Transforming Your Mind to Discern God’s Will

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 2

I hope you enjoyed working on your first verse. I was actually surprised at how easily I was able to get mine. But I must confess I chose a pretty easy verse for my first one just to ease into this. I hope you were blessed by the time you spent meditating on your verse. I’d love to hear in the comments about your experience!

So, now for verse 2.

I have selected for mine: Romans 12:2 from the New International Version. This verse was one of the first verses that really impacted my life. The concept described in this verse is the reason why I think I love studying God’s Word so much. When we take in his truth and grace it really does transform our lives. For me, that transformation always starts in my mind, moves into my heart and then out into my life. And I have lots of decisions to make in the upcoming weeks and months, so I better be testing and approving what is God’s will. So I decided it is high time I commit this verse to memory! Here it is:

Romans 12:2, NIV

A special greeting…

Before I close for today, I want to give a shout out to all the sweet ladies at the Water and the Word Bible Study. I so enjoyed our time together this morning and it was a real pleasure to meet each one of you!

Now, back to Scripture Memory Team stuff…

If you are joining us for the first time, be sure to go back and read the first post and register in the comments of that one. Then, come back here and leave your “verse 2” in the comments below this post. Remember, if you want to be eligible for the prizes and events in January, provide your name, type out your verse, and give the reference and translation you are using. I’ll do the first one to get you started.

Have a great week in the Word!

LauraSignatureBlog

 

 

P.S. Want pretty printables of all 24 verses I’m working on? Just click the image or button below and I’ll email a copy to you right away.

Click Here to Get Your Printable Verses

 

How Our Past Can Be Used By God To Help Others

FREE Infographic: The Art of Self-Disclosure will help you share safely and effectively!

LiveFree Thursday I’m excited to be part of Suzanne Eller’s #LiveFree Thursday linkup. The following post ties into her prompt, ‘Our scars are beautiful.’ Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #LiveFree. Check out Suzanne’s post as well as all the other authors participating in the linkup.  And grab the FREE INFOGRAPHIC I’ve made you about the Art of Self-Disclosure. It will help you safely share the fruit of your beautiful scars.

Did you know the flavors detectable in a wine vary according to the environment in which the grapes grow? Check out the back of a bottle sometime and see how the wine maker emphasizes how the growing conditions give the vintage its unique taste. The effect changes based on things like the composition of the soil and exposure to sunlight, fog, or ocean breezes. Even the elevation at which the grapes grow impacts their flavor. And in God’s vineyard it is no different. We all take in the events, attitudes, and other influences in our environment, and our fruit reflects them.

What is our fruit?

Several Bible passages employ the metaphor of fruit when discussing the manifestations of our discipleship. The results or demonstrations of the love and mercy that overflow from our bond with Christ are examples of our fruit.

In John 15, Jesus used the metaphor to describe his relationship with his disciples and what would result from this special bond. Here, Jesus is the vine and those who follow him are the branches growing out of that vine. As we abide in Jesus, the Holy Spirit reveals our gifts and talents which combine with our particular life experiences to generate fruit unique to our bough. This outgrowth is exactly what the master Gardener (God the Father) designed us to make and that pleases and glorifies him.

Will My Rotten Past Produce Rotten Fruit?

Considering the impact our life experiences have on the characteristics of our fruit, perhaps you worry yours will be tainted by the negative things in your history. Here is why you need not let that concern you.

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Our Family Took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Will You?

You’ve probably seen some of the hilarious videos of people getting buckets of ice water dumped over their heads to raise money and awareness for the ALS Association. This weekend, our youth pastor challenged all the sixth graders to take the challenge. My son, Justin, enthusiastically stepped up and proceeded to challenge other family members—including me! I’ve posted a  brief montage of our videos here. I hope you get a good laugh, and then join us in supporting the efforts of the ALS Association.

I was the only one in our family who didn’t have the sense to jump into the swimming pool as soon as the ice was dumped over me. The swimming pool was the quickest way to warm up.

I did my Ice Bucket Challenge in memory of Jean Ann Lautzenheiser. I was blessed to serve on several church committees with Jean Ann’s husband, Rich. This family set such an amazing example of how one’s faith can sustain through unimaginable suffering. They inspired so many.

