Book Review: 24k Life

If you’re looking for a new devotional book and study guide to start off the new year, one that will help you delve deeper into Scripture and discover how to apply it to your own life, I have the book for you. You’ll want to pick up LeeAnn Kirkindoll’s 24k Life: Living Every Day Refined by God’s Word.

As LeeAnn describes it, “24k Life is filled with stories, lessons and hope – all direct results of allowing God to refine my heart and my motives so that I can better see things from His perspective. Each entry is a challenge to let the messiness of our daily lives intersect with the refining truth of God’s Word.” She likens the truths and wisdom found in the Bible to gold nuggets and treasures that can enrich us, and she encourages us to dig for the gold together.

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name, and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they
will say, ‘The Lord is our God’.” Zechariah 13:9

LeeAnn’s words sparkle and shine a light into our hearts.

I am just starting on this book myself, so unlike a regular book review, I can’t give you a synopsis of the whole book or a final opinion. But I can say from what I’ve seen that it is PURE GOLD and besides the book itself, you will love the extra insights and encouragement available to you in the downloadable FREE 24k Life Gold Digger’s Study Guide that LeeAnn offers on her website. Fifty other women (including me) contributed their time and efforts to write an extra study for each day to help readers take the devotions even deeper because they—like LeeAnn—want to see women fall in love with God’s Word!

I am honored to have been a part of this process. In today’s post, I’m going to share with you (with LeeAnn’s permission) a chapter from her book that she sent to me before it was printed. It’s from Day 35: Cost Analysis. (If you’re planning on taking a week with each chapter, consider this Week 35.) After reading that devotion and giving it some thought, I wrote a suggested study guide to accompany it. With so many different women writing each day’s guide, you will surely discover something new and/or be encouraged by someone’s individual insight and dedication to getting into (and getting something out of) the Word.

To start:
1) Read the 24k Life deovotion entry.
2) Highlight the main Scripture in your Bible or write it out in your journal.
3) Spend time that day/week following the guidelines for deeper study provided in the study guide.
4) Follow through personally on any practical life application prompts from the book or the guide.
5) Memorize a suggested Scripture from the guide that correlates with the devotion entry.
6) Listen to one of the songs noted in the guide. You can find them all here: LeeAnn’s 24k Life Playlist on Spotify

Below are my thoughts on one way to delve deeper into the topic and the Scripture.

I hope you will pick up this gem of a book and get your year off to a great start.

To learn more about LeeAnn and her ministry and/or to keep up with her inspiring words and daily encouragement, go online to LeeAnnKirkindoll.com and fill in the request under “Make Your Inbox Shiny!”

You can also follow LeeAnn on Facebook and Instagram where her messages encourage women to shine!

Guest Post: Choose Love

I hope you will enjoy and be moved by this beautiful message written by my cousin. I was and so I wanted to share it with you.

By Lindsey Berrier

The world is hurting. Some of my family is hurting. Some of my friends are hurting. Strangers are hurting. I am sometimes hurting. We as people are causing so much of the hurt. If all of us are hurting I wonder how our behavior and the chaos we are igniting is causing God to feel.

I am no where close to perfect, pick any of my closest family or friends and ask them… if they were to be perfectly honest with you, they could each probably name at least a handful of my faults. It’s okay, I am aware of most of them and I am a work in progress.

I have family/ friends on both “sides” of the virus/mask issue. Some hate masks just to hate them, some desperately need to wear them for their own health, some have such extreme anxiety it truly causes major issues for them to even consider wearing one. Some just feel each person should be allowed to choose whether to wear a mask or not wear a mask. Some have had the virus and are not too concerned about it. Some have had it and still take it very seriously. Some haven’t had it and thinks it is a “joke” and others haven’t had it and it paralyzes them with fear/worry. I still love each of them.

I have family/friends on both “sides” of politics and many somewhere in the middle. I will just simply say to this, shame on all of us. Going back for at least all of my lifetime, EVERY single President of the United States has BEEN OUR PRESIDENT. That includes but is NOT limited to President Obama, President Trump and most likely soon to be President Biden. RESPECT can be shown regardless of our personal feelings. I still love each of them.

I have family/friends on all sides of every major topic that could possibly be discussed in 2020. You can pick any topic you like, I am sure I personally know at least one person from every point of view. I still love each of them.

I have never been a super anxious person. Each day my anxiety grows. The true reason for that… our future is being formed in every decision we are making. The children are watching every move we make. The children are listening to every word we think they’re missing. Every complaint, every verbal attack, every dismissive comment, every eye roll, every judgement and every disagreement handled in hate.

I don’t believe the world is going to get better. But I believe WE can be better. Each person can start now. We can CHOOSE to live for God right now. We can CHOOSE to love others because He first loved us. We can CHOOSE to share His word. We can CHOOSE to be a light for Him in this dark world. I am choosing to try and be those things today, and every day from now on. Join me in this completely nonexistent challenge. We may never change the world, but the world will not be what changes us either. #Godisgood #bethelight #doyouknowJesus #blessedassurance

Lindsey is a wife, mother, working woman, Christian, fun person, caring individual, and beautiful inside and out. I hope you enjoyed her thoughts on dealing with some of the crazy situations we have been experiencing this year. I invite you to join me and Lindsey in choosing love and light.

Endurance

“I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 (The Message)

Let’s Use Our Words Positively

I’m a very nonconfrontational person. Luckily, this usually keeps me from offending others or getting into useless debates about trivial topics or participating in potentially explosive conversations. Unfortunately, some people seem to thrive on controversy and/or creating disturbances, saying whatever they think whenever they think it, whether on social media or in everday interactions.

