My First Impression of Our Bible Study

Happy Friday!

I talked about this on Instastories the other day, but honestly, life has been pretty crazy this week. School started back, and I have a student teacher, which are both wonderful things, but my days have been busy. As a result, when I’ve been getting home from school, spending time with Daniel and Isaac and relaxing are about the only things I’ve been doing, hence a lag in blog posts.

However, I finished Week 1 of The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer and want to share about my first impression of the book. (If you’re new around here read this blog post and this one to get caught up.).

Difficulty Level

Have you ever read a commentary of the Bible or done a study and everything was written in such a way that it was difficult to understand? Yeah, me, too. The Armor of God isn’t like that. My friend, Allie, owner of Downtown Allie, said it best – This study is simple and easy to follow. Trust me, you’ll be able to understand what Shirer is saying.

Time

Recently, I’ve had a phrase swirling around in my mind, “We make time for what’s important.” It’s true. What’s “important” to you? Here’s a convicting exercise: pull up the screen time on your phone. How much time do you spend on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. each day? You probably don’t like the answer when you compare it to how much time you spend doing meaningful things (quiet time, family time, exercising, etc.); I know I sure didn’t.

With that being said, each day of The Armor of God has taken me about 20-30 minutes. However, when I finish each day, I feel “full.” Honestly, you won’t even realize how much time you’re spending going through the material because it’s so interesting.

Discussion

While Bible studies can be done alone, there’s something about working through one as a group that adds camaraderie and accountability, which is something that everyone benefits from. Obviously, we can’t all meet in person to discuss the material, so instead, I’m going to be doing an Instagram Live each Sunday at 8:oo p.m. CT while we do the study.

The general idea is, I will lead the discussion and talk about concepts that stood out to me. This will also be a time when you can write in and share what resonated with you, too. My hope is that everyone will interact with each other.

Falling Behind

I know that some of you are kind of “late to the game” so to speak and may not have ordered your book soon enough to be finished with Week 1’s material before my first Instagram Live. That’s okay!

I will say that each week has five days of material, yet there are 7 days in a week, so you have extra time to get things done.

I’ll also be saving my Lives to my IGTV, which you can watch at a later date, if necessary, so you can still listen/watch/participate in our discussion.

Why I’m Doing This

I’m a teacher and believe that is my calling. With that being said, I’ve wanted to lead a Bible study, geared toward young women, for a long time (Whether you’re young in age or heart, everyone’s invited!).

After making the decision to move forward with this, I can’t tell you how many women have reached out to me and said things like, “I’ve been wanting to do this study for a long time,” or, “This type of thing is exactly what I’ve been looking for,” or, “I need accountability,” or, “I’m so excited to join you in this study.” All of these interactions have shown me there is a void that many people need filling, and that’s what this study is for.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord does through our study over The Armor of God!

Sarah

Bible Study Schedule

This sounds wild to say, but happy New Year! Though 2020 was a rough year for everyone, it’s also hard to believe that it’s gone!

With that being said, I wanted to give you the game plan for our “Bible study book club” schedule. I talk more about the study in this post, but just as a reminder, the book we’re going through is The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer.

While the following schedule is the plan now, it’s also subject to change.

This book does have a video component, but I won’t be watching it, although you’re more than welcome to! The link for the videos is in the book, but it costs to rent the clips, and you can get just as much out of the study by only doing the “homework.”

I’m so excited to begin this journey with each of you, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord teaches us over the next few weeks!

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Anna

Happy Monday, y’all! hope you had a great weekend.

Today I’m focusing on Anna from the book of Luke and four concepts we can learn from her story.

Anna was known as a prophetess at the temple. This doesn’t mean she was a fortune teller, rather she was a teacher of Scripture to other women. She’d been a widow for a long time and was pretty old when she appeared in the Bible. She lived at the temple and constantly prayed and fasted, awaiting the coming Messiah.

Well, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple at this time, and received a blessing from another man, named Simeon. Anna overheard them and realized that everything she’d been praying for was right there. She immediately began praising God and told everyone she encountered about Jesus.

Anna knew that there was a Messiah coming who would save the world. This shows she was knowledgeable about Old Testament Scripture. If she hadn’t, then where would her hope have been?

It’s important as Christians to be grounded in the Word. We need to know what the Bible says, not only so we can live it, but also so we can tell others. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the whole Bible memorized, but it’s vital that you be able to support your views.

The only thing that fasting [by itself] will do is make you hungry. However, fasting and prayer done together show a deep desire to seek the Lord’s will. Anna fasted and prayed for over sixty years. There’s no doubt that her devotion to the Lord was real.

