Posts tagged Heart of Ephesians
Heart of the Word: Ephesians 5&6

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Hello, friends,
How are you? Have you been enjoying our time in Ephesians?
The month of February has been a lot more hectic than I ever anticipated, but this study, along with a few other resources I've been using, have helped me stay steady in my faith and consistently connect with God. I started 2015 in a very disconnected and dry place spiritually, and I'm thankful that over the last two months, God has been slowly drawing me back to Himself and speaking to me through His word. I'm finding new rhythms and routines, each one breathing new life into my quiet time with Him.
Today, as we close out our first Heart of the Word study through Ephesians, I wanted to share a little bit about the resources that have been blessing me this month.  (And I apologize for the late post today, but like I said. This month. ::insert crazy face emoticon::) ;)

One of the biggest messages God has been speaking to me through all of the resources below is the reminder to remain steady and firm in my faith and trust Him in everything. He has been encouraging me to continue on the path He has marked out for me, leaving comparison behind and fully trusting in the plan He has. The reminder to be steady in my faith is such a good and timely one, because it's so easy to be shaken in the midst of the unexpected, or when life doesn't look the way we think it should.

But with His help, I am finding strength, steadiness, and a faith that allows me to live fully and freely for Him, knowing all of my unanswered questions and concerns remain in His hands.

He has also been reminding me of the importance of our thoughts and what we choose to focus our minds on. He has been showing me that I am continually being made new in the attitude of my mind, and that a mind and heart focused on Him brings LIFE and HOPE and PURPOSE.

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. - Phil. 4:8

These resources below have helped me to intentionally fill my mind with His truth, His goodness, His promises. They have helped me focus on the best, not the worst, when I am tempted to worry, complain, or compare my life to others'. I hope they encourage you, too.

Heart of the Word Study

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I have loved having a book of the Bible to anchor myself in this  month. When I wasn't sure what to read, I could open up to Ephesians and see what God wanted to reveal.
As I read through the final two chapters this week, I was again reminded of the power of our faith. Ephesians 6:16 tells us to take up the shield of faith. I am so encouraged to remember that our faith is a shield, that there is power in remaining steady and firm in Him.
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The One Year Praying the Promises of God

Oh, this has been such a blessing to read each morning. I love the combination of scripture, devotional, and prayer. I have felt both empowered and encouraged to be reminded of WHO God is and what He promises.

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Wholeheartedly: A Devotional for Singles

This devotional by Natalie Metrejean has been infusing my season of singleness with new joy and fresh purpose.  I am digging into the scriptures and prompts with a hungry heart, excited for the Lord to continue to speak to me and direct my steps.
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I Am They album

And finally, this album has been a bit of a soundtrack to my days. It's another way I am reminded of who God is and all the ways in which He is good and faithful. One of my favorite tracks is Over and Over again.

I will find you over and over again, your love and your mercy begin, no matter how far, you'll find me where I am. 

And since FIND is my word for 2015 this song is pretty perfect for where I'm at.

Make a Way is also a favorite right now.

Wherever you lead me, I know you won't leave me. Wherever you call me, you will make a way. Wherever we're going, I will be holding to the promise You have made. You will make a way.

I totally recommend giving this album a listen. Crank up the sound, sing out loud, dance around...however you most love to worship. Your heart will be blessed for sure, and you will be reminded of just how good and amazing He is and how very much He loves you.

And now I'd love to hear what you've been learning and what life has looked like for you recently. What's God been teaching you? Where has He been leading you? Join the link-up below!

P.S. Stay tuned for future #HeartoftheWord study plans! And thank you for being a part of this first Heart of the Word journey with us!

Heart of the Word: Ephesians 1-2:13

bible My apologies for this late link-up, friends! It was quite a busy week, and I'm just now able to sit down and gather my thoughts. (Whew!) :)

How are you enjoying the Heart of the Word study so far? Have you linked up over on Rachel's blog yet?

(Psst. If you haven't joined us yet, and you'd like to, you can find out more about the study over at Bailey's blog.)

Ephesians is one of my favorite books, and  I'm excited to see what new goodness the Lord will reveal to my heart through this study! 

In the last week, I've read through this first section a few times, both the NIV and Message translations, and I've been soaking in the familiar passages that have been highlighted and underlined many times.

One of my favorite verses in Ephesians is verse 2:10 (For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.)

