Embrace Grace Bible Study: Embrace Truth

50 Comments | Posted on 01/23/13 | Categories: Bible Study: Embrace Grace, Blog

Embrace Grace Bible Study | Liz Curtis Higgs

A cold night in February 1982. Snow was falling thick and fast, blowing across my windshield.

Not far ahead, a bookstore.

Later, when I told my friends where I was headed, they didn’t believe me. “At that hour? In that weather?”

Snowy Road through Windshield

Minutes earlier in a warm office, I’d confessed my sins (well, some of them) to the pastor of a church I’d started attending. Told him enough hairy details to get the point across.

When I finished, the pastor said gently, “So, you’ve lived a worldly life.”

I was confused. “No, I did all that stuff in America.”

He smiled.

After a short prayer, I’d bolted out of his office, intent on buying a Bible. Immediately.

Yes, a Bible. A big one.

I’d written down the kind my friends owned. Ryrie Study Bible. NASB. I had no idea what those initials stood for, but they sounded very official.

I soon learned what the letters meant. If you’re thinking New American Standard Bible, that’s one answer. But I think they also mean Not A Safe Book.

Looking into the Book of John

There is nothing safe about God’s Word. Read it, and pride is done for. Some verses cut like a knife, even through the thickest skin. Convincing. Convicting.

Listen to this: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Matthew 23:27).

Jesus said that? Yes, he did.

Tombs. Dead. Unclean. We get the picture.

The Bible also comforts, offering words that soothe and heal. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

Jesus said that too.

Dear, dear Jesus. To think of being yoked with you, walking close by your side, matching our footsteps to yours. Gentle. Humble. Rest-giving.

We know the Bible contains Truth because it has the power to change us. I’ve read many books that inspired me, that moved me, that touched me at some deep level, but only one book turned my life right-side up.

The Bible is more than words on a page. It’s God’s very heart in our hands.

In the Beginning...Sunrise

In the beginning… John 1:1

Wait. We’ve heard these words before and know them well. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Eugene Peterson must have smiled when he wrote, “First this:” (MSG). Yes.

But that’s only the beginning of the world, the beginning of time. It is not at all the beginning of God, “the Rock eternal (Isaiah 26:4).

John boldly echoes those words at the start of his gospel, reminding us Who was there before the beginning.

…was the Word… John 1:1

Indeed, “Before the world began, the Word was there” (ERV). Not a printed book; an eternal Being. “In the beginning is the one who is called the Word” (CEV).

We know him best by the proper name his Father chose for him. Jesus.

…and the Word was with God… John 1:1

Father and Son, together throughout eternity, bound with the Holy Spirit. All are One, yet different. If plain water can be liquid, vapor, and ice, surely the God of the universe can also be three in One.

…and the Word was God. John 1:1

Equal. Divine. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:19). Dangerous words for a man to speak, unless he is the Son.

Philosophers and theologians have spent centuries parsing this single verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That’s how powerful words can be, and this Word above all.

When it is spoken aloud, when the Word goes forth, things happen.

Charles Spurgeon

In October 1857. Charles Spurgeon preached at the Crystal Palace in London. A vast space, it held more than 23,000 people. Microphones were a thing of the future. Spurgeon had only the power of his voice and the conviction of his beliefs to make Christ known in that place.

He wrote, “A day or two before preaching at the Crystal Palace, I went to decide where the platform should be fixed; and, in order to test the acoustic properties of the building, cried in a loud voice, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’”

A single verse, John 1:29. The words of John the Baptist when he saw Jesus drawing near.

Up in one of the galleries of the Crystal Palace. a workman, unaware of Spurgeon’s presence, heard the spoken Word, which “came like a message from heaven to his soul.” He put down his tools, went home, and was reconciled with Christ.

One verse pierced his heart. One verse altered his life forever.

He was with God in the beginning.  John 1:2

Hmm. Didn’t John already cover this? He did.

God breathed this particular portion of his Word through the heart of a poet, who wasn’t afraid to state things twice, for our benefit. “The Word was God, in readiness from day one” (MSG).

