Kristin Funston delivers refreshing grace for the daily grind of motherhood. Written in a conversational style, More for Mom Living Your Whole and Holy Life feels like a back porch conversation with a longtime friend.
She shares a common struggle with modern Christian moms—how to live a whole and holy life in a world filled with lies, distractions, and comparison from our culture.
Funston debunks the lie demanding more from moms, but God has a plan of more for moms.
Funston wrote More for Mom with
moms in mind. However, women with or without children, millennials and older,
can apply the principles and strategies for a deeper relationship with
Funston wrote More for Mom with moms in mind. However, women with or without children, millennials and older, can apply the principles and strategies for a deeper relationship with God.
I recommend More for Mom Living Your Whole and Holy Life for the Christian woman eager to receive more from God.
More for Mom Living Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston is available wherever online and wherever fine books are sold. To connect with Kristin you can visit her website.
In today’s post, Leah Lively shares tips on overcoming Bible study obstacles.
Leah and I briefly met before her family moved to the Louisianan bayous. Years later, their family moved back to the east coast with her husband’s career. Between surviving gulf coast hurricanes and the storms of parenthood, she has written a new Bible study called, “30 Days with John: A Journey with Jesus’ Most Beloved Disciple.”
Overcoming Bible Study Obstacles
A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends to tell me some obstacles they faced when it came to studying the Bible. They echoed some of the same challenges: the Bible is difficult to understand, where do you begin, and an inability to stay focused. I understood the struggle all too well, until a couple of years ago.
In 2017, I attended a conference for writers and speakers in Christian ministry. A well-known Bible teacher organized this event and took us step by step through her time in prayer, in the Word, and writing. Two takeaways the main speaker shared were: we had to be in God’s Word if we wanted to share God’s Word in our world. Also, as believers, we had to know God’s Word because the world is constantly going to come against His Truth. If we don’t know His Truth we will be deceived.
1. Create Authentic Time
The speaker continued to give us the tools to create an authentic time of studying the Bible. It isn’t magic. It isn’t something some believers have, and others don’t. In the book of John, chapter 16, Jesus shares with the disciples in His final hours. He tells them He will be going away because if He leaves, the Counselor (Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth) cannot come to them. “When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13) Jesus promises that when the Holy Spirit comes to them, they would finally understand. Their eyes would be opened to all Jesus had been teaching for the last three years.
God offers us the Holy Spirit too. When we become believers, the Holy Spirit
becomes a part of us. When we open God’s word, the Truth comes alive in ways we
have never seen to the point that we cannot wait to discover all the Spirit has
to show us. The Bible was written through the help of the Holy Spirit, so we
need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for help in understanding the scripture.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”
2. Read in Chunks
Another speaker at the conference addressed which scripture to read. She recommended reading the Bible in chunks. We tend to focus on a verse or two, which is fine, but to get a bigger picture and understanding of the passage, she said we should read the entire chapter or read through an entire book over the course of several days. To gain understanding, it helps to know who the author is, what perspective he has, as well as the time frame he is writing in. I had never read the Bible this way, but I was determined when I returned home from the conference.
I prayed next time I sat down to study, asking God (through the Holy Spirit) to reveal His truth to me. I asked for understanding. God led me to study the life of Paul. I started in the book of Acts, reading about his life, his conversion, and ministry. By reading Paul’s letters in the order he wrote them, I was able to compare them with details in Acts to see what he was experiencing when each letter was written. My eyes were opened to a greater understanding of Paul and the trials he experienced throughout his ministry.
Two years later, on May 1st, I published a study on the book of John titled, 30 Days with John: A Journey with Jesus’ Most Beloved Disciple. Each day’s study begins with prayer, a full reading of the passage, and then questions to take you back through the scripture to aid in understanding. The study is concise, yet in-depth, for those who get overwhelmed by longer studies and lack the available time to complete them. I hope the study I have written will help facilitate going deeper into God’s word. We don’t have to be pastors or teachers, speakers or writers to love and understand the scripture. It’s here for all of us. The more we know God’s Word, the closer we become in a relationship with Him.
