Stop the Hurry: A Day of Rest With the Lord

After a stressful work week I long to spend time with my Heavenly Father. I want to get some of that rest He talks about in His Word. What does He say? 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 ESV)

I feel a gentle nudge in my heart from the Lord inviting me to sit with Him. I know I need to talk with Him about what bothered me during the week or what’s worrying me –  To let Him tend to everything that’s going on in my heart and mind. But resting with the Lord is a discipline. It’s not our natural instinct. Like working out or drinking 8 glasses of water a day, I feel so much better after I do it, but actually doing it is the hardest part. I know I need time with the Lord, but sometimes I reach for the TV remote instead.

It’s not that watching TV is all bad, or whatever the numbing pastime of choice is (busyness, social media scrolling, online shopping, alcohol…). These things may be fine in moderation, but are a problem when we turn to them for rest. After binge watching a show for hours I don’t feel rested. I feel restless, bored and unsatisfied. After spending time with the Lord, I always feel more peace, more joy, more grateful, and more content.

Are there times when you feel weary or worn down and instead of seeking the One that gives true rest you choose to numb, distract or entertain yourself?

I’m inviting you to join me on an adventure this year – To visit a spacious place, a guilt free zone, a place with no to-do list because everything has already been done. A whole day that is set aside to enjoy God and your loved ones. A day to do the things that give you life that you normally put off because you are too tired or too busy or too tired from being too busy. A day to marvel at God, who He is and His goodness in your life. A day where time slows down, you catch your breath and He refreshes you. I’m inviting you to celebrate the Sabbath.

I know what you might be thinking, because I once thought it, too: “The Sabbath is so legalistic” or “I don’t have time to practice the Sabbath” or “What even is the Sabbath?”

I mentioned earlier that resting with the Lord is a discipline, but more specifically, it is a Spiritual discipline. Like prayer, Bible study, worship and service, followers of Jesus practice disciplines to connect to Him, hear from Him, show devotion to Him, and look a little more like Him.

Let’s look at the creation story in Genesis 2: 

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”(Genesis 2:1‭-‬3 ESV)

Here we see God showing us a healthy rhythm for living – Work six days and rest on the seventh. God did not need to rest. He doesn’t get tired, but we do. He made us and He knows what is best for us. In verse 3, it says He made the day holy. Holy means set apart for God. The seventh day was made special and was meant to be different from the other six.

Think for a moment. What would your life look like if you did all your work in six days so you could rest on the seventh? If you have a busy life or busy family schedule I know this may seem impossible, but try to keep an open mind.

Let’s look at a few more examples of Sabbath in the Bible. In Exodus 16, the Israelites are in the wilderness after God delivers them from Egypt and frees them from slavery. God provides manna each day for them to eat, but on the sixth day they are instructed to gather twice as much so that they can rest on the seventh. God is teaching them how to work and rest. As slaves, the idea of rest would have been foreign to the Israelites. They likely worked hard every day without weekends off or vacation time. God was giving them a gift, but sadly, they may not have seen it that way.  Exodus 16:27 reveals that some still went out to gather manna on the seventh day.

In Exodus 20:8-11, we see the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments. God’s people are instructed to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” If we read through all of the other nine commandments there aren’t any that are not still good to follow today. They are all full of wisdom and the Sabbath is included in them.

Let’s recap. So far we have learned that incorporating the Sabbath is a healthy rhythm for living. It’s a beautiful and wise gift from God. We discover even more in the New Testament gospels:

“He [Jesus] went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” (Matthew 12:9-14 ESV)

Jesus points out that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Over and over in the New Testament Jesus heals on the Sabbath. In Luke 13:10-17, He heals a woman that was bent over and could not straighten herself. In Luke 14:1-6, He heals a man with dropsy and in John 5:1-15, we see Jesus heal a man at the pool of Bethesda. 

The Pharisees added their own rules to the Sabbath. These extra rules made Sabbath legalistic and burdensome to the people. The Pharisees had lost sight of the real purpose of Sabbath and were more interested in appearing religiously perfect. Religion without the love of God and people is empty and not of God at all. They didn’t care about the people they were supposed to be ministering to. True Sabbath must involve the heart. Jesus cared about the people. His example and message in the gospels shows that we too can do good and minister to others when the opportunity presents itself – Regardless of what day it is. Jesus is not saying we no longer need to observe the Sabbath. He is stripping away the extra rules that were added. 

