Apr 29

SLL Week 4, Day 1~Bible Verse

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasingand perfect will.

(Romans 12:2 NIV)

Hello OBS sisters! It’s Jennifer Newsom, the leader for this week of study. I am so ready to start this week. How amazing is the title of the chapter we will begin reading tomorrow? Chapter 4~Time for Change. Who is ready for change? Then grab your Bible, journal, pen/highlighter and your SLL book! Let’s renew our minds together!!

Starting four years ago, the stress kicked up in my life. It had always been there simmering in the  background, however, it would finally spill over. I started nursing school 11 years ago with two small toddlers. It doesn’t get much more stressful than that, or so I thought. After finishing nursing school, I went on to work and train in different departments, becoming Charge Nurse and House Supervisor, before finally settling in the Emergency Department. That would soon set a pattern of how I handled life–fast paced and constantly replaying worst-case scenarios. We welcomed two more children into our lives during this period-complicated pregnancies and deliveries. Then came 2009-the year that nearly knocked me off my feet (Click here to see the first part of Our Story). The very next year we jumped into homeschooling our four children.

Even though it was tough, all this drew me closer to Jesus. Little by little, I began to learn that this life is full of daily problems–Jesus Himself mentions that in Matthew 6:34 and I needed to hold onto the One who promises to never leave nor forsake us. It was His Word that sustained me during that time, and as the stress rages on, it is His Word and presence that sustains me now. I have a deep passion for Bible study and a deep passion to see others comforted and transformed through His Word. That is my prayer for you as we study this week.

Notice the commands and key words in our reflection verse this week:

  • Do not conform 
  • Be transformed
  • Renew your mind

If you have a Bible dictionary handy-grab it. If not, you can head over to http://www.studylight.org/, a free online collection of Bible Study Tools, including Hebrew and Greek word studies (LOVE!!).

  • Look up these three words to learn what they mean.
  • Look at the verses surrounding our reflection verse.

It is so important for us to change old thought patterns and ways of life by renewing our minds. We can do this by going to God in prayer, studying His Word, and applying it in our lives. Now, take a look at the “Stress Busting Scriptures” in the back of Chapter 4, (p. 90 in the paperback), and write them down in your journal. Listen for Him to speak to you through them.

  1. Romans 12:2
  2. Matthew 18:3
  3. Joel 2:12-13
  4. Psalm 118:8
  5. Psalm 25:1-2

Each Friday, we will have a giveaway on the blog. All you need to do to enter is share in the comment section and you are entered each time you share. This week’s giveaway is Bible study tools (Bible tabs and highlighters) and a Real Life Devotional Bible, which contains devotions by our very own Proverbs 31 Ministries Team!

Your turn to share:

In the comment section, share with us how God spoke to you through these verses. Can’t wait to hear what God is speaking into your heart!! If you are receiving this via email, click here to go straight to the blog and leave your comment!

Have a wonderful first day of study!

****Conference Call Gals, I will be a guest on tonight’s Stressed-Less Living conference call along with my OBS team ministry friend, Amanda Gibson. Melissa will also be delivering a message titled 3-D Change.  Hope you will join us!

Melissa

Comments

  1. Tristine Barry says:

    I wanted to share that I am having a hard time feeling God’s presence right now with what is going on in my marriage. I believe, like this is some great big surprise, He is trying to turn my eyes back to Him off my husband (as far as being worried and feeling concerned for his feelings, etc) because I cannot control my husband and I know I can give this care to The Lord, but seem to take it back. It is hard being just the two of us at home and I am praying, asking God, to please teach me how to handle this “new” husband, after the stroke, and my responses to him. Anyway, I am very thankful for this study to keep me in the Word and focused on our wonderful Jesus! I love Him so and I do trust Him and have faith, I guess I am having a hard time protecting my heart from breaking so much as we go through these changes. Thank you for listening.

    Love in Christ,

    Tristine

    • Praying for you Tristine!

    • Marie (Ree) says:

      Hi Tristine, I wrote this poem about 20 years ago during a dark time in my own life …I’d like to share it with you. I’m praying for you as well!

      I’m Giving You My Burden Lord
      -Marie F. (Tennessee)
      Who is there to comfort me when I am in despair?
      Who wraps His arms around me and takes away my cares?
      Who promised He would always be my friend and confidant?
      With Faith in Him, I’ll never have an unanswered need or want.

