02-10-2016

1 John 1

I’m not going to lie, I had to read verses 1-4 a few times, and ended up resorting to The Message to try and get a clear picture of what Paul was getting at. Once I read The Message and my concordance it’s not a difficult thought, just the wording isn’t the easiest to read. A lot of “that which”, “made manifest” and “we have seen” duplicate phrases, run on sentences etc going on. Early morning studies & that combination = my brain was just not getting it.

So now that I’ve immersed myself in these verses, this is what  I am getting…

v1-2 – They heard, saw, looked upon & touched the physical “Word of Life.” The Eternal Life (Jesus) was with God in Heaven, then He came and showed Himself to the world in human form.

v3-4 – John was telling the readers of His letter these things so that they could share in this beautiful fellowship John had with the other Christians, with God Himself and with His Son.

I don’t know about you, but because I believe the Bible is the Word of God (complete truth) and I have been taught these things since I was born – I find as I read them I sometimes just nod and write my notes as though it is all matter of fact, common sense, head knowledge. “Okay, so He came down. Born of a virgin. In the form of a man. Died on a cross…” and I lose the awe factor. Like… God, the Creator, the One who spoke this world into existence… sent His only Son down to earth in the form of a mere human. He sent Him for the sole purpose of dying a gruesome sacrificial death, all because we are sinners, and we need a savior. That is absolutely mind-blowing if you actually take the time to let those words sink in. So I really need to discipline myself to read as though I’m hearing these things for the first time. I want to really grasp the crazy love that God had for us.

  • What were your initial thoughts when you read the first 4 verses?
  • Were you awe-struck by these truths or are you too in the rut that I am? Any practical study tips on how to get out?

1John15

V5-10 – Light vs. Darkness

v5 – God is light & in Him is no darkness.

The next few verses go back and forth (6,8 & 10 are to those who walk in darkness) and (7 &9 are to Christians)

v6,8&10 – You can’t walk in darkness and have a relationship with God. You are calling God a liar if you say you haven’t sinned – therefore the Word/truth is not in you (because God cannot lie!)

v7&9 – If we walk in His ways, we have fellowship with other Christians and with Him. The blood of Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins when He died on the cross. If we confess our sins to God, He will forgive us. He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Praise the Lord.

  • Write out a list of characteristics/analogy’s/contrasts of light & dark

My favorite thought is that darkness has no power over light. If there is light, darkness cannot “turn on” or “remove light” – because darkness is only the absence of light. Darkness has no power over us as Christians either. We are full of light – because He IS light and His Spirit dwells within us.

I also find it true in my own life that just like in a dimly lit room lots of “dirt” can go unnoticed // when I stop reading & praying & having happy fellowship with God, my conscience gets immune to the little sins around me. But when I am “walking in the light” I am more alert and aware of sin and acknowledge it for what it is.

A Christian who is walking closely with God will never think or say “I’ve made it! I’m just like Christ. I’m nearly perfect!” Because the closer you get to God, the more sinful you realize you are. He shines so bright that even the corners and crevices of your life (where you tuck some of those little sins away) are exposed are you can see it all for what it really is.

  • Think about your life – is there a difference in your tolerance of sin/things you are convicted about depending on how close you are to God (the Light) ?
  • What are some specific areas of your life that you know you let sin creep in when you aren’t in happy fellowship with the Lord?Think of one or two practical ways to stay “walking in the Light.”

I hope you enjoyed the first week of 1 John. Please share any thoughts you had//practical applications etc! I LOVE reading your comments – it encourages me more than you will ever know!

xo, Rachel

 

02-08-2016

valentine’s day inspired {diy}

 

ValentineDayInspiredDIYI love holidays, and love adding a little decor to celebrate them.

I just wanted to share a few EASY DIY ideas to add some pink, red & hearts to your home 🙂SuppliesHeart String Art

Supplies

  • 1 piece of wood (barn board, drift wood, any wood you want!)
  • Heart template (I just googled “heart shape”)
  • Embroidery thread
  • Small nails
  • Hammer (missing from picture)
  • Needle nose pliers (missing from picture)
  • Pencil (missing from picture)

Directions

  • Hold template on wood wherever you want and draw on the PAPER on the outline (you want the heart indent in the wood)
  • Hold one of the nails in the tip of the pliers and nail it down
  • Then go around the heart and put a nail in every 1cm or 3/4″
  • Tie the embroidery in a knot around one of the nails
  • Go around the heart with the thread and then back and forth to different nails (this part is going to be different for every one – you totally customize this to make it look however “organized” or “sporadic” you want! mine is totally random!)
  • When you get the heart looking how you want it, tie a knot around another nail (a couple times so it doesn’t come loose!) and then cut with scissors!
  • Done and done:)1