The evil one will always take a good and pure gift from God and twist and pervert it into something it was never meant to be. I find it interesting that to this day so many followers of Jesus still view the Sabbath as legalistic and burdensome. We are missing the heart of Sabbath. The Sabbath is a gift to us to rest and enjoy God. 

If you have never observed the Sabbath before, it may take some time and practice to figure out what works for you. That’s ok. I personally had never seen the Sabbath lived out well by anyone, so it was hard to know where to start. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your Sabbath.

Practical Tips for Getting Started

Pick a day to practice Sabbath – Most people choose Sundays, but another day of the week may work better for you. Sabbath is traditionally observed from sunset to sunset. So if you pick Sundays to Sabbath, it would start on Saturday at sunset and end on Sunday at sunset. 

Plan ahead and prepare in advance – Sabbath will not happen without some planning. Get your groceries, do your chores, maybe get a meal in the crockpot earlier in the day so that when sunset comes you can just eat and relax.

Be intentional – Light a candle and say a prayer to begin your Sabbath. Invite others to your Sabbath meal. Talk about what God is doing in your lives and remember all He has already done. Celebrate Him.

Enjoy God as you spend time with Him – Practice some of the other restful Spiritual disciplines like reading Scripture and meditating on Scripture. Add times of silence, solitude and prayer.

A Few Things to Avoid 

Work – Sounds simple, but figuring out what work is for you can be tricky. For example, some people enjoy spending time tending to their yard and they even feel connected to God while they are outside with their plants, they call it gardening. I call it yard work and it is work for me. Ask yourself: “What is life giving to me?” and “What activities make me feel most connected to Him?”

Buying things – The Sabbath is a day for cultivating gratefulness and contentment by enjoying what you already have. Shopping can feed that little voice in us that constantly wants more, bigger or better.

Avoid distractions – Cell phones are the biggest culprits. They are constantly distracting us. I’m not going to tell you to turn it off, but be aware of how much time you are spending on it and how often you check it. The goal is to be present to God and the people you choose to spend Sabbath with.

I pray that Sabbath would become something you look forward to every week. Since I’ve started practicing Sabbath my thoughts on it have drastically changed. Before, it seemed impossible. I doubted that I could get everything done so that I could celebrate Sabbath, and worried about how I would fill the day. It took some trial and error finding my restful rhythm with the Lord, but was so worth it! Give it a try, ask Him for help and be open to the ideas He brings to your mind. I believe it will be worth it for you, too.

All for His glory,

About the Author, Sarah Bulkley

I’m a wife, dog mom, pediatric dental assistant. I love spending my free time meditating on scripture, listening to old sermons, practicing yoga, and antique shopping.

I fell in love with Jesus at a young age, but my passion for women’s ministries and Bible Study really began when I joined my first Bible Study group in 2010. I love encouraging women to know and love the Bible.

 

 

Poured Out: Reflections on the Alabaster Jar

The symbolism and significance of an alabaster jar is beautiful to me. Luke 7 tells the story of a woman who learns that Jesus is eating at the home of a Pharisee. Specifically called out as a “sinner,” the woman displays a beautiful act of reverence and repentance when she enters the house:

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:37-38, ESV)

I could go on several rabbit trails and seriously geek out on dissecting this passage: the significance of wetting His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with oil…SO. MUCH. to unpack.

But for the sake of this article, I want to focus on one thing: the sacrificial offering she made by pouring out the (most likely very valuable) contents of the alabaster jar. 

I love tattoos. I have several; almost all of them are Scripture-based, and most are results of careful, thoughtful planning and consideration. My most recent one from August 2021 (pictured) is a broken alabaster jar. I intentionally placed it on my inner right forearm, with the fractured jar and spilled puddle pointing downward toward my wrist and hand to symbolize the costly, precious ointment poured out as an offering. Nice, right?

