Week 2: Most High–Sovereign God

I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. –Psalm 57:2

One of the major themes that has remained in all my studies this year is that when we trust in the Lord, we find rest. Some of the people I dearly love are in seasons of storms. Some have peace and rest; others are filled with anxiety and fatigue. Trusting in Him is the difference maker.

The main takeaway for me in week 2 is that our God, El Elyon (the Most High), is sovereign.
imageHe rules all things in all of the universe. In this week of the study, Kay provided verse after verse that revealed His sovereignty. I took lots of notes, but these are some of the things I highlighted on my Most High note page:

  • His dominion is everlasting (Daniel 4:34-35).
  • What He plans, stands (Isaiah 14: 24, 27).
  • He is in charge of time (Daniel 2: 20-23, my favorite passage of the week).
  • He controls life and death (Deut. 32:29).
  • He promotes; He demotes (1 Sam. 2:6-10).

I will probably go back and journal all of these truths individually because they spoke to so many places in my life and in the lives of those I love right now. I am in a busier June than usual; it was convicting and comforting to be reminded that He is in charge of time. I do not have to “make up for lost time,” or “find time,” or “manage” time–that is not my dominion. Yes, I can be a good steward of my days here, but I can let go of the pressure that I should be doing more to “make time” in my day. He has given me just what I need; I have to remain in tune with Him to operate in His agenda for my days (and hours and minutes)!

I was grateful for the short number of days in my plan this week. It gave me a few extra days to apply what I learned to other messages I am hearing right now. For example, just last night at church, our pastor continued our series in Joshua with chapter 3, focusing on our faith and obedience to God to cross our Jordan Rivers. As I was listening, I kept hearing the name God Most High. Sometimes we do not cross those obstacles or even stick our foot in the water because we do not truly believe the Most High is in control of ALL things. What a challenge. This week and last night’s message moved me to think about the areas of my life I am holding back in believing.

imageIf you search for God Most High, you will find that many of the uses of this name appear in Psalms. I have been returning to various psalms so much this year; it was no surprise to me as I went through the references to be reminded that Psalm 9:2 is one I have visited and scribbled in several times this year.
Each note indicates an event that was clearly out of my control. Yet, each note also indicates the comfort I found in clinging to Him and remembering He hears my cries.

I also spent some time in my Illustrated Faith His Love Never Fails devotional this week, and as the Most High would have it, the day for me to complete was on trust. The verse for the reading was Psalm 16:8. While the reference to God here is not the Most High, it drilled home for me that imageGod is my Most High God, and that means He is control of it all. All. Once I stand in that truth and truly embrace the Sovereign God is by my side, I will not be shaken.

Week 3 is already off to a wonderful start with one of my favorite names of God, El Roi, the God who sees. I’m already encouraged!!

Three names of God to cover this week means three potential memory verses. Think about making Proverbs 15:3, Genesis 17:1, or Psalm 16:2 your verse to focus on this week. As I shared on IG, I sometimes write verses over and over again to remember them or place them in the weekly page of my planner. Another thing I try to do is bring my verse of the week into conversation with someone. Even if just a text. Try it!

Here’s a quick reminder about this coming week:

Week 3 (June 20-26) The God Who Sees
The All-Sufficient One
The Lord
Day 10-11
Day 12
Days 13-14

Are you in the study? Heads up–Days 13 and 14 might take you a bit more time this week, so plan accordingly.

I have enjoyed hearing your thoughts as you read the posts here and on Instagram. I will continue to pray for you. Send me an update!

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Week 1: His Name/Our Creator

One week into this study, and it is already clear to me this is where I am supposed to be right now. In this week’s devotionals (Days 1-5), Kay introduced why it is so important to know God’s names–the expressions of His character and who He is–and led into the study of one of His first names in the Old Testament, Elohim.

For several months now, I have been reminded through various studies that knowing God enables us to trust in Him, to endure through all things, and to combat the lies of the enemy. The empowering nature of resting in God’s name was reinforced this week for me through Daniel 11:32. As Daniel paints a picture of a time when many stumble in their faith and are led astray by leaders, he writes, “but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (ESV). Daniel 11:32 Bible journaling page by Monika of mon_creates on InstagramI also like the NASB translation which says “will display strength and take action.” Increasingly, we are approaching times in which faith in God is challenged and seductive alternatives are offered. Right here in the Word we have the way to remain unshaken and to avoid being misled –to know our God. This really stood out to me in thinking about raising our son in this changing world. It is critical that our children know who God is — not in some vague big guy in the sky way — but according to His Word.

Another favorite topic of this week was a study of Psalm 20. It brought me back to a childhood song and caused me to slow down and think about its meaning. I did a little word study of “boast in chariots” Psalm 20 Bible journal page by Monika of mon_creates on Instagramand found that here it meant: “praise,” or “trust” or “made strong through.” It reminded of how we can fall into the trap of putting our trust in things like cars and homes and even other people to make us feel comfortable and secure. But what is different about people of God is that we are to boast in the name of the Lord our God. In this respect, boasting in His name means to “praise” or “make mention of” who He is, so I wanted to journal this page as a reminder to remember that I am made strong through Him, not things, and that it is my honor to adore, applaud, and admire who He is.

