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JEREMIAH: Part 2-Bible Study online

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Our 2nd series of Jeremiah Bible study is now available! We start Monday, November 7th. We are so excited about the second half of this amazing online Bible study!

If you truly want to experience the power of God’s Word with a small group, this is the place! Each week is filled with wholesome learning in a safe environment surrounded by women desiring God’s lead.

This study is designed to be FLEXIBLE so you can tailor it to the time you have available each day.

  • WHAT: A seven-week Bible study Jeremiah (Chapters 29-52)
  • WHEN: November 7th-December 19th (Reading plan starts Nov. 2nd)
  • WHO: Anyone ready to dive deep into God’s Word through Bible study
  • WHERE: Online via zoom, Monday nights 6:00-7:00 p.m. (CST)
  • HOW TO JOIN: Contact us via email to get started. The study packet (pdf) is $10. We will send the Zoom link and study packet after receiving your completed registration. (NOTE: You are welcome to join without purchasing a study packet)

THROUGH THIS ONLINE CHAPER-BY-CHAPTER STUDY YOU WILL

  • Gain a better understand of the book of Jeremiah
  • Get a deeper look at God’s character and patience
  • Receive discernment and direction for your own spiritual life
  • Enjoy a committed community of women sharing like desires to walk with God and dive deeper into Scripture

If you are interested, email us at refiningjourney@gmail.com prior to November 7th.

We hope you can join us!

Can Growth Happen on the Dark Side?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Hello friends. Can you believe it is almost November? The winter months are upon us and the smell of pumpkin is in the air.

My husband and I have been busy gathering the last of the harvest the past couple of weeks. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, dill, green beans, parsley, pumpkins, cilantro, etc. All the goodies we have watched grow day after day in broad daylight.

As I wash, chop, freeze, cook, etc. I am reminded of God’s pure light producing healthy fruit in my own life. I love the spiritual growth that comes as I stay under His authority and humbly surrender to His plans. He has a way of stretching me and directing my maturity in ways I have never even dreamed- much like the pumpkin that grew larger than the rest of the crop.

But today I want to truly chat about the dark side. The crop underground and never seen day in and day out. Yep, the carrots! It is always a mystery of the growth until the day of harvest. Year after year, we never know the yield we will receive nor the size of each, yet there is always growth happening below the surface.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Life has often been like this for me. The dark side of life-death, change, health issues, daily struggles, loss, deception, and the list continues-all the things hidden away in my heart which the world sees as agents of destruction while outwardly (on the surface) all seems fine and well. (The tops of the carrots are so pretty and green)

Like our prized carrots, I have learned the secret to growing in the darkness. (Yes, by trial & error)

  1. In the darkness, God is in control. My reliance and focus are on Him because I must rely on faith and His will. He directs my path-growth-size, etc.
  2. My inner transparency is protected from the surface elements the world offers. Yes, this earth has a million and one solutions to our problems, but only the Lord can provide true safety and shelter.
  3. God’s maturity in His children is not always seen as appealing like those red, ripe tomatoes or those luscious squash. What He is doing inside of our hearts is much like the transformation of that small, small seed. Our struggles become a testimony-just like that beautiful carrot-a demonstration of growth in the darkness.  
  4. Only God can produce an abundance of goodness from the dark side of life but it is dependent upon our reliance on Him through the trials.  

Just food for thought as I process the carrots.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

What type of veggie can you identify with when reflecting on your growth with God?

3 Reasons to Share Your Emotional Exploits with God

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Have you ever had a day where one minute you are praising the Lord and the next minute you find yourself frail and experiencing a moment of despair? Emotions-they can take us on adventures of extreme highs and lows within seconds. We can go from a mountain top to a pit of self-criticism. They can truly manipulate our thinking if we allow it.

Jeremiah knew about this all too well. In Jeremiah 20, he quickly goes from worshiping the Father as a mighty rescuer to blatantly showing major insecurity within himself. He even states, “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!” (Jeremiah 20:14 NIV).  Wow, definitely a stark contrast in thoughts and emotions.

Emotions can even be mixed. I have often found myself in sorrow and despair yet praising the Lord. In times of deep grief and major heartbreak, I have found crazy joy which makes absolutely no sense in human terms. There have been times when my heart and mind have been so peaceful when my world was absolutely falling apart.

Feelings are feelings! It is part of how God constructed each of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves, so our emotional displays and expressions do not catch Him off guard. Much like Jeremiah, God wants us to voice the despair and insecurity. He truly wants us to have 100% confidence in Him to be transparent and raw.  