Shortly after getting my newest piece, I felt a strong conviction from the Lord:

“It’s not enough to just keep putting pretty tattoos on your body to show how pious you are. How are you actually living out the messages and images you have chosen to brand on your body?”

Ouch.

This forced me to seriously pause and ask myself:

What am I holding onto that God may be asking me to release to Him?                                                           What do I need to let go of and fully surrender to Jesus?                                                                                    

What is in my alabaster jar?

Before I continue, I want to make this disclaimer: anything that is written in this article is as much directed at me as it is to the reader. This topic is a result of my own convictions, and the questions that I am posing are ones that I have been wrestling with and continue to wrestle with. 

What each of us considers precious may widely vary. If you are a wife, mother, or working professional, you may include your spouse, child(ren), or your career in your jar. Perhaps certain friendships, memories, or healthy routines and habits are in there too. These are all sound answers, especially since you cannot put a price tag on most of them. The absence of these things from your life would undoubtedly be detrimental (or devastating) to some degree. All these things require surrender, trust, and faith. Letting go of our children as they grow, make mistakes, and mature; trusting the Lord with our marriages and careers; and faithfully stewarding our time, treasure and talent are all easier said than done. 

Are there things in your life that you are holding onto (maybe even subconsciously) that are holding you back? Keeping you up at night? Causing you great anxiety, fear, or anger? What barriers are you putting up around your heart that you need to allow Jesus to break through and tear down? Things that you wouldn’t typically consider “precious,” but are taking up a huge amount of space in your life?

Sometimes, the costliest things we need to pour out at the feet of Jesus require our humility, confession, and repentance.

Do you harbor resentment toward someone you love? Is there unresolved conflict with someone in your life? Who do you need to ask Jesus for help with forgiving? Have you grieved something or someone at length? Do you need to humbly acknowledge an addiction or destructive behavior or pattern and courageously ask for help? Are there idols that need to be removed?

The sinful woman in Luke 7 certainly didn’t think twice about the cost of the fragrant perfume in her alabaster flask; she willingly shattered the jar and emptied the valuable contents at Jesus’ feet. As fellow sinners, what’s holding us back from doing the same?

Proverbs 28:13 tells us that “whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (ESV). I have a feeling the author wasn’t referring to prosperity in the typical sense here (i.e., confess your sins and you’ll be wealthy and happy). But what if the trade-off for not humbly confessing the dark corners of our hearts and minds is being robbed of our ability to prosper in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV). 

If I’m being totally honest, there is not one fruit of the Spirit that I feel like I embrace. Not one. Why? Because if I’m being real with myself, my alabaster jar is overflowing with feelings of bitterness, resentment, anxiety, and fear. I think the root of all of these is the feeling of inadequacy. I never feel (and don’t know that I have ever felt) like I am ENOUGH. Just as I am. I have always tried to do more, be more, buy more. Stretched myself to maximum capacity, once nearly to the point of death. I have never actually fully stepped into my identity as a beloved and treasured child of the Most High King, choosing rather to focus on the things that limit me rather than my professed faith in a limitless God.

So…what then? What am I doing about it? How am I answering the Lord’s call to live out the art I’ve forever chosen to put on my body for the world to see?

It’s a daily choice. A choice to commune and converse with Jesus, not just to check a box and not out of obligation. A choice to read and study His Word and seek first His wisdom and perfect promises. Most of the time I’m terrible at it, and because of His lovingkindness He gently continues to nudge and pursue me as if to say: “Keep choosing me.” It’s a choice to be completely honest and transparent about my feelings and struggles because He’s not afraid of my anger, my imperfections, and my shortcomings. 

There is something so liberating about confession. Brutal honesty and transparency can cut like a knife, but it can also break chains and lift heavy yokes of burden from our shoulders. The beautiful relief is nothing is going to catch Jesus by surprise. He already knows everything. He’s just waiting for us to realize these things for ourselves and come to Him with hands open. 

So bring your jar full of your marriage, your children, your possessions, your career, your body, your health, your mental health, your treasured memories. Bring your flask full of anger, bitterness, resentment, apathy, unforgiveness, selfishness, fear, uncertainty, and addiction. It doesn’t matter what you’re carrying, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. 

