herself to her sister. Martha is doing all the work and her sister is lounging about chit chatting away. She laments on the unfairness of it all.

As women, we tend to do this a lot. We compare ourselves to the lady in Bible study with the perfect hair or the neighbor with the brand new car. We use others as a measuring stick for our self-worth.

I know I’m convicted of this, myself.

When we look at others and feel like they have it all and we were stuck with the short end of the stick, resentment starts to build. “Why does so and so get to stay home with her kids while I have to work two jobs?” or “Man, Jane’s house could be on the cover of a magazine and I use throw pillows to hide stains on the couch”.

Here’s the thing about comparing yourself to others. You never see the whole picture.

The neighbor who gets to stay home? She may have been searching for a job for two years or might want to work and can’t due to an illness you can’t see.

Jane, with the Pinterest-worthy house? Her husband might be alcoholic who abuses her.

We see smiling faces of clean, well-behaved children and marriages on Facebook and think they have it all, don’t they? But, we don’t see their hearts.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

Instead of comparing yourself and your lot to others, keep others in your prayers. They may, too, be struggling. But, most importantly, examine your own heart. Are you trying to win the approval of God or others? What’s most important?

3. Jesus is the Kind of Friend We Should All Be

When Martha demanded that Jesus make Mary help her, He didn’t reprimand her for talking to Him that way. (Let’s be honest here, I probably would have). Instead, he gently, corrected her, telling her that she was focused on the wrong thing.

Jesus accepted Martha for who she was. He let her rant and listened but responded with love.

Isn’t that what a true friend should do?

Jesus is that kind of friend. We can come to Him screaming and crying and carrying on and be honest with Him. He doesn’t mind. In fact, He loves you so much that He just wants to know what’s troubling you.

4. Rest is Not Lazy

Martha was in a frenzy cooking and preparing for her guests. She couldn’t imagine sitting down to enjoy their company. There was too much to do!

Serving others and meeting their needs is a great thing, but so is taking a break to recognize what’s important.

Martha was accusing Mary of being lazy, but Mary was focusing on being in the presence of God.

God wants us to be productive, but He always wants us to rest and enjoy fellowship with Him.

That’s not being lazy. It is refreshing our spirits. It is healthy.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. – Matthew 11:28 

5. Keep Your Priorities Straight

When Martha goes off on Jesus, He pretty much tells her to chill and that she is focused on the wrong thing (as I’ve shared above). Her priorities are completely out of whack.

Can you relate to this?

What is important? Our relationship with God. Our relationship with people. Loving God. Loving people. Serving God. Serving people.

And while we’re at it, our priorities in the home should be straight, too:  God, Husband, Kids, then everything else.

There have been times in my life that I was so busy serving in ministry, that I neglected my fellowship with Him and my family, my first mission field.

Limit distractions. Remove everything from your calendar and add things back, according to your priorities, starting with Bible study and prayer time and church. Not small group, not the meetings for the seven different ministries that you serve on. Start with Him. 

Then add time with your husband. Yep. Put it on the calendar. Commit to making your marriage a priority.

Next, your children’s activities.

Limit distractions from your life. Simplify and focus on what He says is important, starting with the most important of all: God.

 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 

6. Mind Your Own Business

This one goes hand-in-hand with “comparisonitis”, but yet, it’s different.

Martha was resentful because she was working away and Mary was having fun. Ya know what? It wasn’t her business.

Focus on what you are doing and how you are pleasing the Lord. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.

That’s between them and God. Not you and them. 

A side note on this:  Resentment can cause us to develop a hardened heart and get easily distracted. It can cause us to take our eyes off of the prize (Jesus).

“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11 

7. Give it to God

In two of the above stories about Martha in the Bible, she was experiencing a difficulty and brought it straight to God.

When she was angry with her sister, she told Jesus about it.
When she was hurting over the death of her brother, she went to Jesus about it.

Whatever you are facing, no matter how big or small, give it to God.

He wants to hear your prayers. He wants to comfort you. He wants to rejoice with you.

Good or bad. Sad or happy. Nervous or joyous. He wants all of you.

When you give your burdens to the Lord, he takes the yoke upon himself. You no longer have to worry. He’s got it covered.

Martha knew this and because of her deep faith in the Father, He blessed her. He wants to bless you, too.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

8. Hospitality is For Everyone

Family room a disaster? Stains on the living room carpet? Microwave threatening to boycott because of the splatters?

It’s totally fine. Yep. I said it. (If my husband is reading this, remind me that I said this, OK?)

Opening our homes and our heart to others is always a good thing.

Hospitality isn’t about cloth napkins folded into flowers. It’s about making your guests feel welcome by extending grace and love.