      It’s been awhile since this servant got down on her knees and prayed.
      Like a lost sheep on the mountainside, so too has this life strayed.
      Sometimes I’ve tried to take my burdens all upon myself. Have I forgotten
      in times of need from whence cometh my help?

      I trust inside this heart of mine, that my help comes from the Lord.
      For He’s the one who GAVE HIS LIFE FOR ME and suffered by Pilate’s sword.
      Why then is it so awfully hard for me to understand,
      that in this troubled time I need His comforting and loving hands;
      To fill my life with hope and love
      And to make my life complete, and to stop trying to win a battle
      that alone ends in defeat!

      So I’m giving you my burden Lord, and asking you to guide me
      through the troubled waters and never leave my side.
      Help me to grow through wisdom and make me understand
      the true meaning behind the story about “Footprints in the Sand”.

      And when I feel I’m all alone with nowhere else to turn,
      help me to see you are carrying me with the greatest of concern.
      So, I’m giving you my burden Lord, please dont let me take it back,
      because the ability to handle it …I know You will,never lack.

      • Tristine you are in my prayers and Marie I would like to share your poem with some friends who are also going through tough times.

      • amy black says:

        beautiful… God speaks through His children… thank you for sharing.. I love it… praying tristine…

    • Lee Roberts says:

      Having my own marriage problems right now so I can relate. I will be praying for you. Hope you can adapt through the changes going on right now.

    • Emily Currid says:

      I’m praying for you, Tristine.
      Heavenly Father,
      You are sovereign and mighty. Your ways are mysterious but always for our good to bring you glory as our Creator. Thank you for this forum where we can open up about our struggles. Lord, hold Tristine oh so sclose as she is going through thses changes. Cover her with your perfect peace. Thank you for your overwhelming love – that you long for a closer relationship with her. I pray healing over her husband, her heart and her marriage.
      We love you Lord! In Christ’s holy and powerful name I pray. Amen.

  2. Tracey Knafel says:

    God’s perfect timing for this chapter! I can so relate to Tracie’s story as work is one of my biggest stressors too. I happen to be on vacation this week so there will plenty of time for reflection on change. Romans 12:2 is speaks volumes. My work environment pushes for worldly views and it’s very easy to lose focus if I’m not careful. Looking forward to going back with an entirely different perspective!

    • Lisa Beyer says:

      Tracey work is my biggest stressor too. It’s nice to hear from another career mined person :) thanks!

  3. Boldness in God…….tears of joy
    Week 4 of Stressed Less Living and I was going through the list of scripture for this week. I read all of them in NIV and then all of them in LAB and some of them in the Message.
    I was perplexed at many words that started to grab at my attention.
    conformed, transformed, renewed, refreshed, heart, grace, mercy, refuge, outer garments, enemies, succeed, turn, weeping, mourning, grief, remorse, return, kindness, little children, weak, dependent, sins, newness, ways, will, trust, victory. From the verses: Romans 12:2, Matthew 18:3, Joel 2:12-13, Psalm 118:8, Psalm 25:1-2

    I looked at this list of words and realized that in the last few days I had weeped, mourned, grieved, torn my outer garments and maybe my heart, turned and returned and done my best to trust the Lord.

    But what caught me up was to become like little children. I tried my hardest to remember, conjure, imagine, feel what it is like to be a child. It seems so long ago that I was one and even when I was one I only ever wanted to be a grown up or found myself in circumstances that I had to grow up and be the responsible one.

    And then I remembered a paragraph I read in my bible commentary.
    “We are saved by grace (unearned, undeserved favor of God) through faith (complete trust) in Christ and his finished work.” Life Application Bible

    I prayed…..

    Lord, please by your grace, my unearned, undeserved favor from you that you would enable me to become like a child, totally weak and dependent, without status, without influence and to fully trust in you for my everything. I bring myself to you as a living sacrifice and lay my everything at your feet. I pray Lord, you will take what I have as daily bread and Lord please fill in the gaps, show me the way, light up the path with your word and your spirit.

    I pray that your grace would tear at my heart and not just my outer garments, that as my refuge you will not fail me but that you will protect me, hide me from my enemies. Lord please do not let the enemies of temptations, money, success, prestige, lust, poverty, debt, failure, distress, worry, troubles, anxiety, depression, or sickness succeed. Lord, don’t let them have victory over me.

    Lord, please encourage me today, I don’t want to be filling my time with stuff that is not your will for me…….

    And then a boldness came into my spirit that I know was from God as I would not dare to pray this as myself. The words just seemed to spill out. I prayed….