I’m not saying that everyone should stop eating and only pray for the next few days. However, prayer is a vital part of being a Christian and fasting while doing that shows commitment to the Lord.

During Anna’s time, many people were looking for the coming Messiah. However, they expected him to arrive with pomp and circumstance and as a powerful leader since He was known as a King. Jesus was actually the opposite of that. He was born in a stable, and his stepfather, Joseph, was a carpenter, so His family would’ve been on the poorer side. Regardless, Anna recognized Jesus for who He was.

While we can’t see Jesus in the flesh like Anna did, we have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. There have been several instances in my personal life lately where I felt like God was telling me to do something. I pushed those feelings aside for a while, but the conviction continued, and when I finally did acknowledge His prompting, and listened, I felt such a peace and much closer to Him.

After Anna’s encounter with Jesus, she never stopped talking about Him. Imagine how many people came to know Him through her testimony.

As Christians, it’s our duty to tell others about Christ. Maybe you don’t know every single Bible verse that talks about how to be saved (I know I sure don’t.), but you can tell others what Jesus has done for you. I recently did a post, sharing how I became a Christian. The great thing about sharing your testimony is that no one can dispute what Jesus has done for you.

I hope you have a great day!

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Ruth

Hannah

Mary

How I Became a Christian

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a good day.

Today, I want to share something very personal with you: how I became a Christian.

I’m one of those people who was going to church before I was born. My parents are both Christians and are still married after 31 years. When I was growing up, I was at church every time the doors were open, and grew up knowing all of the “right” answers.

When I was in the 6th grade, my Sunday School class started reading the Left Behind series for kids. To be honest, those books terrified me. I knew that I had never asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life, and if the rapture (when Jesus is coming back to get those who are saved) happened, I would be “left behind.” For a while, I lived in constant fear. If my family was quiet, while we were at home, I’d find them just to make sure they were still there.

This continued for a while, and then one week, my church had a revival. One of the preacher’s sermons was about Jesus “knocking on your hear’s door.” I felt like He was pounding on mine. I went up during the invitation, prayed a prayer, and was later baptized, but nothing in my life really changed.

I was never involved in anything “bad,” and was considered a “good person,” but at that point in my life, I didn’t really understand that you have to build a relationship with Jesus and continually work on it.

As the years passed, I’d have doubts from time to time but would push them aside because I thought, “I’ve already been in front of the church and said I was saved, and I’ve already been baptized. It’d be too embarrassing to walk down the aisle again.”

When I was about 15, the doubts of my salvation increased, and I asked my mom if we could talk to our pastor about everything. We got to church early one night, talked things over, and in my pastor’s office, I truly asked Jesus to be my Savior.

I’m not saying that my walk with the Lord has been perfect since then because that isn’t possible. However, I strive to live a life that honors Him, which I hope comes across in my interactions. I understand the importance of keeping an active prayer life and not just reading the Bible but digging into it.

I pray that if you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Savior, that you’d do so today. Words can’t describe the peace and assurance that comes with salvation!

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Mary

It’s been a few weeks, since I’ve done a post about lessons from women in the Bible, so I’m excited to get back into it today!

Mary was a virgin and betrothed to a man named Joseph, but before their marriage, an angel appeared to her, explaining that the Spirit of the Lord would come on her and allow her to conceive (although she was a virgin). Her son would be named Jesus, and He would be the Savior of the world.

While that’s the very short version of her story, there are several things we can learn from her experiences.

There are some religions that believe that Mary was sinless and can bestow blessings on others. In the Bible, she states that she needs a Savior. The only people that need saving are those who are lost.

The Bible teaches that we’re all sinners, and we’re born that way. If you’ve ever been around young children, you know that nobody has to teach them to do wrong; they just naturally act that way. Daniel and I learned that pretty quick with Isaac! However, the only way to be saved is to admit that you’re a sinner, believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and ask Him to be your Savior.

During Bible times, women got betrothed around 13 years old, meaning that was probably about how old Mary was when she got pregnant. Remember, she was a virgin. What do you think the world thought when her pregnancy began to show? Even Joseph contemplated ending their relationship because he thought she’d been unfaithful, until an angel appeared to him and explained what was happening. If word got out about her, she could’ve been stoned. However, Mary knew that she was carrying God’s child and faced everything with resolve.

When we act as Christians and do the Lord’s will, the world will criticize us for it. Remember, the world hates God, and therefore, they hate us. They will mock us and throw our shortcomings in our face. However, it always pays to follow the Lord, even if we don’t receive a reward on this side of eternity.

