Podcast 030-
“Stagnant In the Wilderness”
|| The In-Between Series With Jess and Amanda ||

Hello again, friends! Thank you for joining us for our second episode in the three part series we’re calling The In-Between. We are so happy to have you alongside us!

We’re starting this next podcast with the librarian approved textbook dictionary definition of stagnation before digging into stories of waiting we hear in the Bible. We hope and pray that each one of us listening or reading learns to wait well – To not be lukewarm, but abiding and fiery hot in pursuit of the Lord. How awesome it is to be able to have deep, lasting hope from God, in whatever waiting season we are in.

 

Scripture References

The Book of Daniel – We challenge you to read through Daniel and highlight the actions and reactions he has while waiting. Compare Daniel’s responses to your own. 

“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; his also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 (ESV)

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 (NIV)

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)

“Because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel.” Colossians 1:4-5 (NIV) 

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10 (NIV)

“All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:3 (NIV)

“For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19 (NIV)

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19 NIV

 

5 “Asks” To Help You Wait Well

Ask God to give you a spirit of gratitude – For Him to help you be thankful for your trials, even when you’re in the middle of them.

Ask yourself what you’re learning in life right now? What is your particular trial or season of waiting teaching you? 

Ask what is instead of what if? Consider making a list to keep track of all the things that are currently in front of you and the realities of your life help you thrive in the present rather than the could have beens.

Ask yourself how you can renew your mind with Scripture that speaks to how God promises purpose, perspective, and promise for the pain.

Ask God what it looks to like abide in hope? Search your own heart to determine you can move forward in this process. How can you bear good fruit in the abiding in Christ?

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

We wanted to offer some resources that we have found helpful for us in times of stagnation. Here are some songs, books, and journals that we hope can be an encouragement for you.

 

We look forward to having you join us again for the next podcast in our series about vision for the mission God has for us.

Let’s use this time for his glory, let’s take hold of the promises he has for us as we hold onto hope.

Jess and Amanda

 

About Our Co-Hosts

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

 

 

 

Podcast 029 –
“Seeking Contentment In Singleness”
|| The In-Between Series with Jess and Amanda ||

Welcome friends,

What do you do when you’re dissatisfied with life? Like you’re in a ditch and can’t get out or feel like staying in the pit you’re in? Portland millennials Amanda and Jess have experienced this, too, and want to encourage other single women to find true contentment in Christ. Listen along as they share personal stories, insight, and wisdom in this first episode of the three part series they’re calling, In Between.  

 

Scripture References

“And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Philippians 4:11-13 GNT

“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NLT

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 NIV

 

Steps to Finding Contentment

  1. Begin on your knees. Ask the Father what’s going on deep in your heart and in your mind. Ask Him to show you if there are deeply embedded roots of sin that are causing poor fruit/discontentment to grow. Ask Him for vision and to reveal Truth from his Word that will replace lies of the world and from the enemy. Ask Him to humble you to hear and respond to what He has to say.
  2. Focus on the Word. Take time to meditate on Scripture. Memorize passages for recall when you’re feeling discontent or discouraged. Print the resources below and put them up around your home or tuck them in your wallet. Make sure you’re staying in the Word, and consider joining a study or group to hold you accountable.
  3. Ask For Insight. Talk to trusted friends, mentors or parents and ask them if they see patterns that contribute to your state of discontent. Invite others to come alongside you in the journey. Be willing to share your struggles and receive their words of wisdom/encouragement.
  4. Practice Thankfulness. Make lists of things you’re thankful for each day. You may want to keep a journal and record prayers of gratitude. These remind us of the good things God has for us in our lives when we’re struggling to see it.
  5. Consider Others. While it’s important to understand, acknowledge, and deal with personal trauma, loneliness, and disappointment, too much time focusing on the self can leave us bound to discontent. Begin looking for opportunities to volunteer and share your gifts/resources with others. Pray for people, bring a meal to someone, and find places to serve. Make plans and engage in the community around you.

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

Sometimes we need a little outside encouragement finding contentment in Christ. Amanda and Jess shared some songs and articles they found helpful, along with suggestions for clinging to the Word of Christ through meditation and memorization. Click on the links below for direct access to these resources.

There are free printable scripture cards available from us here at Arise (a gift from artist Anna DeRoos of She Letters Truth – Just tap the images below for the printable PDF) as well as some for purchase through The Daily Grace Company.

