Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I had surgery! I no longer have an appendix. I am losing body parts. And I probably have another surgery coming up later this year. (Which I am not looking forward to at all.) September 6th is going to be a big medical day for me - I have two different doctor appointments and hopefully will find out more about what is going on then.
I thought I knew what it meant to trust and depend on God. I am learning that I haven't fully understood what it means to trust - to truly trust God. Trust is the opposite of worry. I am getting a really good lesson in trust.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Preach the Word - An instruction given to all. I have been given the job of sharing the Word with others. We all have once we decide to follow Christ. He is our role model. He taught others. I am to do the same.
Be prepared - Whether I think I am ready or not, I am to be always prepared to share the Good News with others.
Correct, rebuke, and encourage - I love to encourage others, to cheer them on, to point out the positive things in their life! 'Positive and Encouraging' is one of my favorite mottos. I'm not so sure that I have the same enthusiasm for correcting and rebuking others. Hmmm. But if I see someone i know doing something wrong, I hope that I can gently correct them.
Guess this is a verse I need to think on. When does correcting and rebuking become pointing out a speck in someone's eye when there is a plank in mine? The Bible says do one and don't do the other. See, I've just proven that I still have a lot to learn.
Great patience & careful instruction - Grace, grace, patience, and grace. One huge lesson God keeps having to teach me is have grace. I pray that I might have the grace needed to share God's word with patience and careful instruction.
So glad that God has had the grace and great patience needed to put up with me as I learn what His word says.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. (Ephesians 5:25-27 MSG)
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 KJV)
Christ referred to Himself as the living water. As such He is able to cleanse us deeply. We are not merely cleansed outwardly. No, Christ cleanses us on the inside first, beginning with our hearts. And as our hearts and souls are changed this cleansing begins to be reflected on our outsides. We are made clean. We are purified. And Christ presents us to God forgiven by His death, living by His resurrection, and cleansed by His word.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
"You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! (John 5:39 MSG)
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, (John 5:39 NIV84)
I love how modern technology enables me to have different Bibles translations literally right at my fingertips! Such a big help as I open myself to the truth of God's Word.
I so see myself in this verse! 'Of course, I am a Christian! I have read the Bible. I know the books of the Bible and I can recite scripture.'. Yep, that was me - so proud of my Biblical knowledge and understanding.
Unfortunately, I was so very, very wrong. Having all that head knowledge about all those Bible stories was never going to get me into heaven. Although reading the Bible is an excellent habit to acquire for continued Christian growth, reading and studying the Bible itself does not save us.
However, the Bible does tell me HOW to find salvation. The bible is truth - testifying to the one true way by which you and I can find eternal life.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)
It would be accurate to say that the Bible, God's word, cuts straight to the heart. God is not concerned so much with how I look or with what others might think of me. God wants to know what fills my heart and mind.
As I begin the journey of reading deeper into God's Word, I am learning just how much I have failed at keeping my heart filled with God. There is still a lot of me in there. I am busy trying to figure out the how and the when. I'm putting too much time and effort into trying to keep God on my schedule.
God has more plans for my life. I am quite sure that He is not finished with me yet. I'm learning that I don't have to figure out how to make God's plans work. God knows how to accomplish His work. I just need to be willing to be used by Him.
Monday, July 25, 2011
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31 KJV)
John had lived with Jesus, eaten with Jesus, and walked many dusty roads with Jesus. John had heard Jesus teach. He had seen Jesus perform miracles. Surely there were many long conversations as Jesus walked from town to town with the disciples. John knew that Jesus was the promised one - The Messiah. And he needed to share that information with others.
So he wrote the Gospel of John for us to read today. John shared the good news so that we would know and believe.
We read the Bible today to learn about Christ. As we learn, our faith is deepened and our belief is strengthened. Through belief, we are given the gift of forgiveness and ultimately the gift of eternal life with Jesus.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another-showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. (2 3:16 MSG)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 3:16 KJV)
Why read the Bible? Because it is God's Word! Do you realize how astounding that is? We don't have mere stories or tales about our God. We have God's very own words. Words of creation and change. Words of redemption and hope. God's words are holy, true, and timeless.
The Bible is truth and because of that the Bible points out to us how far we each have fallen. Sin has created a distance between us and God.
The Bible is also a book of hope. For it teaches us how to live Godly lives today and how we can find the gift of eternal life. God does not want to be eternally distance from any of us. He wants to draw us close to Him and the Bible tells us how.
Monday, March 28, 2011
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. (Romans 11:36)
There is no one like my God. He is everything to me. He is good when days are bad. He is there when I'm all alone. He provides when I have nothing. He catches me when I fall.
He is joy and peace and holiness. And He gives all that to me. I am blessed.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Finding salvation is a simple thing. Believe in your heart. Declare with your mouth. And find the gift of eternity for your soul. It is also the start of an incredible journey of life change. Learning how God wants me to live my life has been quite an education for me. There has been a lot about my life that God has changed. Well, maybe more than a lot. God has changed almost everything about how I live my life. He has given me abilities that I never dreamed I could do.
Me, the silent woman hiding in the back of the room. I now teach. I stand in front of a group of people and speak.
Me, the lonely woman isolating herself at home. I now lead a small group of women.