You can be just as hospitable offering ham sandwiches as you can a gourmet meal.

Biblical hospitality is about extending a hand in friendship to another of God’s children

9. Stop Worrying

Medical experts have told us for years that worrying affects our health. Jesus noticed that Martha was troubled. She was frantic and angry. What kind of affect does that have on our bodies? Ulcers, headaches, depression and so many more.

God tell us not to “be anxious about anything”. I clung to that verse when I was diagnosed with cancer.

Worry doesn’t change anything. It only makes it worse.

Why worry when our Heavenly Father has promised everything we need? (Yep, husband, remind me that I said this one, too).

When you are worried about something, give it to God. By giving it to Him, you are demonstrating that you have complete faith in Him and are completely dependent on him.

By releasing that worry, you are also giving yourself and your loved one a gift. We are much better people when we aren’t burdened with worry, aren’t we?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 

The stories of Mary and Martha in the Bible are rich in lessons. I pray that these lessons will bless you. What else would you add to this list? What else can we learn from Martha of Bethany?

I’d love to hear from you.

Because of Him,

Sue

The post 9 Important Lessons We Can Learn from Martha in The Bible appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about fasting? Or even the types of fasting in the Bible?

Perhaps you’ve considered fasting and were curious what the rewards and benefits of a biblical fast were.

We’re going to cover all that and more in this post so that you can learn more about fasting in the Bible and how to fast for a spiritual breakthrough.

What is Fasting?

The word fasting means to abstain from something. Most commonly, fasting refers to abstaining from food, but it can include abstaining from other things, as well. 

Biblical fasting can be defined as abstaining from food or something else for a period of time in order to focus your thoughts on God. Going without food (or whatever you are fasting from) for medical reasons or lack is not biblical fasting.

What the Bible Says About Fasting

Fasting is mentioned over fifty times throughout the Bible! Throughout this post, I’ll share some of the Bible verses about fasting, but, for deeper study, you can download and print this PDF on Bible verses about fasting.

(Note:  the PDF includes most of the verses about fasting, but I have omitted some that were very similar or, where the reference to fasting was vague.)

You may wish to use the verses about fasting for your own study, use for Bible journaling references or to write the scripture in your prayer journal as you go through your own fast.

Click on the image below to download and print this THIRTEEN page PDF with Bible verse about fasting.

The first time fasting is mentioned in the Bible is in Exodus 34:

Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. – Exodus 34:28 

The last time fasting is referred to in the Bible is in 2 Corinthians 11:27

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. – 2 Corinthians 11:27

(This one is not listed on the PDF as it is not clear that it is truly about fasting or lack)

Clearly, fasting is an important biblical concept.

Let’s dive into some biblical examples of fasting and why we fast.

10 Biblical Examples of Fasting
  1. One of the most memorable accounts of fasting in the Bible was when Jesus fasted for 40 days to prepare for His battle with Satan and to gain spiritual strength from His Heavenly Father. (Luke 4:1-3 and Matthew 4:1-11)

2. Jesus expected His disciples to fast, but cautioned them not to do it for the wrong reasons. (Matthew 6:16).

3. In Luke 2:36-37, we learn of Anna, described as “a righteous woman” who “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”

4. Nehemiah fasted for several reasons including confession, repentance, and favor of the king so that he might get permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4).

5. We read of David fasting several times, each for different reasons. In Psalm 35:13, he “humbled” with fasting and asked God to intervene in the injustice he was experiencing. In 2 Samuel 12:17,23, he fasted during prayer asking God to heal his sick son.

6. When Jonah preached in the city of Nineveh, the whole city came together and fasted as an act of repentance (Jonah 3:7-10). God rewarded their prayer and fasting by saving the city from destruction.

7. There are quite a few mentions of Paul fasting and he lists it as one of the ways he “suffered for the gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:27, but note, as above that we are not clear here if Paul was fasting as an act of worship and prayer or for lack of food). Paul also discusses fasting as part of his instruction for Christian living (1 Corinthians 7:5) as a time to come together in prayer and resist temptation.

8. Mordecai and the Jews fasted after hearing the news of the King’s edict, that all the Jews were to die. (Esther 4:3).

9. In Acts, alone, there are at least six references to fasting. The early church fasted for worship, guidance and the appointment of elders, for example. (Acts 9:9; 13:2; 14:23; 27:9,33).

10. In Acts, we also learn of Cornelius, who worshiped God with fasting. His fasting is known for being a catalyst for Peter to begin preaching to the Gentiles which was an important beginning to the spreading of the gospel around the world.

