Hope in the Lord

Hope_RosesSo now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Notice the difference of the words in these two versions of the Bible (ESV and NIV). The two I want to point out are ‘abide’ and ‘remain.’ ‘Continue’ could be substituted either word.

Faith continues. Hope continues. Love continues. How comforting is that?

How would you describe hope? After looking up several definitions, I compiled this description: Hope is having the desire for something and to expect it to happen (verb) or to have a confident expectation (noun).

Where does hope come from? What gives us hope? Romans 15:4 says:  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Did you catch that? …Through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope…Do reading and studying the Scriptures encourage you and give you hope?

Jeremiah 17:7 shares another source of hope for us. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope the Lord is. (NKJV) Our hope is in the Lord. Let’s read this verse in the NIV: But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Hope. Confidence. Confident Expectation.

What else does God give us hope of? In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. (Titus 1:2) God gives us hope for today and for eternal life.

I Peter 1:3 continues: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Slide1Take a few minutes to think about some hopes that you have for yourself at home, at work, and in your spiritual life…Something you want to happen or expect to happen…Something that you have a confident expectation that it will happen.Take time to thank God for the hope He has given us for now and for our futures. Remember the words of Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

For those of you that would like a second challenge, I have written a study guide, “Hope in the Lord.” There was so much information that I found during my research that I thought I would share it.  Click the link if  you would like to download a pdf copy, Hope in the Lord Study Guide

Praying that each of us will always rejoice in hope, be patient and will always turn to God in prayer.


Come to My House and Stay

With the events going on globally and encouragement to ‘stay-at-home’ for our safety and well-being, I began to think about:

  • Being at home – is it a blessing or a hardship
  • The meaning of house vs home
  • Who makes up a home
  • Where home really was

I found three Scriptures that shares insight on home when I started looking through my Bible. The first passage that came to mind was Joshua 24: 14-15:

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (ESV)

The choice is ours: Who will we serve? How will we serve God? In sincerity and in faithfulness. Where do we serve God? Our homes? Our church homes? Our communities? Everywhere and all the time, right? How can we do that? Look at Psalm 101:2 (ESV)

 I will ponder the way that is blameless.
    Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
    within my house;

How can we ponder the way that is blameless? What ‘way’ is this passage speaking of? Have you ever asked God when He would come to you or where He was when you really needed Him in your life? What does it mean to you to ‘walk with integrity of heart’? Is that an easy walk?

One more verse and even more questions. Paul, Silas, and Timothy were traveling to the churches in the region to strengthened them in their faith. The result was that the churches increased their numbers on a daily basis. One woman there was a worshiper of God and the Lord opened her heart so she would pay attention to the words that Paul was speaking. Lydia was that woman. Look what happened after she was baptized:

And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. Acts 16:15 (ESV)

What did Lydia ask Paul? “Come to my house and stay.” That made me think about that verse on a larger scale. Think about talking to God and asking Him to come to our house if He has judged us faithful to Him…and to stay!

Slide1Shouldn’t we want God in our homes…today, tomorrow, forever? Whether you are staying at home right now or able to leave, let’s challenge ourselves to keep God in our hearts always by loving Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Remember to “…Love the Lord your God, and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 11:13 (ESV)

Stay safe and healthy and pray for those around you.
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Joy and Strength

“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10 (ESV)

At this point in time, the Israelites were preparing to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles. Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites have been reading the Law to the people and interpreting it for them. What was the reaction of the people when they heard God’s Word? They wept.

Why do you think they wept after hearing that the day was holy to their Lord and God? Perhaps they had feelings of grief because of the sin in their lives and their inadequacies. Ezra and the Levites didn’t want the people to focus on their mourning of their own shortcomings. He tells them to eat and drink and to share with those who have nothing. He tells them to turn their weeping into joy.

Why should they be joyful? Because the joy of the Lord was their strength and that strength is still ours today,

What does the Scriptures tell us is our strength? The joy of the Lord. Let’s read some more about strength in Psalm 28:7.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (ESV)

 Let’s summarize what we’ve read in these two passages. Notice the emphasis on certain words.

  • The joy of the Lord is our strength.
  • The Lord is our strength.
  • The Lord is my shield.
  • My heart trusts, my heart exults and I give thanks to him.