Ready for what? Ready for you, beloved. Waiting patiently for you to read this truth, to hear this truth, to respond to this truth.

There are Bibles all over the world, all over our houses, waiting to be opened. On shelves and under beds, on top of coffee tables and inside dresser drawers. Waiting, waiting

Collection of Bibles

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3

Creation is all about Jesus. He is the life force of the universe, and the glue that holds it together. Paul restates this truth: “Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him” (Colossians 1:17 MSG).

I’m all for random acts of kindness, but not for random acts of creation. It’s comforting to know that everything has a purpose. Not one of us is a mistake.

Oh, Lord, thank you for that. Just…thank you.

In him was life,… John 1:4

He is the “bread of Life” (John 6:35), the “author of life” (Acts 3:15), the “Word of life” (1 John 1:1). If people don’t yet know or acknowledge that they owe their lives to Jesus, it doesn’t change the reality of it. “Life began by Him” (NLV), and he “gave life to everything that was created” (NLT).

When we introduce someone to Jesus, we are saying, “Come meet the One who knit you in your mother’s womb, the One who loved you from before you were born, the One who died that you might have life.”

…and that life was the light of men. John 1:4

Some of us grew up surrounded by artificial light. We went to church now and again, convinced we were Christians, yet not truly knowing God.

A day comes when candles are lit, lights blink on, curtains are thrown open, and darkness is banished. This Light, this Life, this Word makes everything new.

Suddenly, things inside us fall into place. Our hearts begin to heal from years of shoddy treatment. We have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a place where we can serve, a body of people we can love.

We’ve found the “Light to live by” (MSG), and so cup our hands around the flame, grateful for its warmth.

Candles Against the Darkness

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5

The forces of darkness have not “overpowered” (AMP). “suppressed” (CJB), “defeated” (ERV), or “mastered” (NET) the Light of the World, because it cannot be done.

Light, after all, is an energy source. Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. It has no power, no substance, no life of its own.

Darkness can make us nervous, though.

Last spring my daughter-in-law and I toured a cave aboard a small boat. When we reached the deepest point in the cave, the guide turned out all the lights.

Surprise.

I blinked, hoping my eyes would adjust to the absolute darkness. But there was no escaping it. Not a pin prick of light shone anywhere. I clasped her hand, silently counting the minutes until our boat carried us back into the light of day. I wouldn’t say we were scared exactly. More like terrified.

When we turn away from the light of Christ, even for a brief season, it’s unsettling how quickly darkness clouds our minds. We begin to doubt, to question, to fear.

What if God isn’t real? What if believing in him is pointless?

That’s when we run to the Word. Drink in the truth. Let the words refresh our faith and bring new life to our souls. Jesus is our only hope. And our best hope.

Now, it’s your turn:

Just before I posted this week’s study, I read through your comments once more and prayed over the concerns you shared. I know this will sound corny, but I’m going to say it anyway: I love you.

I love your honesty, sincerity, and compassion. I love that you handle God’s Word with care and each other with tenderness. I love that you make time for our weekly study, and are patient with me when I’m late posting, like this week (sorry).

Here are this week’s questions from Embrace Grace:

  • What place does God’s Word hold in your heart? in your home? in your day-to-day life?

I believe God calls some of us to teach because he knows that will keep us in his Word! You are a wonderful reason for me to keep studying, keep learning. It’s like God took my people-pleasing nature and turned it on its head. Isn’t he good?

  • Read aloud a verse of Scripture from this chapter that has challenged you, changed you, or comforted you. Why are those words especially meaningful to you?

In this week’s chapter I explain why Romans 8:38-39 is so dear to me. I hope you’ll share your favorite verse in the Comment section.

  • If it’s time to take the next step in your spiritual journey, how might God’s Word help you move forward?

This year I’m trying to memorize three chapters of Romans. (Who suggested that?! Oh, right. Ann Voskamp. I’m still in, sister.) How about you? Got any plans for you and God’s Word in 2013?