We don’t always get to choose our situation, but we do get to choose how we think about it, how we shape our hearts in it, and how we come to God in it. 

Pursuing contentment right alongside you,

Jess and Amanda

 

About Our Hosts:

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

Not Sure What Bible Study To Do This Fall? 11 Ideas to Get You Started

It’s the time of year when individuals, small groups and churches commit to Bible study curriculum for the upcoming Fall season, but finding theologically sound resources to accommodate a particular timeline, group dynamic/need, or topic can be difficult. We know many of you might be studying alone at home or with kids around while social distancing and supervising school. We want to help!

Below is a list of options we think will help women better understand the Word, the character of God, and the purpose He has for our lives. Each one varies in terms of time commitment, depth of study, and suitability for group/independent learning, so we tried to provide some helpful notes to guide your decision. This list is not at all exhaustive, but we hope it will serve as a launching point for upcoming studies. You can find more of our suggestions by linking to last year’s ideas here.

If you do choose to use one of the resources listed below, click directly on the image or title to view and purchase the resource from Amazon. We earn a small commission if you do, and every little bit helps us minister to women.

You can find more of our suggested books, studies, Bibles, and even resources for children by clicking here.

 

Bible Study for Busy Mama’s: Thirty Days 1 Corinthians 13 

  • Author: Pam Forster
  • Timeline: 30 Days
  • Homework: 5-15 minutes per day with options to go deeper
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insight: This is a great way for anyone (you don’t have to be a mom or even particularly busy to glean from these studies), but ideal for women homeschooling/supervising remote learning this Fall. This study is geared towards moms with little ones at home and includes activities/suggestions for involving them in what you’re learning. For more in this series, click here.

 

Matchless: The Life and Love of Jesus

  • Author: Angie Smith
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not necessary
  • Additional Insight: This study has just been released, so none of us on the Arise team has had a chance to finish it, yet. That said, we absolutely loved Angie’s other study, Seamless, so have faith that this one will be theologically sound and a great resource as well.

 

 

Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture

  • Author: Jackie Hill Perry
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1-3 hours per week
  • Video – Yes. Not necessary, but strongly suggested. Each episode is 8-20 minutes long and can be rented or purchased from Lifeway.
  • Additional Insight: A teen version of this study is also available.

 

 

 

Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days

  • Author: Kay Arthur
  • Timeline: 28 Days /4 Weeks
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is an all-time favorite for a few of us on the Arise team. It’s a great independent study, but also has questions in the back for use with a group. We strongly recommend this one, and love doing it alongside others for accountability.

 

 

Living Victoriously in Difficult Times

  • Author: Kay Arthur, Bob & Diane Vereen
  • Timeline: 6 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1 hour per week (see Additional Insights below)
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is designed to be completed as a group with all of the work/discussion taking place together over a 40 minute period together. We suggest allowing more time to go through the study in a group format (at least 75-90) OR asking participants to complete the 40 minutes of content individually before coming together to discuss. This study is also suitable for independent use.

 

I Am Found: Quitting the Game of Hide and Seek with God and Others

  • Author: Laura Dingman
  • Timeline: 6  Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is a topical study about issues surrounding shame and identity. It’s less of an in-depth Bible study, but uses Scripture to lead women on a journey toward healing and surrender. It’s suitable for individual use or study with a trusted group of women.

 

 

All Things New: A Study on 2 Corinthians

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 8 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes – Helpful, but not necessary.

 

 

 

 

What Matters Most: A Study of Philippians

  • Author: Karen Ehman
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

 

 

 

 

Illuminated Bible Journals  (ESV)

  • Author: Published by Crossway
  • Timeline: Varies depending on which book you choose to study
  • Additional Insight: These Bible journals are amazing! Scripture is printed on one side, with lined pages on the other for your observations and notes. There are large margins for marking the text and recording insights. We suggest reading about Inductive Bible Study and printing our downloadable resources to help you work through the text. The book of James would be a great place to start, but journals for each book of the Bible are available.

 

We also love Precept Upon Precept and Bible Study Fellowship classes. These are facilitated by trained instructors all over Canada and the USA. Click on the links below to find one near you.

 

Podcast 028 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom – Strategies to Help you Thrive” with Angie Forrester

Whether fully homeschooling, supervising online learning, or doing a model that integrates both, we want to help you thrive. Join Lisa DaSilva and longtime homeschool mother of 5 Angie Forrester as they talk through some strategies and offer Christ-centered perspective.