This week’s devotionals closed with our first name of God from Genesis 1, Elohim. This has already become more precious to me this year after really embracing the idea that I am created by my Creator to create (love what Leah hadto say about this idea), so I decided that for each name I encounter in the study, I want to make a page Deut. 10:17a Bible journal page by Monika of mon_creates on Instagramwith that name and jot some notes on it about what I learned. This page may have been a case of experimentation going wrong, but I love it (and wanted to share it as a reminder for those who are new to Bible journaling that this is not about Pinterest perfection but the process of getting in the Word, which Amy talks about more eloquently here) and will continue to think about how I want to remember each name of God in my Bible. The verse I selected for these notes was Deuteronomy 10:17a which tells us that, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God….” What reassurance we can have in being led by our great, mighty, and awesome God!

On Monday, I am continuing on with Chapter 3, The God Most High. There are just four days of study in this week so feel free to join in and catch up, or if you are already studying along, get ahead! I will be taking my time through this week. There are a few more scriptures in these readings to meditate on. I hope you will join in!

Date

Topic

Study Days

Week 2 (June 13-19) The God Most High Days 6-9

Did you read along this week? What did you respond to in these opening days of the study? And even if you are not reading this study right now, how does the name of Elohim encourage your heart? 

Week 1 Plan

Tomorrow, I am diving in to Week 1 of my summer devotional study–Kay Arthur’s Lord, I Want to Know You. I think I am going to use Sundays to plan for the week ahead as well as reflect on what I have learned.

My goal for this first week is to be consistent with my Bible time routine. Between family vacation, a conference for work, and several summer teaching responsibilities, my normal routine has gone through constant readjustments. I am looking forward to being in a more regular rhythm this month, and I am planning to study this book during the time I was studying Loved with my church group this past spring.

Here is my schedule for the week. I am prepping today and will complete Days 1-5 during the week. 060216 I will get started on Monday, but if you have not done a Kay Arthur study before, you might want to look over the “Introduction” and “How to Mark Your Bible” (pgs. 199-202) sections tonight to be ready to go tomorrow. I hope to spend Saturday creatively reflecting on what I learn during the week.

I am also setting a goal for myself to memorize one verse each week. Since this week has two chapters, there are two options. I hope you will select one of these to learn this week or find another verse that speaks to you in the readings to commit to memory.

Having been raised in the church and attended Christian schools for much of my early life, I am familiar with the names of God. But I realized anew this year that I do not always live in the knowledge of who He is. For example, I will get over focused on tasks and doing the right thing while forgetting that He is gracious and is not waiting on me with disappointment to “get my act together.” My tendency to get into performance mode comes from thinking about how I would feel or how other people would react to my work. I know that instead I need to focus on God’s character–being able to speak to His many names will help me with this.

I am hoping this study will enrich my prayer life and encourage my heart as well as challenge me. What are you hoping to get from this study (or any Bible study you are involved in this study)? I would love to hear from you in the comments or over on my Instagram!

 

Summer Study: Lord, I Want to Know You

When I was a child, my mother started attending Precept Upon Precept classes. I would watch as each night she would spend an hour or more during her homework while I did my schoolwork, intently working through her Bible chapter by chapter with worksheets and colored pencils. Then on Thursday night, we would drive across town to her class. The class spent an hour discussing with their teacher, there was a snack break, and then Kay Arthur would come on the big screen TV and talk passionately about the Word of God.

The impression Kay Arthur left on my life can not adequately be expressed. But I knew even as a young girl that her knowledge of the Lord and the Word was something I desired. I took my first Precept class after graduate school and have even been trained as a leader, but it has been a few years since I could fit the full classes into my schedule. So since then, I have been studying along with Kay through her podcasts and online series and completing books in her Lord series.

I like this series of books because they teach the inductive method Precept is known for, which is reading what is happening in scripture, using scripture to help understand what it means, and then applying it to life. But unlike Precept Upon Precept courses, the Lord series requires a bit less homework and are more suited for individual study. [Some people are overwhelmed by the method’s recommended markings and close reading, but I think it is important to use it as a guide and not a rule book.]

This summer, I will be going through Lord, I Want to Know You, 21379_medwhich is a study of the names of God. It is a great introduction to this series if you have never studied with Precept Ministries before. I have set a schedule for myself to study Monday-Friday and use Saturday as a catch up and create day and then Sunday as a day of rest and reflection.

You, my friend, are invited to read along with me. I find I do a bit better when I know someone is studying along side me, whether in person or virtually, so I’m happy to partner with you if you need some accountability, and more importantly some conversation and encouragement. I’ll come back to the blog each week, probably Monday or Tuesday, to review the previous week and leave you some space to share your thoughts as well. How does that sound?