Slide1Take time to open God’s Word and search for the phrase “my strength.” Meditate on each of the passages you find and how they affect your relationship with God.

Let’s pray for each other as we learn to surrender to God and rely on Him for spiritual joy and strength.

See you next time,

Giving Thanks

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”    Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Remember our chat on Colossians 3:17 from the last post? We focused on making all of our words and deeds true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Now, let’s look at the second part of that verse:

“…giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

When should we give thanks? How should we give thanks? What do we thank God the Father for? 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 tells us to:

“…Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV)

Think of all of the things that you do daily. Maybe you consider some of these things mundane. When was the last time you thanked God when you were doing laundry? Or cleaning? Or doing homework? Or turning off the alarm that woke you up early Monday morning to get ready for work?

  • Thank God for doing laundry – it means you have clothes to wash and perhaps a washing machine and dryer to help you.
  • Thank God for cleaning your home – it means you have shelter, a place to call home.
  • Thank God if you have homework – it means you are blessed with the opportunity of an education.
  • Thank God if you have an alarm to wake up to – it means you have a job to support yourself and possibly others.

What are some others things you can think of that perhaps you have neglected in directly thanking God for lately?

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”  Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Slide1Focus on giving thanks to God the Father through Christ for all of the blessings in your life – both big and small.


Our next chat will be on joy. I look forward to seeing you then.


Everything We Do

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV)

Colossians 3:17 is a very challenging verse for me. What does the Scripture mean when it says to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”?

The words we speak? Every word we speak? Every word we speak to everyone?

What about our deeds? Everything we do. Whether we are at home or work or the gym or school or the grocery store or church. Every step we take, everything we do.

What a challenge to constantly be aware of what we say and do knowing that they should all be in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This brings to mind Philippians 4:8.

“…Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)

This tells me that my words and deeds should be true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. But how can I accomplish this challenge? Philippians 4:13 gives me that answer:

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (ESV)

Slide1Challenge for you and me?  Focus on our every word and action and try to make them true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.


Come back when we chat about the second part of Colossians 3:17!



When I graduated from high school years ago, the preacher presented a message for us as we were going out into the world as adults. I wrote those verses in my Bible then and have written them in the Bible I have carried for almost 40 years. These are verses that you probably know and perhaps have written on your heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)


Then another word came to mind: EVERYTHING.

All of my heart and ways includes everything in my daily walk with God, right?

So, what does Colossians 3:17 tell us?Slide3

This verse really challenges me! No matter what we are doing we should do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Whether we are working, playing, cooking, shopping, watching our kids…anything and everything. That means when we go to work or mow the yard that we are doing it in the name of Jesus – to praise God. Don’t forget the ‘in word’ part either! Every word we say should glorify God. Every word…

Now what about the last part of that verse? Give Thanks. In everything we do? YES! What is there to be thankful about washing the fourth load of laundry? Well, are you blessed with a closet full of clothes to wear? Electricity to run that washing machine? A comfortable place to dwell in that has closets for those clothes? Loved ones to wash clothes for?

Speaking of housework and yard work and work-work… Look at what these two verses say:

  • I Corinthians 16:14 – “Do everything in love.”
  • Philippians 2:14 – “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”

So all of our words should be said with love and our actions should be done out of love, right? Isn’t it difficult to grumble or argue if love is the motive for our actions?

Do you remember the Golden Rule? “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

What does that verse mean to you? How to you want others to treat you? Are you willing to treat them the same way or even better? Let’s go one step further by reading Titus 2:7: In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Do we teach by example? Do we learn by example? What kind of example have you been today?

My challenge for us this week comes from 2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Ask yourself: What needs has God given to you this week? This month? This year? In return, what are you doing to strengthen your knowledge of God and His Scriptures?

Let’s close this session with Hebrews 3:4. “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” EVERYTHING!


Ears to Hear

What is the job of the ears? Listening and hearing, right? I found two verses in Job that I thought were interesting because of comparison that was made.

Job 12:11 – Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?
Job 34:3 – For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.

When we place a piece of food in our mouth, our tongue determines if it is sweet, salty, or something else. But how do our ears test words? Could this refer our ears hearing words and testing them to determine if they are sweet, salty, or otherwise? What does it take to test the words that we hear? Do our ears ever need to test the words we hear that we speak?

Let’s move to the book of Psalms.

