Being a teacher has always granted me the summertime to take a break from the hectic schedule of teaching, sports and school calendars. Our family has enjoyed this time in many different ways. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I would plan unique, free activities for each week of the summer. We would pick a special Bible program to use in family devotions or put in place an incentive plan, complete with rewards, for reading and personal devotions. Such treasured memories have been made during these times.
This summer, as I prayed about what we should do with these precious few weeks, the Lord led me in a different direction. Instead of planning actives and trying to fill our days, God challenged my heart to look for the purpose behind each activity we would plan or do. Instead of trying to keep everyone busy with do, do, do, God was saying to me, "Take time to be." As I was praying over this, the idea of an acrostic came to my mind. I am using the acrostic SLiCES as a target to aim at and keep our family on track this summer.
Here are our S L i C E S of summer goals:
5 studies we are doing with our kiddos this summer:
True Woman 201- Interior Design: Ten Elements of Biblical Womanhood by Mary A. Kassian and Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth
We're doing this study with our girls ages 22, 20, 18, and 14.
"When we step into God’s plan for womanhood, we step into the great adventure of discovering who we are created to be. The greatest display of God’s glory, the greatest wholeness of personhood, the greatest joy of human relationships, and the greatest fruitfulness in ministry come about when we embrace and celebrate His design.
In this Bible study for women, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Mary Kassian delve into Titus 2 to celebrate redeemed womanhood. Exploring 10 “design elements” of biblical womanhood, they will lead you on a 10-week journey of discovering what a beautiful heart looks like, and how it leads to a beautiful life.
Each week is divided into five lessons that provide opportunity for group interaction and delving deep into Scripture.
The Lord wants to come in and do a radical renovation of your heart. He wants to change you into a godly woman from the inside out. If you let Him, He’ll give you an extreme makeover... a new interior design. Why wait? Begin your renovation today." --goodreads
Lies Girls Believe & The Truth That Sets Them Free by Dannah Gresh and Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth
We're doing this study with our girls ages 11, 8 and 6.
"Today’s girls face a number of challenges we never dealt with at their age. From skyrocketing anxiety rates to bullying on social media, the Enemy’s lies are everywhere. How do you help the girl you love walk in freedom?
Equip her with Truth. Dannah Gresh, author of Secret Keeper Girl and Lies Young Women Believe (coauthored with Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth) brings you Lies Girls Believe. This fun, easy-to-read book engages your daughter in the twenty most important truths she needs. She’ll help solve problems using fun sidebars and it’s packed with wisdom, quizzes, games, exploded quotes, and graphics to help her absorb the message.
For the best results, use the accompanying Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe which invites you to critically examine the lies girls believe and discover how to set your daughter free. It also helps facilitate discussion between you and your daughter." --goodreads
Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God & Science by Louie Giglio.
We're doing this study with our 4-11 year olds.
"It’s impossible to out-imagine God. He orchestrates time, creates light, and speaks things into existence—from the largest stars to the smallest starfish. God is a powerful, purposeful, personal, unparalleled Creator.
Each devotion features a “Be Amazed” section with fascinating facts, hands-on activities, and a closing prayer. Based on Louie Giglio’s popular messages “Indescribable” and “How Great Is Our God,” Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God & Science will help kids discover the incredible creation of our indescribable God." --goodreads
Heroes of the Bible by Joshua Cooley.
We're doing this study with our boys ages 13 and 9.
"Ask any 12-year-old kid to describe a hero, and you will get some of the following answers: a superstar athlete, a soldier on the front lines, or a guy in a cape who can jump over buildings.
Control Girl, lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible by Shannon Popkin.
A study with friends for accountability.
"Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. Tension, anger, fear—it all begins with a heart that craves control. When your vision of how life should be replaces God's vision, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts. Thankfully, there is a better way.
"With personal vulnerability, biblical depth, powerful personal illustrations, and pointed application questions, Shannon Popkin reveals how seven women of the Bible can teach us how to surrender our will to God's design for our future." —Carol Kent, speaker and author of Becoming a Woman of Influence
"Control Girl is a penetrating look at how selfishness and self-protectiveness wreck lives—and why surrender and trust are God's life-giving pathways to true freedom and joy." —Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author and Revive Our Hearts teacher and host" --goodreads
Listening references: Focus on the Family, Adventures in Odyssey podcast and Radio Theater.
So, how will you be intentional about taking time to be with your kiddos this summer?
“The sea was before them, Pharaoh’s hosts behind them, and the mountains around them. And all this, be it observed, permitted and ordered of God.”—C. H. Mackintosh
Friend, do you feel like this today?
We are so glad you've joined us!