Find more conversations about Covid-19 education options along with helpful tips and resources in previous podcasts in our Unexpected Homeschool Mom series by clicking here and here.

Show Notes

Strategies to Foster Success
  • Have a Family Meeting
  • Make a PlanHere’s an basic idea of how much time it will take to get through school based on age: 1st-3rd – about 2.5 hours  (this time is very parent lead); 4th-6th – about 3.5 to 4 hours (this time is about half parent lead and the rest student lead); Jr High & High School – about 6 hours (this time is mostly student lead with tutors or online support as needed)
  • Create a School Area and Practical Structures 
  • Actively Engage and Be Interested in Your Student’s Learning
  • Have Fun and Make Memories
  • Give (and accept) Grace
  • Make Christ the Center
Scripture References

John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

Genral Resources and Links

For updates on State Law requirements:  https://hslda.org/

Exodus Books is Angie’s favorite homeschool bookstore. It’s small and family owned, so if you have any questions they are very helpful in working out what will be the best fit for your family.
Charlotte Mason Resources and Links:

Wild and Free: Charlotte Mason inspired podcasts & content bundles. They also have small nature groups that gather around the country to enhance your homeschool experience.

Sonlight: Rich literature and hands-on science.
My Father’s World: Similar to Sonlight, and in the past have been a little more affordable.
Beautiful Feet: History book collections that teach through the power of story.
Ambleside: A free resource.
Classical Education Resources and Links:
Classical Conversations: Nationwide local communities with weekly classes.
Logos Online School: Classical Christian School with classes online.
Calvert Academy: Offers online classes or box set resources.
“Box Set” Classroom Links and Resources:
Abeka – Online or boxed curriculum options
Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation as you embrace this hard holy work,

Angie and Lisa

 

Meet Our Guests

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with schools that are pulling off remote learning with great success. She is passionate about education and loved being a public school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all the mamas with children unexpectedly at home during this season.

 

 

Podcast 027 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom: Options & Encouragement for this Holy Hard Work” with Angie Forrester

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

What will my family do for school this Fall? How will my kids handle remote learning? Online classes? Is traditional homeschool a viable option? What about community learning pods or other alternative models? How do we even decide and what should we look for moving forward? Can I really do this?

We hope you’ll join host Lisa DaSilva and longtime homeschool mother of five Angie Forrester as they talk through some of these questions in an effort to relieve anxiety and bring God glory heading into uncertain times this Fall.  

Listen to the conversation and find Christ-centered encouragement, hope, and practical ideas, then scroll down for resources in our Show Notes.

You can find more helpful tips, strategies, suggested books and resources in an earlier podcast with Angie Forrester by clicking here.

Show Notes
Questions to Guide Your Decisions
  1. What does the Bible say? Does scripture align with and support your options?
  2. How is the Holy Spirit prompting or leading you?
  3. What do your Christian mentors/wise people in your life think?
  4. What are your personal preferences? What are the preferences of your spouse? Your children?
  5. What doors are open to you? What options are available?
Genral Resources and Links

For updates on State Law requirements:  https://hslda.org/

Exodus Books is Angie’s favorite homeschool bookstore. It’s small and family owned, so if you have any questions they are very helpful in working out what will be the best fit for your family.
Charlotte Mason Resources and Links:

Wild and Free: Charlotte Mason inspired podcasts & content bundles. They also have small nature groups that gather around the country to enhance your homeschool experience.

Sonlight: Rich literature and hands-on science.
My Father’s World: Similar to Sonlight, and in the past have been a little more affordable.
Beautiful Feet: History book collections that teach through the power of story.
Ambleside: A free resource.
Classical Education Resources and Links:
Classical Conversations: Nationwide local communities with weekly classes.
Logos Online School: Classical Christian School with classes online.
Calvert Academy: Offers online classes or box set resources.
“Box Set” Classroom Links and Resources:
Abeka – Online or boxed curriculum options
Scripture References
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)

 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

 

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (ESV)

Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation as you embrace this hard holy work,

Angie and Lisa

 

Meet Our Guests

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with schools that are pulling off remote learning with great success. She is passionate about education and loved being a public school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all the mamas with children unexpectedly at home during this season.

Podcast 026 – “Let’s Talk About It: Race, White Privilege, BLM and More” with Vickie Hunter

What is white privilege and why do some white people struggle with the idea? Does saying and believing black lives matter mean you’re supporting or advocating for the BLM foundation or are anti-police? How can we engage in healthy conversation about racism and racial discrimination, and what are some steps we can take toward change and reconciliation?