Psalm 115:6 – They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.
Psalm 135:17 – 
They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.

Do these verses mean that they physically cannot hear from their ears? Of course not. Just as Zechariah 7:11 says: But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They chose to close their ears – to not hear and listen.

In Matthew 13:15, Jesus says:  For this people’s heart has become calloused;    they hardly hear with their ears,    and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,    understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. How does a heart become calloused or hardened?

Sometimes children accuse their parents of not listening to them. Is that always true? Do parents sometimes close their ears to a child’s repetitive requests or whining? Think about God and that we are His children. How terrifying that God would ever close his ears to our requests. In Lamentations 3:56, we read: You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”

In Proverbs 20:12, we read: Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both. So if God made ears that hear, how to they become closed? When people let their hearts become hard, their eyes also close to those around them and to God.

We need to remember that ears are a gift from God. God gave us ears to hear and eyes to see. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. (Matthew 13:16)

My challenge for all of us this week is to remember that our ears and eyes are a blessing from God and to use them for the gifts that they are. Pay attention to what you hear and how you choose to determine how to use those words – and share those words with others.

You probably have figured out what the next post will be about: Face, eyes, ears, and next…mouths!


Favor in the Eyes of God

Seek God_See God_Small

We’ve been talking about seeking and seeing God, but what does God see when he looks at you? What did God think when he looked at Noah? Genesis 6:18 says the he found favor in the eyes of God.

What are you doing to be honorable in the sight of God and man? 2 Corinthians 8:21 says “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” What are you doing to be honorable in God’s house? What about your house and the world around you? What does Proverbs 3:4 say? “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Isn’t that a great goal? To win favor AND a good name in the sight of God and man. Why is it important to have a good name with God and man? Do you think that takes a lot of work? What kind of work does it require?

When God appeared to Abraham as the three men, Abraham said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.” (Genesis 18:3) Please, God, do not pass me by was Abraham’s urgent plea. Psalm 77:7 shows an entirely different scenario: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?” What a terrifying thought! For God to never show his favor again on us!

Let’s look at a few more verses about eyes. Use your Bible to look up the verses and answer the questions.

  • Nehemiah 5:19: What does Nehemiah ask of God?
  • I Peter 3:12: Who are the eyes of the Lord on?
  • Proverbs 15:3: Where are the eyes of the Lord? Who is He watching?

Eyes of the Lord.jpgWhat have you done to win favor with God and man in your lifetime? What are you doing daily? What do you do daily to help you stay focused on what God’s will for you is?

Feel free to share in the comment box below any words that can encourage each of us. (Comments will be reviewed before published.)

Eyes That Seek God

We ended our last conversation with the phrase, Seek God, See God. Our focus was on seeking God and God’s face. Let’s shift now to our faces and begin by looking at our eyes. I read a description of the eye that said it is the origin of sight. What kind of eye sight do you have? Jesus tells us that “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22,23)

Are your eyes healthy? What do they see? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? (Mark 8:18) I John 2:16 warns us that: For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. What are we looking at and what are we taking the time to truly see?

What should our eyes be seeing? What should we be looking at? We need to open our eyes and see the beauty in the world around us. We should look for the needs of those around us and how we can improve and enrich their lives. We should be looking for those we can share God’s love with.

Eyes that seek God, we will see God.

Challenge: Read Luke 6:42 and then check your eyesight this week. What are you focusing on? God? Studying God’s Word? Your family? Your neighbors and co-workers? Yourself?

Seeking His Face

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us.  Psalm 67:1 (NIV)

I love the way the sunshine feels on my face when I close my eyes and can  feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. How much more glorious will it be to feel God’s face shine on us? In I Chronicle 16:11, David says to “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” ALWAYS!

Read Jeremiah 29:13 with me:  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. How do we seek God? With all of our heart. 100%.

Notice the words the are underlined: seek, find, heart, and all. How important those words are. Let’s focus on seek today and jump forward to the New Testament.

What does Matthew 6:33 say? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

What does the theme around these verses seem to be? Seeking God and His kingdom. How do we seek God? With 100% of your heart.

Let’s add another verse to this discussion:  Psalm 11:7 tells us the “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. What that says to me is that to see God, I must seek God.

Remember Matthew 5:8? Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.