Please take a moment to leave a Comment. Meanwhile, I’m bracing myself for next week’s chapter, “Embrace Sin.” Oh baby…

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    50 thoughts on “Embrace Grace Bible Study: Embrace Truth

    1. Liz, honey, you make me giggle–which, during a bible study, WOW! Is that even RIGHT?!?! (Yes, I believe it is.) So many verses you used in this chapter speak to my heart, it’s difficult to pick a favorite. But John 1:5 glimmers, beckoning, like a light in the window guiding me home. So thankful the Lord is in charge of this vessel!

    2. This post is my heartbeat. I love the Truth, my Jesus and His wonderfully liberating Word! I’m praying I for Him to expand my territory. Love your heart dear Liz!
      I will see you in March at Set Apart! :)

    3. Love how you use different translations to explain. The words from John 1:1 and Gen 1:1 In the beginning…God who has no beginning or end, decided that we needed a begining and that we would also need an ending, both of those are found in Jesus. He is my beginning and my ending. There is no life outside of Him.

      I am doing both Experiencing God and the Beth Moore memory scripture. What amazes me (even though it shouldn’t) is how God is tying the two “different” types of scriptures into a whole melody to comfort correct and encourage…

      Sallye

        • Linda H.
          I saw your post I’m doing the Siesta Scripture Memory Team with Beth Moore as well. Check out her website http://blog.lproof.org/ it started on January 1st so there’s a post that day with all the information. Join us!

    4. Yes, the contrasts in the character of God is awesome, to think of His wrath and then of His immense grace is humbling… Looking forward to your trip to Scotland!

    5. Ah…my favorite verse of the moment is Romans 8:32…when my work situation, my kids growing up and moving away to adventures hand picked by God, my next stage in life…all seem fluid and feel like quicksand…every changing….and I wonder…will I be ok? He reminded me….if He didn’t spare His own son for me….won’t be be quick to give me all other things??

      Liz, your words are thought provoking, honest and refreshing. Thank you for taking the time and making your gifts available to us to encourage and strengthen our own walks

    6. Liz, I love the MSG translation that you shared of John 1:2 ““The Word was God, in readiness from day one” and how you shared that God has been waiting patiently for us to read, hear, and respond to this truth. It makes me think of a young child waiting to open gifts at christmas time. The excitement that builds as they wait. Can you imagine the excitement God has as he ‘patiently’ waits for us to discover His truths! Knowing this makes me want to dive into His word even more so and learn all He has to show us! It also makes me want to share with others that He’s waiting for them too!

      I also liked Psalm 43:3 “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me.” Making this verse my prayer, not only for myself, but as I share His word with others.

      How comforting it is to know that nothing in all creation, can ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:38-39)

      God’s love is amazing!!!

    7. Hi Liz,
      I can totally relate to the analogy of light that you used for the scripture John 1:4 – once we allow “light” into our lives it overpowers the darkness. That was my experience when I surrendered my life to Christ … Praise God! I was at my niece’s husband’s funeral last week (39 yrs old … killed in a car accident leaving a wife and 5 children ages 7-14 yrs old). Gone, in a flash … no time to say goodbye. But at his funeral all 5 children, including his wife, each read a letter to their father/husband. What a legacy of faith in Christ he has left his family. Even though he is physically gone he has sown the seeds for being a Christ follower. It has renewed and resurged me to be a true Christ follower. I am doing Beth Moore’s memory scripture and currently studying the book of Isaiah. I look so forward to Wednesdays and your blog. Keep preaching dear Sista!