In this episode of the Arise Ministries Collective Podcast, guest Vickie Hunter joins Lisa DaSilva to work through a few of the heavy topics surrounding race in America. We hope you’ll take time to quiet your heart, join in their conversation, and be part of gospel-centered healing.

 

Scripture References 

Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Colossians 2:8

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Luke 10:47

“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Psalm 139:23-24

 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalm 19:14 

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.”

Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

 

Noteworthy Quotes

“White privilege is a built in advantage because of the color of your skin…  It also means you’re exempt from certain disadvantages.”

“When we all win, we all win.”

Concerning giving up privilege: “Think about the gospel itself – It is such a paradox. How do we gain our life? We have to lose it. To truly live, we have to die. To really be strong in the Lord, we have to boast about our weakness…  You think you’re going to be losing something or give up something, and you’re really not.”

Concerning Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter: “You love your children, but if one falls and skins his knee, that’s the one you’re running to – To tend to them at that moment. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your other children. It just means that one is hurting at that moment and needs some help. We’re crying out that we need help.”

“If we have a friend, or a brother or a sister in Christ and they’re hurting, there are certain ways to respond. By denying their pain, ignoring their pain, or saying, ‘Well, I don’t feel pain,” doesn’t mean that they are not in pain.”

“God knows your heart more than you know your own heart.”

“When we love the way that we should, we all win.”

“I don’t know the person or people who founded the BLM organization. I do know that the saying Blacks lives matter is a Christian worldview though. Christians are not borrowing this slogan from the world. The world borrowed this truth from the Christian worldview.” – Preston Perry via Twitter

“Every man shows himself to be a skillful teacher of justice for his own advantage.” – John Calvin

 

Next Steps
  • Pray: Ask the Lord to reveal areas of blindness and to uncover biases. Take time to process with an open heart and mind.
  • Study Scripture: Use this resource as a launching point to understand justice and kindness from God’s perspective. The Bible is packed with stories about God’s response to justice and His expectation of ours. 
  • Investigate: Read and listen to a variety of perspectives concerning history, systemic racism, and the human experience. Talk to your black friends and be open to genuinely learning from their responses. Consider reading some of the books in our previously published article about justice and empathy.
  • Vote: Research candidates and platforms on your ballot. Judges, local constituents, city council members, and many others play a big role in influencing policy and change. Know who you’re voting for and what they stand for.
  • Talk About It: Regularly talk about race, biases, assumptions, injustice, and current events in your homes and with your children.
  • Arise: Ask, “How can I affect and influence systemic change?” and move into action. This may mean writing letters, signing petitions, participating in a peaceful protest, and supporting organizations that align with your Biblical worldview and work toward racial justice. The & Campaign is a great place to start.

 

About Our Guest: Vickie Hunter is a Jesus-loving empty nester and mama to one adult son. She has lived on Long Island, NY her entire life but loves to travel. Her last major trip was to Israel where she had the amazing opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Vickie has attended Island Christian Church for the past 25 years and has served as their Office Manager for the last 15. She is a mentor to many young women in her church and community who affectionately refer to her as “Auntie.”

Justice, Your Family & You: Thoughts and Resources to Help Foster Empathy and Understanding

The loud cry for justice rises against stark silence and turning away. Some seem consumed with raising issues and demanding action while others are contentedly blinded – unwilling to know because it might mandate some sort of pain, change, or response. Feelings and opinions divide communities and churches.

Phrases like social responsibility and social justice are rampant in current Western culture, but what do they mean for followers of Christ? Sons and daughters of the king? Parents determined to raise children with meaningful faith? Members of local neighborhoods, nations, and citizens of the world?

Looking Through Lenses

While I normally begin sorting through these types of questions by searching Scripture (always a great place to start), I wonder if an honest and heartfelt exploration of the self as it relates to both social justice and the Bible is an appropriate place to begin. 

Here’s what I mean.

Each of us has presuppositions – Deeply-rooted ideas and ideals about the world we may not even know are there. Understanding how we think and interact with others begins by posing questions about ourselves. Who are we, and why? What are the beliefs and values we cling to and how have they been shaped by past experiences, upbringing, family history, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, cultural background, trauma, relationships, ethnicity, country of origin, church, social circles, and/or theology? 

