Priscilla Shirer

BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience (Week 9 – The Final Lesson)

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Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)
When I first started this study, I can recall asking myself three distinct questions. I had asked whether the Sabbath held meaning and relevance for the saint of today, I had asked whether or not the BREATHE message was one that I had not been allowing in my busy life, and I had asked whether or not there was something that I needed to learn from this message. Well, I can definitely say that the BREATHE-Sabbath message and lessons were, indeed, relevant, needful, timely, and purposed.

There were so many unique points that Priscilla made throughout this Bible study. The overall takeaways for me, however, had to do with freedom and surrender.

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)
For this, the final week, I have decided to leave a series of questions for your consideration. These are real-time thoughts that will hopefully lead you, just as they led me, to even more time with the LORD.

– Do you allow yourself any breathing room each day to simply remember, reflect and worship the LORD?
– In those private moments of worship that you are fortunate enough to carve out for yourself, is your experience rich?
– Who do you make your worship experience about? (Do you spend more time talking to God about yourself or do you take time to truly and sincerely honor and glorify Him?)
– If you have learned the value of having and living a surrendered life before God, in what ways has the sovereign LORD showed you a new kind of freedom?
– From this point forward, what (or who) do you intend to make your “Top 3″ in terms of priorities?

Suggested Scripture Reading: Psalm 34

Actions… (Life Application)
Start a praise journal. Write down a praise or worship meditation each day. Challenge yourself to go further by reading the book of the psalms. Copy resonating entries that breathe life into your heart.

“…God gave us the Sabbath to refocus our attention – to cause us to bring to the center stage of our minds and hearts the Person who we have placed at the periphery far too long. Margin keeps us from marginalizing God.” – P. Shirer

BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience ( Week 8)

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Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)
So much came from my reading this week that I don’t even know where to begin! In order to make things simple enough to digest, I have decided to share the main points I learned as “Hear Me” points.

Week 8 “Hear Me” Points ->
1) We are loved by the eternal God who is not only the LORD God Provider, but He is also the LORD God Truth.
2) We can always trust God to communicate AND orchestrate His perfect plan, which will forever be THE perfect plan.

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)
– Read and study Exodus 16.
– Identify at least three ways that the LORD manifests His presence and provision in these verses.
– What is it important for us, as a people of God, to learn from Exodus 16:28?
– What do these verses teach us about trusting and depending on God?
– Reflect on Psalm 23’s “I shall not want” message and the LORD’s Prayer words, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
– What is the underlying Sabbath principle focus for this week?

Actions… (Life Application)

Recite these words out loud daily…”LORD, I trust You to provide the just right amount of what I truly need.”

“Listen for the rhythms of God’s grace and live according to its cadence – easy, light, full of mercy.”

BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience (Week 7)

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Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)

I absolutely adored this week’s reading! I walked away with a new appreciation for the word no. I knew that there was power in it, but Priscilla helped me to better see the freedom that comes with it as well. She helped me to see how the inability to say no impacts my God-love stance. She also helped me to see what that inability to say no reveals about my relationship to other things, people, etc.

The message that stayed with me could be wrapped up in three words…rest, rely, and respond. I understand that if I do these things – rest in the LORD, rely on His Spirit, and respond to His will – I can, indeed, go to that sacred place of worship where I can both breathe in and savor the Most High in the way in which He deserves.

The Spirit of God lives in us, not only to enliven us, but also to empower us to regain control. We need only to surrender to His work in our lives. Yes, that’s right. The Sabbath is about surrender. To the extent that you and I yield to the Spirit’s control, that’s the extent to which we will begin to see His fruit flourish in our lives. He will empower us to be self-controlled and have the courage to say ‘no’ without guilt, shame, or worry.”

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)

“In your own words, rewrite and expand on this idea: The Sabbath is about surrender.” (P. Shirer, p. 49)

Actions… (Life Application)

This week, make it a point to read, review, study and meditate on the fruit of the Spirit. At the end of the each day, journal about what you have learned and about what you come to realize about yourself and your response to the Spirit’s fruit.

BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience (Week 6)

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“…the Sabbath would help them remember they were free. Free to say ‘no.’ Free to rest. Free to no longer be controlled by that which they were previously mastered. Free to enjoy their relationship with Yahweh.”

Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)

The lessons I have learned over the last few weeks have been so interesting. They seem to repeat themselves. Over and over again, I have been reminded to make God my top priority. I have been encouraged to rest. I have been instructed to draw nearer to the LORD. I have been urged to decline those things which add to my stress and that subtract from my peace. At the end of the day, it all points back to the Sabbath margin or Sabbath principle (if you prefer). Behind that, there is only God.

There are two main ideas that I seem to be brought back to every time I try to simplify and get to the meat of the matter…on life, on Sabbath, on making room for the LORD.

1) Quiet time with the LORD brings back focus to what should have been the focus all along. Daily quiet time-rest breaks are critical if one is to be spiritually nourished and fortified. These moments are great opportunities to praise, to glorify, and to bless the Most High.

2) Despite the type of captivity one finds himself in, freedom can still be found. It comes by way of saying no in order to say yes. One must choose to say no to the extra fluff and stuff of life (the things which we tend to think of as important or that the world tries to push us into accepting as important) and say yes to more God (more time with Him, more service and works as unto Him, and more study on the entirety of who He is and who we are in Him.