    Lord, I pray for you to cancel the debt, and I listed them off….Let there be tears of joy for the tears of weeping. Lord anoint my husbands hands, let him be satisfied with all that he does, for this is the gift of God, and let much fruit be brought from it. Lord we need a financial miracle…..and my spirit continued to sing cancel the debt O God, cancel the debt.

    Well I was encouraged, because I believe that God does give us hope, he stirs our spirit with his spirit even though I’m not sure what result will come from this…I very rarely pray for miracles, and I believe God was showing me that this is perhaps what it’s like to be a child.
    As a child it’s easy to believe in miracles, it’s natural for a child to believe something that seems physically impossible, as adults we rationalize, analyze and categorize everything which overflows into our walk with God. I believe that in order for this to happen I will need to be 100% dependent on him, and not on me or my husband.

    I prayed that God would take my heart and turn it once and for all to him……don’t know what that looks like either…..dependent on his grace, my unearned and undeserved favor of God and to transform and renew my mind…….fill it with his word and his thoughts and to keep me forever as His child.

    I was listening to some worship earlier on this morning and the chorus of the song “The Truth About Me” by Mandisa really spoke to me.

    You say lovely
    I say broken
    I say guilty
    You say forgiven
    I feel lonely
    Say you’re with me
    We both know it would change everything
    If only I believed the truth about me

    The truth about me and you is that God in his grace and mercy loves us, never forsakes us, believes in us and speaks the truth about us. We must listen to him more than we listen to ourselves and be transformed and renewed.
    I hope God has encouraged others as much as He has encouraged me. God Bless Kerry

    • Kim Kelley says:

      Thank you for your posting Kerry. I really like the song by Mandisa as well. Trying to remember being a child is hard because so many of us were forced to become responsible very early on. I remember becoming my brother’s caretaker to the point that he would look to me for direction versus our mother. The other times I remember being a child, I was scared to be honest, so that one is a tough one! I just try the think about my own children and how they were so innocent when they were little and think of it that way.

      • My childhood ended when my dad walked out the door, I was 10 yrs. old. My husband’s childhood ended earlier as he tried to save his dad from alcohol. We went to 1950s party this weekend and brought our scrapbooks…It was glorious…being a child…God isn’t kidding when he says he hates divorce. I guess no one ever recovers, we stay tender & it never ceases to hurt when you think about what could have been.

  4. Romans 12:2 always hits me hard because I have a very difficult time with old desires and thoughts when I am with certain groups of friends. I can control my actions and not do things I really shouldn’t be but it’s the darned need to fit in and desire to be worldly that comes roaring back and seems to overpower all rational thought. It disappoints me but I know I’ve made progress and am holding on to that which in and of itself causes me less stress. Joel 2:12-13 also struck me when he talks about not “tearing our clothes in grief but tear our hearts instead” which I took to mean to really dig deep inside at diseased ways of thinking and feeling and let God transform that as opposed to some outer circumstance.

  5. I’m blessed to be a part of this study.

  6. I’m blessed to be apart of this study

  7. Pam Williamson says:

    I feel like the 1st page of Chapter 4 was speaking directly to me. I have been in an accounting position at work that has been extremely stressful & frustrating for quite some time. The company has been having financial difficulty for a long time and has had a recent change in upper management. I have known in my heart I needed to make a change, but I feel that I was not trusting God enough to take the leap of faith and make the change on my own. He recently gave me a gentle push.
    Last Friday 2 employees that I have worked with for many years were terminated and I was cut back to part-time (20 hours per week) with a termination date in 90 days. The company is wanting someone who is willing to work 55-60 hours per week (which would be even more stressful!) If I were not in this study with all of you awesome ladies, I know that I would have reacted much differently (more stressed!) I am trusting that God has a better plan for me, so Psalm 25:1-2 really speaks to me this week. I know that where I am right now is not where he wants me to be. I am so thankful that God has blessed me in so many ways in my life. I am striving to be positive and look for the good in this major change in my life.

    My husband & I recently made the decision (just 4 weeks ago) to sell our home that we built, downsize to something less expensive and closer to his work. We both were hearing the same thing in our hearts, even though we hated to sell our beautiful home. Wow, was God working behind the scenes to put us in a better financial position or what since he knew about my upcoming change at work!

    Please pray that I will be still and listen for what God has planned for me.

    Blessing to all of you awesome ladies!

    • Debbie Williams (OBS Group Leader) says:

      Pam you are stepping out in faith and He will be faithful. Praying for you as you continue to be still and listen. Hugs!