Think about it: Mary was Jesus’ mother. Even before He was born, she knew what He would be destined for. As He grew and began His public ministry, there are several accounts of Mary being around. She was even there at the foot of the cross when He died.

As a teacher, I see the impact that no support at home has on my students. Many of them come from broken homes, and their parents could care less about what they do (if their parents are even around). As a result, they make poor choices due to a lack of guidance, and as they grow older, the cycle continues with their own kids.

If you have children, I urge you to love them, pray for them, attend their ballgames, help them with their homework. Obviously, don’t condone poor behavior, but raise them to know right from wrong. Don’t try to be your child’s best friend; they have plenty of those. Rather, guide them to live a wholesome, productive life.

I hope you’re encouraged today!

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Ruth

Hannah

I’m Starting a “Bible Study Book Club”!

As Christians, it’s essential that we stay in the Word (aka read our Bible). However, sometimes it’s hard to know where to read, so it’s helpful to have a devotional/guide for assistance. Furthermore, it’s important to have accountability because, let’s face it, it’s hard to live for the Lord in a world that’s forgotten Him.

With all that being said, I’ve decided to start a “Bible study book club.”

This is something that’s been on my heart for a while, and I’ve finally decided to get the ball rolling on it! Additionally, after asking on Instagram, it seemed like something y’all want, too.

The book we’ll be going through is The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. It’s one I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I think it’ll be great to use for our study. I’ve also heard from some friends that have completed it, and they had nothing but good things to say about the study.

I will say that this “Bible study book club” will require work on your part. The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer is in a workbook format and has you read various Scriptures from the Bible, answer questions, and make connections to your own life.

What I like about this is that it makes you read your Bible and dig into what it says. To grow as a Christian, reading a couple of verses a day won’t cut it. You have to be in the Word to build on your relationship with God, and that’s what this Bible study will do.

The whole study will take 6 weeks, and each week is broken into 5 days worth of material. Unlike a devotional for every day of the year, if you get a bit behind, you still have some time during the week to complete the material.

We’ll be starting this study on January 3 because I feel like everyone is always more motivated at the beginning of the year. After doing a poll on Instagram, it seems like more people are interested in having our “discussion” via Instagram Live. Right now, my plan is to do an Instagram Live at 8:00 CT on Sunday nights. The first one will occur on January 10, but I’ll keep you updated.

I’m so excited for this endeavor and can’t wait to grow in the Word with you! Don’t forget to order your book!

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Hannah

Congratulations! We made it to Friday!

It’s hard to believe that this is my 5th post about lessons from women in the Bible, and today is all about Hannah.

There was a man named Elkanah who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. The former had children; the latter was barren. Elkanah loved Hannah the most, and due to jealousy, Peninnah constantly provoked her.

Hannah’s one desire was to become a mother, and she promised God that if He gave her a son, she’d give him back to the Lord. While she was praying this, Eli, the high priest, accused her of being drunk in the tabernacle because her lips were moving but no words were coming out. Hannah explained the situation and Eli blessed her.

After that, Hannah and Elkanah conceived a son, who they named Samuel. After he was weaned, Hannah took him to the tabernacle to live and be raised up as a priest.

Here are four things we can learn from Hannah’s story:

Hannah and Elkanah continued to worship God regularly, even though they didn’t have children. After Samuel was born, they continued to follow the Lord and focus on their walk with Him.

As parents, it’s so easy to let our children take “center stage” in our lives. However, one day, those children will grow up, move out, and begin lives of their own. If your marriage has been neglected all of that time, what kind of shape will it be in?

Daniel and I have learned the necessity of not only focusing on our marriage but also how important it is to keep God as our focus. We talk more about that in this post.

Hannah’s childlessness increased her prayer life. Even when God didn’t give her what she wanted, at first, she continued to be faithful in her worship.

We all experience trials in life. However, when we go through them, we need to pray more to God rather than grow resentful that we didn’t get our way. He is always on time, and has an answer to your prayer, it just may be a little farther down the road.

Hannah made a vow to God that if He’d give her son, she’d give him back to the Lord’s service. That’s exactly what she did.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her to leave Samuel at the tabernacle to grow up, but we need to remember that when we promise God, or anyone for that matter, to do something, that we need to do it. Hannah was blessed with more children because she kept her promise to the Lord, and you will receive blessings, too, for remaining faithful.

Eli was quick to judge and rebuke Hannah, even though his own sons lived immoral lives. While his intentions might’ve been in the right place, his approach wasn’t.