Our past experiences work together to create personalized lenses through which we see  – Like a pair of glasses we don’t know we have on. These lenses not only cause us to assess, evaluate and assume things about the world and people around us, but also affect the way we interpret Scripture. We can understand the Bible and the great God it speaks of when we better understand how our personal perceptions shape the way we approach its content. This is why studying Scripture to learn the intended audience, context, culture, history, and author of a particular passage is so important (read more about the Inductive Study Method here). Employing rigorous Bible study strategies and uncovering our own biases can help us better determine what Scripture actually says rather than what we want it to say.

Justice and the Human Story

Recognizing how our own story contributes to underlying assumptions not only helps us rightly handle God’s story in the Bible, but better prepares us to listen to and connect with someone else’s. Empathy (a key part of justice) is manifested when we willingly take off our lenses to see other people more clearly.

I believe stories are a doorway to justice and mercy. Hearing or reading about a person or people groups’ experience helps us understand and empathize. Taking time to immerse ourselves in a story about another’s plight, a justice/injustice themed event in history, a narrative that challenges pre-conceived ideas or yields an empathetic response are all valuable to understanding social justice as followers of Christ. Our goal in listening should not be to evaluate someone’s personal story and deem it right or wrong, nor to follow up with “but” or comparative statements. We read and listen to gain perspective. To understand. To begin to know the teller and value his or her experience, regardless of whether or not we can relate to it.

As a teacher by trade and reader by passion, I have a storehouse of books in my home and garage. While I regularly sift through them to get rid of ones we no longer read, those about social issues and human rights will likely remain with me forever. There are joy-inducing stories celebrating differences and the will to overcome, and others that pose questions about injustices in our world such as racial inequality, the Holocaust, Japanese Internment, our response to the poor, and refugees. There are stories that evoke empathy, and others that simply make me think, grieve and wonder. There are stories for young children, school-aged students, and young adults. Few of them are deemed “Christian” books by the publisher, but the nature of their content draws us to call on Biblical truth and initiate a response in both thought and action (scroll down to see some of my favorites).

I believe God thinks stories are a key way to understand His precepts, tug at our heart-strings, and reveal His plan. It’s why the Bible is so full of them – A glorious and inspired collection of stories about the character of God, His creation, Israel, and the Messiah.

Micah 6:7-8 is one of the most well-known scriptures about justice and kindness in the Old Testament. We’ll unpack it together in a moment, but I’ve included a printable download with more Scripture for further study and some suggestions to guide your investigation. You can access it here, or by clicking on the image below.

 
Do Justice, Love Kindness

6  “With what shall I come before the Lord,

      and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

     with calves a year old?

7  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

     with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

8  He has told you, O man, what is good;

     and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

     and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8, ESV)

 

Micah asks hypothetical questions on behalf of Israel: Lord what do you want from us? How can we please you? We’ll sacrifice. We’ll offer our firstborn children. Just tell us what you want.  So God answers through His prophet, Micah. He tells them there are three things He requires, and infers that they should already know what they are: 

To do justice

To love kindness

To walk humbly with God.

Semantics are important here. The Bible doesn’t say to love justice, or to consider just responses. It says to DO justice. It’s a practice. An action verb. We can’t simply think about it and call it good. We can’t cry a little and be done. We can’t post a few great images or catchy quotes to check a now-I-feel-better-about-it box.

Israel’s sacrifices and words meant nothing to God because they weren’t being just – upholding the laws of protection, dignity, and lawfulness made clear to them through Moses during the Exodus.

Other Old Testament prophets speak to this concept as well. Through Amos, for example, God absolutely rebukes Israel because of the way they treat their own people. They repeatedly subject them to poverty and oppression for their own gain (Amos 5:11-12, Amos 8:4-6). While Old Testament justice is often the simple act of upholding the law (being fair and not taking advantage of the poor), New Testament scripture takes this a step further. The apostle John implores that “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth “ (1 John 3:17-18). James makes a similar claim: 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:14-17 

Our faith saves us, but the way we treat the poor, oppressed, needy and hungry is evidence of that faith. It gives proof of what we believe and who we serve.

Social Justice Vs. Biblical Justice

While social justice shows diligent concern for people, the earth, and doing what one deems “right” or moral, biblical justice takes this a step further. As followers of Christ, we are to study what God says about pertinent issues, then view each and every person involved as deeply loved and made in the very image of the God we serve (Genesis 1:27). 

We care for people because He cares for them. 