Why Fast and the Benefits of Biblical Fasting

There are many reasons why you might want to practice fasting. All have a focus on creating intimacy with God through recognizing our dependence on Him.

  1. Admitting our sin and asking God for forgiveness.

2. Spiritual strength against a spiritual attack by the enemy.

3. To break free from the bondage of sin or demonic activity. (Matthew 17:21 NKJV – not found in NIV).

4. To help us hear the voice of God

5. To focus on prayer and help us pray with the right heart and motivation.

6. To awaken a spiritual hunger for God.

7. To allow God to reveal what desires and temptations we have allowed to control us.

8. To temporarily give up good things to make room for things are even better.

9. To reveal sin that we might not be actively aware of.

10. To demonstrate to God that our love and desire for Him is greater than any earthly thing.

11. To increase our intimacy with Him.

12. To intervene in prayer on behalf of others.

13. To ask God for healing for ourselves or others.

Why You Shouldn’t Fast and The Wrong Motivations for Fasting
  • To gain recognition by others. Fasting so that others will say “Look at her. She fasts. She’s such a wonderful Christian!” is wrong. If others notice that you are fasting, that’s fine, but fasting for such recognition is a sin.

“so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:18

  • To gain recognition from God. Fasting isn’t an act that you do for God. It acknowledging His power and grace and that you are completely dependent on Him.
  • To “up the ante” in hopes that God will answer your prayers. Here’s the thing about this: it’s fine to fast and pray for something (healing, etc.) but it is the FAITH, not the fasting, that is in play here. You may choose to fast as part of your focused prayer time, but, fasting, in and of itself is not a fast track to God answering your prayers.

Let’s take a look at the four main types of fasting in the Bible, as well as fasts that fall under each main type:

 Types of Fasting in the Bible

Regular Fast – Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty, but we do not have clear instructions on this.

Partial Fast – This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods. Daniel 10:2-3 says, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” In Daniel 1:12, they restricted their diet to vegetables and water: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.”

A Daniel fast is a popular fast for new and experienced believers who fast.

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. – Acts 14:23 (NIV)

Liquid Fast – this is a type of partial fast that eliminates solid food, but allows for water, juice and in some cases, broth.

Full or Complete Fast – These fasts are absolute – no food and no drink. Acts 9:9 describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus:

“For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Esther also called for this type of fast in Esther 4:15-16: “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.'”

It is recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time (more than 3-5 days, at most).

Sexual Fast – 1 Corinthians 7:3-6 says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Christians today commit to fasting from other activities as well. Some give up entertainment such as TV, Facebook, games, etc. to concentrate on prayer or as a commitment to God. You can fast certain foods (such as chocolate or coffee), but the key is to abstain from something you would miss. Fasting from soda, if you don’t drink it, like me, wouldn’t be an act of faith.

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” – Esther 4:16 (NIV)

 

How Long Should You Fast

How long you fast is entirely up to you and by how you feel led by God. In the Old and New Testament, we find examples of fasts that last for hours and days or longer.

 

 

Random Short Fasts

You may choose to do one of the above types of fasts (food, social media, etc.) for a half day or full twenty-four hours. A short fast is a great first step if you have never fasted before.

A random short fast is a one-time fast for a specific purpose.

Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. – Judges 20:26 

Intermittent or Scheduled Fasts

An intermittent fast is usually a regular fast, often integrated into one’s spiritual discipline. For example, fasting every Thursday or once a month.

Several Days or Longer Fasts

Longer fasts, can include fasts from food, but are also often practiced for abstaining from other worldly desires (such as television, social media, coffee or soda).

You may choose to do a three or seven day fast in this case.

 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” – Esther 4:16

Fasts for Extended Periods of Time

An extended fast is a fast where you abstain from something for a longer period of time.

Catholics, for example, often practice fasting from one or more things for the Lenten season of 40 days.

Note of caution: Abstaining from food and drink for more than a few days has health risks which increase for people with certain medical conditions. Do not undertake an extended fast from food and drink without medical supervision.

When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water. – Deuteronomy 9:9 

Goal-Oriented Fasts

Some fasts are chosen not for their length of time, but to recognize a commitment to a goal. You may wish to practice an open-ended fast which would end when your set goal has been accomplished.

For example, avoiding social media or television until you have achieved your goal.

Mark Batterson addresses prayer and fasting to achieve spiritual goals in his book, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge. He also shares some his own spiritual goals that have been achieved incorporating fasting into prayer.

Group Fasts

Group fasts can be practiced by small groups, such as families or church Life Groups. They can be practiced by larger groups, such as one entire congregation or, even by a nation during a time of crisis.