    8. Pingback: Seriously?!?!?!? Don’t Panic. « Her Steps, Her Journey, His Grace.

    9. I’ve come to really enjoy these weekly lessons together with all of you. ^_^ Here are my answers to this week’s questions:
      #1. Previously, God’s Word was “something I should read”, but “didn’t have time for.” I’ve realized in the last three months how important it is to be in His Word regularly. A friend of mine once made a comment that she was “desperately needing quiet time to get be in her Bible and pray”, at the time I could not understand that sentence, now I do. The Lord put things in my path such as a women’s night group at church and a lesson book that really hit home the importance of being in His word, followed by a Sunday School class that did the same thing. Now I realize it’s not only important for me, however, for my entire family. In my home, I try to encourage my husband and son to spend some time alone in the Word, and ensure that I do what little things I can to give us the time we need for a small “family” devotion each evening. What a difference it makes for all of our lives. And what a difference it makes when we find ourselves getting “too busy” for it.
      #2. “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” ~Job 23:12. This is the verse that seemed to grab me the most in this Chapter because it made me pause and question “Do I?” and was followed by an “I want to.” This verse has spoken deep love and deep change to my heart that I want to Embrace His Truth above All Else.
      #3. God’s Word has already been helping me move forward in a number of ways that I’m fully realizing as I stop and truly think about it. I realize it’s also an area I’ve neglected so long, that I do NOT “know” as much about His word as I had fooled myself into believing. This year I made a commitment and decision to really dive into His word and am reading through the New Testament, starting with Matthew. I’m using Max Lucado’s “Life Lessons: The Gospel of Matthew” to help guide me and slow me down with questions that make me pause and think and pray and look up other verses in other books of the Bible. It’s a slow process, however, it’s a beautiful process that is completely wrapped in His Truth which I’m discovering I do “crave”.
      My prayers are that everyone finds comfort in His Truth this week. *hugs to all*

    10. This study has sparked something in me. As I study God’s word am I really putting it in my heart or is it just head knowledge. Is my heart and soul truly believing and applying those truths to my life? Can what is in my heart be seen to those around me? I loved your comment “The Bible is more than words on a page. It’s God’s very heart in our hands” I am going: to go back to putting God’s heart up around me so that I can see and be reminded more often of His word. I love the verse from Romans 8.:38-39 from the Message, “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you, We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m aboulutely convinced that nothing-nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Thank you Liz once again for your gift from God that you share with us. It encourages me to dig deeper. Praying this week I look at God’s word not with just my head but with my heart.

    11. I’m longing to get more into the Word…so the Word will get into me! I love Romans 8:38-39…..it is so amazing and so assuring that God’s love for me cannot be changed, lessened or separated from me. I too am working on memorizing these verses!
      I want to hide the Word in my heart and live it out each day.

    12. Your comment really spoke to me today: “Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. It has no power, no substance, no life of its own”
      Thanks for sharing all that God is continuing to teach you as it teaches and blesses us too.

    13. Holding God’s Word close to my heart helps me to move forward, to face the day. When I get too busy and don’t meditate on His Word, that’s when I feel the darkness closing in.
      #2 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:5) This verse kept jumping out at me. As I was reading it over, these words God pressed on my heart:

      Truth is what breaks the chains of bondage from the Satan
      Truth is the Light that consumes darkness
      Truth is Jesus Christ!

      # 3 Seeking God’s Word everyday helps me to hold on to His Truth when the darkness starts to creep in! Ok…remember that Tammy!!!

    14. Ha! I loved how you said, “I’m all for random acts of kindness, but not random acts of creation.” I pictured a cluttered artist’s studio filled with the rejects and half-finished pieces that never made it any farther and was thankful that God is intentional and loving, doesn’t create things or people on a whim.

      As far as what place God’s word holds in my heart…I LOVE God’s word and what I come away with every time I open it, but I also know I need to give Him more priority than I do and make better choices like picking up His word versus my iPhone for whatever distraction that offers. I am reminded of a song by Sara Groves called “The Word”. One of the verses says:
      ” I think it’s very odd that while I attempt to help myself, my Bible sits upon the shelf with every promise I could ever need. People are getting fit for truth like they’re buying a new tailored suit. Does it fit across the shoulders, does it fade when it grows older? We throw ideas that aren’t in style in the Salvation Army pile and search for something more to meet our needs…The Word was, the Word is, and the Word will be.”
      I just want to read more of it, in its totality from beginning to end to see the big picture!