As Christians, we need to hold each other accountable. However, it should be done in a kind way. You can probably think of a time when you were corrected, yet it hurt your feelings because it wasn’t done in a considerate manner. Remember what that felt like the next time you’re the one giving advice.

I hope today’s post encourages you and that you have a great day!

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Ruth

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Ruth

Well, we’ve made it to the end of the week, and today I’m bringing you another post on lessons we can learn from women in the Bible. I have to say, these are some of my favorite posts to write, and I thank the Lord for guiding me on various points to touch on.

If you’re a romantic, the story of Ruth is for you!

It begins during a famine in Bethlehem. and man named, Elimeleck, his wife, Naomi, and their two sons moved to Moab, a wicked, pagan nation, to seek refuge. His sons married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth, even though the Lord had commanded the Israelites not to marry unbelievers. Unfortunately, Elimelck and both of his sons died while there, leaving Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth as widows.

When Naomi heard that God was providing for the Israelites in her hometown, she decided to go home. At first both her daughters-in-law wanted to join her, but Ruth ended up being the only one to go.

When they returned to Bethlehem, Ruth gathered grain in a field belonging to Boaz, a relative of Elimelek. He was impressed with her faithfulness and work ethic and provided protection for her. He ended up being Ruth and Naomi’s “kinsman-redeemer,” meaning he was responsible for helping them. Ruth and Boaz eventually got married, and Jesus was one of their descendants.

Here are five concepts we can learn from Ruth’s story:

After their husbands’ deaths, Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth began the trip back to Bethlehem. While Orpah ended up going back to live with her family, Ruth “clung” to Naomi and stated, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). Ruth was only related to Naomi through marriage, yet she chose to follow her rather than return to her own family.

The same holds true for us today. One doesn’t have to be related by blood to be considered family. Perhaps your family has let you down, but you have friends that have always been there for you and consider them family.

Ruth was a widow and could’ve lived a destitute life. However, since she was physically able to work, she did. In fact, part of Jewish custom was to leave some crops untouched when harvesting, so that those who needed it, and were willing to work, could make out a life.

I understand that there are situations today that prevent people from obtaining jobs. However, there are a plethora of opportunities if someone truly wants to work. Laziness has become an increasing issue in our country, and unfortunately, our government only enables that problem. If you can work, please do.

When Naomi and her family moved to Moab, a pagan nation, Ruth was an unbeliever. However, we see from her story that after witnessing Naomi’s faithfulness, she came to know the Lord, too.

Similarly, when Ruth first started working in Boaz’s field, she was unaware of him. However, he noticed her work-ethic and had heard about how she’d remained with Naomi, rather than go home to her family in Moab. He even asked some of his workers about her.

As Christians, people are always watching us. We should live such a life that people would recognize our faith just by observing us. Along the same lines, we must also be wary to live in a Christian matter so as to not lead others astray. Remember, one poor decision can ruin a testimony.

Ruth faced tragedy early in life. However, she didn’t stop living. She lived a life worthy of the Lord, and God lead her to Boaz. They ended up playing a role in Christ’s lineage.

I’m not sure what you’re going through, but I do know a Savior who can provide you comfort. Perhaps you’ve recently experienced the loss of a loved one. I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through, but I also know that things get better and that grief becomes easier to manage, with the Lord’s help.

Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman redeemer. Responsibilities of this role included avenging a murdered relative, buying someone out of slavery, re-purchasing land that might have been sold during difficult times, and marrying a widow and continuing the line if there were no children.

Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer. He wants to rescue us from the bondage of sin and gave His own life to save ours. By turning from our sins and asking Jesus to be the Lord of our life, we get to spend eternity in heaven with Him. If you’ve never asked Jesus into your heart, I encourage you to do so.

I hope you have a blessed day.

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Rahab

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m continuing my “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” series, and today’s focus in on Rahab.

Rahab lived during the time of Joshua, who was a commander of the Israelite army. God directed him to destroy the city of Jericho, a wicked, depraved place. He sent two spies to check out its defenses, and they came to Rahab’s house. To put it frankly, Rahab was a prostitute.

City officials heard there were Israelite spies in the city, and they went to Rahab, asking if she’d seen the men. Rahab explained that they’d already left, but she actually had them hidden. Because of her faithfulness, when Joshua and his men attacked Jericho, Rahab and her family were spared. Additionally, Rahab went on to be included in the lineage of Jesus.

Here are some notions we can learn from Rahab.

Imagine the fear that Rahab faced when the city officials came seeking the Israelite spies. She knew that if they were discovered, they’d be killed and most likely, she would, too. However, she knew they were doing the Lord’s will, so she protected them.