There are always going to be obstacles when it comes to reading scripture because the enemy doesn’t want you to do it! That is a topic for an entirely different blog post. Don’t allow distractions and obstacles to keep you from growing closer to God. If you need more focus, pray and ask God. The more He draws you into His Word, you will find those distractions and obstacles won’t be a problem for you. I hope the suggestions I have given will encourage you and give you some confidence in reading and understanding God’s word.
30 Days with John: A Journey with Jesus’ Most Beloved Disciple,available online at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Born and raised in Virginia, Leah’s faith journey began in a small church in a small town. She is a wife to one and a mom to 4 along with a sweet female boxer. Leah is motivated by 2 Corinthians 13:11 where Paul encourages the church in Corinth to “become mature and be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” She wants believers to grow in their faith and discover a hunger for God’s word. Leah’s genuine and authentic style of presenting the gospel lays a foundation for readers to learn more of God’s Truths.
Mysterious medical marvels occurred during my fourth decade of life; a genetic illness, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis which had been dormant in my past triggered on. In addition, my estrogen levels and metabolism plummeted while hot flashes and brain fog skyrocketed. Something caused my body to short-circuit. I scrambled to search for the factory default setting, but none existed.
Those of us with a chronic illness can relate to this story. While the period of time and disease name may vary the overall sense of our bodies short-circuiting is universal. We miss our old life “before” our illness and we grieve the person we used to be. That person is still inside of us, held hostage by an uninvited circumstance or illness.
For me, the good old days prior to my illness, I led a balanced and active life. I enjoyed working three days a week as the neighborhood pharmacist. During my days off, I volunteered at my kid’s school, served as room mom, baked special treats for the teachers, and served in various areas at church. Physical fitness was important to me. I ran three to five days a week, competed in Marine Corp Mud Runs, and hiked the Appalachian Trail. I did not need a fitness tracker to monitor my steps or track my activity level because I was constantly on the move. Now I wear an electronic gadget to monitor my activity level. This pesky device prompts me to move when I linger in one place too long.
If we’re not careful we can allow our minds to be held hostage by our uninvited circumstance or illness. If we are not careful, we can allow our minds to wander off God’s intended path of peace (Luke 1:79) into the thorns and thistles of stinkin’ thinkin’. I pray for my mind. I pray for the Holy Spirit to prompt me like a spiritual fitness tracker to notify me when my mind lingers in stinkin’ thinkin’ too long.
When my mind begins to creep into the stinkin’ thinkin’ and when I begin to grieve my old life for too long, I dwell on the words of wisdom by missionary Paul:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
Philippians 4:8-9, MSG
We cannot control our unwelcomed illness or life circumstance. However, we can control how we respond. Whether we become bitter or better is our choice to make. When the Holy Spirit prompts us like a spiritual fitness tracker to move, will we follow the prompt or will we linger? The choice is ours to make. Triumphant faith presses on.
Images courtesy of SnockSnap and Melkhagelslag of Pixabay
P.S. If you like this article, check out the online magazine Broken But Priceless.This faith-based quarterly e-magazine specifically nourishes the soul of the chronically ill and their caregivers. I call it “comfort food for the soul.”
Innumerable pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in my lungs held my life at ransom. But grace, God’s grace paid the price.
April 14, 2018, I left the Radiant Roanoke Women’s Conference early. My chest hurt and I found it difficult to breathe. Once home, I slept for three hours and woke with a pounding sensation in my chest. Despite the three-hour rest, my blood pressure skyrocketed and my pulse thumped at a whopping 122 beats per minute. I swiftly packed an overnight back and my beloved drove me to the ER.
EKG, chest X-rays, CT scan, and blood work all pointed to one cause: “extensive bilateral pulmonary embolisms.” In everyday language, both lungs were full to the brim with blood clots. Physicians later determined the cause as one of the medications used to regulate the flare-ups of my chronic illness, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.