We extend grace and mercy because He has done the same for us. 

We come alongside the broken because we understand our own brokenness in light of our Father’s holiness.

We see others in the same way the Lord God has seen and found us – desperate for healing and in need of restoration.

We understand that He has justified by no merit of our own, so we serve for the justice of others – Even if we feel it’s underserved.  

We seek restitution.

We apologize with genuine humility and work hard to become part of a solution.

We actually have to do something, friends, and with love and empathy. We can’t blind ourselves and our children to the hurt and oppression in the world, and we can’t strive to protect ourselves without protecting others.

So what do we do? How do we respond? It’s a difficult question because there isn’t one answer. Each of us has been given different gifts, situations, strengths and resources that the Lord will ask us to use for His Kingdom purpose and glory. So have our children. It’s complicated and complex, but here are a few suggestions to begin the journey toward living with a Biblical justice mindset.

What Now? A Few First Steps
  1. Wipe off our lenses:  Do the hard work to uncover the biases and presuppositions that frame the way you see the world and justice issues. Review the questions outlined above and prayerfully surrender the process to the Lord.  Be patient. This will take time, effort, tears and struggle. 
  2. Know the needs: We can’t turn a blind eye to the suffering around us. It’s imperative to know and allow ourselves to feel. A great place to start is by reading and listening. Check a variety of news sources (they have biases, too) to determine what’s going on in your community and in the world. I like to read and listen to both local and international commentaries for a more well-rounded perspective. Books are a wonderful way to educate yourself and begin the discussion of local and global issues with your kids. Scroll down to get some of my personal recommendations.
  3. Study the Word: Use the attached resources to determine what God thinks about justice and kindness. The Scripture I’ve included in the link above is really just a launching point for your study. The Bible is packed with stories about God’s response to justice and His expectation of ours.   
  4. Engage: Get started! There are incredible organizations who have identified needs and are responsibly coming alongside fellow humans to provide for needs, freedom, justice, and empowerment. While we need to be mindful of ways we can actually hinder development and cause more harm than good (click here for helpful resources about this concept), step into empathetic, thoughtful action and relationship if/when you see a need around you. Teach your children that these can be as simple as asking personal questions and genuinely listening to the response, bringing a meal to someone, advocating for someone who is often teased or bullied, helping a friend with his or her homework, volunteering for a non-profit, walking in a march, or saving money to donate and assist a reputable organization. There are many needs, and many ways to make sacrifices and come alongside those either requiring or providing assistance.

Oh what a refreshing and glorious day it will be when, in the words of the Old Testament prophet Amos and quoted by Martin Luther King Jr. in his powerful I Have a Dream speech, we “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).

 

With great expectation,

 

Recommended Resources & Stories

The following are books I’ve personally read and own. Not everyone will agree with the concepts expressed in each one, but I believe empathy begins with openness to anothers’ experiences and perspective. You can click on the image to order a book directly and support that author’s effort (we receive a small commission from Amazon and are grateful for that, too), but I’m happy to lend any of them out if you live near me and need to borrow one instead.

Children’s Books About Appreciating Differences

 

Children’s Books About Human Rights, Suffering & Oppression

Children’s Books About Refugees

Children’s Books to Promote Empathy, Understanding & Personal Potential

Youth / Young Adult Fiction

Books for Adults

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, teacher, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

 

 

Join Us Live Via Zoom For: “Standing Firm: A Four Week Inductive Study of Philippians”

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27

 

A Quick Note

Covid-19 has left many of us isolated and in need of encouragement. Our desire is to draw strength and guidance from the Truth of God’s Word – To let it shape us, change us, strengthen our faith, and advance the gospel for Christ’s glory.

Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi does exactly this. It is a letter full of instruction and exhortation that, when heeded, can transform the way we live in adversity.

This study uses the Inductive Bible Study Method to guide understanding. We hope you’ll join us beginning Monday, April 20th as we meet virtually from 7-8:30’ish for four weeks (ending Monday, May 11) to work through the text together. You’ll then use the strategies we’ve practiced to study a few verses independently at home, and return to our meetings having reviewed the previous week’s scripture. We’ll have a time of sharing and discussion before working through the following week’s text as a group. By the end ofthe four weeks, you’ll have studied the entire book Philippians and gained what we hope is a deep and transformative understanding. 

For more details on the structure of this study, please see the schedule and outline in the Philippians Study Guide. Click on the picture below, or link directly to it here.