Group members can fast at the same time or take turns for a period of continuous fasting.

Group fasts and prayer can be incredibly powerful with unimaginable results and spiritual breakthroughs.

 

Before Biblical Fasting/How to Prepare

Before you undertake a fast, there are several things to consider and a few you should do to prepare.

Decide what type of fast you will do and for how long. Prayerfully make this decision upon God’s leading.

Prepare your Heart

Fasting should always be grounded in prayer and thanksgiving.

  • Ask God to reveal any hidden sins and confess every sin that is revealed, petitioning God for forgiveness.
  • Seek forgiveness from anyone you have hurt or sinned against and forgive those who have “trespassed against you”.
  • Pray that you would be filled with the Holy Spirit and fully yield your life to God.

Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart that you will experience a spiritual breakthrough.

Be prepared for a spiritual attack. As I wrote in my post on my experience during the 40 day prayer challenge, Satan will not be happy about your commitment to God during this time.

Prepare Your Body

If you have any medical conditions or take any daily medications, consult with your doctor before going through a fast of longer than 24 hours.

If you plan on an extended fast, begin to cut down on food about a week before you begin the fast or consider following a vegetarian diet to prepare your body and be sure to increase your water intake, as well.

 

After Fasting and Ending Your Fast

If you have been doing a fast from food, when you break your fast, you will want to introduce small amounts of food gradually.

Avoid eating a large meal to break your fast. Doing so can have negative physical effects on your body.

Start with fruit or salad and gradually add in more solid food.

9 Tips for Fasting

 

  1. Start small. Don’t go from never having fasted before right to a seven day fast. Start with fasting from a worldly desire first or fasting from sunup to sundown.

2. Try different types of fasting. Instead of going without food, consider giving up coffee or soda, for a time or going without television for a week.

3. Drink plenty of water (if the fast you have chosen includes water or liquids).

4. Use a prayer guide for focus and direction.

5. Make a plan for what to do when you are not eating. You may choose to replace breakfast, lunch and dinner time with focused Bible study and prayer.

6. Review your schedule, in advance. For example, you may not wish to fast during a business trip or during a time of extreme stress.

7. Keep in mind that you may not be able to focus, as well, without food and your thoughts (and prayers) may be all over the place. Be open to prayer “squirrels”, as I call them, scurrying about everywhere.

8. Consider your interaction with others. If you normally eat lunch with a colleague, let them know that you will be fasting and choose to attend without eating or join them but abstain.

If you are married and your fast includes sexual abstaining, discuss this, in advance with your spouse.

9. Each time you feel your stomach growl, use that as a prompt to pray.

10. Get plenty of rest.

 Powerful Prayer During Fasting

Dear Father,

You are righteous, compassionate, merciful and loving and all glory and honor are Yours. You are the source of all wisdom and knowledge and bring light into darkness. You have created us to be curious and to seek wisdom and understanding. 

We praise you and thank you for hearing our prayers and for Your Son, in whom all treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. We thank you for giving us Your Word to guide us.

Father, please guide me to seek Your wisdom each day. Lord, help us to be obedient to you and your ways. Help us to seek your face each day, in all we do.

Jehovah, keep us free from temptation and evil. Help us to turn to you as our stronghold and refuge. Thank you, Lord, for the temptations that we face as they reveal to us our dependence on you. 

I am a sinner, Father and I ask forgiveness for my..

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This may be the most raw, vulnerable post I’ve ever written. It is sure to open up old wounds and hurt that I’ve tried for decades to heal.

I’m not writing this for shock value. I’m writing it to show you what God has showed me through the worst time in my life. I’m writing it to show you that God has a plan for your life – no matter what mistakes you’ve made in the past. I’m writing it to show you that God loves you and forgives you. I’m writing it because you may need to hear my story.

I’m Sue. A Christian writer, speaker and ministry leader and I’ve had an abortion.

I know, I know. Christian women and abortion normally don’t go in the same sentence. But my abortion testimony is a bit different and God has laid it on my heart to share it after all of these years.

There is hope after abortion. Really after anything in your life that has caused you guilt or shame.

If you’ve read any of my story or even my testimony, you know that I was married to my high school sweetheart for over twenty years. We married when I was 22 and still lived a life of freedom and even partying.

We were both raised Catholic, but, despite making the sacraments of the Catholic religion (infant baptism, communion, confirmation and marriage) to that point, we were not believers. Sure, we believed in God, but church was more of a tradition for us than true faith.

I had my first child, a son, at age 26. I loved being pregnant and felt such joy the first time I felt him kick and move. Growing life inside of me was the most amazing experience.

As my son, grew, I relished being a mother. I loved that boy (and still do) with all of my heart.