We're going to meet here, as a group of like-minded, broken, wounded, desperate, empty, guilty followers of Jesus Christ, each Tuesday morning at 9:00, through August 6, for a Summer Book Club-Style Bible Study. It is going to be so encouraging!
This Bible study is designed for people just like us! We will study 10 God-given strategies for difficult times. We'll work our way through all 10 of The Red Sea Rules, 1 per week. The comment section will be used for discussion.
Still need to get the book? Click here to order or download your copy (less than $10 for the hardcover and less than $2 for the Kindle version).
If you can’t join us Tuesday mornings at 9:00, no worries. Anytime during the week, when it’s convenient for you, read that week’s chapter in the book and the corresponding blog post. Then join the conversation down in the comment section. Invite a friend to join us!
“So, take a deep breath and recall this deeper secret of the Christian life: when you are in a difficult place, realize that the Lord either placed you there or allowed you to be there, for reasons perhaps known for now only to Himself. The same God who led you in will lead you out.” ―Robert Morgan, The Red Sea Rules
Red Sea Rule #1: Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
"But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again." Psalm 71:14-21
This morning we begin our study of the little book by Robert Morgan called The Red Sea Rules. The subtitle of the book is 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times. I have so many friends that have been plunged into the deep, deep well of grief already in 2019. I myself am in the final stages of penning a book called The Heart That Heals: Healing brokenness through the promises of God. So I know this is a real problem for many of us, me included, and I'm excited about spending the summer with you diving deep into the Word of God and The Red Sea Rules!
Just this week I was rereading about Rule #1, and when I got done, I thought, Oh, I needed that! I had heard it before, but I needed to hear it again. We all need to be reminded time and again about what it means to trust God. I’m not alone here, am I?
Think about your own heartaches, and then think about the people that you have talked to this week. Think about the variety of struggles you have heard of just this week alone. How many of us are concerned about finances? Maybe you've got more bills than you have funds to pay them with. Some of you may be out of work, or your husband is out of work. We worry about the future. Some of us are in a difficult relationship with friends, a family member, or a spouse.
Is there any parent here who’s isn't concerned about a child? Maybe it's an adult child that's living a life away from God. Or maybe you're the child, concerned about aging parents? I find myself in both of those places today.
Maybe you have recently gone through a divorce or you see that as a possibility on the horizon. What about health problems? Have you received news about a serious illness? For some of us, this chapter of life is a tough time of transition. Maybe you’ve just moved and you’re trying to get established in a new place. Maybe a good friend of yours has just moved away. Or, like me, maybe your child has moved away. Those are big transitions. Difficult times. Perhaps a loved one has recently died, and you are trying to adjust to that tremendous loss. You know life will never be the same. I have a friend who just this spring lost her 6-year-old daughter (you can read about that here) and another friend who lost her best friend suddenly.
Trials! We all have them to different degrees, and we all need to learn how to trust God with them.
What does trusting God really involve?
One thing I love about The Red Sea Rules is that the book breaks down faith into ten identifiable segments. As a whole, it summarizes so well some of the basic biblical principles about what it means to trust God, and we need this!
Today, let’s look at the first rule: Realize that God means for you to be where you are. The trial you are facing is not the result of some colossal cosmic blunder. Your trial has not caught God off guard. This hardship is not something that has occurred outside of God’s control or apart from His love. God means for you to be where you are at this appointed time.
Rule number one: realize that God means for you to be where you are, is not something that the author of this book dreamed up by himself. It’s a principle of faith that we find throughout God’s Word. Think about the account that we find in the Old Testament book of Exodus. The Israelites are standing on the shore of the Red Sea. There in front them stretches what seems to be an endless and impassable expanse of water. Marching toward them from the rear are the vengeful armies of the Egyptian Pharaoh. The children of God are stuck!
“He knows the way He taketh,” even if for the moment we do not.”—J. I. Packer
How did they get into this situation?
Why are they standing there on the shores of the Red Sea? The Bible tells us that it is God who has led them there. Let’s look at what the Bible says about the Israelites in Egypt. The story begins in the book of Genesis.
As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him,
"Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions." Genesis 15:12-14
This is where the story of the Red Sea begins. God told Abraham that his descendants would live in a foreign country. God knew what would happen to them in Egypt. He knew that they would become slaves in that country. But this passage also says that God would punish the Egyptians for the way that they enslaved His people and that He would rescue them from the bondage of Egypt. God knows what is going on. His people are securely in His hands. That is the story of the Red Sea in a nutshell.
This prophecy made to Abraham, of course, comes true. The Israelites do go to Egypt. At first life is good for them there. But then things take a turn for the worse. The Egyptians get worried about how many Israelites are living among them. They start to oppress the Israelites. They enslave them. They kill their babies. But then God raises up Moses to lead them out of Egypt. By following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God leads them right to the shores of the Red Sea.