I love the reminder that He's already planned our path and that He created us with unique gifts and purposes to be used for His glory. It's so incredibly humbling that God wants to partner with US! He could absolutely accomplish everything on His own, but He chooses to partner with us; He chooses to invite us to help Him build His Kingdom. I think that's pretty incredible, don't you? :)

I pray that on days when you're hit with discouragement, doubt, or uncertainty, that you would be reminded of this truth, my friends. You were created to do good things through Christ, and God has already planned these in advance. Draw near to Him, seek Him, and trust that He will lead the way and equip you for whatever it is that He is calling you to today.

I look forward to hearing about the verses that have been speaking to you! (Remember that you can also connect with us on Instagram using the hashtags #heartoftheword and #heartofephesians.)

Goal-Setting with Lara Casey: My 2015 Goals

Header_My2015Goals1 I'm excited to finally share my 2015 goals (they've been about a month in the making), and I feel really settled and good about them. I think they are doable, but also stretching. I'm also looking forward to searching for scripture that speaks to each goal. I got the idea from Valerie of Val Marie Paper. (Here's a great post on doing that, if you'd like to seek scripture for your goals, as well.)

Moving on to the actual goals... :)

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  1. Seek and find God in everything. I want to find and follow Him wholeheartedly, filling my  mind with His truth and thinking about the best, not the worst. I want to memorize scripture and recite His promises DAILY.
  2. Wait on the Lord — especially in my singleness.  I want to lean not on my understanding, but instead, I want to trust Him and look to Him in all things — including dating and singleness (especially dating and singleness?!). I want to remember that those who wait on the Lord will not be put to shame and that waiting on God is always worth it. I want to believe that He is good and that He has a good plan for me. I want to live fully today, with hope for tomorrow.
  3. Make time for creative adventures. Paint, draw, read, write! Create "just because." I want to take myself on inspiration and creativity dates often, filling my life and heart with what fires me up and points me to Jesus. I want to take classes, explore new art forms, and learn new things. I want to live fully and creatively, thankful that God gave me a creative, inspiration-loving heart.
  4. Spend, save, and give with intention. I want to be wise financially, so I can use  my resources for good and for God.
  5. Find a fitness routine I love and make it a regular part of my week. I want to take care of myself — health, heart, and spirit. I want to practice self-care regularly, so I have energy to go, do, and create everything that God has in mind for me this year. I want to be healthy and whole, so I can love well and bless those in my life.
  6. Continue to simplify my life. Give away what I don't need and keep only what is useful, meaningful, or inspiring to me.
  7. Be an encourager and a celebrator. I want to mentor and encourage others — online and off. I want to lead a Bible study for college/early career at my church, and I want to write blogs that speak to women who are in that season of life. I want to support my church, my friends, my family, and my city. I want to be a resource and an inspiration for those God connects me with this year.
  8. Use social media and my blog with intention, and continue to evolve and find the focus/niche God has for me. I've been blogging for almost eight years, and my blog and experience online have changed pretty dramatically during that time. I want to continue to evaluate the heart  behind what I'm doing and ask the Lord for guidance. I want to focus on community over followers, and God's heart for what I do over what's deemed "popular."
  9. Find the balance between living the stories and telling them.  I want to journal every day, capturing thoughts, dreams, ideas, prayers. I want to get back into the practice of art journaling, too — telling stories with paint and paper. I want to have cell-phone-free time every day, and I want to be intentional about making meaningful memories with friends and family. I want to live in the moment — being fully present — but also make time to capture the good stuff and tell the story God is writing in my life. And that leads me to my final goal...
  10. Be brave in writing and creating. I want to take risks for Him. I want to write and create honestly and vulnerably, and I want to go after big dreams. I want to collaborate with people who inspire me and pitch my ideas to publications I dream to work with. And I want to start taking steps toward my dream of writing books. I've got an idea that's been slowly taking shape, and I want to dig into that this year and see where God might take it — and me.

So, there you have it! My goals for 2015. I'm sure they will evolve as the year goes  on, but I'm looking forward to seeing how God works and moves and orchestrates in each of these areas. I also hope you'll help hold me accountable to the things I've listed here. I'd love to hear about your goals, as well!

Let's cheer one another on and get excited about all God is going to do!

P.S. I wanted to announce a little something exciting before signing off!

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I'm hosting an online study through the book of Ephesians with a group of amazing ladies this month, and I'd love for you to be a part of it! Go check out Bailey's blog post today for more details and to get in on the action. (To be honest, my heart has felt a bit disconnected from God the last few months, and I'm so looking forward to diving back into His word and seeking Him wholeheartedly!)