If:Equip Journal

I am going to publish my If:equip journal here. Feel free to join in! Visit If:equip.com to subscribe. Every day there will be a new verse or chapter to read, questions to answer, and a community to discuss with. We are being equipped to be unleashed as the next generation of women who say
 yes God. 

If God is real...then what? If:Gathering.com

Three questions I am answering:
If you believe this is true, what does it mean about...
The world?

March 6, 2014
John 7:37-52
Division. This hits home today. Even in my own home right now there is division. Not in the sense of "is Jesus for real?" but just division in general. Things have been stressful. There has been a lot of questioning how we are doing or handling things. Kids, house, bills... normal daily stuff. Deidra is so right. I am so afraid of the deconstruction and letting God work in me. Its so easy to just see the divide instead of the promise of living water. I am afraid of not being right. How hard it is to let go of that, but that's exactly what Jesus calls us to do! He wants us to just come to him, open arms and receive his grace.
1. He accepts us all. all are welcome to receive his living water, the holy spirit that resdes in us and works through us, for his glory.
2. For me this means I need to be more open to what he is trying to do in my life, int he lives of those around me.
3. We are not divided! At least not through Jesus! How awful it is that "the church" is so divided. So split on the smallest issues. It breaks my heart that people turn away from God because of how we as HIS PEOPLE are divided.

March 3, 2014
John 6:60-71
Snow day! So here I sit trying to get in my "quiet time" with my two not-so-quiet children. If this one ends up being a little crazy, I'm sorry.
Ohhh how I love listening to Jen Hataker speak abut Jesus. Poor Amena barely got to speak!
Jesus didnt say "you must follow me, I make the rules, ......" It was "if you dont believe what I have said, then go." This is a hard teaching. So hard to think that Jesus would say to someone, "go". I really have no clue how to answer the three questions today. I cant tell if its the lack of concentration because the kids keep asking me questions or if its just that I just dont know how to answer them.

February 28, 2014
John 6:22-59
What the heck happened to this week?! GRRR! Ok, so I apparently cant be trusted to get this done after I take B to school. Might need to start actually getting up out of bed and working on it before they get up.

This is one of the most important passages you can ready though. The idea that Jesus, was sent by God, to be the bread of life and to make us whole. I am just blown away by all the symbolism, prophecy, and sheer magnitude of his words here. How great is our God?! How great is our Jesus!? Today I sent out the invites for the first If:table gathering. A chance for us to break bread together and discuss our savior. So this passage means a lot to me. Taking in the bread for me isn't just Sunday communion. I agree with Lindsey int he video. I usually find it in worship music. Most of my major spiritual breakthroughs, breakdowns, eye-opening, fall-on-my-stinking-knees moments have come during a worship song. Something is triggered in my brain that allows me to just feel the presence of God. Just be held by him, loved, whole, and forgiven.
1. Again, Jesus reminds us that he was sent by God. Not just born of earthly parents. It means that God was using everything up until that time to prepare people for Jesus.
2. For me, this passage means that I am welcome at the table. Whoever comes to me... And it also means to me that I can come back. No matter how many times I have to.
3. There is life. There is life now, there is abundant life, there is everlasting life, and there is eternal life just waiting at the table Jesus prepared for us.

February 25, 2014
Yes, yes, yes, big fail. Two whole days of barely having time to read the if:equip passages, let alone journal about them. Things just got super crazy super fast here. B came down with a UTI and then we had a packed weekend. I had connect group Thursday night, Bunco Friday night, the kids went to grandmas so that hubs and I could volunteer at Harvesters, our local food bank, on Saturday morning. J had a cub scouts banquet that night too. I taught PreK Sunday morning, and then took a monster nap cause I was tired. I had doc appointments yesterday which took most of the day and left me very little time to sit and actually study the word. B has also come down with a cold and is graciously attempting to share it with me. Joy. It hasn't been the greatest start to the week but I am ok with that. I think. Time to get back on board and actually reflect on what Jesus wants to teach me.
John 5:16-47
First, I love that Annie Downs & Bianca Olthoff are on this video. I enjoyed them so much at If:Gathering.
Ok now diving into the word. This passage is wordy! Is that a word? I had to really break it down, line by line, to be able to digest it all. Otherwise all the fathers, sons, doings, not doings, etc all get jumbled together for me. I think the most incredible verse I read was verse 30. Jesus said:

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, 
for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (niv)

Jesus admits that He needs God, the father! That really hit me. I feel closer to him because of that. I want to do the things that God calls me to do, not for myself, not through my own power, but because God is working in me for his glory. 
1. It means that Jesus was sent by God. Learning from him, following what he says to do while on Earth. It isn't through his own human power, but Gods that he came down to save us.
2. for me this means that I can trust him to take care of me. He understands the hard places of being called and sent to do something for God. 
3. The world can count on Jesus for their salvation. There isn't a verse that says "only the Jews", or "only the people who are perfect" will hear him and have eternal life. Jesus says in verse 24,

"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me 
has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." (niv)

February 20, 2014
John 4:1-42
Long passage today, but such a great one. We recently studied this one at our church. I love how in the video Tara points out that Jesus came to the Samaritan woman. He didn't wait for her to come to him. He sought her out. In the place where she was tying to avoid people. I think of how many times I have put my faith, my love for Jesus on the back burner, tried to go my own way and then sought Him out again. There are too many times to count. Every time he has welcomed me back with open arms. I realize though too that there have been times when He showed up first. When I wasn't seeking Him out. How very grateful I am that He has sought me out time and time again. Even with my sin. Even with my hurt. Even with my brokenness.
1. HE is already here. Jesus is ready to meet us right where we are. And also that he expects us to go out and share his good news!
2. For me this means I can continue to seek him out and know that He will be there.
3. For the world this means we all have a chance to know Him.

February 19, 2014
John 3:22-36
So I am having a rather hard time digesting these verses. Especially after watching the video on If:equip. I have enjoyed listening to all the women from If speak on each other daily devotions. What a blessing to hear their thoughts on Gods word! Today though I had a hard time hearing Angie talk about not being able to have a gray area. To me, I believe in Jesus Christ and I am trying to live my life as a believer. I am trying to walk with Jesus. But that does not mean that I have the power to change someones heart on an issue. We can agree to disagree. I will do what is in my power to show them how much God loves them and to share the gospel with them, but ultimately, their walk with God, or their choice to believe, is their own. Only God has the power to change their heart. He may use me to help them with that. But that doesn't stop me from loving them, even if we disagree.
I am going to pray on these verses some more before I answer the three questions. Usually I just read them and try to answer whats on my heart right away. Today I think I need more time to digest it all.

February 18, 2014
John 3:1-21
This morning I am running on fumes. B most likely has a UTI (sorry!). She was up every couple hours screaming. It was heartbreaking for me to watch her in pain and to have to ask her to do something that I knew was hurting her. But she has to pee! Thank goodness she has a doc appt this morning. With some meds this hard moment will soon be forgotten. And then this morning I read one of the most beloved passages in the entire bible. John 3:16. He didn't come to condemn! He came to give light and life! How beautiful. I think of what I've had to ask of my 5 year old this morning. I've had to ask her to fight through the pain so that we can get her some relief. I think how simply thats what God asks us to do. Fight through the pain, and the hard places, and the hurt of this world. Walk with him through it all as a light, and in the end we will be granted eternity. How simple. How beautiful.

February 17, 2014
John 2:13-25
This weekend I began my new connect group for church (like a bible study group). We are studying Jen Hatmakers' book Seven: an experimental mutiny against excess. Which is all about fasting and dealing with the hard places that we are entangled in. This passage from John reminds me of what I've already learned through reading Seven a few months ago. God is going to flip my world upside down to work on me, and make me more like him. Its scary, yes, but so worth it.
1. He IS holy! He is not a business. I like what Ann Voskamp spoke on at If:Gathering when she said that the church is not a business. Because when it becomes a business, then it becomes prostitution.
2. I need to be careful how I am living my life.
3. This questions is super hard today. This passage feels so personal rather than for the whole church. I will try to update my answer later.