      • Pam Williamson says:

        Thank you Debbie! It’s hard to describe the feeling, afraid but peaceful at the same time.

    • Lori K (OBS Group Leader) says:

      Pam, don’t you just love when you can see God’s hands all over your situation? I loved reading about you and your husband hearing the same thing in your hearts. That can only be God! <3

      • Pam Williamson says:

        Yes I do! This is all so new to me, I really feel Him working in our lives right now like I have never felt before!

  8. God must really be trying to speak to my heart through Romans 12:2. Here lately everywhere I turn, I’m hearing this verse. I know God is transforming me into what He from the inside out. I still have a ways to go, but I’m not where I used to be.

  9. I meant to say was, God is transforming me from the inside out.

  10. Trusting in God is where these verses lead me. Some of them outright say it and others imply it. ‘Become like little children’. Don’t doubt…just trust. It’s definitely easy to say this when you are not going through something difficult. Like now I can say this may be easy for me. I pray I can continue to TRUST God during trying times too.

  11. Roseanne says:

    The verse that really speaks to me today is PS 25:1&2. To You ,O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in you; let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.
    Lord, here I am trusting you. I yield myself to you and am not ashamed, no matter what happens You have already won!

  12. Christina says:

    Psalm 25:1-2 really spoke to me today as a wife and mother. As I lift up my soul to the Lord, I am lifting up four things: the very seat of my feeling, my desires, affections, and aversions. The Greek meaning goes on to say that as my soul is constituted (put together) by the right use of the aids offered by God, it can attain the highest end and secure eternal blessedness. So, by rightly using the Word of God, my feelings desires, affections and aversions can be so shaped by God that I can secure eternal blessedness. Yes, I want that!

  13. This bible study has really caused me to set aside chunks of time with Him that I had been neglecting for years now. feel that this time with the Lord had really allowed my relationship with Him to grow and I can tell its affecting other areas of my life. Im feeling His presence more strongly during my days and church has even become more dynamic. I lead a high school organization at my work (I am a HS teacher) called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and we have been really praying for our student body and I am seeing a hunger in my students like never before too!! Im just amazed at what spending more time with Him has done to my everyday life!! Rms 12:2 is the scripture that i speaking to me in everything I am seeing right now…..I am letting God transform me by spending that time with Him….. that in turn is keeping me from being like the world….. and praise God my students are seeing it and are hungry for that truth as well. I cant wait to see what God has in store!!

  14. The Matthew verse from the blog post was with me all day. It helped me stay focused on each task at hand rather than worrying about how to get it all done. I had a good day and got done what needed to get done. God truly answered my prayers. Psalm 118:8 – it is better to take refuge in The Lord than in people (me). The verse is so true. Trusting in myself is what is causing my stress. Trusting in God truly is an refuge from all the stress.

  15. I love the idea of being transformed like a butterfly and that by drawing near to God it is possible to begin again!

  16. Christine says:

    I like looking up Romans 12:2 in different versions. Some of the modern ones really make it hit me harder. The Amplified gave me a new perspective however – with renewing you get a new attitude! Just like little children! And then it may get contagious! Our new attitude can act as a witness to others who may get curious and want some of what we’ve got, and then oh I pray may I be willing to share the good news with them! I have to put aside my shyness and get a new attitude to be bold and share the gospel! I get too self-conscious and worry what others may think, but again if we change and become like little children they hardly ever care what others think of them! All I hear in my head now is that song, “I got a new attitude!”

  17. Joan Group 26 says:

    Psalms 118:8 reminded me again tonight not to trust in people, but to take refuge in the Lord. I have a terrible habit of not leaning on Him throughout my day. I know that He is speaking to my heart about it because this topic keeps coming up again and again and it’s kind of hammering me over the head a little bit! :) I need to stop depending on myself and rest in God’s will for my life and in his peace!!

  18. In You, Lord My God, I put my trust…

    He takes the stress away!

  19. The verse that spoke to me the most was Joel 2:12-13. “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for his is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.” The part about ‘so rend your heart and not your garments.’ Rending our garments is symbolic of us trying to do things to pay for our sin when His Grace is sufficient. All the lord wants is for us to have a repentive heart and give Him our heart. He paid it all. There is nothing left for us to do and even if we could it wouldn’t be enough. So thankful for His love, goodness, grace and mercy.