    15. Oh…and I have a hard time choosing one verse, but I love Hebrews 12! So much packed into that one chapter!

    16. Wow! God’s timing is so astonishing! Last night I lay in bed thinking about His Word and its power for an hour and a half. At 1:00 a.m.! I started a new prayer group at my workplace yesterday and asked my new members what they’re curious about, thinking maybe they’d say something like “how can I learn to pray” … but do you know what they wrote? [I don't know why I'm shocked, but I am] “I’m curious about the Bible. I want to know more.” Oh my gosh, I’m such a Bible nerd, I felt like screaming “You’ve come to the right place, girls! Let’s learn it together!” He seriously amazes me. Every. Day. And then you post this, Liz. Wow, Lord. Just. Wow.

      What place does God’s Word have in my life? I can’t get enough, and it’s the single most joyful gift I give away, and I try to give it as much as possible every day. I text it to friends and send cards to strangers and write it for as many will see. It’s also sustaining food for my soul that I want, need, and am literally addicted to. Yum!

      Why does a particular verse mean so much to me? I’m also working on memorizing Romans 1. I love how it says in the beginning that Paul was chosen. Chosen. God Chose Paul, and He chose me. Again. Amazed. He wanted me. Picked me. Selected me of all people. I feel special and treasured all over again. I can’t begin to say how good it feels to receive His love when for so long I rejected it because I believed the lie that I wasn’t worthy enough to be chosen. It is comfort and healing and change only He could do. I’m so enamored.

      How will it move me forward? God’s word will empower me to do what He chose me for. He’s got big plans for me, and if I keep living with open hands to His Word every day, it will be my guide and strength and power to do it. And then He’ll get the glory and I’ll get none, and that’s how it’s done!

      Love you, Lizzie. Thank you for taking the time to write, study, and share. It spurs me on and I love Him more for giving you to the world. Your life is a gift!!

    17. When we turn away from the light of Christ, even for a brief season, it’s unsettling how quickly darkness clouds our minds. We begin to doubt, to question, to fear.

      What if God isn’t real? What if believing in him is pointless?

      I love to watch Star Trek. In all of its forms it is one of my favorite shows.

      I read that quip about darkness clouding the mind, and the doubts setting in. It was 1981 when I was gloriously saved. When I met this man that loved me enough to die…for me! Talk about ‘a bad girl’ . Look that term up, and there was my picture to define it! 30 years of glory, of miracles, of joy beyond fathoming, healing, being in the presence of God. Of pain, of hardship, of arrows to my soul. Until, finally…well, ‘the shields are failing, Captain!’ An onslaught got through. The shields failed, and I was brought down. Three years now of looking like the kitten hanging onto the end of the rope with every claw, trying to hang on. Can’t bring myself to go to church, much as I know the call to do so, because there is where the arrows that pierced through came from. Lying, broken, on the truth that He will not let me go. That He will never leave me. That I am my beloveds and He is mine. Waiting for the Engineer to repair the shields of faith and raise me up again.

      Thank you for these studies. God uses you all to speak to my ‘healing’ heart!

    18. Karla and Linda, you have expressed my own thoughts so very well! I too noticed your comment Liz, about God not making mistakes. That again reinforces for me what He has shown me these past few months. He created me from the tiniest bit of matter and he knows every bit of that matter. I “matter” to Him! :=) Psalm 43:3, “Send forth your light and truth, let them guide me.”, is the verse that spoke to me. I haven’t always made Bible reading a habit, but have striven these past 6 months to do so, with wondrful results. Oh, Liz, I’ve told you before, how much I love you and I’m sure everyone here feels the same way. You have shared so much of yourself and your life and your faith with us for so many years! May God continue to bless You!

      • Thanks Becky for the Ps. 43;3 sharing. It is just the healing prayer my heart needs. Having chronic medical issues and pain for the past 17 years I have had lots of time with the scriptures but lost the deep ove, awe and yearning I am used to having for it. I will use his verse as my prayer until He restores my joy in His Holy word. Blessings 2 U!