Jean Ann, who loved the soft drink Mountain Dew, enlisted her supporters to don bright lime green t-shirts emblazoned with bright red letters proclaiming they were part of Jean Ann’s Dew Crew. The Dew Crew showed their support by participating in the annual Walk to Defeat ALS® event at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. So, if you were a part of her Dew Crew, I’ve challenged you in my video to take the Ice  Bucket Challenge (if you haven’t already) and make a donation in memory of Jean Ann!

Who did we challenge? Watch and find out!

I also nominated a few of my friends to take the challenge and Matt issued a challenge to someone. You have to watch the video to see if we issued you a challenge!

If you’d like to participate, record your own chilling experience and post a link to your video on my Making It Real Ministries Facebook page and/or  in the comments below. To make a donation or get more information about the ALS Association, visit their website by clicking this link.

Your turn: Have you taken the challenge? If so, post a link to your video in the comments. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

In the Word Wednesdays – Week Two

Embraced by Holiness - Up Close and Personal

I hope the flexibility of this format is working as well for you as it is for me!

We went on vacation prior to the original recording of this video and I’ve included a few seconds of highlights in today’s session.

I’d love to hear what you’re up to while you’re doing the study.

Remember, if you need to take a week off or watch the videos at some day or time other than Wednesday mornings, that is perfectly fine.

I’m so grateful and blessed to be studying God’s Word with you!

Should you have any trouble with the video, or not be in a position to watch it, I’ve posted the discussion questions and key highlights for you below the video. Today’s video is a bit longer, but there was just so much good stuff in this week’s homework.

I hope you enjoyed those little clips from our trip to the lake. Now, I can’t wait to hear how God is speaking to you through the Scriptures. Here are the discussion questions and video highlights…

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In the Word Wednesdays – Week One

Embraced By Holiness - Arms Open Wide

I’m so excited to be studying the Scriptures with you! It was a beautiful day when we filmed so we set up on my front porch. I underestimated the Texas wind… my hair puts on quite a show! There are a couple places where, for just a second or two, the sound is a little muffled because I’m fighting my hair. Hope it gives you a bit of a laugh and doesn’t take away from the study. Here’s your Week 1 video.

I really want to hear from you in the comments. Remember, if it is just me doing the talking this won’t be nearly as helpful or fun!

If you need some help with how to leave a comment review the tutorial by clicking here. (It will open in a new window so you can refer back to it while leaving your comment, if you need to.)

If you for some reason you don’t have time to (or couldn’t) view the video, here are the highlights and the discussion questions.

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When We Divide, God Multiplies

About a week ago, I attended the memorial service of a true servant of Christ. I first met Carl when I was about 12 years old. Over many years, I witnessed him quietly going about the work of the Gospel. Few others embody servant leadership the way Carl did. Last week, I sat worshipping God and celebrating the life of this great man among the church family in which I grew up. I looked through tear-filled eyes at so many people who held a special place in my heart and in my spiritual journey. I reflected back over the nearly thirty years I had spent in that congregation and the nearly six that have elapsed since I left. I realized, even when we, in our humanness, divide, God is busy multiplying.

You see, almost six years ago, I left my church home after a sharp disagreement between me and a dear friend and fellow worker in God’s kingdom. At the time, I felt like my life was being ripped in two.

A friendship of over a decade ruptured. A rock solid faith suddenly felt unstable. To be totally honest, I did not want to step foot in a church again.

But, God had other ideas. He pressed upon me that I must get back into a community of believers. I’m so glad I obeyed him.

Today, in my personal Bible study time, I listened to Beth Moore teach on the sharp disagreement that led to the separation of Paul and Barnabas. God got real personal with me. Acts 15:36-41 hit too close to home, especially after recently being in the setting of my own Paul and Barnabas situation.

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The Secret to a Life of Peace, Purpose, and Joy

Do you ever find yourself feeling dried out, burned out, and overwhelmed by the challenges you face? Jesus told his disciples the secret to overcoming their difficulties. That same thing empowers us to overcome our challenges, too. What’s this secret to an abundant life of peace, purpose, and joy?

Photograph © Photowitch | Dreamstime.com

What’s the secret?

It’s actually not a secret, but a relationship. I grew up going to church, and if you would have asked me back then, I would have told you I was a Christian. But I wasn’t. I just didn’t realize I wasn’t.

I didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ until I was in my mid-twenties. In the years prior, I heard people talk about living by the Spirit, walking with God, and other such phrases, but I didn’t get it. How did you walk with someone you couldn’t see? And what in the world did being covered in some guy’s blood have to do with saving me? Saving me from what? It just made no sense to me.

I eventually learned being a Christian is not about going to church, doing “churchy” things, or even at its core about doing good works. It is foremost about being in a relationship with Jesus through which God conforms us to his character and likeness. So, how do we have that kind of relationship?

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4 Myths Every Boundary-Setting Newbie Must Bust!

In my years of learning about and teaching biblical boundary-setting, I’ve run across four widely-held misconceptions about boundaries. Until these myths are busted and the truth is revealed, people resist the subject of boundary setting. They get wrapped up in false guilt because they misunderstand the nature of godly limits.

Important: I’m not a therapist, psychologist, or pastor. So, I can’t offer you that kind of expert counsel. What I can offer you is the fruit of twenty plus years of study, practice, trial and error that empowered me to develop and maintain healthy boundaries and more fulfilling relationships.

So, let’s bust these four illusions.

Let’s look at each misconception and test it against God’s truth and grace.

Myth 1: Boundaries are Selfish

Do you feel a tug of guilt or self-consciousness when you consider saying no (even when you know you need to).  If so, you probably hold to this faulty fancy.

If you think boundaries are just a disguise for getting whatever you want at the expense of others, you’ve got the wrong idea about this biblical skill.

Jesus was the most unselfish person in history. And he was the master at setting healthy boundaries. So, clearly godly boundary-setting is not selfish.

Actually, selfishness is a symptom of a deficiency of good boundaries. A selfish person is focused on their own needs and wants at the expense of others.

A person with legitimate limits is “us” focused. They want the best for themselves AND others.

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How to Help Me Help You

I want my blog and my newsletters to be more relevant and useful to you. For me to best serve you, I need to better understand your needs and interests. So I’ve created a short survey.

Why It Helps You to Complete the Survey

It will take less than five minutes to fill out the survey. Doing so will help you as well as me.  Why? Because your input will make my content even more interesting and custom-made to you. You will have the opportunity to tell me exactly what you want me to cover in upcoming blog posts.

So, if you’ve been thinking, “I wish Laura would write a post about…” or “I sure wish someone would provide an article that could help me with…” then this is your chance to make your requests known.

Easy and Quick

The survey is easy. The results are completely anonymous. I can not tell who said what. Your answers to the survey are important to me and will set the course for my future blog posts. So, be sure you get your two cents in! Thanks in advance for your help!

Other Making It Real Ministries News

I will be back next week with my regular type of post. In fact, I plan to begin working on the requests you provide me in the survey with regard to post topics. In the meantime, there are several exciting things happening with the ministry I thought you might like to know about. I’d love to have you get involved in these various opportunities.

Sneak Preview of My New Bible Study

Tomorrow, I will begin the Sneak Preview of my new Bible study, Remaining in the Vine: Cultivating an Intimate Relationship with Jesus in an Insanely Busy and Superficial World. I’m teaching on Tuesdays (morning and evening options) in Georgetown, Texas. If you’re in the area, please join us.

Sneak Peak More Info Button

Coming Soon: Pre-Order Your Copy of Remaining in the Vine

Over the next week I will get all of the e-commerce details finalized so you can pre-order your copy of my new study before it is released to major retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble on March 1, 2014. In the meantime, if you’d like to be a part of the Launch Team that helps me get the word out about my study, click here for more information. Members of the Launch Team will be getting some special thank you gifts.

Speaking Calendar is Booking Up Fast

As I entered in the latest engagements I’ve booked, I realized my calender is essentially full for the Spring. I would love to serve you and your group or church. If you have a retreat, Bible study, or special event and are in need of a speaker, please visit my Speaking Page and see how I can serve you.

Since I’m a wife and mom first, and speaker, writer, and author second, I can only book so many engagements. Spring is booked and I have one commitment already for the Fall. So if you’re thinking about booking me for your event in 2014, don’t wait… let’s put something on the calendar today!

Blessings

I am excited to serve you in this upcoming year via blog, newsletter, book, or in person at a speaking engagement. You are a blessing to me and I can’t wait to hear your ideas for how to improve my blog to better bless and serve you! If you haven’t clicked on the link above to do the survey yet, please take just a couple minutes to do that now!

Blessings of truth and grace,

LauraSignatureBlog