My challenge for you is to take time to find and read references to God’s face. My next post will be talking about eyes, if you want to find those verses in God’s Scriptures. 🙂


Reflecting on the Scriptures: Busyness

Busyness. What is busyness? One definition is when an activity is lively but meaningless. That’s how I feel sometimes. Life seems so busy but are the activities meaningful or meaningless – or a mixture of both? Recently, I have let busyness interfere with my studying God’s Word and writing to share from the Scriptures.

     Are you busy?
          Are you working?
               Are you idle?
                     What are you busy doing?
                          Work? Home? Kids? Church?

Let’s talk about work. How would you define work? Activity that is productive and meaningful. Is it more of a  performance of duty? Something you must do. Can you find joy in work tasks? (This sounds like the topic of another blog post!)

What does it mean to be idle? Inactive. Not working. Pass the time by doing nothing. Can you be busy by being idle? In other words, busy doing nothing.

Let’s look at verses from the Bible that compare being idle and working to help us reflect on what type of person we should and want to be.


Proverbs 19:15: Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.
What does shiftless mean? Dishonest? Idle? Lazy? How does laziness bring on deep sleep? Do you think it’s a peaceful sleep? When do you sleep the best – when you’ve been idle or when you have worked hard?

Matthew 12:36: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
What kind of words? Empty words. Hollow words. How does it make you feel knowing that you will be accountable for every word you have spoken on the Day of Judgment? Does that make you think twice about the words you speak and how they are spoken?

I Timothy 5:13: Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

Wow! These are powerful words. Let’s break this verse apart.

  • They get into the habit of being idle. If you can let being idle become a habit, can you make being a worker a habit?
  • Going about house to house. This makes me think that they had nothing else productive to do and just wandered about. What did this bring about?
  • They become idlers and busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they shouldn’t. Gossip? Slander? Empty words?

I don’t want to reflect on my words and actions and discover that they show me as being idle and passing the time by doing nothing. How do we ensure we are workers and productive and not just busy with activities that are meaningless?


Proverbs 16:3: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Commit to the Lord and He will establish your plans. God is in control even though we sometimes try to limit Him by making our own plans thinking that we know best.

In Ecclesiastes 3:17: King Solomon said, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
We will all be judged. Do you ever feel that some people who may be wicked or unfaithful never face consequences of their actions? But they will, won’t they. One day. With God’s judgment – not ours!

John 17:4: Jesus speaking to God says, I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Can you say these words to God? I (insert your name) have brought glory on earth to you God and finished the work you gave me. What kind of work has God given you? How do you know? Are you searching for an activity that will glorify God?

Think about the words in Matthew 5:14. I challenge each of you and myself to be “…the light of the world.” Let’s have our words and actions shine just as that “town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Commit, be active, shine!

Proverbs 16_3 MV_Busy_Idle_Work

Peace and Strength from the Scriptures

My last post was about peace and the plan was to have two or three posts that week on peace. However, it seemed that so many things began to happen in my life that prevented me from having peace in my life. I’m glad to be focused again and want to share several verses that helped me this week.


Do others think of you as a peacemaker? How would you describe someone that you consider a peacemaker? Would you describe yourself as a peacemaker? If not, why not?




How important is it to have peace in a house? In a family? In a church? In a community? Can we truthfully say that we hope for peace for everyone? Family, friends, neighbors, and enemies?

I find comfort in these verses, because as Jesus shared, the world will not give us peace.


The Scriptures tell us to not be afraid nor to let our hearts be troubled. There are so many distractions in the world around us that it is difficult to find quiet and peace except through Christ. How is that possible? Because Christ has overcome the world!


Take some time to think about what peace in your life means to you and whether or not you have it? If you don’t, how can you search for and find that peace?

Next topic – busyness!
Something that can really keep us from having peace in our lives!


Reflecting on the Scriptures: Peace

Our word for Strengthen through the Scriptures is ‘peace.’ How do you define ‘peace?’ Harmony? Free from chaos? Lack of disagreement? Do you feel at peace right now – this very minute? How do you find peace in times of chaos or discomfort? Be honest. Don’t give the answer that you think you should.

Romans 8:28 is a verse that I keep in my heart. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I can keep those words in my heart and understand them in my head, but sometimes that means I have to wait for God’s plan. The Bible tells us to be courageous and wait. I must admit when I am waiting, the feeling of peace is NOT within me! Then I have to remember John 16:33.  Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Let’s start the week with a look at Peace in the Proverbs.