 

About Ali Gadbaugh: Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ali is a homebody who counts coffee, her husband and daughter, and Jesus as a few of her favorite things. She likes to add a little sarcasm and humor to life, and is passionate about growing and deepening her relationship with her Savior.

 

 

 

Summer Psalms to Help Us Praise ( & Printable Scripture Cards)

Too many followers of Christ feel bad for displaying any emotion besides peace, gratitude and contentment. Fear, anger, resentment, and even grief are hidden and remain unexpressed. But the psalmists exhibit a completely different approach. They lay their hearts on the line. They experience (and share) a full range of uninhibited emotion and pour it out to God. They question, beg, wonder, protest and mourn. They celebrate, exalt and praise. They proclaim the power, greatness and worth of God. They come to Him honestly and with humility.

A Little Background

Written over a number of centuries (probably between 1440 BC and 586 BC), the book of Psalms is composed of 150 sacred songs. Created by numerous authors, they became an integral part of Hebrew rituals and worship. Although many of these songs are cries of disdain and pleas for help, the traditional Hebrew title of the collection is tehillim, meaning “praises.” 

In their raw emotion, the psalmists remember God’s character. They recall his generosity, forgiveness and faithfulness. They ask Him for grace and vengeance. And as they do, their awe and fear of God grows and brings Him praise.

Our Response

We want to model the psalmist’s praise and come to our great God with anything and everything on our minds and in our hearts. We want to trust that He is listening, that He sees, and that He will guide us to His truth. We want to grow in our love for Him and be reminded of His goodness.

Our very own Nancy Tauzer has created printable Summer Psalms Scripture cards to help. Commit to reading and meditating on an entire Psalm, then use these poignant passages to remind you of what you’ve learned. Memorize them, frame them, or send them to friends. Tape them to a refrigerator, bedside table, bedroom mirror, or anywhere else you’ll see them every day. However you use them, remember this: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He already knows what you’re feeling and can handle your honesty. Trusting that He’s good enough to handle your emotions brings Him great praise.

With great expectation, 

Links I Love
  • Understand more about the history of the Psalms at The Bible Project and by clicking here
  • Pam Forster has a few simple studies that help unpack Psalm 37 and Psalm 103 using the inductive method. The title says they’re for “busy moms,” but I think they’re great for everyone and have learned a lot from them both.
  • I’m a huge fan of reading plans. They keep me organized, motivated, and are a great resource for studying alongside others. Try this 28 day plan. It doesn’t cover every Psalm, but I love the direct links to passages for easy access through the Summer. 
  • Psalm 34 is another great Psalm to Study! Use this resource to help, and read about my own experience with the Inductive Bible Study Method here. You can also download and print these GORGEOUS Psalm 34 Scripture cards from artist Anna deRoos.

 

About the Contributors

Lisa Da Silva – Author

I’m a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.

A teacher by trade and passion, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, I enjoy thrift store shopping and often have to convince people I’m an introvert. Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is my everything.

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Tauzer – Scripture Card Creator

I am fond of trying new recipes and projects. I am a giver. Good listener. Softhearted. Loyal.

I’m a wife and momma of two boys who is probably drinking coffee and waiting for the laundry to fold itself. I enjoy hiking, dancing and organizing all things.

Growing up, I thought being a follower of Christ was only going to church on Sundays. Fast forward to today and I have an intimate relationship with God; continuing to grow in awe of his love for us.

 

 

Podcast 036 – “Trust, Passion & Perseverance” With 18-Year-Old Adventurer Lucy Westlake

 

 

Lucy Westlake has been climbing mountains since she could walk. With a deep love for the outdoors and a
the ability to push physical and mental limits to new heights, this 18-year-old adventurer has her sight set on breaking records for God’s glory. Join Lisa as she chats with Lucy about her quest to become the youngest female to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, her passion for making safe drinking water accessible to all, and how her faith in Christ is at the root of all her goals and accomplishments.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see how you can support Lucy as she heads to Everest this month. This is a story you won’t want to miss!

Noteworthy Quotes

“During my travels, I’ve seen first-hand how many people don’t have access to safe drinking water. My goal is to become the youngest female to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. And with that I hope to gather the support needed to make safe water more accessible to those who need it. Raising awareness is key.”