Here is the schedule I’m setting for myself, but feel free to set your own pace! I’ll be studying from June 6-August 8.

Date

Topic

Study Days

Week 1 (June 6-12) Names of the Lord
The Creator
Days 1-3
Days 4-5
Week 2 (June 13-19) The God Most High Days 6-9
Week 3 (June 20-26) The God Who Sees
The All-Sufficient One
The Lord
Day 10-11
Day 12
Days 13-14
Week 4 (June 27-July 3) The Self-Existent One
The Lord Will Provide
Day 15
Days 16-19
*Week 5* (July 4- 10) The Lord Who Heals Days 20-25
Week 6 (July 11-17) Pausing for a Moment Days 26-28
Week 7 (July 18-24) The Lord My Banner
The Lord Who Sanctifies You
The Lord is Peace
Day 29-31
Day 32

Day 33

Week 8 (July 25-31) The Lord of Hosts
The Lord My Shepherd
The Lord Our Righteousness
Day 34
Days 35-36
Days 37-38
Week 9 (Aug 1-8) The Lord is There Day 39-42

*There are more than five days in this week, so I recommend looking over the week in advance and setting up a schedule that allows you to do two in one day or utilizing your Saturday catch up day!*

This book can be purchased through Precept (which supports their ministries) or through your favorite retailer. I hope you will read along with me this summer or follow my journey here and on Instagram.

Day 28: Perfect Morning

It had really been a long time since I’d written anything that looked at all like poetry. But something about the perfect morning prompt inspired me to think about the romantic lazy mornings I have shared with my husband. image

Our favorite place to be together is the beach. We are both from a coastal state and have lived in middle of landlocked America for almost ten years now. When we have a chance to get to the beach, we RUN! So for me, for us, a perfect morning would start in bed in a beautiful beach house I think. One close enough to the shore to hear the waves and smell the salt. I love the natural, forest scent of where we live now, but there’s nothing like that first hint of beach air.

I think the business of life can push out room to dream and remember, so I loved this hubby journal challenge and the creativity it inspired. I need to spend some more time in my journal, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

What does your perfect morning with your spouse look like? Leave some ideas in the comments or on social media via #WriteLoveChallenge.

Bonus Love: Write your honey a poem!!

Day 27: Favorite Things

Hard to believe it has been two months since the #WriteLoveChallenge! I finished my 30 days of hubby-journaling and am really excited to do it again soon, but clearly I burned out on the blog. Next time, I won’t commit to blogging every day; lesson learned.

Before I move on to some new projects that will incorporate the blog again, I want to be faithful to finish these challenge posts. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to go back in time to February and reflect on where I left off….

Day 27 challenged me to think about my husband’s favorite things. And I gotta say, I took the easy way out on this list. He loves ties and sports. He also gets a great deal of joy when imageI cook breakfast for me. The list of “easy to put a smile on his face” items comes quickly. But I want to continue to grow in knowing ALL of my husband’s favorite things. Like why he prefers a certain suit in his closet over another when to me they both look the same. It is the little details that he has told me before that I let slip away that I want to remember. So I started this page as a list and didn’t get too fancy with it so I could jot down ideas. I tend to remember the things I write more, so here is room to be more intentional in this area.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). I could quote this verse on every post, but it comes to mind here again as I recognize that in order to have a thriving marriage, this must be my attitude. And this can easily be expressed by remembering his favorite things, big, and small.

From his/her ice cream flavor to their favorite place to visit from their childhood–it can seem like a lot of info to keep up with. But the joy of remembering them is sweet. How do you remember your spouse’s favorites? 

Bonus Love: Spend the day studying and observing your spouse. Can you spot a favorite that you had not paid attention to before? Write it down!

Day 26: I Like the Way

I like the way;
You keep me looking forward to another day, baby.
–Hi-Five

There are moments in marriage, at least in our marriage, when we look at each other and say to ourselves, “Is that really how you would do that?” Take me for example, I do not like to feel like I’m going back and forth when I drive. So I will drive to the farthest location first and then work my way back. Sometimes I make decisions about where to go based on what side of the street the business is located on! I also tend to never use navigation after my first time going somewhere new; I feel like it prevents me from knowing where I’m going.
image

Now my husband is completely different when he drives. The map is always on, and the priorities on his route have little to do with how the places are located in relation to each other. He’s chatty while driving; I tend to zone out and there is just white noise in my head.

At times these things could have frustrated us, but we’ve learned to love and appreciate our differences–the things that make us different from each other.

So for Day 26, I focused on the quirky, cute, unique, sexy, and funny things that he does that I love, or have grown to love. I posted just a peek of my list. I’ve already added a few more, but I’m trying to leave room for those things that come to mind in our upcoming interactions.

What are the things that you, and maybe only you, like about your spouse? Share in the comments or via #WriteLoveChallenge!

Bonus Love: Everybody likes ice cream. Bring home a flavor for your spouse that reminds you of them!