    • I love Romans 12:2…”Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good , pleasing perfect will.” This is a great scripture to claim over our children. We have to be strong in God’s word to not conform to the world. Just have to study his word..get it in our hearts and pray, pray, pray.

  20. Marie (Ree) says:

    When darkness comes and brings in fear
    I trust that’s when you are most near.
    So, I stand firm on solid ground
    Knowing that your love abounds.

    When Peace eludes me, I’ll seek your face
    And cling tightly to your Saving Grace.
    In quiet solitude and rest
    Your voice is heard…”This path is best”.

    Jesus lead me day by day
    Hold me close, don’t let me stray.
    Pick me up Lord when I fall
    Jesus you’re my All in All.

    Wash me clean, my life renew
    Forgotten past, your word is true.
    Righteous now, because of what you’ve done
    Holy Father, Precious Son.

    • amy black says:

      marie.. you have NO IDEA how bad I needed to see this.. anxiety has been lurking around every corner for me this last couple of weeks… thank you thank you thank you. love

      • Marie (Ree) says:

        Amy, I love communicating God’s word through poetry. I’m so glad He used me as a vessel to bless you as well. Your words validate the “Wee Steps” I need to continue to take towards my Big Dream of writing and speaking. I’m praying for a calming peace to wash over you and fill your heart and mind.
        Sincerely, Marie

        • amy black says:

          that is one of my dreams also.. you never know marie, we may just be writing/speaking to help women one day… love you sweet sister…

    • Such wonderful words to get me through The day

  21. amy black says:

    in reading our reflection verse in context, I found some awesome details.. isn’t our God so intricate that He cares about every detail… I have literally read this chapter of romans… lets just say,,, a lot… there are highlights, circles around words, underlined parts, notes in the margin… so its no new scripture for me… but , in Gods word, EVERY TIME I AM BROUGHT BACK TO A PLACE IVE BEEN ALREADY… God is there, waiting to share something new with me… to me, that’s how my mind is renewed… by reading and rereading the same passage over and over again… and praying over those words, the very words that are breathed by my God… anyways… in reading this chapter in romans, not only are we told not to be conformed, but be transformed, by the renewing of our minds, but in verses 11 through 21, we have AWESOME, DETAILED information that is vital to the Christian life… I love the amplified version of the Bible the most… but for those of you who don’t have that version… here it is.. layed out…

    never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be CONSTANT in prayer. contribute to the needs of Gods people (sharing in the necessities of the saints) pursue the practice of hospitality. bless those who persecute you ( who are cruel in their attitude toward you) bless, and do not curse them.. rejoice with those who rejoice ( sharing others joy) and weep with those who weep ( sharing also their grief) live in harmony with one another ; do not be haughty ( snobbish, high minded, exclusive,) but readily adjust yourself to people, things and give yourselves to humble tasks, never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. if possible, as far as it depends on you , live at peace with everyone. beloved.. NEVER avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for Gods wrath; for it is written, vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord. but if your enemy is hungry , feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by doing so, you will heap burning coals upon his head.do not be overcome with evil, but overcome (master) evil with good…

    I don’t know about yall, but that sounds a lot different than my human mindset all of the time. so its up to me to find these details and apply them to my life,,, not being conformed, but by being indeed transformed by the renewing of my mind DAILY .. and then I am told I will know, and be able to test and approve Gods own perfect will… I absolutely LOVED todays assignments… thank you in advance Lord for jennifers willingness and love for You to spend an week with us… thank You Lord for Your word… in Jesus name,,, amen… love and hugs…. its gonna be a great week…

    • What an awesome post. Thanks for puttingit on the table and sharing. I thought about just replying what Amy said

      • amy black says:

        thank you Elaine… we are all so much the same in this world… just hangin in and doing life together… ily… sweet sister..

  22. Mary G. (OBS Group Leader) says:

    I love Chapter 4 and haven’t even begun to dig into really good! I can’t wait to write out these scriptures in my journal this week. Class is hectic, but I’ll find a way to do it. God first, giving it to Him more and more every day. Fail. Grace. Fail. Grace. I’ll do it til I get it right!

    Also, can’t wait to listen to the playback of the conference call!!

  23. Take refuge in The Lord…..what a powerful way to escape the stressors and anxiety that come from daily life. I find myself looking forward to alone moments with God! I am overcome by peace when I can dedicate just if only a few minutes to talk with Him….so rejuvenating!