    19. What a blessing to read your words – through your blog and, especially, your enjoyable books. (Looking forward to more masterpieces, sis)

      I was similarly “worldly” (and definitely rebellious) when God also got my attention in 1982 (January) – though it was not snowing in So. Cal. where I live of course. I started with the KJV and have used it these past 31 years (with the exception of a 2 year use of NASB as recommended by a pastor). Fortunately, it is written in large print which is a blessing for my tired old eyes.

      My favorite verse remains John 10:10 “….I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He has indeed fulfilled my life, though the grievous sins of my first 38 years of blind wantonness rather deserve severe punishment. (Another “favorite” verse comes to mind, best rendered in the NIV: “…her many sins have been forgiven…But he who has been forgiven little loves little. Lk. 7:47) Oh, such great forgiveness is mind-boggling!

      I would enjoy hearing you speak, if you ever journey to the western ends of the U.S.(So. Cal.) The Rancho Mirage desert where we currently live could use some spiritual refining to be sure.

    20. Liz, Thank You!
      I know that even though after the mess of life.. When in the Valley, that I felt the most unlovable .. Romans 8: 38- 39 is assurance to me that even I could find comfort .. forgiveness in Christ Jesus… Yes,He still loves me! Obediently stepping into the destiny He has for me.. Awesome God!

    21. Just found you…and so blessed to have done so! There has been a slow, but deep awakening in this church raised but scripture ignorant girl soul. Thank you for saying yes to Him by using your gifts to inspire and lift our own souls HIGHER toward HIM, the One and Only. The gift of Scripture is absolutely coming alive in my heart…I feel like His words LIFT off the page and I can’t drink enough of this “Water”. Your thoughts are going to be such a useful tool to dig even deeper in my walk with Him. THANK YOU…you are on my (literal) list of “thanks” for today…that list that sweet Ann Voskamp :) inspired me to keep this year. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

    22. Liz, thank you so much for your weekly dose of making the Bible come alive for me. Telling a serial worrier like me that darkness has no power, it’s just the absence of light, spoke deep into my soul!
      I also loved your thoughts on His choice of teachers….I was a Sunday School and Youth Group leader for ten years, and always wondered why He thought me of all people would be any good ( I had a very worldly pre Christian life, too). When the Bible says “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3, 1-2) that just gave me even more cause to worry! But when you said it could be part of His plan to keep us in His word, I thought, wow! So THAT’s what He was up to!
      I no longer go to church regularly, but still have a deep faith and your weekly study has really helped me. Thank you so much x

    23. Liz,
      I enjoyed reading this SO very much! The part about where if we turn away from Christ, even or a season, really spoke to me. I haven’t been spending time in The Word. As a result, I have been deeply distressed and fearful. This post encouraged me to get back in His Word & rely on GOD instead of myself.

      Thank you!

    24. WOW! God’s Word. The word WORD simply encompasses so much. Jesus, the Word is in me, so no matter where I go today, He is with me, in me. John 1:14 The word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the GLORY with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.

      I love to memorize and this year I will finish the book of Ruth, with just 6 verses of the 85 left to go. What an incredible adventure to memorize a full story- my first time.

    25. Liz, thank you so much for this weekly study. It is nourishment for this thirsty and hungry soul. I love John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood” your statement that darkness is nothing more than the absence of light, it has no power, no substance, no life of its own really hit home. I am an artist and this is one of the things I first learned about painting, black is not a colour, it is an abscence of colour. Wow, It never occured to me that this could hold the same truth in my walk with God. To me, darkness (being separated from God – even for a moment- )holds fear. But our God is so good, so loving, so awesome!! HE CHOSE ME! HE CHOSE ME!
      The verse I have chosen to memorise – it is pinned up everywhere I work- “For God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7

    26. Yes, it certainly is cold here in Maryland today, but not snowing right now.
      You asked for comments on your blog today. I, too, am a Bible Study teacher, and I have learned sooooo much studying for my presentations. We are doing “The Story” at our church which is basically the whole Bible in chronological order. I found that there was a lot left out, so I endeavor to fill in some of that when I have my weekly lessons. I really do think that I’ve learned more than my students. It takes a lot of time to prepare, but it is so well worth it.