Heart Garland

Supplies

  • Twine or string of some sort
  • Felt hearts (you can make your own or you can buy them at the dollar store like I did! A pack of 12 was only $2)

Directions

  • If you made your own hearts, either use a hole punch to make holes in the top two corners OR use scissors and make little x’s to be able to get your string through
  • Put your string through the top corners of each heart, looping through in and out… (I should probably figure out how to explain things better before writing DIY posts hahah!)
  • Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!Adele^^This girl was watching me take my pictures and was all “take my picture mama!” but wouldn’t look at me, and would only sit still for 3 seconds.^^ValentineInspiredDIYHope you enjoy these little projects. If you have any questions please comment! <3

And stay tuned for a YUMMY valentine’s day treat!

xo, Rachel

 

 

02-03-2016

philippians four

I opened up one of my older Bibles to study this week and almost the entire chapter 4 was underlined in various colored inks. That is because this chapter is FULL of good verses, with great teaching and powerful instructions.

The definitive words in verses 3-6 are really challenging.

— Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS

— Let your reasonableness be known to EVERYONE

— Do not be anxious about ANYTHING

— In EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God

Always. Everyone. Anything. Everything.

Paul is pretty clear that the Christian life is an all day, every day, purposefully lived kind of life. There is no room for our excuses. It isn’t a sometimes, only to people we like, some things, or even most things kind of living. He tells us to be all in. Take it seriously and be intentional about it. Those things will not come naturally. Paul knew that, which is why he is telling us to do it. If it was natural and easy these verses wouldn’t exist.

  • What do you struggle most with from that list? Rejoicing, being reasonable, anxiety?
  • What causes you to struggle with these things?
  • How can you stop/reduce the struggle?

There are a lot of people out there who deal with anxiety and God knew it was an issue. This is why He gave us clear instructions on what to do when we are feeling anxious: “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And what does God promise in return? “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”

God wants us to take everything to Him in prayer. If you are worried, unsettled, stressed etc, PRAY about it.

If you have ever had that peace described in verse 7, you know it is a something without explanation, something you can’t describe or even understand, oh that peace is amazing. The anxiety of our minds and hearts can be guarded in Christ Jesus. Who else is able to guard our anxiety and give us peace? So why don’t we go to Him more often?

v8 is definitely the verse that challenges me the most. Your thought life is hidden from everyone, so it is easy to keep those evil, judgmental, negative thoughts “under cover.” But God knows them.

“Search me oh God and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts.” – Psalm 139:23.

Paul doesn’t leave anything out. He even tells them what to THINK about!

Whatever is:

— true

— honorable

— just

— pure

— lovely

— commendable

— excellent

— worthy of praise

Think on these things!

  • Write out these words and then beside each one write a thought that would fit under that category. {This was way harder than I thought it would be! Please share your ideas!}

Memorize these words and when those negative thoughts start creeping in, hopefully this list comes to mind and you can exchange the thoughts for something true, or lovely, etc.

Paul goes on to tell us that he has learned to be content in any situation he is in. Sign me up please! Social Media is such a contentment thief! I used to struggle a lot with this. I could be totally content and then 15 minutes of Pinterest later, doomed. All I could think about is having a nice, finished, photo worthy home with pretty outfits etc etc. I have trained myself (somewhat!) to look at those things and just enjoy the pretty picture and move on. I tell myself that a new sink isn’t going to change my life, and that a gorgeous laundry room isn’t going to make laundry any more fun, and that nice clothes aren’t going to make me any happier!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (v13)

Thank you Paul for that verse^^^

Whenever things are tough, remember those words. 10 of the most encouraging words, and an extremely easy verse to memorize!

v14-19 – Paul thanks the Philippians for their generosity, thanking them for partnering with Him in the gospel work.  He calls this a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

  • This is a personal reflection question for sure and one that I have to ask myself over and over. Am I giving enough? Could I be giving more? Where does God want me to give? Is my giving acceptable and pleasing to God?

Paul encourages them by telling them that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Amazing when you think of it, everything we have, God gave us. So why not give it away? Knowing that God will be faithful and supply every need of ours, like He did the first time.

I hope you enjoyed this study as much as I did!

Don’t forget to post a picture on Instagram of your study/Bible/notebook/coffee (lol) using #minimamastudies to receive the 8×10 print below! 🙂

Next week I’ll be starting 1 John 1 <3 Phil413Framexo, Rachel

01-25-2016

philippians three

Firstly I need to apologize! I totally meant to take time out of my vacation to have this post ready for you last Monday – but we ended up being so much busier than I expected so it didn’t happen. So for all you who studied this chapter last week I am so sorry I am now a week behind.when I rise

Definition of righteousness: {acting in accord with divine or moral law :  free from guilt or sin // morally good : following religious or moral laws} – Merriam Webster Dictionary

v4-6 – Paul explains in these verses things that he was, things he had done etc, that would have made him appear righteous to the world around him. He would have been “morally good” as the above definition says.

v7 – He states that he gave up those things, he gave up being just “morally good” for the sake of Christ. This would have happened when He got saved. He realized true righteousness didn’t come through genealogy, religion or good works, but from Christ alone.