  24. I think it’s awesome that the Joel 2:12-13 verse spoke to so many as well. And I, like many of you, really heard the “rend your heart and not your garments and TURN unto Jehovah your God” I looked at some translations and some other things hit me. In the “Good News Translation” it says “Let your broken heart show your sorrow” the Message version said “Come back to Me and really mean it” “Turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart until broken fellowship is restored” One more thing that hit me while digging into the verses was part of the MSG Version of Romans 12:2, it said “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking” YIKES! I want to make sure I am shining His light and finding His will. I don’t want to be a conformist to a broken world.

  25. Romans 12 is an entire chapter that God is using to remind me that each time I call out to him he hears and is there to provide. As a teacher I often try to fix all the issues in my students lives. He is remindine that I only need to follow his words and allowhis grace to take over. Really needed the reminder this past few day. I also feel safest when relying on him and not others. I have to stop and look at through the trusting eyes of the child I know is in me. Thanks to each of you for your wonderful posts. They are always a way for me to get closer to God and how he works his grace so beautifully into each of our lives. God bless.

  26. Lee Roberts says:

    I really have been working on making possitive changes in me. This week I could really relate to the bible verse I am working on changing what I can change about me with God’s help. I have noticed a change in how much stress I feel right now. So some changes have already taken place. Thank you God for helping me be willing to be transformed by you.

  27. I had mentioned early on that people are a stressor for me. Then I read
    Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in man.
    I definitely know God is in this study. Every step of the way He is showing me where I can trust him more and how I can let go of the things that have me in bondage to sin. How freeing to let go, trust him and find refuge in the only one who can truly keep me safe, protected and happy!

  28. Psalm 118:8 is the verse that hit me the hardest. I tend to put my trust in so many different people instead of just trusting in the Lord that He will lead and guide me in my thoughts and everyday life. I am so happy to be part of this study. I have developed a closer relationship first with my Lord and second with my family. I am learning how to trust that the Lord will take away my stress and let me enjoy the happiness that he has intended for me.

  29. Lisa McClure says:

    “So rend your heart and not your garments” from Joel 2 really caught my attention. How often do we get all worked up about things and rend our garments- our physical and emotional well being- instead of turning to God and being heartbroken For the situation? I know my way has been to try to fix things myself and letting the stress overwhelm me. Never has it crosses my mind to let God handle it first and me leave it alone.

  30. I memorized Romans 12:2 in my 6th grade Sunday School class quite a few years ago. I have a 17 year old step-daughter who is a good kid, but going through some rebellion right now. This has kind of been my theme to her lately… but it always seems like the lessons the Lord is helping me teach my kids are also the lessons he’s teaching me. It’s so easy to turn on Pandora, or the tv, or pick up the ipad, instead of my Bible. The only way to truly transform our mind and our hearts is by spending time in his Word and on our knees. Today with our in-you-face technology, it is even more crucial to balance the popular culture-blast with truths from his scriptures…
    I’m finding the longer I’ve known the Lord, the more I recognize my need to change with his power… Transform me Lord!

  31. I wish I had this OBS YEARS ago! I struggled w/ the stress of work and parenting my little ones; anxiety ruled me and I felt I could do nothing to the best of my ability. However, 3 years ago I did step out in faith. God really gave me no choice, as His message to take another job could not have been clearer. I am proof that acting in faith makes God’s gifts available to us. I have been working full time from home, (mostly, lol) enjoying my work, experiencing professional successes, AND enjoying being more available and present w/ my family. I am not completely free of anxiety and stress, though. I definitely need to reinforce the concepts of this OBS daily. Now, I’m praying for faith and strength and that God will guide me in the next professional step I need to make, as well as how to maintain my family as the focus of my life. THY WILL BE DONE…. :)

  32. I absolutely love digging into our main focus verse this week. I have read and heard that verse so many times, but I got new meaning out of it when Jennifer had us actually look up the definition of conform, transform, and renew.

    Webster says “Conform means to make like in external appearance”. It’s not who we really are, we are just ‘acting’ like those in this world.

    And I love that Webster’s included this in their definition of transform – “a metamorphose, as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.” What a great visual. We are ugly and only capable of crawling along this earth until we let God transform us, then we are free and beautiful like a butterfly, able to spead our wings and take flight.

    I don’t think I’ll ever look at this verse the same again. Thanks Jennifer!

  33. Romans 12:2…I am getting this one thought, “Don’t stoop to their level.”

    • One last thought on renewing your mind.

      You renew your mind by changing your thought pattern. This allows you to open up to learn to know God’s will.

