6 Ways to Prepare for the Unexpected Test

Rachel flipped through her stack of vocabulary note cards. Tucking her legs crisscross applesauce style, she moaned, “Mom, can you email the teacher and ask what the test will be like?”

“Nope.”

“Please,” she begged.

“Rachel, I could contact the teacher but you need to know this information backwards and forwards.  If you know you will only be given a multiple choice test, you will only study to recognize the answer. You need to know this information inside and out. You need to be prepared no matter how you are tested.”

As soon as I uttered that last sentence, the Holy Spirit nudged me. I did not feel a tangible nudge, but rather a nudge in my spirit. You need to be prepared no matter how you are tested, echoed my words. Where those really my words to begin with or did the Holy Spirit plant those words in my mind to speak to Rachel? Either way, those words penetrated my soul with a deeper significance than my daughter’s upcoming vocabulary test.

Are you ready for your test?

The fact is each one of us will face a test in life. Sometimes we have ample time to prepare such as preparing to launch young adults to college or transitioning aging parents into an assisted living facility.

Other times, tests strike like a bolt of lightening leaving us blindsided and dazed. Caught off guard, these pop quizzes feel more significant. Unexpected health diagnoses, the death of a loved one, an accident, separation, or job loss are weighty pop quizzes.

You need to be prepared no matter how you are tested Click To Tweet

Pencils ready.

Unexpected tests are inevitable. The good news is God’s Word gives us detailed instruction on how to prepare for the tests and pop quizzes of life.

I am not a theologian or Bible scholar. I am a Christ follower who has survived the tests of a miscarriage, depression, a strong-willed child, betrayal, and most recently an unexpected health diagnosis resulting in an invisible chronic illness, the loss of my job and our beloved home.  I do not pretend to have all the answers but by remaining rooted in these six areas have helped me (and my family) through our tests and crisis of faith.

6 Ways to Prepare for the Unexpected Test:

  1. Seek: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
  2. Abide/ Remain: “Remain in me, as I remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
  3. Surrender: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:35
  4. Obey: “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.” Psalm 119:57
  5. Trust:“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
  6. Pray:“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

Extra Credit

If you want to dig deeper into God’s Word read the following verses for extra credit.

  1. Seek: Jeremiah 29:13, Deuteronomy 4:9, Psalm 27:4, Psalm 119:2, Isaiah 55:6, Lamentations 3:25, Hebrews 11:6, and Matthew 7:7
  2. Abide/Remain: Exodus 33:14, Psalm 92:12-15, 2 Corinthians 5:7, John 16:33, John 15:7-10
  3. Surrender: Isaiah 64:8, Psalm 37:7, Mark 10:28, Matthew 16:24-25, Galatians 2:20, Romans 12:1
  4. Obey: Luke 11:28 Psalm 119:88, 168, Ecclesiastes 8:5, Matthew 8:27, John 14:23-24, Romans 2:13
  5. Trust: Hebrews 6:19, Psalm 20:7, Isaiah 26:3, Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 37:3, Psalm 44:6-7, Jeremiah 17:7, Isaiah 26:4
  6. Pray: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Matthew 6:6-9, Matthew 5:44, Matthew 26:41, Luke 22:40, Romans 8:26

“He is a faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9

~April Dawn White

©2017 April Dawn White, All Rights Reserved.

8 Steps Toward Healthy Christian Living

Medicine and Pharmacy

As a pharmacist, I dispense medication, education, and recommendations. As a Christian and writer, my mission is to encourage others by dispensing spiritual medicine for a healthy soul.

Today I am sharing with you my sermon notes from Pastor Karl Hofheinz’s message delivered September 25, 2016. (I will link the message once uploaded).  “Open wide your mouth” (Psalm 81:10) here comes a dose of spiritual medication for a healthy soul.

Healthy Christian living reaches for the Word of God daily. Click To Tweet

Healthy Christian living reaches for the Word of God daily. Spending time in God’s Word improves our vertical relationships with God and our horizontal relationships with others. Paul’s book of Colossians opens with eight timeless steps for healthy Christian living. These crucial steps are:

  1. Knowledge of God’s Will. Colossians 1:9

Six Areas to Possess the Will of God:

  • Abiding in God’s Word (Bible). (John 15, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:11, Psalm 105)
  • Obedience to God’s written voice (Bible). God doesn’t reveal the finished plan at once, He asks for the next small step of obedience.
  • Being one with God. (John 17) Know the heart and mind of God so that His glory radiates off us.
  • Have no unconfessed sin in your life. (Psalm 51). When we want to hear God’s voice, get rid of sin.
  • Healthy Christian LivingBe careful of who is speaking. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Who’s idea was it anyway, mine or God’s? Did I pray about this decision or am I moving forward with my own agenda asking God to bless my idea? Is this assignment God’s will for my life? I need to be careful of the right heart motive. Am I secretly trying to impress others?
  • Possess a “Not I, but Christ” attitude. (Galatians 2:20) Just as I punch the snooze button each day, I also need to punch the “220 button” resetting my attitude toward Christ’s desires.
  1. Walk Worthy of Jesus. Colossians 1:10. We are ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). As his personal representatives here on earth, we need to represent Christ well.
  1. Fully Please God. Colossians 1:10. Our desired target is to please God in our actions, love for others, and relationship with Him.
  1. Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work. Colossians 1:10. John chapter fifteen is the fruit chapter. A healthy Christian Life possess fruit, more fruit, and much fruit, which comes only by abiding, dwelling, saturating, ourselves with God in prayer and reading His Word.
  1. Increase in the Knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10. Be in the Word of God daily. Reading devotionals and listening to podcasts are great supplements, but we need to read it for ourselves and not be spoon fed from someone else. God wants us to “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) for ourselves. “Put on your new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge.” (Colossians 3:10). “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Five Ways to Increase in the Knowledge of God:Healthy Christian Living

  • Study the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Memorize on the Word (Psalm 119:11)
  • Mediate on the Word(Joshua 1:8)
  • Hear the Word (Romans 10:17)
  • Read the Word (Revelation 1:3)
  1. Be Strengthened by All Power According to His Glorious Might. Colossians 1:11. The weapons of our warfare are mighty (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We have the weapons of God’s Word, Prayer, and Fasting.
  1. Possess Patience and Long-Suffering with Joy. Colossians 1:11. If we think right, we will do right, and act right. “The peace of God which transcends all understandings will guard our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7-8).
  1. Be Thankful. Colossians 1:12. God the Father, through Jesus Christ, has qualified believers to share in the eternal inheritance of Heaven.

Taste and see the Lord is godDavid wrote, “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Use these sermon notes as a study guide, but more importantly, seek God and read His Word for yourself.

Imagine you and your friend are standing outside a pavilion offering free ice cream. Your friend returns, slurping up the ice cream dripping from a waffle cone. Salivary glands erupt, as you see the sugary goodness. Having never tasted ice cream before you watch and listen as your friend describes the flavor and texture of the ice cream. You too can taste ice cream for yourself. It is free and available to anyone. Christ’s love is free and available to anyone anyone willing to believe.

Will you make movement toward God?

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.

*Images courtesy of Pixabay.

Coffee Date Mentoring

This week I was blessed to sCoffee taste and see versehare life over coffee with two amazing women. 

Brenda Shumaker, my writing mentor, has taught me to see my current circumstance an opportunity to share God’s glory through my difficulty. Although I no longer possess the strength to hold a violin, Carolyn Peterson, my violin instructor, has taught me how to  “praise Him with the strings ” (Psalm 150:4) and in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

These women have continually poured into my life. I cherish their friendship and wisdom in marriage, parenting, and listening for the voice of God. These women have each been married longer than I’ve been alive. Their testimonies of God’s amazing grace is a delectable blend of sweet memories, rich laughter and salty tears. 

I am thankful to be surrounded by many other seasoned saints and old souls. In our age of social media, I’m afraid my generation and the generation after me is losing the art of face-to-face communication. There is special bond welded when two people share in each other’s burdens. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, HCSB)

This is the first of many short and sweet “Free Friday” posts. I encourage you to download the free encouraging graphic made just for you. 

Hugs, 
April 

 

One Defiant Daffodil


Bloom where you are planted.
(1 Corinthians 7:17, my version)
The air was thick with threat of rain. The sky was overcast.  The dreary weather mimicked my own mood. It was Monday, and I was dreading going into work.  As I backed out of the garage something caught my eye. I peered across the yard, and saw a single defiant daffodil.  The sunny color was the antidote for my sullen mood.
-William Arthur Ward
I have planted daffodils, over the years, but they never flower. The stems will emerge above ground, but the plants never produce the distinctive yellow cup. Today however, I finally witnessed a daffodil in bloom. The cheerful yellow color of the trumpet flower stood in stark contrast to our dormant yard.
God used this single defiant daffodil to speak to my heart.  In my spirit, I sensed God whisper, “April, be a defiant daffodil today.” While driving to a thankless job, God encouraged me to lift my chin up towards the Son, smile bright, and be a defiant daffodil.  In a world filled with hate and gloom, cheerful defiance is required to live counter-culturally for the Lord. God used this single flower to remind me to lift my head up to my Creator and to bask in His glory.