 Proverbs 3:1-2
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

 Proverbs 3:17
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.

Did you notice the ALL in that verse? ALL of her paths are peace!

Proverbs 12:20
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.

Do you promote peace? Is promoting a high priority for you? There are so many that live for drama in their lives and sharing it with others. We should always aim to promote peace in our lives and the lives of others.

Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 17:1
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Have you ever had a meal with family or friends that was full of contention and strife? How did you feel during the meal…and after?

Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

This verse hits at home and goes back to God’s plan of giving instruction to our children. Is your life as a parent always going to be peaceful? Of course not. However, with teaching and disciplining your children will be more like to bring peace to you rather than turmoil.

Our challenge this week is simple and straight-forward. Look for peace in your life. Share with others how you found that peace and how they can find it also. Our memory verse this week can help us meet this challenge.

John16_33_Peace MV

Have a wonderfully, peace-filled week.


Wrapping Up: Kindness

We have focused on two words this week: kindness and love. In the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 9:3 states: The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” What inspired this act of kindness toward Jonathan? Love was the inspiration. This makes me think of the phrase ‘loving kindness.’

In Luke 6:35, Jesus taught:  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Love your enemies? Do good for your enemies? Lend to your enemies? Don’t expect anything in return from your enemies? Do all of those things seem easy to do? What is our reward to reaching outside of our comfort zone and doing them? A great reward and being children of the Most High BECAUSE God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. In the next verse we read: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). God is our example to be merciful and kind to everyone – family, friends, and enemies!

To help review the Scriptures that we have read this week, you can download, print, or find key words on the Kindness word search. Click here:  Kindness Word Search.

Have a blessed weekend. See you on Monday for our next Strength from the Scriptures study.


Strength from the Scriptures: Kindness

Happy Wednesday to All!

Remember that our discussion today is on the different kinds of kindness. Let’s begin by looking at Acts 20:35: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” The use of ‘kind’ in the sentence is not the same definition that we used earlier. Here it means a type or variety of hard work. However, let at the ‘kind of hard work’ discussed: help the weak which is a blessing of being able to give to other. Isn’t that an example of kindness?

Can you show kindness to strangers? How can you show kindness to strangers? In Leviticus 19:34, we read: The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Isn’t this the same message that we discussed earlier – love your neighbor as yourself? Now, we are told to love those residing among us – strangers. Let’s flip over to the New Testament where Jesus shares: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in… (Matthew 25:35)  Which is easier to show kindness toward – a stranger or a friend or family member? Why do you think this is?

Next, let’s move to the book of Galatians to see an example of a kindness that helps to bear the hardships and difficulties those around us may be experiencing. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 

  • How do we restore the person caught in sin?
  • Why should we watch ourselves?
  • What happens when we carry each other’s burdens? (Have you ever thought about this in the reverse? You should be willing to share your burdens with also, shouldn’t you?)

Galatians 6:10 continues by telling us that as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Opportunity. Do good. All people.

Look around and discover how you can extend simple kindness to someone today and every day this week. Maybe they are carrying a burden, big or small, that you can help lighten with an act of kindness. Look for those opportunities where you can show kindness to those around you – to ALL people.

Keep working on our memory passage. It’s longer this week but the message is so important to each of us. Some of you may already have these verses written on your heart. That should be the goal for all of us.

Praying for each you.


Reflecting on the Scriptures: Kindness

Hello Friends!

How many of you have been invited to play the game where you take the first letter of your name and find an adjective that starts with that letter AND describes you? Is there a certain adjective that you always use? How does it describe you? My name begins with a ‘K.’ What do you include for a ‘K?’ I usually add the word, ‘kind.’ How would you define the word ‘kind ‘to’ someone? Friendly? Benevolent? Nice?

When a group of young children are playing together, what phrase is often said? ‘Be nice.’ Be nice to your…friends…brother…sister…cousins…the list goes on and on. What is expected of those children to ‘be nice’ to the other children? Do you ever look at those in the world around you and wonder what it would be like if everyone treated everyone nicely? What would the world look like if we were ALL nice to EVERYONE?