Even in the face of adversity, we should always do what’s biblically right. Unfotunately, the world’s interpretation of “right” doesn’t always line up with God’s. As a result, standing up for God can be difficult. Remain steadfast. If you stay true to God, He’ll bless you for it.

Rahab was a prostitute and had “sinner” written all over her. I bet that the same people that stared down their noses at her during the day, also sought her company at night. She could’ve let those expectations continue to define her, but guess what, she didn’t.

I don’t know your story, but I do know that we’ve all made mistakes. Don’t let past failures dictate your future. The Bible says that if we turn from our sin, we receive redemption through Christ. Your pure life can start now, you just have to decide to change.

On a list of unlikely heroes, Rahab was at the very bottom, but God used her.

Regardless of your age, race, gender, occupation, abilities, or past, God can use you, too. That may require you to make sacrifices, but if it’s for the Lord, then it’ll be worth it.

I hope that you’re encouraged by Rahab’s story and reminded that even the worst sinner can be saved by asking Jesus into his or her heart.

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Sarah

Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re all doing well!

I’m continuing my series on “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible,” and today’s post is all about my namesake: Sarah.

Sarah was Abraham’s wife, and as they grew older, they remained childless. Then one day, God spoke to Abraham and said he would be “the father of many nations.” This provided Abraham and Sarah with the hope that they’d be parents. Unfortunately, that did not happen the way they thought it would and many more years passed without them having a child. As a result, Sarah took matters into her own hands and had Abraham lay with her maidservant, Hagar. The latter conceived and had a son named Ishmael; then Sarah grew jealous and mistreated Hagar.

Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Sarah eventually did conceive when she was 90 years old and had a son named Isaac (That’s why mine and Daniel’s son has that name.). Furthermore, Jesus was one of his descendants.

While Sarah’s story ends happily, there are certainly several lessons we can learn from her route getting there.

Sarah’s main wish was to have a child, yet it took a looonnggg time for that to happen. Can you imagine the questions she got throughout her life, related to children? “Sarah, when are you and Abraham going to have children?” “What are you waiting on? You’re not getting any younger.” “I thought your husband was going to be the ‘father of many nations. How is that possible unless you start having children?'” The reality is, all of that was out of her control.

Similar questions get thrown at women today; however, be careful when asking such things. It could be that the woman you’re talking to doesn’t feel called to have children, which is totally fine, OR it could be that she wants to have a child more than anything but can’t. It could be that she’s had a miscarriage and is grieving inside. It could be that she’s had children before but is experiencing secondary infertility. Just remember, not all questions are appropriate to ask because you don’t always know what others are going through behind the scenes.

After years of being barren, Sarah’s patience waned, and her desire to have a child, by any means, eclipsed her reason. Since we know how Sarah’s story ends, it’s easy to reprimand her for “playing God” when she sent Hagar to be with Abraham. Unfortunately, that was a decision she regretted for the rest of her life.

While we don’t always know what God’s plans are, when they play out, it’s exactly like He wanted it. For years, I wondered why God wouldn’t send me a man to be with and after trying to make things happen myself, and getting rejected as a result, I finally realized that God would have to be the one to orchestrate it, so He’d get the glory. Once I came to this realization, I met Daniel a few months later, and all those years of singleness suddenly made sense. I can honestly say God brought Daniel and me together at exactly the right time. Whatever your situation is, He’ll work it out at the proper moment for you, too.

After Hagar conceived, Sarah treated her very badly. It turned out that having a child through a surrogate wasn’t quite the same as having one herself. Don’t forget, though, it was Sarah’s idea to begin with.

With social media, it’s easier than ever for women to be hateful to each other, but as the saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.” It’s never okay to be unkind or pick fights. We get to choose happiness, and as Daniel says, “It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.” Remember that the next time you’re tempted to tear someone else down.

Sarah was 90 years old when she had Isaac! Can you imagine?! As previously mentioned though, Jesus was one of her descendants. If not for Sarah’s role, we wouldn’t have Christ!

God wants to use each of us to do His work, but sometimes we use the excuse, “I’m too __________,” to get out of doing it. The thing about the Lord is, if you won’t do it, then He’ll find someone else who will. Why miss out on the blessing? Think about what God could do with you if you’d let Him.

I hope you’ll take these lessons written by Sarah about Sarah (See what I did there?) and apply them to whatever situation you’re currently in. I also pray that if Jesus isn’t the Lord of your life, you’ll ask Him into your heart today, so that He can begin to use you, too.

Sarah