“…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ…” 3:9

v10-11 – Paul wanted to be just like Christ. In his sufferings, his death & his resurrection.

v12-Why does Paul do what he does? Why does he preach? Why does he accept imprisonment – and not only accept it but see the good and say it has served to advance the gospel (1:12)

“…Christ Jesus has made me His own.”

What beautiful words. He made me His own. I AM HIS.

My favorite song lately is Good, Good Father by Housefires II.

“You’re a good good Father, it’s who You are. And I am loved by You, it’s who I am.”

I am His.

I am loved by Him.

It’s who I am.

These statements hold my true identity.

It is so easy to get sucked into the thinking of the world. Self improvement, finding yourself, creating yourself etc.

But we need to remember that nothing else matters. These truths never change, because God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

What confidence we should have because of these truths! But that isn’t always the case is it?

  • Are you searching for your identity/acceptance here on earth?
  • Where/why are you looking?
  • If you lived in the truth of the statements above how different would your day to day life look?

v13-14 – Paul tells us one thing he does to help keep his focus: Forget what’s behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.

Paul doesn’t dwell on the things he gave up, the changes he made when He became a Christian. He counts them as loss. He looks forward. Forward to the goal, the goal of resurrection.

  • Is this your goal?

I often write out goals at the start of the year, and then at the start of each month and even each week sometimes. But I can’t say that goal has ever been on my list. But it was on Paul’s. He was so focused on Christ and his spiritual life that to him the goal and the prize was the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

v15 – Paul says “let the mature think this way – and if you think otherwise, God will reveal that to you.” It isn’t something that can be taught (head knowledge) but something that has to be revealed (heart knowledge). That is why Paul states that “God will reveal it.” Help us to be Christians who are TEACHABLE! Let us have a willing spirit to learn. Learn what He wants to reveal to us.

v16 – We are accountable to God for what He has revealed to us.

  • What are some things He has convicted you of?
  • Are you living in obedience to those convictions?

v17 – Christ should be your ultimate example of course, but Paul does say here that you should keep your eyes on those around you who walk according to Paul’s example.

  • Who are some people you look up to?
  • Why do you look up to them?
  • Are there things you can do to be more like them?

Years ago I knew a woman who when I would pop by for a visit would often be found on her bed with her Bible, at least three books, a commentary (or two!), a Bible dictionary and a binder full of paper and she’d be writing furiously as she studied the Word. If I admired her so much for spending her time doing that, why didn’t I just sit down and do it myself?

v18-19 – Paul warns us who not to look at as an example.

v20-21 – Our citizenship is in Heaven (praise the Lord!) and we are awaiting our savior to come. He will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body!

What an encouraging end to the chapter. Such motivation to keep running the race. For the prize of resurrection. To be with Him, the one who has made me His own.

Hope you enjoy this weeks thoughts! Please comment if you have anything to share <3

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Also don’t forget to post a picture on Instagram of you studying your bible using #minimamastudies to enter a giveaway for the print below! (Winner will receive a 8×10 Print on 90lb watercolor paper.)Phil312withframexo, Rachel

 

01-11-2016

philippians two

Convicting.

That is the title over Chapter Two.

The main three verses that slapped me in the face this week were:

v3 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

People told me that when I got married I would realize how selfish I really was. And I did. I remember thinking when we were dating, “no way, I would be happy doing anything as long as it makes him happy…” HA – that got old really quick. Self crept in, I wanted things that he didn’t want, and I no longer thought making him smile was the best job on earth. So sacrifices have to be made, and you have to learn to let go of self, and I admit it’s tough. Well add children to the mix and WHAM – these little humans don’t know how to obey the simplest of commands most of the time, let alone anything about sacrifice, so that’s entirely up to you lol. It’s no longer a give and take situation, it’s give give give. And you get exhausted, and giving when you’re running on empty is brutal. So fill up mama’s. Fill up on His Word. Fill yourself with His grace. He gives it as you need it, and we all need it in some measure or another. If we are going to count our husbands, children, friends, family, neighbors etc as more significant than ourselves, we are going to need Him in a big way, cause that is not going to come naturally.