    27. Hey chicks! Wow this is so good! I love to have worship music playing in my home and in my car. At church last night we talked about “Embracing Joy”. So I want to wake up each morning and think -Don’t worry-Be happy! Now, granted-I have to work at it! I don’t even speak til I have a cup of coffee in my hand. Lol! My verse this year is “Jeremiah 29 :11-12. For I know the plans I have for you,plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you Hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and pray to me and I will listen. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Oh yea! Last year was a tough one but I see the light and I’m excited! So I am moving forward! Faith is sometimes spelled “risk”. Bless you all! Thank you Liz for this wonderful time you set aside for us. KT

    28. This verse really is speaking to me lately: “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:5 I struggle with close family members who totally have no idea what they’re missing by not having the Peace that passes understanding!

    29. Somehow, I am a week ahead in this study, so I had to go back to my journal to read what I said about this week.
      Psalm 43:3 “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me.”
      These words will keep me going, for on this day my heart was crushed as I was called in to the bosses office because a co-worker (a fellow believer) felt that I didn’t respect him, that I’m rude to him and have never (he said never) apologized to him for any of my behavior. (I’ve been working with him for 13 years) My personality was attacked, my spirits were deflated, my spirit crushed. But, the Lord will send forth HIS light and HIS truth and let them guide me.

    30. Liz it seems every week I read and understand more about God’s word —the way you explain it—very few people explain it like you do–love it!! Satan loves the darkness because if he can keep us there he will win but God is watching over us and if we trust in him and tell the Devil to get behind us he will flee from us –we just have to stand on his word and believe. Looking forward to next week–GOD BLESS!!!

    31. I could really use a discussion on how one can regain that deep
      attraction and awe for the scriptures after “church distress’ when the
      sword was or often felt like it was used as a weapon. I struggle to
      find the zeal Liz enjoys to drink from the Word. Anyone have
      suggestions?

      • Elizabeth,
        Maybe just have some good prayer time, telling God exactly how you feel and that you want a love for His word to return. That’s a prayer according to His will and that He would love to answer! Also, get into the Psalms where you’ll see how David poured out his heart to God and it wasn’t all rosy, many times he was angry. I’m sure you’ll find something that relates to your circumstance. I hope that helps! I’ll pray for you!

        • I agree with Karla, Elizabeth. Pooring out your heart to the Lord, reading through the Psalms. Pray for forgiveness to overcome you for the hurt you feel from the “sword” injuries. He will answer.

    32. I am spending a great deal of my time in the Word this year. I pulled out my copy of The One Year Bible which has been gathering dust in the bookcase for a couple of years and am reading it daily along with daily readings from Jesus Calling. I have faithfully been doing this every morning first thing. I am doing four different Bible studies including this one and learning so much. God is so faithful and trustworthy. I sleep better and worry a great deal less now and am just a happier more contented person.

    33. I am enjoying reading your posts. I read Bad Girls of the Bible and Mad Mary both very thought provoking and wonderful. You have helped bring the Bible to life for me. I am now readings The Girl’s Still Got It. You are a blessing to me.

    34. My favorite vs. is Gal. 2:20. I used to think saving faith was something I had to work up al by myself Until a very loving, godly lady introduced my to this vs. and explained it. Where it says, “…and the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God…” God’s faith, not mine. He gives the faith we need to be saved. That was the best news I had ever heard! :~) Praise The Dear Lord for His imparted Faith.

    35. Romans 8:38-39 is also a favorite of mine. “I am CONVINCED that nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That whole chapter of Romans would be worth memorizing. Guess it is time to get started!
      Also praying to open my mouth when the Lord gives the opportunity to share these truths.