On the shore of the Red Sea, the Israelites stand scared to death. But it is God who has led them there. It is God who has placed them in such a precarious situation. They are there by God’s appointment and for His purposes.
That’s the way that God works with His children. The New Testament tells us that we shouldn’t be surprised that we have to face trials and go through hard times (I Peter 4:12). When we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, we should not think that God has abandoned us or made some mistake. Red Sea Rule #1: Realize that God means for you to be where you are. He has a purpose, and He has a plan.
The same God who led you in will lead you out.
The memory verse that goes along with rule #1 is Psalm 71:20:
"You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again." Psalm 71:20
“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again.” Isn’t that a remarkable statement? God, You have made me see many troubles and calamities. That’s a pretty bold statement, isn’t it? But I know, God, that I can count on You! I KNOW that You will revive me again.”
What Rule #1 DOES NOT mean:
Let’s be sure that we understand what this rule DOES NOT mean. It is possible to misunderstand this rule altogether and apply it to our lives in a manner that is not biblically correct. There are three things that this rule does not mean.
What Rule #1 DOES mean:
So, what DOES Rule #1 mean? It means that we say to God, “Lord, I don’t like what’s going on and I don’t understand what’s going on. But I believe that I am here in this situation by Your appointment and for Your purposes. I believe that just as You led me into this situation You will lead me out.”
Think also in the New Testament about Peter. Peter’s example is especially important because Peter got himself into so much trouble! Remember how Peter makes that great boast to Jesus about how he is never going to deny Him? All of the other disciples may deny Him, but not Peter! Right? However, when the pressure is on, Peter caves, just like all the others. But that doesn’t catch God off guard, and it doesn’t stop God from fulfilling His purpose for Peter. Jesus says to Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). That’s a fascinating statement. Jesus knows what Peter is going to do. He knows that Peter is going to turn away and deny Him. So before he even denies Jesus, Jesus talks to him about what he should do when he turns back. No surprise here! Jesus has a purpose for Peter even after Peter miserably fails. Have you miserably failed? Jesus has a plan!
Evil things may have happened that have caused you a great deal of misery. You may have all kinds of questions about why this has happened. But rest assured of this: God has not abandoned you or forgotten you. You are where you are by God’s appointment and for His purposes. The same God who led you in will lead you out.
“...in His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows. Let me say I am here, (1) By God’s appointment, (2) In His keeping, (3) Under His training, (4) For His time.” ―Robert Morgan, The Red Sea Rules
Read The Red Sea Rules: Week 2 here.
This week's discussion questions:
Can I challenge you to memorize Psalm 71:20 with me this week?
"You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again." Psalm 71:20
portions of this post are quoted from www.efcbemidji.org
My husband and I have had the awesome privilege to travel to the Holy Land several times. It is hard to choose a favorite spot since each location has a particular Bible significance. But, of all the places we visited, the Sea of Galilee would have to be at the top of my list.
The size of this area, where Jesus spent two thirds of His earthly ministry, was surprisingly quite small. When standing on an overlooking hillside, you can see the entire shoreline of the sea (which is really more like the size of a small lake than that of a sea).
So many things happened around and on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus:
And for this reason it has been called the cradle of the Gospel.
What a privilege it would have been to walk, talk, hear, and see Jesus in the flesh! But the response to Jesus in Bible times was the same as it is today. After Jesus had fed the five thousand many followed Him. But, Jesus called them out by saying,
Unfortunately, many today want Jesus for what He can do for them physically, or emotionally, or financially. They are consumed in selfishness and materialism and want to just add Christ and His benefits to their present lifestyle – they want to be filled. When confronted with their spiritual void and their need for Christ alone, people are often offended. But they have no excuse because they can find the truth in God’s magnificent creation and in the completed Word of God. Many choose to reject Him as the Christ, their Savior.
We need to reevaluate our relationship with the Lord. Are we truly trusting in Him alone for our salvation or have we only added religion as one more dimension of our busy lives? There is a big difference in eating bread and accepting Jesus as our Bread of Life. Jesus is not about a religion but about a personal relationship. If He is our Savior, we should study the Gospels and walk along the shores of the Sea of Galilee with Him as He presents Himself as the Savior of the world, which is the Good News of the Gospel.
I love thinking about all the things Jesus did in and around the Sea of Galilee. Especially the parts where He preached, healed, fed, recruited, walked, calmed, and ate with his followers and sinners alike. The Jesus that did all these things then is the same Jesus that does all these things today, maybe in just a little different way. He's not physically among us, but through His Word He still accomplishes these things in our lives. What has He done for you lately. Please share your story!
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