Like most young couples, my husband and I struggled with money and had our share of marital strife.

We didn’t attend church, but had our son christened in the Catholic church.

I was straddling things of God and things of this world.

In fact, after we were married, but before I had my son, I traveled to Washington, DC, with a friend, and attended a pro-choice rally at the capitol.

I didn’t see (or chose not to see) that abortion was a sin. Even if I knew it was a sin, I don’t know that it would have mattered much. I was blatantly sinning in other ways, as well.

I had never planned on having an abortion, myself, but,at the time, felt that out-of-touch men in government had no right to tell me (or others) what to do with my body.

My Second Pregnancy and The Act that Altered My Life Forever

Two years after my son was born, I got pregnant, again. I was terrified to tell my husband. I knew he would not be happy about the news as money was already tight and childcare was costing over 1K per month (and this was back in the mid-90’s). He was also from a large family and knew the struggles of having a lot of children, especially so close together. We had already decided that we would have two kids but they would be at least four years apart.

As I expected, he was not only “not happy”, he was enraged. He told me that I needed to have an abortion and that there would be no discussion.

I’d like to say that I prayed for God to soften my husband’s heart or for Him to intervene. But I didn’t.

After a tearful few weeks, when I was far enough along for the procedure to be performed, I made an appointment at a clinic.

No one but my husband and my best friend knew that I had made plans for an abortion.

While I waited for the date to arrive, I focused on my son. I cleaned the house. I drank alcohol. I did everything but acknowledge the life inside of me. The more I thought about this little human growing in me, the more I cried. So I numbed myself.

The day of the abortion, itself, is a blur. I know that my husband drove me and I remember that we didn’t talk much in the car.

When it was over, I remember crying and holding my stomach, feeling cramping and incredible loss.

My husband told me that there was no sense in talking about it and that we had done the right thing for us, at the time. There was nothing that we could do about it, so why obsess over it?

I felt absolutely no hope after the abortion. None. Despite the fact that I had to go home and mother a sweet little boy.

Looking back, I often wonder if I shouldn’t have fought harder. If I could have done things differently. My husband was an imposing man. And, while he never struck me, he had been physical with me. I was afraid of him, in many ways.

Pregnancy Number Three and a Broken Heart

The following year, I became pregnant again. I was overjoyed and decided that no matter what my husband said, I was having and keeping this baby.

Again, I was trembling as I told him, but, surprisingly, he agreed, without a fight, to have this baby. (Perhaps the abortion had affected him, too?).

I was so excited and started re-reading pregnancy books and buying maternity clothes.

When I was fourteen weeks’ pregnant, I started to bleed. I called my doctor who told me to come right to his office. He did an ultrasound and informed me that I had lost the baby. There was no heartbeat.

Because I was already in my second trimester, the fetus would probably need to be removed through a D&C. 

I was devastated.

I just knew that God was punishing me for killing my second child.

To add salt to the wound, my sister-in-law was also expecting a baby within a few weeks of my due date. A club that my husband and his brother were in announced, via newsletter, that both she and I were expecting. They published it after I had already miscarried. For a few weeks, I stopped answering the phone. Members of the club kept calling to congratulate us. I just couldn’t bear to tell anyone else that we had lost our baby.

I grieved for a long time while my husband didn’t seem to be affected. Men handle things differently than women do. God wired us differently (as I discuss in my book, The God Centered Marriage). 

I don’t believe that the loss didn’t affect him at all, but it certainly didn’t the way it affected me. I had life growing inside of me. I was connected to that child (and the one I aborted), in a way that he never could be. I don’t blame him, but my  heart was shattered.

I had to continue to put on a brave face and mother my sweet little now three year old boy.

Pregnancy Number Four: Joy and Sorrow

Three years after my son was born, two years after the abortion, I found out that I was pregnant for the fourth time.

The feelings I felt were a mixture of elation and terror. I was so afraid that I would lose this baby, too.

I feared that God would never let me have another child because of the heinous thing I had done.

Unlike the other pregnancies, I had no morning sickness. To me, this was a sign that something was wrong.

I went to all of my doctor appointments and each time, everything was fine, but still feared losing the baby.

The same week that I learned of this pregnancy, my mother was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. To say that I was emotionally wrought, would be an understatement.

At about the end of the first trimester, I started to spot. See? I thought, I AM going to lose this baby, too.

I went to the doctor and he assured me that everything was just fine.

After a physically healthy but emotionally exhausting pregnancy (I obsessed about something being wrong with my son and over God punishing me for my sins, plus my mother’s terminal illness), I gave birth to a very healthy 9 pound 5 ounce boy via cesarean section.