While there are always important issues going on in our lives and in the world overall that need to be brought to light and discussed with love, understanding, and compassion, all too often these discussions dissolve into disagreements filled with misunderstanding, name calling, and hatred. In these cases, no one wins.

I’m sure you have heard or seen this advice many times, but it bears repeating, “THINK before you speak or post” (using the guides below) even if you believe you are right or doing someone a favor or you’ve got a great snappy comeback line.

God hasn’t asked us to be right all the time. He has called us to love. This is the harder, braver choice because it requires opening our hearts instead of our mouths. It’s about seeing each other not as threats but as people made in the image of God. It means we lay down our weapons and go, with arms wide open, down a path that could very well lead to a cross.” Holley Gerth, Love Is Still Stronger Than Fear

Let’s commit to using our words more for showing love rather than hate or discontent. Think of the differences we can each make every day in bringing others hope and happiness rather than hurt and despair. Below is a Commitment of Words written by Holley Gerth a decade ago; I hope these words, which are still valid today, will help you realize that it’s possible to lift others up and walk beside them, even if we disagree with them.

God, You are the Maker of all human beings, those who are most dear to us and those with whom we disagree. Give us eyes to see others as You do, a heart that has compassion like Yours, and the strength to keep on loving [no matter what]. Amen. (HG)

What is “fear of the Lord”?

“Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.”

Psalm 33:8–9

Years ago, when I was doing a little editing and writing for a Christian magazine, my husband, Bart, wrote a paragraph to describe me. In it, he referred to me as “a God-fearing woman.” I changed the wording in his description (I can’t remember to what) because at the time it made me uncomfortable. I thought to myself, I don’t fear God. I love Him and I’m amazed by Him. But I don’t fear him. Yet there are so many places in the Bible that refer to “fear of the Lord.” So, I wondered … What am I missing here? What does that phrase really mean?

Over the years since then, I have heard a few sermons on the topic and read some articles that have helped me get a clearer picture of what “fear of the Lord” means. This information helped me understand why it’s not really such a scary term. So, I wanted to share what I learned here to possibly help someone else who may have been, or is still, confused by it.

This past Sunday, Jarrett Stephens, Teaching Pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas, preached on this very topic. As he explained, we often think of “fear” as related to feelings of terror. But, in this case, it’s not technically about being scared, it’s more of a feeling of awe or deep respect.

Dr. Stephens pointed out that anyone God revealed Himself to in the past trembled with fear when they saw His glory. However, because we have been made right with God through Jesus, and perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18), for Christians today, terrorizing fear has been replaced with more of a respectful fear or a reverence.

However, some might consider fear of the Lord to be related to a fear of God’s judgement. Still others may see it as a reference to revering God alone and not fearing anyone or anything else.

According to O.S. Hawkins (pastor, GuideStone President, and author), we need to understand that “the fear of the Lord is not a fear of retribution but an awe with reverence and respect of the holy God that prevents Christians from doing anything that might dishonor or displease God.” In talking about his past, Hawkins once said, “It wasn’t that I was afraid God would put his hand on me. My greatest fear was that God might take his hand off me.” He believes “This kind of fear should rest with every man or woman called of God.”

Continuing with his sermon on Sunday, Dr. Stephens gave the following explanation of what he believes “fear of the Lord” means:

“Honoring God from so deep within that it motivates us to live a life wholly pleasing to Him.”

Simply speaking, he said, fearing = obeying. Following are just a few examples of how this fear, or awe, has been demonstrated or lived out throughout the Bible. “By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” (Hebrews 11:17) Abraham provided an example of obedience no matter what is asked (Genesis 22). “By faith, Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” (Hebrews 11:7) Noah showed obedience no matter what others thought (Genesis 6–8). In Exodus 1:15–17, the Hebrew midwives demonstrated obedience no matter what the cost. Although the king of Egypt had ordered them to kill any baby boys delivered by Hebrew women, “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.”

Of course, this theme of fear and obedience continues with Moses, Ester, Daniel, David, John the Baptist, Stephen, and too many others to mention specifically.

O.S. Hawkins once said, “With every man and woman in the Bible who was greatly used of God, there is a common thread woven from Genesis to Revelation — they lived in the fear of the Lord.”

These people all show us that to be fearless and effective Christians, we must live with a fear of the Lord and act in humble obedience, honoring and serving God to the best of our abilities. Psalm 115 encourages all who fear the Lord to “trust in the Lord — he is their help and shield” (11). In other words, fearing God should produce confidence, hope, and trust in Him, which are necessary when we are looking to God for mercy, forgiveness, and salvation (OliveTree.com).

JoHannah Reardon (ChristianBibleStudies.com) says, “fearing God is good because it saves us from caving in to our own sinful nature. That’s why hearing someone is God-fearing actually makes us trust that person more. If they fear God, they are more likely to keep their word and treat others with kindness.”

In that case, I now hope that anyone who knows me actually does consider me to be a God-fearing woman. Have a blessed day.

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
but love from the Lord is its completion.”

William D. Eisenhower, “Fearing God,” Christianity Today

Healthy, Happy, Holy

When you are whole, you can transform negative thinking, mindless thinking, and over-thinking brought about by the world and your current circumstances into acceptance, forward focus, and peace.

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

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you…
Romans 12:2 (MSG)

Hang in there, take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5), and hold tight to Jesus. All things are possible with hope, faith, and prayer.​

All Seasons Influence the Person God Made You to Be

Click on the caption above to read the recent devotional from Jasmine Williams posted at Proverbs 31 Ministries.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.”
Hebrews‬ ‭10:36‬ (‭NIV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