  34. I am learning how to “dig into the word” by our word mapping. I find myself grabbing a word, out of a scripture and looking it up, and writing different words around it that have the same meaning. It helps me see more clearly, the meaning of the verse.

  35. Lori K (OBS Group Leader) says:

    Just checked studylight.org and I love it. Thank youfor sharing!!

  36. Wow! So many things came out of this assignment! First,I really enjoyed the studylight resource! I have a Strong’s Concordance but I love the options on studylight!

    I really got a lot from the scriptures surrounding Romans 12:2. Especially verse 1…….”that ye present your bodies a lifing sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Of course! How can I be a living sacrifice if I am being conformed (read: made to resemble, morphed) to the World? I can’t! How are we “conformed” to this world? One important way that stood out to me was the warning to from Paul to believers about false teachers in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “….let by any means, as the serpent beguiled (deceived) Eve as through his subtility (craftiness), so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” For me, the more “educated” I become in the WORLD, the more I sometimes stuggle to stop asking “but why, God”? and “how, God”? Rather than being as a trusting child, simple in mind who just says, “Yes, Lord”! I try to analyze, prove, understand, decide, take the power, look at the world for evidence, rather than TRUST.

    But the good news is that being “confromed” to a particular image is changeable—-“to that which is essential of character and thus complete or durable”! Romans 8:29 says “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predesitnate to be CONFORMED to the image of his son….” God’s children can be CHANGED from the World into the image of his Son, through TRANSFORMATION (to CHANGE in form or external apperance). Anyone else ever struggle with closet Christianity? Why do I want to look like the world to the world, when I am not of the world? By following his teachings, developing my faith, and not being ashamed (Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…”.

    Fianlly, by denying the world, transforming to the image of Christ, we are renewed in spirit. Renewal is not always pretty. My favorite definition from the studylight says “to renovate/restore to a former state or a good state, after decay or depravation”. Oh, man. This is me. It’s hard, sometimes it doesn’t feel good, or look pretty, but if we peel off those layers, get down to the bare bones, take off the world and take on the image of Christ, we get the best revewal! We are refreshed, we have the opportunity to begin again! To be “a living sacrifice”, serving Him as new, vigourous childrend.

    I thank God that he keeps “renovating” me. It’s sometimes very tough (boy am I going through one right now), but He doesn’t start over with a new Jessica, he renovates to a better, more Christ-like me. Hallelujah!

  37. I think we don’t realize oftentimes how much we have conformed to the world’s thinking about everything in our lives. The enemy of our souls is always trying to distract us from walking with the Lord. He uses discouragement and problems in our lives to keep us stressed and side-tracked. The only way we can keep our minds is by renewing them daily with the Word of God. I have already learned so much from this book and just today I shared with a young mom how there are things we can change (sometimes it is US) and we can do that. BUT there are other things that we can’t do anything about and why should we stress on those things? I have been guilty of stressing about things that are absolutely out of my control. How silly!! I am asking the Lord to help me to just pray about the things that I can’t do anything about and do something about the things (usually me) that I can do something about. Thank you for this study and the book.

  38. Loving the wisdom from our reflection verse this week-especially how it’s translated in my NLT Bible: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” After going through some difficult circumstances, I feel that I am really in need of some refreshment and renewal. I’m encouraged also by how Jennifer had us look up definitions, and seeing that the renewal part is more of a work of the Holy Spirit and not up to me! I know I’ve let myself slide in terms of letting some of “the behavior and customs of this world in” (ie. too much tv time, computer, not enough prayer and daily time in God’s Word), so I’m excited to read this week’s chapter and look forward to implementing some change! (with God’s help of course) :)

  39. The Romans 12:2 passage has really spoken to me in this study but even before this study. My family is making a major move to be closer to God in less than 6 weeks. It sounds silly when I type it out but through lots of prayer we have made a decision to move to a less populated area to raise our children. We want to be farther from fast-paced life and raise our children with emphasis on faith, eternal life and relationships. When I try to explain this to people they don’t get it because our culture is based on wealth, power, busyness etc. It’s hard to not conform to what others are doing but God wants us to be different. God wants us to shine brightly in this world. I through some trials over the years have grown in faith and feel like this is my chance to walk without sight but rather walking by faith because God is leading us in this direction!
    Julie

  40. Joel 2:12-13 really spoke to me today. “Turn to me with all your heart with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning…” This verse reminds me that I am to give my everything to the Lord, not just half of me. Not trusting completely in Him. Romans 12:2 also speaks to me and reminds me that I am to be set apart from the world no matter how hard it gets. I need to renew my mind everyday through Gods Word. I am trying more in my life to memorize scripture so that my mind will be renewed. What a great study today was.