What did Jesus answer in Mark 12:29-31 when asked what the greatest commandment was?  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Think about that: loving your neighbor as yourself. Think about the people in your close circle of family and friends and those that you worship with and what about the leaders in both business and government. Can you imagine what the world would be like if EVERYONE loved God will ALL of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths? What if EVERYONE loved their neighbors as themselves?

Mistrust, envy, and hatred of others is nothing new. As Solomon shared – they is nothing new under the sun. But do we just use that as an excuse and dismiss the unkind actions of those around us – or even our own unkind actions?

Our memory passage for this week is: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12_30_3131 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Mark 12: 30-31. This passage is also our challenge for the week. Stop often and reflect on your own thoughts and actions. Are you demonstrating that you love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Not just one or two of these but all four! Secondly, when you are reflecting, ask yourself how you are showing love to your neighbor each day.

Come back on Wednesday to discuss the different types of kindness that are taught in the Scriptures.


Reflecting on the Scriptures: Courage

Be strong and courageous. How does reading those words make you feel? Do you know where find the verse in the Bible that includes those words? Yes, that’s a trick question. 🙂 This phrase is actually found in numerous places in the Scriptures – both in the Old and New Testaments. After reading all of these verses, I decided that Psalm 27:14 would be our memory verse for this week: Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Courage MV

Let’s break this verse into four sections:

  1. Wait for the Lord
  2. Be strong
  3. Take heart
  4. Wait for the Lord.

How interesting that the verse begins and ends with the same four words: Wait for the Lord. Do you like to wait? Usually, waiting is not something that I want to do, but sometimes God wants and needs us to wait. Let’s look at three passages from the Scriptures to begin our look at courage.

In Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, Moses shared words from God with the Israelites. We read: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses spoke to Joshua in front of all of Israel and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.” What a challenge to give to Joshua! I wonder how Joshua felt.

Do you think the Israelites were afraid? Is that why Moses reminded them that God would never leave them or abandon them. Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever been terrified? What caused the fear you felt? These words from Deuteronomy should encourage us in times that we are afraid. If we have faith that God is always with us, doesn’t it make it easier to feel courageous in times of fear? Remember what Psalm 23:4 says? Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Shouldn’t we be able to say:

I will fear no evil.
I will have courage.
I will be strong.
I can do this because God is always with me.

In 2 Chronicles 32: 7-8, King Hezekiah told the Israelites to be strong and courageous even though they were in the midst of a war with Assyria. Assyria had a great army, but the Israelites were reminded that there was a greater power with them than with Assyria. Assyria only had a human army but Israel had God to help them and to fight their battles. We are told that the people gained confidence from these words. God is always with us as we fight our battles today. Do we always show the confidence we should knowing that God is with us?  How can we build that feeling of confidence? Studying God’s Word? Walking our daily walk with God? Surrounding ourselves with others that are walking in God’s Light?

Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight. (2 Samuel 10:12) David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men and sent some against the Ammonites and the others against the Arameans. Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans and put the rest of the men under the command of his brother, Abishai, to fight against the Ammonites. Joab told Abishai to be strong and to fight bravely, and most importantly, that God will do what is good in His sight. God has a plan and is in control. How often do we think that we know what is best for us and expect God to take care of it? God will take care of us – in His way and in His time. We must learn to wait. (Yes, there’s that “wait” word again!)

We may not want to wait or delay our expectations. Immediate gratification is not always in God’s plan. What we must always remember is that God is always with us. Knowing that, we can be strong and courageous in all challenges that we face – big and small. My challenge for you this week is to examine the challenges in your life. Hod did you show courage and strength? How did you lean on God? Then look around you and see the challenges that others are facing. How can you help them be strong and courageous and to have confidence in God’s power?

See you on Wednesday when we will discuss circumstances that require courage – in Bible times and today. Remember to work on our memory verse!

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Wrapping Up: Scriptures

2 Tim 3_16I’m glad that we’re able to meet again to wrap up this study of God’s Scriptures.

God spoke through Scripture when it was first recorded and the Bible is how God speaks to us today. When we fail to take (or make) time to read and study God’s Scriptures, we allow a distance to come between us and God. The Bible is more than just a book full of words and phrases. It is a book of truth – God’s truth – and can be a source of strength if we immerse ourselves in it.

When we neglect to meet God in the words He preserved for us, we lose our bearing in life and He seems distant. The wonderful truth is that God hasn’t moved and He is still speaking to us through the Bible.

