Faith Dare Bible Study [Week 1] by Debbie Alsdorf

Welcome to the Womens Bible Cafe™ and our Faith Dare study! We are reading and discussing The Faith Dare by Debbie Alsdorf.

(image: Unsplash)

 
Guest Blogger Debbie Alsdorf

God provides for us. It might not seem like he does, but He does. Even in bad circumstances, His love holds us. I am reminded of this as I started the Faith Dare on August 1st. Though I wrote this book four years ago as a dare for local women in leadership, doing it this summer  with all of you means more than I can express. Timing, as they say, is everything.
In June I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Things moved quickly and within 10 days I was having surgery followed by consultations, appointments and treatment plan decisions. This summer has not turned out as I expected. And frankly, this is not something I have welcomed with open arms. But over the past few weeks I have slowly begun to make peace with a diagnosis that I have no control over.

That’s where faith comes in. The beginning of this faith dare has much to do with how we view our lives. There is a reason we have been pausing to look at our heart, our mind and our thoughts.  Understanding who we are and whose we are will go a long way when dealing with the problems and perils of real life. Knowing I am loved and that my life has purpose does not take cancer away. But, knowing I am loved and that my life has purpose gives me a different perspective while walking through the valley of cancer.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of streams…they go from strength to strength…” Psalm 84 5-7 

The Valley of Baca is speaking of the desert. What do you do in the desert? Get hot, bothered, thirsty and exhausted? No whining will change the heat!  We can make our problems more terrible than they are or we can actually make our problems a place of refreshment. When our  heart is set on the pilgrimage — which is an extended journey with a purpose—we are blessed and strong. The heat of our desert, test or trial becomes a place of oasis for us.

The key is setting our focus on the journey and the fact that everything has a purpose. As I keep my heart set on this sacred journey of following after the God who made me, loves me and has purpose for me—my perspective is very different. With this focus my circumstances don’t rule me, but finding God in the middle of the circumstances does.

Each of us are familiar with hardships, trials and challenges. God could take away anything bitter from our cup of life. But He often does not. Is that love? I think so. Just this week My Father and I had a little talk about this cancer business. “ Lord, couldn’t you just take this cup from me?”
Gently and firmly this is what my heart heard…I could, but when I don’t take the cup from you, it’s because there is something for you in the cup… Something for me in the cup? Could this be what scripture speaks of when we are instructed to count it all joy when going through trials? Could it be that there is something for us in each thing we journey through?

The dares the past few days have held me up. I have set my alarm, told myself the truth. Gone to bed with the truth, woke up with new truth and have experienced strength rising as I am intentionally focusing and rebooting daily.

I have found  renewed strength and peace. I have treatments on my calendar and hope in my heart. I might not want this cup, but I am His. Because I am His and He is Love…I can have faith that He’s got me.

What about you?

This week we will start focusing on how we live in this world. Are we transforming by the power of God ? Or are we conforming to the culture that wraps it’s allure around our vulnerable hearts and minds?

Will you join me in learning to  Live UP one day at a time?

P.S. ( can you do a P.S in a blog? Not sure of blog etiquette… ) The  little boy that I spoke of on Day 4, is a grown up now. Imagine my joy as I saw him leading worship at a Christian Festival on the same day that coincided with his story in the Faith Dare devotion that day. My mind flashed to many memories of raising him. I was reminded that we are living for the bigger picture, raising children for God’s purposes.
You can listen to his worship album, Found In You, on itunes or JustinBrier.com

Assignment For This Week

  • Read the daily dares in the Faith Dare book
  • Join a small group discussion at the Womens Bible Cafe™

Faith Dare Bible Study

Faith Dare Bible Study [Introduction] by Debbie Alsdorf

 Welcome to the Womens Bible Cafe™ and our Faith Dare study! We are reading and discussing The Faith Dare by Debbie Alsdorf.

(image: Unsplash)

Guest Blogger Debbie Alsdorf
This is the beginning of a 30 day faith challenge, The Faith Dare. Today represents an important mental shift that will help us get ready for the spiritual re-boot that will happen as we daily walk out the Biblical Truth we are reading in each day’s dare.
Why do we need to challenge our thoughts and beliefs?

Because if we don’t hold on to faith in God, we will learn to live according to our own understanding, reasonings and emotions.

Life is filled with challenges. From small to large, each day we are presented with many choices. Will we trust God? Will we put our faith in Him? Or will we live like the rest of the world, just getting by, pushing ourselves to be better, stressing ourselves to try harder? Scripture has much to offer us, much to teach us, and much to challenge us with.

For instance…let’s think of the Samaritan woman. She was a woman like us. She had a past that she hoped could be changed into a better future. She put up with  disappointing relationships and the circumstances of the day. She was a sinner and she knew it. It’s not that she was proud of it, but she knew her steps and mis-steps. Her view was changed the day she met a Jewish man at the watering hole, a man who promised her that if she drank the water he gave her, she would never thirst again. She hoped it could be true, and maybe you hope it could be true too.

It’s time to drink from God. Time to live our lives differently. This is the season to look up into his eyes while listening closely to his voice. When we do we will find the source that will fill us in such a way that we will never thirst again. Now is the time to begin.

Let’s begin the re-boot with a Scriptural base:
Colossians 3:1-3, 5, 7, 17

Taken from The Message ( highlighted emphasis mine)
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ, that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life–even though invisible to spectators, is with Christ in God. He is your life…That means killing off everything connected with that way of death…That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God…You’re done with that old life… Let every detail in your lives, words, actions, whatever, be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”

Let’s begin our reboot:

Power down from self, and come to Christ each day, for the next 30 days. How? By determining an intentional space of time where you will power down from everything else for about 15 minutes as you read that day’s pages in The Faith Dare Book. Reading is not enough, you will then respond to what you have read by being still enough to listen to God speaking to your heart.

The first section is a preparation for the dare. It speaks of trials and tests actually producing something within us, and this section is an important part of the dare. After the introduction you will then start the 30 day dare. You may want to journal and you will want to end with prayer. That intentional time is step #1, the rest comes in practicing walking out the truth that you just processed. Walking out the truth, is the dare. If mornings are hard for you, try doing the reading and processing before bed, with a plan to practice the DARE the entire next day. Always remember to pray, asking God’s Spirit to do the work of freedom within you as you dare to walk by Faith in the Promises of God.

Open up to new possibilities, experience the difference he makes in a surrendered life. I am praying for us all, each day, during this time. I am daring my self as I am daring you….to run into the arms of Jesus, learning to reframe our lives in the truth of His Love for us.

Assignment For The Week

  • Read The Introduction,  and Chapters One and Two in the Faith Dare book
  • Beginning on the 1st of the month, start reading the first dare…then on the 2nd the second dare and so forth…..
  • Each daily dare ends with three journal questions for you to answer. Use the book or a personal journal and complete these daily.
  • Each daily dare ends with a “Daily Prayer.” If you have a smart phone, I want you to read the prayer aloud and RECORD your own voice saying the prayer. Use the voice memo app on your smart phone if you have this, and then later in the day play back your own voice with the prayer.
  • Join a small group discussion at the Womens Bible Cafe™

 

Faith Dare Bible Study