If I am lost in a city, I like to go to a map so I can see the “big picture.” The same thing is true of discerning God’s will. Having an overall general understanding of God’s book, character, actions and words helps us to understand God and to understand how He works.

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together, I suggest one of these  ideas to layer God’s Word into your life:

  1. Read the Bible through in a year. The One-Year Bible or one of Tyndale’s One Year Bible Devotionals, like Devotions for Women on the Go are options.  You might read a new translation or use a different study tool as you read, but year after year – even if it takes you a few years to read it through – God’s Word will become anchored into your heart.
  2. Study the Bible chronologically. Studying the Bible this way has helped me form my philosophy and methodology of ministry. For example, because I see how God lays foundations, then builds on them, I want to do the same in my ministry.
  3. Study the character of God. By studying who God is, I get to see how He thinks, acts, and relates to people. When I am in a tough spot, especially when I have to make a quick decision, I go back and ask, “What would God’s character have me do?” This year, I had several important decisions on my mind, decisions that would dramatically impact my family, my ministry and my future. I felt compelled to travel back to the place I started my Christian walk more than 30 years ago – in the book of Matthew.
  4. I re-read all the words of Jesus in the gospels, seeking the heart of God on the matter before me.
  5. Dive Deep Into A Topic: For several years, I have been in the psalms. First as one of the writers for Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, then the following few years as a teacher of that study of the Psalms. The benefit of a focused topical study is you move closer to the heartbeat of God in that area of life or scripture.

Other ideas for study are the names of God in the Old Testament, the verses that speak of God as the Father, the names Christ is called in the Old and New Testament, and the names and character of the Holy Spirit. When you layer God’s Word into your life on a daily basis, you gain the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Jesus explains it with the phrase, “You are in me and I in you” (John 14:20, John 17:21-22). The Word of God is the key ingredient in protecting your life: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including several devotionals: Devotions for Women on the Go;

A Couples’ Journey with God, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, and soon to be released Discovering Joy in Philippians.   The Farrels are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise.

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Jesus had a great mother.

She said “Yes!” to the angel when it was explained that the Spirit would overshadow her and she would conceive. (She was a very young mother)

“I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
She endured social ridicule because she was seen as a woman who became pregnant while still engaged. (People didn’t get the emaculate conception yet)

She rode a donkey in travel the days leading up to his birth. (This would be a sacrifice even if she was not expecting)

“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)

She had to go hunting for a son who was busy doing his father’s business in the temple. (There were no Amber Alerts to help her find her bright and bold missing son)

43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:43-49)

She followed Christ as he ministered. (It is hard on we moms to switch roles from being the leader of our child to one where the grown child leads us)

She took her broken heaert to the foot of the cross and watched her kind, perfect son be crucified by an ungrateful mob and the immoral ruling soldiers and leaders.

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother” (John 19:25)

She waited, in hope, for three days, to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to rise again.  She went to the tomb to annoint his body. (She hoped for the best, prepared for the worst. Waiting as a mother is a very hard thing– but waiting for an “overcoming death” miracle must be the hardest of all).

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; (John 16) 

She had a weeks with her son, then she most liekly watched him glorified and enter heaven– never to return in her lifetime. (A mom laways misses a grown child, but a child in heaven when you are still one earth is one of the most difficult duties a mother can endure.)

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)

I had a great mom too. She followed Christ’s example in that she sacrifced much to keep her three children safe when her husband would drink too much, rage too long, and embarrass with his behaviors too often.

Chances are you have a great mom too. And even if she is not all that great, she is great for one very important reason– she gave you life! 

So call her! Thank her! Send her flowers!

Happy Mother’s Day

Pam Farrel is a grateful daughter, author of 45 books she happily wrote late at night and early in the morning to buy groceries for her three athlete sons who ate bags and bags of graoceries– but have grown into great godly sons who call their mother for Mother’s Day. Pam is the author of several parenting books including 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. 

Farrel family

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It is all about the heart:

“the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

David was called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 13:14)

And we pray with the Psalmist,  “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)

A few of the Psalms in my Discovering Hope in the Psalms Bible study captures the kind of heart God is looking for:

God is looking for thirsty hearts.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)

This word picture is of a deer searching, longing, desperate for living water to quench her/ his dying thirst. To me it is much like the kind of person Jesus talks about in the Sermon on the mount that God wants to bless: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)

God is looking for contrite hearts.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

Broken in this verse means to “shatter into tiny pieces”. And contrite is to “crush to bits” I like to picture this as the tiny pieces of stained glass that in the hands of an artist becomes a magnificent work of art, more beautiful and valuable after it has been broken. In my life, many of my mentors have served as the artisans that God has used to put my life back together.

God is looking for grateful hearts

Enter his gates with thanksgiving   and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations
(Psalm 100:4- 5)

People with grateful hearts, seek out spending time with others who want to thank and praise the goodness of God.  All the many mentors of my life have taught me to be grateful, thankful, appreciative of every moment of time someone has shared with me, sacrificed for me, so I could learn to know God better.

Pam Farrel
Heart for God

Maybe today, thank God for drawing your heart to Him, and thank those who helped you along the way to have a heart that is fully God’s.

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books, most recently Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experieince, and she is one very grateful and thankful woman– who prays she will always keep a whole heart for God. www.Love-Wise.com

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I am a Bo Peep. Yes, I grew up on a Suffolk sheep farm–

Pam Farrel and 4 – H lamb

so Psalm 23 is very personal to this Shepherdess’ heart.

Let’s just glimpse at the first few verses:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 he refreshes my soul.

One of the common heart cries of the human race is for greener pastures- a life better, brighter, quieter or calmer. God knows this is dream is on our hearts.

Lie Down in Green Pastures

When I read, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” that is exactly the experience of my upbringing.  I would often walk barefoot through the deep, lush, green grass of the pasture, as the sheep serenely grazed. I would take a blanket and a Bible, and lie down and spend quiet hours communing with God.

I might walk over to the creek, and sit on the simple wooden plank that created a bridge, and sit and rest quietly dipping my toes into the cool stream. This was my place of solace and restoration, far away from the chaos my alcoholic, raging, earthly father might be creating in our small farm house.  To this day, resting in an open meadow, or the sound of gently tinkling chimes, remind me of the restorative rest the Good Shepherd can create even in the midst of chaos.

Take a blanket and your bible and find a green pasture, a meadow, a park with a shady tree and

Green pasture quiet time with God

take a short oasis with the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— (John 10:14)

Pam Farrel is the author of 45 books, and international speaker who will always be a country girl at heart.

Her most recent book is Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experieince

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kathy-ideHi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about tips for writers based on the manuscripts I edit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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