Weekly Challenge: Be thankful for the gift of Jesus.
For the last two days most of us have been celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and find ourselves in overwhelming thanks to God for this AMAZING (in the true sense of the word) gift. Let's not allow our thanks to end just because Christmas is over. For Christ is a gift to celebrate every day of the year! My challenge to you this week is to use the gift of Jesus to conquer your anger, your fear, your doubt, your worry. Consider the scripture below:
Do not be angry: "for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." --James 1:20
Do not fear: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." --Deuteronomy 31:6
Do not doubt: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. " --James 1:5-6
Do not worry: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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
When you feel these emotions arise and toxic thoughts begin to pollute your mind, make the VERY next thought one of appreciation for Jesus, praising God for this awe-inspiring gift of redemption, peace, love, compassion, and eternal life. Because nothing, no matter how negative, can suppress the love of Christ and the hope of eternal life!
Weekly Challenge: Choose a Bible reading plan for 2014.
The message at church this Sunday was entitled "What can The Bible do for you?" Our pastor, Larry Lamb, spoke about our inherently sinful nature (Genesis 8:21) and the glorious fact that there is hope--His Word can change us from the inside out. Pastor Larry explained that most of us want to feel transformed, we want to find the meaning of life, we want to experience peace, we want to live like Christ, and we want to grow in our walk with The Lord. If you want these things, take a look at your Bible. Is it opened or closed? Too often we find our Bibles closed when we're in want, or more accurately, in need. The Bible is a vault of wisdom that is available to us every moment of every day, and we can take as much as we want! Much more valuable than any bank vault! In order to gain this wisdom and satisfy our wants, we need to open our Bibles and start taking from the vault, myself included.
The first time I read The Bible in full was in 2011. Our church in Alabama challenged us to complete the 90 day reading plan. Quite an undertaking! It took me 5 months, but I finished it! This year I decided to read The Bible chronologically. Unfortunately, I got stuck in Psalms a couple months ago (on day 140 of a one year plan), and failed to continue. I've read my way through 35 percent of this plan, but need to rededicate myself to its completion so I can continue to gain the wisdom I seek.
My challenge for you this week is to choose a Bible reading plan for 2014. You can certainly start right now, if you're not already sticking to a daily plan, but the new year is just around the corner and that's always a wonderful time to start a new goal. Here are a couple plans to consider:
1. Read The Bible in 365 Days . Click here for the reading plan.
2. Complete the 90 day Bible Challenge. Click here for the reading plan.
3. Read The Bible chronologically. Click here for the reading plan.
4. Download the YouVersion application on your mobile device and sign up for a wide variety of reading plans. (This is how I read my chronological study).
5. Subscribe to a daily devotional that will automatically send to your email, such as Our Daily Bread .
6. Visit The Journey for more reading plans, which includes several easily accessible and less intimidating plans for new readers and believers.
7. Or, just Google "Bible reading plans" until you find an option that works for you!
Weekly Challenge: When faced with God's truth and Satan's lies, choose God.
I received the below video via email, which is intended to be shown at a church service. It demonstrates the fact that we often hear two voices and we must choose which one we believe. Will we listen to the truth in God's voice, or the deceptive lies that come from Satan? I find it easier to believe Satan; he pries on our weakness and his cunning ways can lead us astray (2 Corinthians 11:3). You feel ashamed...he entices you to sin further. You feel unattractive...he uses our skewed culture to enforce that opinion. You feel alone...he tries to keep you from restoring and creating relationships. But as is often said, if you read the end of The Book, we win! One day every knee will bow to The Lord (Romans 14:11). Let us end the sick cycle of being a victim of Satan's deceit, and choose God's voice NOW.
If you listen to God's voice, you'll hear encouragement, love, and acceptance. I've read several accounts of people who have gone to Heaven and returned to Earth; ALL of them profess the overflow of God's love. He loves YOU more than anything in the world. He created you, perfectly (Job 33:4) When will we learn to stop listening to the distortions created by Satan and start embracing the beauty of The Lord? Let's face it, it's easy to fall for Satan's lies, but it feels SO much better to believe God's truth. This week, when you start to doubt yourself, to question God's purpose for your life, or you feel unloved, remember that He created you for a purpose that only YOU can fulfill (Ephesians 2:10). You're beautiful, powerful, and His child! What could be better than that?
Simple and practical ways to stop Satan from intruding:
1. Pray to God
2. Read scripture
3. Sing or listen to Christian songs
Now, check out this video.
I'm Ashley Ashcraft,
a military wife and
stay-at-home mama, earnestly seeking the Christ-like life. I invite you to walk alongside me in my quest to raise our children and join the antics of our unpredictable military lifestyle. I pray your heart feels rejuvenated and inspired each time you visit OFH!