    36. 1) I read my Bible every day, more times a day, usually. Still, I feel it is often not enough. And every time I read something that touches me, i want to remember that. It is impossible to memorize all. How is this with other people?
      2) Micah 7:9 with Hebr 9:12 It always makes me wonder How it is to really not think about forgiven sins anymore?
      Ps 118:6 is the kind of verse I’m memorizing, right now, in my anxiety for my upcoming eye surgery on Feb. 6th. (waking up with both eyes covered makes me squemish)
      3) I have read through the Bible in a year, for many years now. This year I want to focus on the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. It gives me a bit more time to study a bit deeper.
      Liz, I wish I had to teach on a regular basis so it would keep me on my toes.
      Thank you for your remark about darkness holding no power over us. That hit the head of the nail for me.
      Again, thank you, Liz. Keep up the good work. I will read it and pray for you, you go on.
      Michele Lemiere
      Belgium

    37. So happy to have found this! I have my “quiet time” (bible reading, prayer) every morning, yet have been longing for fellowship with a women’s bible study group or such. I have been focusing the past few months on Ephesions 1: 3-14…a reminder that even before He made the world, God chose me, knows me and loves me no matter what. Nothing I have ever done or could ever do will change that love. Ahhh. Such rest and relief in that!

    38. Liz I love you, you make me smile and laugh. God has really given you a talent
      I read some of the Bible study to my husband. Sometimes before going to sleep he’ll say tell me a story. (I think he is just kidding) but when he says that I read him your Wed Bible study. lol This week it spoke to my heart about being yoked to Jesus. I loved how you stated it. Dear dear Jesus. Yes I love Him so much! Being yoked to Him is easy. Unlike my parents who didn’t nurture and love me. No parental or earthly love can compare to His<3
      For 2013 I am endeavoring to read through the Bible in 8 months. Then when I am done. I have a program of reading through the Bible in 90 days., The 8 months are going well, hope and pray I can do 90 days. Yikes!!!!! Luv u sis:)

    39. The last few years have been difficult and different for me and though I attended church and maintained a faith, it did falter. Finding out that a marriage of 27 years was based on lies was not easy. I have read most of your books and this Bible study is the beginning of steps back to a active faith, I hope. I am also going back to your previous study on The Girl’s Still Got It and thoroughly enjoying the study. Thank you so much for all that you share.

      • Helene, bless you! Here is a cyber hug { }. It looks like we have tred similar waters. My heart goes out to you. I’m on my own healing journey. The big turn came when I could really feel Jesus as my husband. HE is my Boaz and thus HE will and has taken care of me. I pray He displays the same to you and you can feel as I do I LOVE HIM!!!!

    40. “Darkness is only the absence of light. It has no power”- these are powerful words. Darkness only has the power we give it with our fear & anxieties.
      Perfect love has no fear; God is love. I also have found that trusting God is absolutely necessary, but also difficult for me- a consumate OCD control freak if there ever was one. But I am trying, and part of that is pledging to spend more time immersed in His Word. It is a journey, I constantly remind myself.

    41. I have been reading EMBRACE GRACE without realizing that you have been doing a study. I LOVE all your books but this one has spoken to me on the deepest level. I love your way with communicating God’s WORD to our deepest needs. Thank you for all the time you devote to scripture study for our benefit.

    42. Trust is shown explicitly to me in the Indiana Jones movie: The Last Crusade where he comes through a cave and there is nothing to get him to the other side. His father’s voice says, “You must trust.” He throws out the pebbles and there is the bridge across. In 20 years of ministry, we have trusted God for everything; not always understood why things happen, but know the He has always supplied our every need. A few weeks ago I had to have a lot of work done on my van totalling over $500, so I knew I had to start praying about where we were going to get that money….I had just lost my teaching job due to a decline in enrollment and was cut from the budget. The day before we went to pick up the van and pay the bill, my husband found an envelope on his desk at church and brought it to me. Inside was a note “darn cars!” and $500 in cash. I just cried, knowing once again God had provided in our time of need.