When we open the Scripture, know that God still speaks to us each and every time we read His words.

Pick it up, open it, read it, study it and listen as God speaks to you through His Word – today, tomorrow, and forever.

For those of you that enjoy word search puzzles, I have created one using the words from 2 Timothy 3:16. Just click on the link below to download and open the puzzle.

Friday Word Search_2 Tim 3_16

See you next week for our next Strength from the Scriptures study.
Our topic for next week – Courage.

Strength from the Scriptures: Scriptures

How is your week going? Have you been reading 2 Timothy 3:16 daily to help you commit it to memory? Have you been able to carve out time each day to read God’s Word? I have heard that it takes doing something for 21 days for it to become a habit. Does that sound like another challenge? 🙂 Did you have time to find some verses in the Bible that teach about the Scriptures?

First, let’s talk about strength? What does strength mean to you? How would define strength to someone else? Does it mean being strong? Courage? Force? Endurance? 2 Tim 3_16Power? The book of Second Timothy was written by Paul when he was a prisoner. The believers at that point had begun to be unfaithful to God. Paul was concerned that Timothy who was there to help Paul might be frightened by what was happening to the Church. Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him and to strengthen him with this letter. During this difficult time, the strength of God and the grace of Jesus Christ was apparent. This book continues to be an encouragement today for us.

Here are the four verses that I found, my reflections, and some questions to discuss.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
What does it mean to ‘correctly handle’ the word of truth? Can God’s Word be handled incorrectly? How do you handle or manage your use of the Scriptures?

Psalm 1:2…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law both day and night.
Do you delight in the words in your Bible? Do you read and meditate on God’s Word both day and night? Does that mean meditating 24-7? We all have activities to take care. So, how and when do we spend time in the Word? What have you found that works for you? Meditating means more than just reading, doesn’t it? To me, it means taking the time to read and THINK about what you’ve read. To think about how you can use those verses to guide you during your days and nights.

Ephesians 6:17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I grew up in a time where we “got dressed” when it was time to “go to town” – whether to shop, go out to eat, or go to the doctor. Dressed meant ‘nice’ clothes, brushed hair, and a touch of lipstick. As Christians, we are instructed to take the helmet of salvation and the Word of God. Why is the Word of God considered to be a sword? Can this sword protect you? Can it lead you safely into a battle?

Hebrews 4:2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
How discouraging to know that there are some who will hear the Good News, but it will not have any value for them! How do we give value to the Good News? We share it! How do you share God’s Word with others? We can share in little ways or on a larger scale. Each time we share, we plant seeds and share God’s Word and love with those around us.

Keep working on your reflections and memorization. Come back on Friday to wrap up this first weekly Strength from the Scriptures study.

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Scriptures

How much time do you spend reading God’s Word during your day? How much time do you spend studying God’s Word? Is there a difference between reading and studying? For this first Strength from the Scriptures, I think it’s appropriate to start by looking at the Bible, God’s Word, His Scriptures.

When was the last time that you were assigned a Memory Verse? Let’s take time out of our busy week to focus on 2 Timothy 3:16. Can you commit 5 minutes a day to read, study, and memorize this verse? Take that as a challenge from me to you, or rather, for me AND you. The Bible states 2 Timothy 3:16 as “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (NIV)

2 Tim 3_16

Think About It

What does it mean that all Scripture is God-breathed?

The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by men but each and every word was inspired by God.

What are the purposes of God’s Scripture listed in 2 Timothy 3:16?

The purposes are listed as teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

How would you define each of those words of phrases? What if we turn each of these into a question: How is the Scripture useful for teaching? How does the Scripture rebuke or correct us or others? How is the Scripture used to train in righteousness?

Let’s make this question more personal. What if we add an “I” or “me” to each question? How do I use the Scripture for training? How does the Scripture rebuke or correct me? How do I use the Scripture to rebuke others? How do I know when this should happen? How do I use the Scripture for training in righteousness?


Find and read 3-5 verses that teach about Scriptures using your Bible or a Bible commentary. You might want to start a notebook for your reflections. A notebook would give you a place to write down the verses you find and your reflection – what they mean to you.


