and the winner of “Fruitful Affliction” is…

Sarah! You won a paperback copy of my newest Bible study set to release the first week of May! Yay! I will email you with the details.

And about the cover font. Wow. We as humans have very different tastes, don’t we? Which is a beautiful thing. God didn’t create a bunch of robots. But, alas, I had to choose one cover font. And personally, I liked all three. Which made it that much harder. But strictly because of the votes, we’re going with #2. No personal offense to those who chose #1 or #3. I still greatly love you.

 

fruitful affliction cover

 

Thank you for your comments and your excitement with me. I’ve been truly awed by God through my time of writing this study. I pray even now that God graciously uses it in our lives to draw us deeper into Him. Stay tuned! More details to come.

Oh and if you haven’t yet signed up for my (monthly-ish) newsletter, this may be a good time to do that. Click here to find out how. I (irregularly) send out insider info on my upcoming projects and offer my newsletter subscribers exclusive VIP coupons. Sounds really exciting, doesn’t it. I’d love for you to join me.

OK, back to the cave I go.
 

sneak peek of my next Bible study {and a giveaway}

I’ve been deep inside of a writing cave for the last 10 days or so. And I don’t think I’ll see much sunlight until the first of April. Not literally. Because that would be damp and probably scary. Plus all of my sweet people still need to eat and be places. Details. But I’m SO excited to give you a sneak peek of what’s to soon come.

I’m finishing up a six-week study based upon the life of Joseph. And I’m pretty sure this may be one of my favorite studies that God has ever led me to write. Though I say that every time I get to write something new.

The title Fruitful Affliction came to me when I read the meaning of Joseph’s second son’s name: Ephraim. Which means, “Twice fruitful.” Or as Joseph proclaims, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52) Wow, I love that God does that.

I had been asking the Lord to show me the title. I wanted it to be from Him, not something I tacked on or conjured up. When I read those words about Ephraim, I knew. Fruitful Affliction.

Now, as we design the cover, I’d love your input. And this is really, really important stuff. I mean, life-changing important. I mean…not really. But I’d love to know which font your eyes like best.

 

fruitful1
ONE

 

fruitful2
TWO

 

fruitful3
THREE

 
Comment below with your vote (“one,” “two,” or “three”) and you will automatically be entered to WIN A PAPERBACK COPY of the study once it releases. (Yay for lucky, randomly chosen, divinely selected you!) The winner will be announced next Monday the 23rd.

I can’t wait to tell you more! Stay tuned…
 

the perspective that changes my day (because it changes me)

I feel like I always end up writing about the “hard” things in life. Maybe because those things can too easily become my mental focus. And I need lots of help/therapy/personal preaching sessions to turn my thoughts away from the challenges in this world and onto the goodness of my God. Which is a WAY more awesome soul stance.

So the other day God stirred up a thought in me in the midst of a perfectly fine internal whining session. (And I know it was God because the thought lined up with His character as revealed in His Word. Always a good test.) The thought began with “what if.”

 

bending future generations

 

What if. What if that trial, that challenge, that difficulty, that discomfort — the thing you wish was easier or flat out different — what if that particular circumstance was actually God’s appointment in our lives meant to bend future generations towards Himself.

What if.

I’ve started thinking and praying more “generationally” lately. It all began one morning in my time with the Lord when I caught a glimpse of my kids’ artwork hanging on the wall. And it hit me. This day-in, day-out seemingly mundane living is generational work.

I can so quickly become self-focused. My well-being. My ease. My day. My time. My everything. The natural thing is to ask God to make my life easier. That’s what we as humans want. We want easy. We want comfortable. We want to know how this is all going to play out. Whatever this is. And how it will affect me.

But what if the most challenging of situations in our lives are actually catalysts for bending future generations towards worship because we have an opportunity to respond to those circumstances with bold faith in our God, in turn affecting those whose lives we touch. And what if wishing those situations away would actually mean depriving those who come behind us of a vibrant walk with their Maker.

If that were the case, then maybe I’d stop asking God to change things so that it was easier for me. Instead I’d remember that this world is not my home. I’d remember that God is faithful to His children — those who have come into relationship with Him through Jesus — and He has a plan. And I’d pray something like, “Lord God, do what you need to do through me and to me to bring the absolute most glory to Yourself through my little life.” And then, I’d trust that He is.

That kind of perspective changes my day because it changes me. That kind of perspective causes my heart to find rest in the sovereign goodness of my God. If we are in Christ, then He’s promised to work all things — every. single. thing. — together for the good of those who love Him. He promised. And He always keeps His promises.

Yes, we can pray for things to change or get easier. We can. But the real freedom comes when we’re motivated in our short lives by a deep, intimate, vibrant love for our God. Because that kind of love leads to trust which leads to the clause, “Lord God, not my will but Yours be done.”

 
Fill me, Lord…

How would that perspective change your today?
 

(Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.)