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)

Answer the following question in as much detail as possible. What did Paul say no to in order to say yes to God?

Actions… (Life Application)

Say no to what you must in order to say yes to God.

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BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience (Week 5)

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“God gave us freedom as a gift…Discipline and diligence will always be prerequisites if we expect to experience the freedom and rest God intends for us…Freedom lies on the other side of our obedience.” - Priscilla Shirer

Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)

What is freedom? Is it not a gift? Why do so many of us take it for granted? Why do we seem to prefer confinement and bondage over liberty and dependent independence via God?

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

This week, as I read through Priscilla’s words, I was totally captivated by thoughts of freedom and rest in the LORD. I recall asking myself a number of questions. I did this because I wanted to really grasp why I (and perhaps others) tend to forget the freedom and instead focus on the idea of being shackled to… (name your poison or your pleasure).

Here are some things I want you to consider:
– Has taking a rest in the LORD become a chore? Why?
– Do you know how to enjoy the LORD/enjoy being with the LORD?
– Do you tend to choose time for self, time for others, or time for God as your top priority?
– Has busy become your way of life or your measure of a good, productive life?
– Do you view attending church or Bible class as a task or as a blessing?
– What do you do to insure that you have an enriching experience with the LORD?
– If you typically schedule events and activities of importance in your calendar, why have you not scheduled time with the LORD?

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)

Read Hebrews 4 in the following Bible translations: King James and/or New King James, Amplified, English Standard, Holman Christian Standard. Reflect and discuss.

Actions… (Life Application)

Take a bold and purposed step to “know and experience” God on a daily basis. Commit yourself to spending time with Him each day. Do not allow anyone or anything to disrupt your prioritized time with the Most High. (A word of encouragement…begin at the place of quality, not quantity. The more will come in time. Focus on the authenticity.)

BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience (Week 4)

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“…once slavery has been internalized, the mind remains in bondage even when the body is free. Without an experience of rest, the concept of margin, breathing room, and boundary is difficult for someone with a slave mentality to understand.

So, God prescribed for His people – then and now – a loving, gracious gift that would break the chains that remained inside of them. The gift was called Sabbath.

The Sabbath was one of the main remedies Yahweh employed to assist in the freedom of their souls.” – Priscilla Shirer 

Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)

As I inhale and exhale, breathing my way through this study at a slow and enjoyable pace, I have been made that much more aware of the value that the Sabbath principle has for my life. This week, I spent time reading and pondering over Sabbath, Slavery, and Snowstorms (pp. 24-25). I loved how Priscilla discussed bondage and freedom. Particularly, three points that she made resonated with me greatly.

1) “They had become accustomed to enslavement as a lifestyle.”

2) “Strangely, slavery had become comfortable for them…”

3) “…to experience freedom, they needed to practice the disciple of freedom.”

As I reflected on these words, I could not help questioning how rest played out in freedom. Perhaps another way of looking at it is this – does busyness, life clutter, and chaotic order contribute to a slavery mindset?

How does one break away from the busyness, the clutter, and the chaos of life that entangles us so easily? You and I both know the answer to that…rest in The LORD. Rest (in the Most High) has the capacity to allow us a new freedom from the daily bondage that we often find ourselves stuck in.

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)

Read Psalm 62:1-2 in some of your favorite Bible translations. As you read, put a circle around the action verbs associated with these reference Scriptures. Make sure to personalize what you uncover and take notes on what your take away is. Also, write down all of the words used to describe God.

Actions… (Life Application)

A symbolic exercise -> On separate pieces of paper, write down those things that you are in bondage to presently. Once you have done this, connect each slip together with a stapler, making sure to reveal the words that you have written. Place the paper chain somewhere that is both private and visible to you. Each day that you wake up and encounter it, stop and pray to God, asking Him to free you from the chain that binds you. Be very clear and direct with the LORD and practice the discipline of freedom with a sincere heart.

(photo courtesy of inneractivefitclub)

BREATHE|A Phone Tree Bible Study Experience (Week 3)

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“Sabbath principle is not limited to our calendars and schedules. It also applies to the spaces in which we live, work and play. Our tendency toward too-full lives often expresses itself most tangibly in our over-crowded closets, unmanageable table surfaces and cluttered desks as we cram them full of far more than we need. Even our children fall prey to the chaos of overcrowded living as their toy boxes and bookshelves overflow with more than they could ever manage. In the meantime they sit, chin in hand, complaining of boredom.” – Priscilla Shirer

Thoughts… (My Reflections & Considerations)

Over the last two years or so, I have become so much more mindful and aware of matters related to decluttering, minimizing, simplifying, and turning the more of life into less. Books, blogs, and inspirational words have come at me from every direction. When I came across Priscilla Shirer’s quote referenced above which talked about “too-full lives” and the “chaos of overcrowded living,” I knew that this message of Sabbath was important, not only for myself but for others also. Making the decision to learn how to BREATHE through the mess of life will in fact save your life in more ways than you can imagine.

Words… (Scriptural References and Study Points)

Read Matthew 11:28-30. Complete a Scripture study on these verses, and write down what you uncover.

Actions… (Life Application)

Declutter your closets! This includes, but is not limited to, your physical closet in your home, your thought closet in your head and heart, and your anti-spiritual closet that houses your personal strongholds and idols.