Let me share 3 reasons I have found why to express all feelings (good, bad, or ugly) with God:

  1. It is a display of trust. Deuteronomy 7:9 states, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” When we share our crude feelings with God, it shows a level of faith and dependance. Regardless of how we feel, the Lord is more concerned with where we place our hope. Our transparency shows belief in God’s promise to not allow anything to separate us from His great love no matter the emotions and insecurity running through our veins.
  2. It demonstrates a relationship with the Lord. Deuteronomy 3:24 states, “O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there is heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours?” Think about where you run first with good or bad news. Are there emotions that come with the news? Sharing information with someone builds a relationship. We go to them because we know they care and the news is just as important to them as it is to us. When we go to God it builds a relationship. He delights in our vote of confidence. He cares deeply about our everyday news, feelings, success, failures, highlights, etc. Let Jeremiah be our example to share ALL that is within us to the one who is in charge of all things-GOD.
  3. It illustrates humility. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” We are often too prideful to admit our emotions due to the conditioning of society. The book of Jeremiah expresses how pride destroyed Judah to the point of no return. They refused to listen to reproof or the sting of truth because they only wanted to experience “good feelings” regardless if they were attached to sinful acts. When we lay ALL emotions before the Lord, we display a heart under God’s authority. We demonstrate a belief in Him as steadfast and master of all our thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It is an opportunity to allow God to sort through them and guide us in dealing with them appropriately.

Remember my friend, God remains your all in all. Trust Him with everything-yes, even with those crazy emotional exploits that seem to come out of the blue. He is the one person who can handle the transparency and give you the discernment with each emotion-good, bad, or ugly. Let this be a pathway to build a relationship with Him. Make a point to chat with Him often and share honest moments.

Who else truly has your back, fights for you on all realms, and never grows tired of loving you?

Hungry for God’s Word?

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Happy October! What a beautiful change this week. Our highest temperature was in the 50s yesterday. I am sure the first freeze is upon us soon, but for now I have enjoyed the cooler weather.

It seems this time of the year makes me really think about food. Pumpkin pie, zucchini bread, homemade soup, quiche, flavored coffee, etc. All things warm and cozy. Comfort! I can feel the fall hunger within me. The question is what will really satisfy my seasonal craving?

As we continue our fall study in Jeremiah, the subject of hunger appeared this past week. Jeremiah introduces a hungry soul and what can satisfy it. In Jeremiah 15:16 he states, “Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul. They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me. How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord.” (Living Bible)  

Jesus encouraged followers to feast on God’s Word. (John 8:31-32) He clearly wants us to not only build a relationship with the Trinity but with Scripture as well. Why? Because there is power in the word and He clearly illustrated this with His encounter with the enemy.

I think I can safely say we know an essential element in our spiritual walk is interacting with the Bible. Over and over, we are reminded of the substance it delivers. It gives us insight to the character of God, His desire for our daily living, and a multitude of sweet promises for His children. In chapter 20 of Jeremiah, we find Scripture can even ignite a fire within us to boldly witness without worry of persecution.

Do you crave God’s Word? Is it something you cannot live without? Do the words comfort and satisfying come to mind when thinking about your relationship with Scripture? Does it seems like a lot to take in much like the image above? Is it hard to “take a bite” on your own?

Much like discipleship training, we all need biblical literacy guidance. Often our Bibles are underutilized because we are unsure how to independently interact with God’s Word. I know this was very true for me.

Rick Warren once said, “…hungry Christians need to be taught how to feed themselves from the Word of God.” It takes time and training to grow in proficiency when building a relationship with Scripture. There are tons of strategies and methods, but regardless they are useless if they don’t resonate with you.

The main factor is consistency and commitment. Then read with purpose. Start with three areas of focus:

  1. Who is God?
  2. What does He want me to do or stop doing?
  3. What promises does God make?

These three areas alone can furnish us with a firm foundation to interacting with Scripture. This approach is an open invitation to carry out James 1:22-becoming a doer of the Word and stepping out in faith more and more as you get to know God deeper, discover His commands and cling to His promises.

Challenge yourself to read with intentionality. Spend time digesting books of the Bible by taking it one chapter at a time. I read this week that it is beneficial to read a chapter a week and read it at least five times during the timeframe. WOW! Also, it was suggested to set aside an hour twice a week for deep study. What great advice especially when we take God’s Word bite-by-bite, verse-by-verse.

So, what will you do differently this week as you grow in Scripture proficiency and biblical literacy? What can you add to your daily or weekly routine? How can you incorporate the three areas: Who is God? What are His instructions/reproof? Are there promises made in the passage?

We would love to hear from you. If you are seeking for an online group to assist you in Bible study skills, let us know. We meet online every Monday night via Zoom for one hour starting at 6:00 p.m. (CST). We will be happy to share the group link with you! We would love to have you join us as we learn how to grow in relationship with the Word of God together.

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