 It Was Predestined

There I was, mother of two sons and living daily with the guilt of an abortion. I resented my husband for forcing me to do such a terrible thing.

I was going along living life as a busy mom of two and coping with the loss of my mother. I was angry at the Catholic church for how they treated her during her illness.

I was struggling with not just the Catholic church but with God. How could He let these terrible things happen to me? Why did He take my mother?

All along, God knew that He had a plan for my mother and for me.

Within a year after my mother’s passing, I was saved by the blood of Jesus.

(You can read a bit about my issue with how the church treated my mother as well as my testimony in this post).

An Ending and a New Beginning

Over the next several years, my fervor for Jesus grew. I devoured the Bible and began homeschooling my children with a Christian curriculum.

The closer I grew to God, however, the further I grew from my husband.

His drinking escalated. His cheating increased. Our fighting grew worse.

My faith was, what finally caused him to ask for a divorce, he said. (I later learned that it was the woman he was seeing for the past year of our marriage that was the true reason he asked to end our marriage).

I went through a number of difficult years but continued to grow in my faith. Eventually, I met my husband, Mike, who I believe was truly sent from God.

He supports me and my ministry and has a passion for Christ that is beautiful to see. Mike has encouraged me to write my books and to share my story.

I’ve grown to have a deep passion for helping women grow in their faith as I know the healing power of Jesus, firsthand.

What I Learned From Having an Abortion

So, what’s the purpose of me sharing my abortion testimony with you?

Despite committing the worst sin I could ever imagine, God was with me.

Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about abortion? The answer is the same thing it says about any other sin. God loves us and forgives us.

As I look back over my life to that dark time and since, I now know that God was working in me. He taught me a few things that I want to share with you.

  • God forgives us

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. – 1 John 1:9  

Yes, I sinned and it is something I think about daily, but God has already forgiven me. Last year, I wrote a post about forgiveness. Stop peeking into your old box of sins. God has already forgiven you.

Stop peeking into your old box of sins. God has already forgiven you. Click to Tweet

It took a long time for me to realize that despite the grave mistake I made, He forgave me. I am washed clean by His blood.

No matter what you have done, you are never too far gone to be saved by God. He loves you and He forgives you. 

  • You are not who you were before the Holy Spirit 

When you accepted Christ into your heart, you “put off your old self”. You are not who you used to be. You are created new in Christ.

I am no longer that selfish, afraid young wife who committed a grave sin. I am reborn in the Holy Spirit and so are you.

God has changed you from the inside out.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”- Ezekiel 36:26

  • God has a plan for you

If you would have told me 25 years ago that I would be a Christian author and speaker, I would have outright laughed in your face. But God..oh, God. He had a plan for my life which is far greater than anything I could have asked or imagined. 

You could be a prostitute like Rahab or poor widow like Ruth. Where you are now is not where you are going. God has a plan for your life.

Don’t let today’s circumstances keep you from knowing you are meant for great things in His kingdom.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 

  • God can use anyone for His glory

I’m nobody special. I never went to seminary or served in the mission field overseas, but God tells me that I am beautiful and He created me just the way I am to serve Him and His Kingdom.

He orchestrated my life events, I think, so that I can share my story with others and help them to see and feel God’s love. He brought me to my knees, thirsty, to drink in His Word so that I could help others wrap themselves in scripture.

A teenage girl, pregnant and unmarried, became the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. If that doesn’t show you that God can use anyone for His glory, right?

God can use you, too, my friend. You may be going through something tough right now or have a past hurt that is holding you back, but God can use you, perhaps right where you are.

(If you are struggling to find your purpose from God, see this post)

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 

  • God uses all things to work together for good

Everything in our lives – the sad or disturbing, the happy and pleasant and everything in between, God uses to work together for good.

My abortion? Although it is still my most leaden sin, He has used it to bring me to a place of complete dependence on Him.

It has taught me so much about myself, the world and mostly, His love, which is so far and wide and unfailing.

God has taken that act and everything before and since to mold me into the woman I am today. The woman who finds joy in His Word. The woman who is happily married to a man who loves Him as much as I do.

He has taken everything in my life and worked it together for good.

He is doing that for you, too, sweet sister. He loves you that much.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

  • Our God is a God of healing

Jehovah Rapha, the Lord Who heals, can heal bodies, souls and spirits.

It took awhile and it took my giving myself completely to Him, but God healed my broken heart. No matter your source of hurt or your illness – be it physical, emotional or behavioral, God can heal you. Maybe not in the way you might think, but His ways are greater than our ways. He will carry your burden. He will heal your wounds. (even self-inflicted ones, like mine)

O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone! – Jeremiah 17:14

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29 

Cry out to Him openly, honestly. God hears you and He forgives you, but most of all, He loves you.