“As I watched the daily procession of my pen pal and other women and young girls in the community walk
two miles to a hole in the ground, wait among hundreds of people and animals for their turn to draw water, and then carry the heavy jerry can filled with contaminated water back to their village on their heads, my heart was burdened. I heard a cry from millions of thirsty mouths and dying children that resonated deeply in my heart. This cry echoed across many lands, many cultures, and many beliefs, and I knew right then that this was my calling: to help solve our world’s water and sanitation crisis.”

“I knew God had given me this gift, but I didn’t understand why… When I let go of the resentment of Denali’s failure and truly learned how to trust God in every aspect of my life, my longing for the mountains returned, but this time, not for the summit or breaking records, but for pushing my limits and relying on God. So now when I climb mountains, I continually remind myself, “Your ability is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God.” So when the moments get really hard and I get really weak, God grabs my hand and keeps me climbing.”

“When I reach what I perceive as the limits to my physical, mental, and spiritual being, I can feel God take control and fill me with His strength and power. My flesh is weak, but He is strong. Alone, I could never accomplish what I have, but with God anything is possible.”

 “It’s not about breaking records. It’s about pushing limits.”

“Don’t look at the whole mountain. Just look at one step at a time, and trust God for the next.”

“Maybe you can’t, but He can. You aren’t alone. I could never accomplish what I have through my own strength alone. Many times at the beginning of a day with a long hike ahead of me, I look down at my backpack and I feel so hopeless. It looks bigger than me and I think “how in the world am I going to lift this, let alone carry it on my back for 7-8 hours.” But don’t let those types of doubts and fears creep in – those are the devil’s attacks in your mind. Even when it seems impossible, I lift my backpack onto my back and start hiking, and each step He gives me the strength for another.”

Ways to Follow and Support Lucy

To read more about Lucy’s failure on her first attempt on Denali, read Katie Arnold’s article in Outside Online, “Lucy Westlake Is the Grittiest 13-Year-Old Mountain Climber We Know.”

To learn more about Lucy and follow her adventures, visit her website and Instagram (@Lucy.westlake.22)  

By purchasing a sweatshirt on Lucy’s Etsy shop, 100% of profits go directly towards safe water projects she is personally connected to in Uganda and Kenya.

To help Lucy fund her upcoming Everest trip, consider making a donation on her GoFundMe page. She committed to this trip on faith that God would provide the funds to cover it. 

 

Podcast 035 – “Book Talk, Biblical Justice and Togetherness” With Tracy Daugherty – Part 2

Join Lisa DaSilva and director of The Freedom Challenge, Tracy Daugherty, as they talk about their new Bible study and what it was like to join forces and write it TOGETHER. This is the second episode in a two part series.


Get your copy of What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:8 and find tips and printable Bible Study Discussion Questions for leading your own small group here. Proceeds from the sale of this book will support The Freedom Challenge in its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom. Download your study calendar and join us live @ariseministriescollective beginning April 20th for weekly study sessions with Tracy and Lisa. Stay tuned for more resources and updates coming soon!


                                                                                                                          Scripture References

Ephesians 4:3-6 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” 

Psalm 133: 1 – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

 


About the Hosts

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Tracy Daugherty, the director of The Freedom Challenge, has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and church planting with her husband, Dan. Working for The Freedom Challenge combines the two biggest passions God has placed on her heart: to affirm the significance of women and to expand the biblical worldview of the church. Based in San Diego County, California, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker. She readily admits that her most fulfilling ministry has been as a mom and seeing her three children (and one son-in-love) grounded in their confidence and calling. Before being appointed director of The Freedom Challenge in 2017, she was friends with its founder Cathey Anderson (now in heaven) and a self-proclaimed “girly-girl,” but she traded in her high heels for hiking boots because she was drawn to the cause of championing women. Now, after hiking and flying countless miles around the world with The Freedom Challenge, she’s witnessed the power of women as environment changers, as culture setters and as forces of good in the world. Seeing the impact that she and her fellow Freedom Sisters have made has only further fueled her commitment to leading The Freedom Challenge to its goal: setting 1 million women and children on the path to freedom by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast 034 – “Book Talk, Biblical Justice and Togetherness” With Tracy Daugherty – Part 1

 

Join Lisa DaSilva and director of The Freedom Challenge, Tracy Daugherty, as they reveal their new Bible study and talk about what it was like to work TOGETHER. This is the first episode in a two part series.
Co-authors Tracy and Lisa model togetherness and taking risks. Tracy applies ointment to Lisa’s inflamed bug bite at the end of a two-week mosquito infested mission trip.