February 14, 2014 
John 2:1-12
Man, how is it Valentines day already!? I am so very glad that today's passage wasn't all LOVE LOVE LOVE. Because we really over-do that concept here, and not always in a good way. Don't get me wrong, there were hearts & teddy bears & flowers here at my house this morning. I want my kids to know so much more than just commercial love though. I want them to know the transforming power of Jesus' love. I want them to know that its not always easy. Sometimes its in the little things. Like the wine at a wedding. That small transformation, that simple part of the festivities, was huge. It very simply showed how powerful Jesus was, how powerful he is.
1. I love what Anita said in the video today. God transforms us. Just like the wine. Even us church girls. He takes our brokenness and uses it for His kingdom. I love that. He can do that.
2. For me, this means that I can still be transformed. That sometimes it take someone close to me saying "do this" for me to see what is taking place, to participate in what is taking place.
3. Something so much greater is coming. Its like when "the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (v10). Something great is coming. Jesus is coming. 

February 13, 2014
John 1:35-51
So as I sat down to read this passage and type this out, I found my dog barking at the front door. He had gotten off his chain and had apparently taken a stroll around the neighborhood without me even noticing. Dont worry folks, He is only put on said chain to go to the bathroom, then comes back in. We are renting and dont have a fence. He doesnt stay on it for any length of time, ever. So I feel awful because I didnt notice that he was gone. He normally barks as soon as he is done doing his business to come back in. (He is a huge chocolate lab, there is no missing the bark.) I was so caught up in having some snuggletime with my 5yo that I totally forgot I had even let him out. This is the second time in a week he has done it. Last time he actually took off after another dog or rabbit or something and actually busted his chain. So I am feeling rather awful right now. I feel defeated. How could I not notice he was gone? Did he run out in front of cars? What must the neighbors think? The negative thoughts go on and on.
And then there is Jesus. Oh my sweet Lord. "Follow me". Heaven help my brokenness right now. I am so very thankful that me calls me out, gives the command to follow him, and that I can. This morning, I feel so defeated. The house is a a disaster, I may have had snuggle time but it was because I didn't want to get up and do anything productive, I have a list a mile long, I haven't been the easiest person to get along with.....on and on. Satan has an easy job this morning here. But Jesus calls me out THROUGH that. He says that I can follow him, even when I'm broken, even when I feel defeated. I am so thankful for that. Even on my worst day, Jesus calls me as His disciple.

1. What does this mean about God?
     He is calling everyone. Its so easy to get lost in the "but I'm not worthy" trap Satan says out for us. But he called ordinary people and said "follow me".
2. What does this mean for you?
    That even though this morning I feel awful, defeated, overwhelmed, Jesus still calls to me. I can and will follow Him. That means picking myself up, shaking off the worry and hurt, and moving forward with Him.
3. What does this mean for the world?
    That we all have an opportunity to follow him. And as His disciple, its our job to share that awesome news!

February 12, 2014
John 1:19-34
What an incredibly powerful message John brings to us. I have read these verses plenty of times but today words stuck out that havent before. V. 29-31. We know that John was born before Jesus. But he says "...Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, 'A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.' I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel." (NLT) John was born first, but Jesus came first. Because God came first. John didnt even recognize him as the Messiah until then! But once he saw him, he just knew. He knew that he knew that he knew. I know who is going before me, and who came before me. Jesus.

1. What does this mean about God?
     I think this is another confirmation that Jesus is God. That until him we were not complete. John knew him, and yet didnt recognize him as the Messiah until God revealed it to him. Revealed it to Israel.

2. What does this mean about you?
     That I also get to go out with him, crying in the wilderness. Teaching others that their is a God who loves them.

3. What does this mean about the world?
     Im not sure. Im struggling with this one. He came before, he goes ahead, we are unworthy, and yet baptized with the Holy Spirit through the Lamb of God. Then why are there still so many who dont know Him? This is part of why I love If. It isnt a calling to do more. Its a calling to share more, share our gifts, our Jesus. Share like John, crying out in the wilderness, baptizing with water, because Jesus came to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

February 11, 2014
John 1:1-18
1. What does this mean about God?
     To me this means that God is a part of everything I do. He is light into the darkness. I struggle with darkness. I need light. Light I cant produce on my own. (v. 5)

2. What does this mean about you?
     I guess my first reaction is that it means I'm not ever alone. That I have "grace upon grace" given from His fullness. He came. He was here. He IS here.

3. What does this mean about the world?
     That we are broken. Why else would he have come? If we didnt NEED him, why did he come? Why was he here dwelling among us? Why did he come, die, and rise again? I need him. I need grace upon grace, I need light. And if I need those things, then I also must need to share those things. Cause I am not the only broken person here.

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