Cry out to Him openly, honestly. God hears you and He forgives you, but most of all, He loves you.Click to Tweet

My heart still breaks for what I did that awful day many years ago. My soul longs to meet that precious child in heaven, one day. I wonder what God would have done in his or her life had I not taken it. But, I am healed by His love and know, sweet friend, that He loves you and can heal you, too.

There is hope after abortion. I’m living proof.

I pray that my abortion testimony encourages you. I pray for all of the lives lost. I pray that one day, abortion will be illegal everywhere.

Because He lives,

Sue

The post Hope After Abortion: 6 Things An Abortion Taught Me About God appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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Living on one income never crossed my mind. I grew up thinking I was going to be a working mom. I love to work and I never imagined myself being a stay at home mom.

Let me back up a little bit. I moved out of my parents house when I was 17 years old. I was very independent and learned to support myself. I wasn’t a solid believer at the time. I grew up knowing who God was but I never had a relationship with Jesus.

A few years later, I found the love of my life and got married. A few years after we got married, I got pregnant with twin girls. It was during this time that I had a hunger to know the Lord. I started attending women bible studies and accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior (here is my testimony of faith).

My husband recommitted his life to Christ (he was a backslidden Christian) and we made the decision to have a Christ-centered marriage. We wanted our kids to know Jesus.

As we came to know Jesus and commited our life to Him, He showed us areas in our lives that we needed to change. One of the biggest changes we needed to make was me staying home. I worked and I loved it but the Lord had other plans.

He made it clear that I should stay at home and homeschool the kids. It was a battle for me because it was so far from my desire in life. I wanted to work and I was comfortable with the income we were bringing in each month.

I finally surrendered and stopped working. It was truly a struggle because we had to go from living on two incomes to living on one income. We had to downsize our house, sell one of our cars, and get rid of the other luxuries we had.

The easy part was I knew how to save money. Moving out at 17 years old helped me because it taught me how to spend money wisely. Little did I know that the Bible talked about being a good steward of money. It’s funny how the Lord works. He gives us wisdom in everything we need to accomplish His plan.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NKJV

It has been a little over 10 years that we have been living on one income. It has been such a blessing. I still have a desire to work but I know that I need to be obedient to what the Lord has called me to do.

I want to share how we made living on one income work for us. It doesn’t happen overnight. Anyone can do it. You may need to make sacrifices but it is definintely worth it.

Living on One Income
  1. Discuss Your Finances with Your Spouse

My husband and I share money. We don’t have separate accounts. It’s important to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. We both knew what the Lord wanted us to do and we wanted to be obedient. We were willing to do what it took to live on one income.

We had to re-evaluate our budget. We removed half of our income so we definantely had changes to make. It was a matter of being comfortable with what we decided to spend money on. The things we needed to survive came first. Then we had a tiny bit left over for things we wanted. We had to be very careful what we spent that extra money on. We didn’t want to spend more than we had.

  1. Create a Budget or Tighten Up Your Budget

Everyone should create a budget. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. You need to have control over your money and know exactly where it goes. Don’t let money control you.

We have always had a budget but we needed to revamp it because we were getting rid of one income. Downsizing our home helped us a lot. We were able to cut our mortgage in half. We also found areas where we were over spending. Like eating out. I made the commitment to cook at home 7 days a week. We limited eating out to a couple times a month.

  1. Practice Living on One Income

Living on income is a huge change and can cause issues if you are stressed. We decided to practice living on one income so we could see what kind of impact it would have on us. We took my paychecks and put them in a savings account until we felt comfortable with the transition.

This ended up working well and we were able to pay off debt in the process with the extra paycheck. We ended up paying off all our debt before we made the transition to living on one income.

  1. Learn How to Save Money

Saving money had to become a part of our life. It doesn’t have to be difficult. I learned how to use coupons to help with my grocery store trips. Everytime we go somewhere I look online for a coupon. Every little bit helps.

I put together a list of the best ways to save money that are practical. You should be able to find a few ways to save that work for you.

  1. Be Content

It’s so easy to look at other people’s situations. The truth is, God has us right where He wants us. We need to be content and trust that God will provide for us. We’ve been living on one income for over 10 years now and He has never failed us. We don’t have everything we want but we have everything we need.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19 NKJV

Living on one income has been a blessing in my life. It’s not the life I had planned but God’s plans are higher than mine and I’m ok with that.