Get your copy of What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:8 knowing that all proceeds from the sale of this book will support The Freedom Challenge in its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom. Download your study calendar here and join us live @ariseministriescollective beginning April 20th for weekly study sessions. Stay tuned for more resources and updates coming soon!

 


About the Hosts:

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Tracy Daugherty, the director of The Freedom Challenge, has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and church planting with her husband, Dan. Working for The Freedom Challenge combines the two biggest passions God has placed on her heart: to affirm the significance of women and to expand the biblical worldview of the church. Based in San Diego County, California, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker. She readily admits that her most fulfilling ministry has been as a mom and seeing her three children (and one son-in-love) grounded in their confidence and calling. Before being appointed director of The Freedom Challenge in 2017, she was friends with its founder Cathey Anderson (now in heaven) and a self-proclaimed “girly-girl,” but she traded in her high heels for hiking boots because she was drawn to the cause of championing women. Now, after hiking and flying countless miles around the world with The Freedom Challenge, she’s witnessed the power of women as environment changers, as culture setters and as forces of good in the world. Seeing the impact that she and her fellow Freedom Sisters have made has only further fueled her commitment to leading The Freedom Challenge to its goal: setting 1 million women and children on the path to freedom by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What the Lord Requires” – Our New Bible Study Book!

What would it look like to act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with God? How would this change the way we interact with one another and further Christ’s Kingdom here on earth? 

If you’re weary of all the sadness, contempt and division in our nation and world right now, you’re not alone. 

I am, too. That’s why I spent nearly a year studying, praying, dreaming and writing alongside the director of The Freedom Challenge

The Study

What the Lord Requires is a six-week (5 days per week) labor of love and conviction. It uses an inductive approach and invites participants to do the wonderful work of observing, interpreting, and applying Scripture while gaining the skills to understand other passages the same way. Whether you’re new to the Bible, a seasoned woman of the Word, have young children running around in the background, or are just trying to hold it together, expect to:

  • Spend 25 minutes a day studying the Word in a way that reveals God’s truth
  • Hone your Bible study skills by exploring cross-references, determining context, making lists, marking the text, paraphrasing, and more!
  • Commit to FINISHING and create an action plan to apply what you’ve learned
  • Glean from all the extra material we’ve included in the Appendices of the study
  • Be transformed by Micah 6:6-8 as you seek to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God
  • Check in with Tracy and I weekly via Instagram beginning with an introductory session on April 20 (stay tuned for more details along with additional resources to help you study)
  • Know that your purchase is saving lives! ALL proceeds from the sale of this Bible study will support The Freedom Challenge and its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom
The Team
Tracy and I (along with some other Freedom Challenge sisters) in a Muslim nation teaching the Bible and visiting programs that prevent and free women and children from oppression.

 

The dream of doing it together came from a sisterhood between Tracy and I – A trusted exchange of shared hearts, experiences and purpose. Our intention and desire is that you see this modeled in these pages: a powerful unity from the Arise and Freedom Challenge teams that truly represents the oneness of the Kingdom at what we believe is just the right time. 

How we hope that with each turn of the page comes deep understanding of the Word and the commitment to live in its truths.

I can’t wait for you to hold this study in your hands and work through it alongside us.

 

 

{available NOW on Amazon}

 

 

He is Love: More About Lent and Some Interviews with Sarah Bulkley

 

The season of Lent is just around the corner, and we want to be prepared. Christians around the world practice Lent as a way of drawing close to God and remembering Christ’s sacrifice in preparation of Easter. It’s not something we are required to do, but are invited to do. Below are some helpful insights, practical ideas, and more from author Sarah Bulkley about her book, He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond).