Blood clots in the lungs are fatal, but God’s grace prevailed.
Deep draughts of air expand my lungs to their full measure. There is no more pain and no more coughing. The pulmonary embolisms are gone. With each breath, I meditate and count inhaling grace, two, three, four then exhaling praise two, three, four. Rather than being angry at the turn of events in my life, I am thankful. Thankful our resurrected King is still in the business resurrecting lives.
Our resurrected King is still in the business resurrecting lives.
This situation taught me the grace of God is more than a spiritual principle; it penetrates on an intracellular level for our good and for His glory. As we continue into Holy Week, let us remember to give God thanks for the resurrected King and grace in our lives.
“Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”—Amazing Grace by John Newton (1725-1807)
“There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.”
Millions of people will celebrate all things green and Irish on March 17th. But how much do you really know about St. Patrick? Over the centuries, we have diluted the true meaning of the Christian holiday in a sea of green beer, leprechauns and the elusive pot of gold. How much do you think you know about St. Patrick?
Here 5 facts about St. Patrick:
1. St. Patrick was not Irish.
In St. Patrick’s book Three leaves of the Clover the Saint Patrick Story, St. Patrick describes being born in the village of Bannavem Taberniae in circa 385. The exact location of Patrick’s village remains debated; experts think his village was in England, Scotland, or Wales.
Patrick (probably not his birth surname) was born into a Christian aristocratic family. At sixteen, Irish raiders kidnapped him and forced into slavery for six years. The Christian faith instilled in him as a child, carried him through his captivity. As a slave he served as a shepherd and believed to have heard God telling him to escape. Patrick walked over two hundred miles to the east coast of Ireland and escaped on a ship bound for England.
Upon his return home, Patrick became a priest. Yet, the pagan people of Ireland were never far from his mind. He returned to Ireland to spread the hope we have in Jesus Christ. St. Patrick served as a missionary to Ireland for over forty years, converting the Celtic pagan country to Christianity.
2. Myth: St. Patrick drove out snakes from Ireland.
St. Patrick did not drive out the snakes from the island, because snakes were never indigenous to Ireland. Scientists consider the chilly waters surrounding the island are too cold for the reptile animals to migrate and survive. Ireland is not the only snake-free country. If you’re searching a premier snake-free vacation destination consider New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica.
3. St. Patrick chose the shamrock to symbolize the Holy Trinity.
While serving as a missionary to Ireland, St. Patrick used the shamrock as to symbolize the Holy Trinity. At the time, Ireland was a pagan country. Patrick explained the basis of Christianity and the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with the shamrock. This readily available three-leaved plant allowed for an excellent visual illustration of the Holy Trinity. Irish Christians placed a sprig of clover in the lapel jacket as an outward symbol of their belief in Christ and the Holy Trinity and in honor of St. Patrick the missionary who converted the Emerald Island.
4. St. Patrick defied the King.
King Laoghaire of Tara lit a fire each spring symbolizing the beginning of the pagan festival. King Laoghaire ordered no one to light a fire before him. One night before Easter, St. Patrick defied the king and lit his prayer candles, anyway. St. Patrick was passionate about God and wanted his light to shine in the face of pagan darkness. King Laoghaire was so impressed by Patrick’s brave defiance he continued to let St. Patrick’s light shine.
5. St. Patrick was the inspiration behind the hymn Be Thou My Vision.
Dallen Forgaill, an 8th-century monk, originally penned the renowned hymn Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile, in the Old Irish Gaelic language. (Click the link to listen in Gaelic.)
Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride. Ni ni nech aile, acht ri secht nime …
In 1905 Mary Elizabeth Byrne, an educator, and linguist translated the prayer, Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile, to the English prose we know as Be Thou my Vision. In 1912 songwriter, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the lyrics to an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane. (Click the link to listen in English)