We want you to know that you are welcome – Whoever you are and in whatever condition you come  – Whether you’re new at studying the Bible this way, a seasoned woman of the Word, have young children running around in the background, or are just trying to hold it together right now . Our prayer is that we join together as a sisterhood of believers – Putting aside worry and inhibition to fully engage in the Word during this time of trial.

We’re excited to learn alongside you and have you as a vital part of the Arise Collective. May this season of sacrifice and adversity be one that help us “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).

 

Zoom Access Details

Due to current concerns over the lack of privacy on live platforms, we’ve decided to email the Zoom link to anyone that wants to join us. Please request the link via private message on Instagram, Facebook, by emailing us here at Arise, asking for it from a friend, or getting in touch with the Summit View Moms group. We’re sorry to add this extra level effort, but think you and your families are worth it.

 

Things to Bring

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates, and feel free to invite friends.

See you Monday, April 20th at 7pm!

 

Help Us Help Others: Coming Alongside Our Local Community During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Our mission at Arise is threefold: Equip, Encourage, Engage.

We believe that a deep understanding of the Bible compels us to action – That we can’t simply study the Word without DOING what it says.

That’s why we’re creating care packages and bringing them to women we know need them – Single moms who are worried about providing for their children, women who have lost their jobs and don’t know when their next paycheck will come, the elderly and the alone. We want to provide encouragement and sustenance for the glory of Christ! These bags may include gift cards to grocery stores and/or gas stations, easy recipes with accompanying grocery items, and beautiful scripture to enlighten and bring comfort.

Each bag is hand-painted and includes personal items and notes particularly chosen for the recipient’s
needs – A beautiful reminder that she is loved and valued during these difficult times.

We need your help! Consider joining us in one or more of the following ways:

  • Donate online through our website and let us know that you want your funds directed towards the “Engage” portion of our ministry.
  • Directly sponsor a bag for someone you know would benefit from one. Donate the amount you’d like to spend online, and message us with the details of your acquaintance. friend or family member. Someone from our team will get in touch with you to discuss the details and organize delivery. Bags have difference price points depending on what’s in them, the needs of the recipients, and contributions of the giver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve absolutely loved watching women of all ages work together to fund, create, and deliver the few care packages we’ve created already – Generously lending their time, treasure and talent to show others they are cared for.

Our heartfelt prayer is that this endeavor would draw women closer together and closer to the Lord during this season. We look forward to partnering with you as you help us help others 💗.

Donate using the link below. All contributions are tax deductible.





Passion Week: A Resurrection Sunday Reflection

Scripture for Today

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:5-9 (NIV)

Things to Think About

Psalm 22 foreshadows Jesus’ death. The suffering savior quotes David in some of his last words:  

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  

The psalmist goes on to ask, “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?”   

As our Saturday gives way to Sunday the cries become a rhythm to our days. Yet, in the early morning of dawn, when the world seems to be it’s quietest and the sun begins to ask the night sky to back away, we read the rest of the Psalm:

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!”

I wonder whether Jesus’ words on the cross were meant to lead us to this passage written so many years before. 

I wonder if he knew we may feel an extent of his suffering, too – forsaken, neglected, isolated, alone.

Then the dawn awakens and our Lord points to the rest of the Psalm. Like a guide on a trail, he shows the way up the hill and leads us to these words. Reminding us, He has done it.  

He has done it.

He has risen from the dead and taken his place in the heavens.

He has conquered death and birthed everlasting life.

He has traded sorrow for joy, bondage for freedom, doubt for truth, fear for peace. 

With all the chaos in our hearts and uncertainties in our lives, we can rest. Not because it’s easy, but because the grave is empty and the body not there.

Just as he said.

Could we, this Easter, when our worlds feel unsettled, rejoice with the same passion and amazement as those who first learned of Jesus’ resurrection?

I wonder.

 

About the Co-authors

Marnee Alfson is an EMDR trained trauma specialist in private practice in Vancouver, WA.  Marnee received her training under the direction of leading author and developer of Story Informed Trauma Therapy (SITT), Byron Kehler, MS. She has worked with survivors of various traumas such as sexual and/or domestic assault, displacement, first responders, attachment in relationships, body image, life transitions and mood management.

She believes we gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience we choose to walk through.  Trauma recovery therapy is an important part of hope in helping other survivors live their lives free of the pain they have experienced.

 

Lisa Da Silva 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, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

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