More About Lent

Observing Lent is not prescribed in Scripture, but is part of a centuries old Christian calendar beginning and modeled in the Bible. Fasting, meditating on God’s Word, repentance, prayer and sacrifice are not American traditions, but disciplines that are an integral part of our walk with Christ. Access our recommended resources for practicing spiritual disciplines here and here

  • The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, which means Spring, and lenctentid, which can be translated as March – the month in which the bulk of the lenten season falls.
  • Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 2 in 2022) and ends on Resurrection Sunday (with Palm Sunday, Holy ThursdayGood Friday, Silent Saturday between). While we refer to this season as 40 days of preparing our hearts and minds for Easter, Lent takes place over 47 calendar days. Sundays are traditionally considered days of rest and celebration rather than days of observance.
Ways to Observe Lent

Practicing Lent prepares us to celebrate the wonder and promise of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Search your heart and ask God to reveal ways that will help you draw close to Him this season and give yourself wholly to Jesus.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Sacrifice – Fast or abstain from types of food, technology, social media and/or sources of entertainment. When you crave or miss the things you’ve sacrificed, reflect on Christ and His great sacrifice for us. By voluntarily carving away comforts, distractions, or conveniences, we make room to focus on God.
  • Give – Live simply for the 47 days of Lent. Keep track of the money you’ve saved and donate it to a cause or person. Simple living allows more time and resources for others as we declutter and live intentionally. Consider serving somewhere on your own or alongside friends or family. 
  • Repent – Repentance is the act of turning to God and turning away from sin. Ask God to reveal sin and confess it to Him and a trusted friend or mentor. Seeking reconciliation with Christ and others is another way to celebrate our salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection.
  • Remember – To remember during Lent means we reflect on God’s sacrifice for us and His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Keep a gratitude journal where you record things you are grateful to God for. Commit to writing in it daily over the 47 days and review it with a spirit of thanksgiving on Easter Sunday.
  • Focus on Scripture and Prayer  – Make Christ the center of your lenten season by adding rhythms of daily Bible reading and responsive prayer. Use He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) to reflect on  foundational passages and respond in prayer. Use the pages in the back to begin writing your own personal prayers.
More About Our Lent Resource, “He is Love”

The first 11 days of He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) focus on others and include prayers for our community, leaders and loved ones. The last 36 passages draw our attention toward God’s character and seek to help us grow a deeper and more personal relationship with Him. 

At the end of the 47 Scriptures and prayers, there are 7 extra days of passages with space to write your own prayers. You are encouraged to spend time meditating on each one and then respond to God’s Word by writing a personal prayer to Him. 

 

Interviews About He is Love With Author Sarah Bulkley
Printable Scripture Cards 

Cultivate a rhythm of reflection and gratitude with Scripture memorization cards created by artist Anna DeRoos. Each of these passages correlate with our He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) devotional and are a simple and beautiful way to incorporate the Word into your Lent journey this year. These 4×6 cards can be framed, posted on a refrigerator, tucked into your Bible nightstand, or mailed in a note to a friend. Try memorizing them on your own, with family, or alongside other women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above all, may this season of repentance and reflection yield sweet communion with Christ. And in the sacrifice and practice of Lent, remember, Easter is coming!

 

About the Contributors

Sarah Bulkley

Sarah is a wife, dog mom and pediatric dental assistant. She loves spending her free time meditating on scripture, listening to old sermons, practicing yoga, and antique shopping. She fell in love with Jesus at a young age, but her passion for women’s ministries and Bible Study really began when she joined her first Bible Study group in 2010. She loves encouraging women to know and love the Bible.