  41. I so often wonder if I am doing God’s will or is it my own…usually if it is all Him then something shows me or someone says or does something and I know it is His answer to me…I could feel that Romans 12:2 was addressing just that…discernment.
    I also love Matthew 18:3. It reminds me to be completely dependent on Him and trust Him completely just like children with their parents. Jesus I trust in you!

  42. After my day, as I lay in bed winding down and reading our reflection verse for the week I realized something about my day today. I conformed. I work with the public every day. A job that can be rewarding can be just as exhausting because not all people are nice to interact with. Some are just plain rude. Now I know as a child of God and in an effort to set a strong Christian example, I’m to love these people despite their ‘tude and respond to them with patience and kindness. Well, even though I held my tongue when faced with a particularly rude and frustrating person today, once I was behind closed doors with my coworkers, I let the frustrations vent right out of my mouth, and they were not pretty. Instead of taking deep breaths and praying to God for strength to shake off this one bad part of my otherwise great day, I conformed. I did what a lot of people do, and let the nasty come rolling right out of me. Not really a side of me people see often, thank goodness. It was even mentioned by one of our office staff, “wow! Jenny never gets mad!” But I did. I know that to some extent, it is healthy to vent your frustrations when faced with them. But as I was getting settled this evening and starting to reflect about the day’s stressful situation, I though about these verses I read over this morning:
    “In my distress, I called to The Lord; He answered me and He set me free. The Lord is with me, I am not afraid; what can anyone do to me? It is The Lord who helps me, and I will see my enemies defeated. It is better to trust in The Lord than to depend on people. It is better to trust in The Lord than to depend on human leaders.”
    I’ve read these verses many times, particularly the verse stating “it is better to trust in The Lord than to depend on people.”
    I’m not saying that you can’t ever depend on people. But you can’t always depend on them, and you definitely can’t always depend on every person who crosses your path to be nice. Who we do depend on is God and our faith that God will get us through these tough encounters with others. He will wrap His arms around us if we just go to him, and He won’t let anyone bring our days and our spirits down…or He will find awesome ways…like being greeted this evening by the site of my two loves sitting at the dinner table stuffing their faces with buttered toast, eggs, and bacon…to help us remember that a single moment (at least the non-earth shattering moments) doesn’t have to ruin our entire day. I strongly believe that God can use every one of us to change the coldness of someone’s heart simply by the way we choose to react to them…hopefully and prayerfully, next time I’m faced with a difficult person, which won’t be long I’m sure, I will pray to God for strength and the ability to transform, not conform.

  43. Loved all of these verses, but the one that really spoke to me was Psalm 25:1-2. It was a great reminder to me that the only one who should exalt over me is the Lord. In the past I have given the power to my enemies to exalt over me.

  44. Stephanie L says:

    To renew your mind is to renovate it! I love that!

  45. Lord, I pray that you will transform me into your image and renew my mind with your truth.

  46. Lori D. says:

    What a powerful Chapter. Pages 83-85 spoke to me deeply as I feel unworthy, broken, and past mistakes hold me in bondage to this day. I could indentify with the feelings Tracie described of how and why would He seek me and love me after I have disappointed him and turned from him instead of running to seek his face. Reading her words and experience is helping me to begin working on forgiving myself and realize that He has always been there and could love me, and instead of always talking to Him with chaos in my head, I need to keep working on turning to him, to quiet my mind so that I can hear him and to keep reading His word so I can grow closer to Him.

  47. Tracie B says:

    My Bible had this note about Matthew 18:3-4 that I loved:
    -the humility of a child consists of childlike trust, vulnerability, and the inability to advance his or her own cause apart from the help, direction, and resources of a parent.
    (Hmm, note to self!)

  48. Katrina says:

    In reading the five verses, I was reminded of the peace and comfort that can be found in seeking God and His word, rather than conforming to the world and looking to people in the world in our times of need. What really stood out to me is that learning to turn to God in our struggles, rather than worldly things, is part of the process of transforming our minds and being renewed. Only in turning to Him, can that be accomplished.

  49. I love this idea of renewing our minds. I like the idea that we can change our long held patterns of thought and behaviour simply by making the conscious effort to do so. I look forward to reading the chapter this week and answering the questions.

  50. I participated in my first conference call this week, what a blessing you ladies are! Thank you.
    Wendy