The Message says: “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Selfish ambition doesn’t necessarily have to be something BIG. A lot of times as mama’s it’s going to be really small things, all.day.long. A helping hand can be as simple as bleeding the brakes with your husband 😉 (twice this week – in the freezing cold!) or even giving your child a hand down the stairs. You may think “what mother wouldn’t help their kid down the stairs?!” Well, when your child carries 100 toys up the stairs as you’re trying to tell them that all you’re doing is getting your baby from a nap and you will be back downstairs in literally 3 seconds… (they don’t care) and when you start heading downstairs your child hands you said 100 toys and says “help help heeeeelp.” You take the toys so they don’t fall down the stairs, your hands are more than full, and you know they can obviously get down on their own… but they reach out to you. *ahem*… sometimes it’s easier to say “oh just come down the stairs for goodness sakes… you went up them just fine!” But I know that hand won’t always be lifted up for me, so I push self and I take that little hand and slowly make my way back down the stairs, two kids and 100 toys in tow.

  • What are some things you do throughout your day for selfish reasons?
  • Who in your life could use some help and do you have the means to meet their needs?

v4 – Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I instantly think of cars, trains, husband’s work stories!!!!, football, puzzles, blocks, books, etc! Do you ever sit down for dinner and feel like you honestly didn’t get to think about your own interests at all that day? And you certainly don’t want to spend precious time hearing about anyone else’s interests. So the eyes roll and the huffing starts… and the poor guy just wants to share what he’s been up to, but you really don’t care about how many trains he fixed that day, or what new football video he wants me to watch and be “wowed” at. Well start to care sister, because scripture tells us to. I’m obviously talking from experience here and totally pointing the finger at myself! I’m a pro at eye rolling and huffing through my husband’s stories. Mostly because I just don’t understand anything about trains, cars or football, but perhaps if I listened more I would learn?

  • Think about the people closest to you (you have to start somewhere!) Think of their interests, things they talk about often etc, and write them down. Each time they talk about these things this week, listen to them. Really listen and engage in the conversation so they know you are interested.

v14 – Do all things without grumbling or disputing.

Adele got a CD from a friend for Christmas that teaches kids Bible verses through song – this verse is on there and it says “Do everything without complaining, do everything without arguing.” EVERYTHING. Not some things, or even most things, but all things. (This brings me back to verse 3 – do nothing from selfish ambition… So when you are helping out don’t complain. Seriously the title over this chapter can only be Convicting. When I was helping Dan the first time this week I (inwardly) complained about the cold, how late it was, my leg was getting sore from pumping the brakes etc… then I kept thinking of this verse. So the second time I went to help I instead gazed at the stars and enjoyed thinking of the lyrics “You made the stars in the sky and you know them by name… You are amazing God.” and I prayed about some things that were on my heart. A much different evening spent in the car pumping brakes. Dan may not have noticed a difference because I didn’t outwardly complain the first time – (that would have been cruel as he was working in the cold with no gloves for most of the evening!) But I noticed a difference.

As for general complaining… this is my weakness and number one bad habit. I need to work on this for my own sake and those around me! So I am trying to do this:

  • Write down some things that you are thankful for and WHY you are thankful for them. Filling your mind with good, positive thoughts will leave less and less room to focus on the negative.

Yes this chapter was extremely convicting, but it is also very encouraging.

v10-11 – So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He is going to get the glory He deserves.

v13 – For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

We don’t have to do the commands above (be selfless, think of others, don’t complain or argue…) on our own manpower. We have God’s power!

v15 – That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

We do live in a crooked & twisted generation. But so did the Philippians. It may indeed be getting worse (it definitely feels like it’s getting worse anyway!) but sin is sin, and it’s been around forever. God tells them to do these commands so that they would shine as lights in the world. We can’t produce our own light, but as Christians the Spirit dwells in us. He is the light and He can shine out of us.

  • But are you blending into the dark? Is your light not as bright as it could be?
  • What do you need to do in your life to let your light shine brighter?
  • Think of specific scenarios throughout your week that you could have been a bigger light and pray that God will help prepare and equip you for the next opportunity.

I know I skipped like half the chapter, but there was a lot in that first half – and despite my long post, I did want to keep this study short and simple haha! Verses 19-30 Paul is telling the Philippians about Timothy and Epaphroditus, fellow workers of his. Maybe you got more practical thoughts out of these verses than I did – please share if that’s the case! Week Two QuestionsI hope you enjoyed week two! I know there was a lot of convicting stuff in there! So thankful for verse 13 that reminds us we don’t have to do this all alone. We have the Spirit. We have the power of God. ^^^Download this printable sheet of questions here: Free Download ^^^Phone BackgroundHonestly the questions were too long to put onto a phone background – but I made this phone background (above) with a verse from the study for you to memorize! You can download the background here: Free Download

Please COMMENT and share what you enjoyed this week!

– – – – Also post a picture on Instagram of you studying/journaling this week using #minimamastudies and you will be entered into a GIVEAWAY for an 8×10 of the print below, on 90lb watercolor paper <3 Open to residents of Canada and the US only.Phil2910 With Framexo, Rachel