As we begin these studies together, let’s take a different verse each week and read it daily and commit it to our hearts and mind. That’s our first challenge. Reflect on this verse this week as you look at your daily activities. Are you using God’s Word in your daily walk? Do you know the Scriptures well enough to do this? If not, consider joining us weekly as we look read and study different Scriptures.

Come back on Wednesday to Delve Deeper into the Scriptures that God has given us.

Welcome to Garlands and Crowns, Take 2

DSlide3o you ever stop and reflect on something that you’ve planned or perhaps that you’ve been doing for a while – and then decide you need to make changes? Well, that is exactly what I have done with this blog!

After much thought and prayer (and probably procrastination), I have decided to go with a different format. Rather than a multi-week study on one book of the Bible, each week will feature a study of the Bible focusing on one word or phrase. On Monday, a verse from the Bible will be presented, three (or so) questions to check our understanding of the verse, and a challenge for the week. On Wednesday, we will delve deeper into our study of the verse for reflection and application to our daily lives. Friday will bring a week-end check in and activity.

Studies of different books of the Bible will be available for you to study at your own pace. as they are written. (Philippians, the original study for the blog, will be available shortly.) These workbooks will be available to print, download, or (in the near future) order. I would like to start a private discussion group on Facebook for these studies of the books of the Bible, if there is enough interest from you.

So, hang on to your hats (or rather garlands and crowns). The new format will be published on Monday. Come back on Monday to see the first Strength From the Scriptures topic revealed.

Your sister in Christ,

Philippians 1:1-11

Prayers and Thanksgiving

The book of Philippians is a personal letter from Paul to his friends that he loves. The letter begins with a salutation and Paul immediately tells the readers how thankful he is for them. Paul is the author of Philippians. Timothy was his companion on his journey and noted as it was in other books. Why was Timothy interested in the congregation at Philippi? Read Acts 16:11-40 to find out.

In verse 6, Paul glorifies God as the one who started the work in the congregation in Philippi. He recognized God as the one who converted them and brought them to the knowledge of Christ who saved them. Paul was confident in God, not the Philippians. However, it was their behavior that encouraged Paul to have assurance of their eternal destiny. Would Paul be confident of our eternal destiny?

In verse 7, we read of Paul’s fondness for the Philippians. He says, “I have you in my heart.” They were a constant help to Paul in his preaching mission. They even supported him when he was imprisoned.  Paul genuinely loved the Philippians. Paul also realized their weakness – they needed more knowledge in the understanding of the mind of Christ. He wanted their knowledge to be as great as their abundant love. (Read verse 9)

In verse 10, Paul prays for them and challenges them to approve things that are excellent and reminds them that they must be sincere and free of offense in living the Christian life until Christ returns at the final judgment. Paul then tells them to do this by being filled with the fruits of righteousness from Christ and which are to glorify God. (Read verse 11)

 Do you think this motivated them? Does this prayer and challenge motivate you?  

Paul gives us an example of prayer. In verse 3, we read a list of things that Paul was thanking God for and not a list of things he needed to receive from God. Do we thank God more for all of the blessings we have received or do we simply pray to God with a to-do list of things we need or want?

Challenge for this week: Examine your prayers to God this week? Are you remembering to thank God for the blessings in your life? Are you sincere in the things you ask God for? Do your prayers follow Paul’s example?

Click on the links below for printable study guides.
Lesson 1_Philippians 1_1-11 Study Questions
Lesson 1_Thanksgiving and Prayer

Welcome to Garlands and Crowns

Welcome to Garlands and Crowns.

The purpose of this blog is to delve into the Bible to learn from God’s Word to guide us in our daily lives.

This blog is a result of my love of God’s Word, learning and teaching others. Not only do I want to learn but I want to take others along and challenge them to study and learn with me.

Join me and explore lessons from the books of the Bible as well as topical studies from the Scriptures that will enrich us as women of God.

Each week a new lesson will be posted along with study questions. You can sign up for the electronic mailing list to receive a printable study guide each week.

An illustrated Bible verse will be published weekly. These verses can be saved to your electronic device or printed to use as a daily reading of God’s Word. You can even use this Scripture as a weekly memory verse to write God’s Word on your heart.

Hospitality will also be a focus of this blog with lessons and challenges published regularly.

Last but not least, you will find short lessons for children featuring Scripture, key learning points, and questions.

Take a few minutes to bookmark this blog, sign up for the email list, and leave a comment.

See you next week.