 After researching daffodils, I learned these flowers are known in England and European countries as “Lenten Lilly.” The daffodil is symbolic of spring and rebirth and is connected to Easter.  Just as this single solitary daffodil brightened my day, God showed me that, we too can be little spots of cheerful yellow happiness in a dormant world.
 And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else.
 Where you are right now is God’s place for you.
(1 Corinthians 7:17, MSG)

You Can’t Out Give God!

Andrew gave all that he had.
The Wade Family Christmas is a large affair, with a gathering of over one hundred, our clan mostly dressed in Wranglers and boots, gather at a local reception hall. Each year, our extended family chooses a family in need. Often we donate food and firewood, and money. This year my parents, and the kids and I packed up our firewood to give to a family member going through a difficult time. After dinner, the monarch of the family announced another collection would be used to purchase new dentures recently lost at the nursing home.
            A few days later, I discover money and a note on the kitchen counter. I counted the money and read the note from Andrew: “New teeth.” I called Andrew into the kitchen to explain. He said, “Well, it’s not a lot, but it’s all the money I have, except for Wal-Mart gift cards. You can’t buy new teeth with a Wal-Mart gift card can you? We know two people who need new teeth and I want them to have my money. I have teeth. Everyone needs teeth, mom.” I cried. I lifted my head to the heavens and thanked the Good Lord above for this boy!
            We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, my sister and her children. After the presents were opened, my mom announced she had one more gift to give. She handed Andrew a crisp twenty-dollar bill and said, “Andrew, I heard about you giving all your money away to help buy new teeth for Wilton. This is for you!”  Andrew’s eyes lit up with excitement, and then he spoke, “But Grandma, this is too much. I only gave away $18 not $20.” She smiled at her only grandson and said, “No, you keep it!” From across the living room cluttered with wrapping paper, I asked “Andrew, what is it I always say about giving?” With a huge grin, he erupted, “YOU CAN’T OUT GIVE GOD!” It’s true; we can never out give God! In fact, the Bible says to test God on this subject.
Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
(Malachi 3:10 NIV)
            I received many treasured gifts this Christmas. However, the most treasured gift was watching Andrew walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge to give; then watching his face light up when he received back more than he gave. That’s how God works. You can’t out give God!


~April 
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Loved & Chosen

“Hey sister loved by God, I KNOW that He has chosen you!”
1 Thessalonians 1:4 (paraphrased with attitude)

I am participating in a Thessalonians bible study titled Children of The Day by Beth Moore. Each time we meet we are to greet one another by saying, “Hey sister loved by God, I KNOW that He has chosen you!” With warm mugs of coffee we say that to each other and laugh.
This week I have been really meditating on that verse and that truth. First of all we are loved by God, and secondly, He has chosen us. I mean chosen us! I can remember years and years ago attending a women’s retreat, in fact it was the first women’s retreat that I had ever attended. It was an in house retreat where we watched the video series Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. I remember sitting in a small group struggling with feelings of being a failure as a parent. (Do you see an underlying theme here, going on in my life?) Andrew and Rachel were little, both preschoolers, and just at that season of our life. I will never forget opening up to my small group and sharing my feelings. I was feeling like God gave these children to the wrong mom. I remember thinking “I can’t do this.” I felt like I wasn’t the right mother for these children. The small group leader Holly, looked at me and said “April, you have been chosen.” She reminded me then, as I was reminded this week in scripture that I have been hand picked by God for what He has me doing, right now. As I reflected on the words “Hey sister loved by God, He has chosen you!” I thought about how God used my friend Holly back then. I still have those words, faded now, written on an index card on the front of my refrigerator.
My friend Holly moved away around 5 years ago . I decided to send her this text: “Hey sister loved by God, I know that He has chosen you! I am studying 1&2 Thessalonians and I am praising God for you! I am thanking God for the day you revealed this truth to me many years ago at the women’s retreat.” Almost immediately, I got a message back from her telling me she was in tears. She had been up all night, wrestling it out with God, over an email she had received. She had been up all night praying and wondering if she had done or said something wrong to upset a friend. She said my message to her that morning was divinely appointed.
I love that! I love the way God uses scriptures and others to be boomerang effect. She encouraged me many years ago, in the Spring of 2008 (from the best of our memory) and now I was able to encourage her! In fact I asked her permission to tell this story, because I was sitting in my red chair while texting her, so it qualified as a Red Chair Moment.
Life is hard. But know this: You are loved by God and He has chosen you!
“Hey sister loved by God, I KNOW that He has chosen you!”
~April
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

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