 A Bit About Apryl Griffith

Apryl has been married for 16 years and is a mother to 3 children. She’s been living on one income for the past 10 years. When she’s not homeschooling her children, she is blogging about ways to save money on her blog Money Wise Steward.

The post How to Live on One Income | 5 Steps to Make it Work appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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One of the biggest concerns that I hear from readers about Bible journaling is that all of the supplies can be so expensive, but I’m here to tell you that you have many Bible journaling supplies in your home, already!

Today, I’ll begin a several part series on using household items for Bible journaling.  In the process, you’ll learn some Bible journaling techniques that may be new to you.

For this first post in the series of Bible journaling with household objects, we will explore using Q-tips!

For the main Bible journaling techniques using Q-tips, you’ll need just a handful of Q-tips and some paint.  For most of these, I used the cheap acrylic paint from Wal-mart (either American Crafts for Apple Barrel) as well as clear gesso and some paint brushes.

As I’ve shared in previous posts about Bible journaling, if you are using a wet medium (such as acrylic paint or a paint marker, for example), you’ll want to coat your Bible pages with clear gesso first.  It protects the page from tearing and bleed through.

While you can use a paint palette (here are some great really cheap ones that I use), often, I just use a paper plate.

In this post, I’ll be sharing three projects that I created using mainly Q-tips and paint!

Bible Journaling with Household Objects – 4 Fun and Easy ProjectsPainting with Q-Tips Project 1 – War Binder Cover

The first is the cover of my newest War Binder.  I included this project as I often add an art or Bible journaling page to my War Binder and loved this technique.

I did not gesso the cover of this binder as it was already quite sturdy. (I used the Stampin’ Up! Kraft 6 x 8 binder).

I started by drawing simple stems with an alcohol-based marker (you can use any marker – especially if you prep your page by using clear gesso).

Next, I grabbed a small handful of Q-tips and wrapped a rubber band around them to hold them in place.

I then, poured a small amount of white acrylic paint and pearlized paint on a paper plate.

Next, I dabbed the Q-tip bunch into both paints,  tapped it on scrap paper (to get the excess paint off) and then “stamped” using the Q-tips in a circular pattern to create the dandelions.

Finally, I added the title with hand lettering.  That’s it!  Super easy.  Here’s my finished cover.

 Painting with Q-Tips Project 2 – Yellow Wildflowers

This is another super easy Bible journaling technique with Q-tips.  Here, we will create simple wildflowers.

Just like the last project, I started by drawing simple stems for the flowers.

Next, I added some vibrant yellow paint to my “palette” and used just one Q-tip to randomly “stamp” the blossoms onto the flowers.

After adding the lettering, it was finished! (Don’t mind the pencil marks in the lettering, which I forgot to erase before I took the photo)

Painting with Q-Tips Project 3 – Purple Lilacs

This was a fun one to create!  I used the same technique as I did in project 1 (the bunch of Q-tips to stamp).

For this project, I selected four different shades of purple paint and placed a bit of each on my palette.

Then, as before, I took a handful of Q-tips and wrapped them together with a rubberband.

For the lilacs, I added the stems and leaves after I painted the lilacs with the Q-tips.  

Dabbing the Q-tip bunch in each of the paint colors (I rotated the Q-tip bunch as I went so as not to get all of the shades mixed), I stamped with the Q-tips.  I made the bottom wide and went more narrow as I went up.

(The red in the photo is my washi tape edging at the beginning of each chapter in my Bible journaling Bible)

Once the lilacs were painted, a drew the leaves and stems with an alcohol-based marker.

I added some detail to the leaves and the title and completed the page.

 Painting with Q-Tips Project 4 – Wheat

For the last project in the series of Bible journaling with household items: painting with Q-tips, I use the q-tip to paint with – just like a brush.

This page isn’t finished yet.  I’ve added some small details with a white pen to the leaves but have more to do (not sure what that is, yet, though!) and add the verse with hand lettering.  Here’s what I have, so far.

See? You don’t need loads of expensive supplies to create beautiful pages in your Bible.  You can do Bible journaling with household objects and love the results!  Remember, the most important thing about Bible journaling is doing it as an act of worship.  Not worthy to hang in a museum?  That’s fine.  God knows your heart, sweet friend!

For the next post in the series of Bible journaling with household objects, we’ll tackle tea, forks and napkins!  

Have you tried Bible journaling with a household object?  What did you use?  I’d love to see your pages!

Are you going to try painting with q-tips?  Which of the above pages is your favorite?  Comment below or shoot me an email at: sue@womanofnoblecharacter.com

Because of Him,

Sue

The post Techniques For Bible Journaling With Household Objects: Q Tips appeared first on Woman of Noble Character.

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