 

 

 

Lisa Da Silva  

Lisa is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

 

Anna of She Letters Truth Co. – Creator of our Lent Scripture Memorization Cards

Anna is a visual artist and high school Senior living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves creating for God’s glory, and finds joy in all things pretty. You can find more of Anna’s printable scripture cards for Arise by checking out our Resources tab. Visit She Letters Truth Co. on Etsy to find more of Anna’s creations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Is Love: Our New Book & Other Resources to Help Celebrate Lent

Christians around the world set aside the six weeks before Easter to prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection. This season of surrender begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Silent Saturday – About forty days of remembering, fasting, and giving. ⁣

This Lent, we want to cultivate a rhythm of Bible-centered meditation, reflection and personal response. Our new book, He is Love: Daily Scripture & Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) provides a simple and practical way for us to do just that. Using carefully chosen passages that are foundational to our faith and propel us to live in ways that honor Christ’s sacrifice, author and Arise board member Sarah Bulkley has partnered with her artist mom and designer brother to give us over 40 days of  Scripture and prayer. Each day leads readers through a countdown to Easter, with additional space for crafting our own responses to key passages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A set of six FREE printable Scripture memorization cards by @sheletterstruthco correspond to the book and are available through this link. They’re the perfect size (4×6) to frame, post on a refrigerator, tuck into your Bible, or mail in a note to a friend. Commit to reading them, meditating on them, and memorizing them on your own, with your family, or alongside other women as you move through this season of Lent and the He Is Love resource.

May this season of repentance and beginning again yield sweet communion with Christ. Our sacrifice for His glory.⁣

 

 

 

**Note for readers in the greater PDX/Arise area: Feel free to contact one of us if you want to save on shipping and do a porch pick-up. Suggested donation for local copies is $10, but let us know if this doesn’t fit your budget. As always, our goal is to get Scripture and resources into as many hands as possible. We should have hardcopies available locally by the last week of February. Just send us an email or PM via social media. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He Will” – An Advent Bible Study

Preparing for Christmas

There are trees to decorate, lights to hang, stockings to stuff, cookies to bake, gifts to buy, and special meals to cook. In all of the excitement, rushing, and overwhelm we may wonder what the fuss and hustle is really about. Many of us long to soak in the real reason we celebrate.
For centuries, Christians around the world have set aside the four weeks before Christmas to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We call this Advent (meaning “the arrival” or “coming”), and embrace it as a season of anticipation for both the birth of Christ and the glory of God still to come – A time to ready our hearts and honor God’s gift to us in our Savior, Jesus.

About the “He Will” Advent Bible Study

We hope you’ll experience this Christmas season with a fresh and renewed perspective as you participate in this four-week study either individually or with a group. Expect the following as you journey through the first two chapters of Luke using the “He Will” Advent Bible Study:
  • A guided plan organized by week rather than day so you can use your own judgement and schedule your time accordingly.
  • Dig deep and glean new revelation from this well-known gospel story.
  • Better understand the prophesies, context, and events surrounding Christ’s coming.
  • Discover and cling to the character traits of God revealed in both the Old and New Testament.
  • Utilize an inductive study method by making observations, marking key words, and interpreting  the text.
  • Remember that in His great love and mercy, God has given the gift of salvation, just as He promised.

 

The Bible is for Everyone

We believe that the Bible is for everyone. You don’t need to be a scholar to start growing! Our heart’s desire is that this guide would be a useful tool for you, and we hope you will learn some new things and practice studying the Bible for yourself. While it’s suitable for both individuals and groups, we strongly recommend asking others to learn alongside you. Invite some friends and meet each week to discuss new revelations about the text and our amazing God.

Join Us

While November 29 is the official start of Advent this year, go ahead and start a week early (November 22) if you want/need to be finished by Christmas. We simply hope you’ll come alongside us as we prepare our hearts to celebrate what amazing things the Lord has done.
Be sure to subscribe on our website to receive free printable scripture cards containing key verses from this study, check us out on social media for a short IGTV video to encourage your learning, and listen to our “He Will” podcast with special tips and guidance after you finish Week One. 
With great love and affection for our sisters in Christ, 
Authors Eryn Kesler, Mary Straker, and the team at Arise Ministries Collective
Get your copy of the He Will Advent Study by clicking here or on the image below.

About the “He Will” Co-Authors

Eryn Kesler has been married to Matt for 20 years – the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She’s mom to 5 amazing kids, a recovering over-scheduler, and a wedding & portrait photographer in Brush Prairie, Washington.
Mary Straker is wife to her loving husband, Derek, and a stay-at-home mama to three sweet and busy little girls. She has been changed by the study of Scripture, and longs for other women to abide with God through the treasure of His Word. Mary lives in Ridgefield, Washington. 

 

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