Me, the stubborn one who doesn't need a bunch of rules. I now study God's word to learn how to live.
Me, the person hoping to be ignored. I now am the lay leader for the Celebrate Recovery ministry at my church.
Me, the sad, unloveable one. I now live a life filled with joy and love because I have been saved!
Friday, March 25, 2011
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)
There's a lot of good stuff in the Romans chapter 8. We are saved and set free from bondage to the flesh. We are given hope and victory through our relationship with God. God loves us and there is nothing that can separate us from that love.
Been thinking this week about what real life change is. Life change is a battle. I sometimes find myself caught between what I want and what God desires. Caught up in this flesh, this earthly life, I think that I know exactly what I need to be happy and fulfilled. As I pray, I find myself presenting a list to God. "Here's what I need God. If you really love me, you'll give me all this."
I was reminded a few weeks ago that God's desire is not for me to be happy. No, God desires for me to be holy. He wants me to focus not on the physical but on the spiritual. And as my focus shifts from what I want to what God wants, I begin to change.
Change is odd. I know God has changed me over the past few years. I am not the person I was. I love what God has done with my life so far and I look forward to what He has planned for my tomorrows. But there have been moments when I have really questioned what God was doing to me. True life change can be difficult and painful. Letting go of old habits and thought patterns takes time and work.
Honestly, I've still got a lot of changing to do. I'm too full of myself when I should be overflowing with God. I am a work in progess. But I am learning how to live according to the Spirit and it is such a wonderful experience!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." (Joshua 10:25)
One of my favorite verses. Joshua is not telling the people what God has done in the past. He is not referring to what God is doing right then. Joshua is looking ahead to the future and what God is going to do. God knows that his people have some tough battles ahead of them. There is going to be a fight. There is a need for strength and courage.
We still have that need today. Our enemies are different than the ones that Joshua and the Israelites faced. Enemies like fear, apathy, and greed are real and they work to tear down our lives. The problems of life - sickness, stress, grief – these also can become real enemies. Days or weeks when it seems that everything is just going wrong can make surrender seem like an excellent idea.
God's word, sent through Joshua, still reaches out across the years - Do not be discouraged! I often yearn for God to just reach down and smooth out the road before me. For God to remove any challenges, roadblocks, or trials that he knows I am going to face.
But instead God promises to give me strength. And he fights for me in ways that I cannot always see and understand. At moments when I am tempted to be discouraged, God is there listening to me - asking me to not give up. And God has given me an army - mighty people who will pray for me and listen to me and just be there for me.
God does not promise us an easy life. Actually, He tells us that there will be trials and temptations. At times, we will be tempted to be discouraged. Life can become a challenge.
I know that some of you have also had a challenging week. But be strong! Keep reaching out to God. Hold on to the people He has placed in your life for support and encouragement. Do not let the enemy get to you. Be strong! Be courageous!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)
If I had to describe myself, the words clear minded and self-controlled would probably not make my top 10 list. These two attributes are things that I am still working on. I am a work-in-progess and proud of it!
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galations 5. I use to allow life and stuff to control me. I have learned though that I have a choice as to how I respond to life. That is self-control.
And it isn't always easy to do. A few days ago I encountered someone who was stressed out and irritated. She picked me as a target for her displeasure. Sadly my first response to her complaints was to say something that would not have been nice. But as that thought traveled from my brain to my mouth, I realized the best thing to do was to say nothing at all until she calmed down. So I bit my tongue and walked away from the situation for a bit. I calmed down - she calmed down and we were able to come back and calmly discuss the situation.
Learning to take a moment before I respond, especially in emotionally charge situations, has been a long hard lesson for me to learn. But in order for me to live more completely in God's will it is a necessary habit for me to develop.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Missed church service tonight, but did make it to the LifeCare meeting. God is really working on some good stuff. I love seeing how His plans unfold and how everything comes together for good.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)
Aaron and his sons were given the words above to use to bless the people of Israel. We don't really bless others these days. I suppose we have replaced blessings with prayers for one another. (I wonder what would be the differences between a blessing and a prayer. Will have to look that up one day.)
I like the part "the Lord give you peace." This is something I have prayed for myself. 'God, please give me peace.' So much of my past filled me with regret, guilt, and shame. I am very thankful for God's forgiveness. That forgiveness brought me peace. I never expected to live in peace with myself.
But God turned his face toward me and he gave me peace. A gift I shall always treasure.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. (1 Peter 2:15)
Free to be a servant. Sounds strange, doesn't it?
I once thought that the life of a Christian was tied down by a bunch of rules - do this, don't do that. But Peter points out that my thinking was wrong.
When I commit my life to God, I find salvation for my soul. My sins are forgiven, I am set free from the burden of sin, and my life is made new. It's a clean start!
God gives me the freedom to decide how I am going to live this new life. My way or His way. That was an easy choice for me. Living life my way created a mess out of my life. God's way had to be better. So I have chosen to live the rest of my life in service to God.
As a Christian, it is not just something I should do because I have to; I serve because I want to. And that is a big difference. God wants our worship, our time, our service to be given to him freely. A true servant's heart must be freely given.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Overcoming temptation, I am reading Numbers 1-2 and 1 Peter 1 tonight.
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (1 Peter 1: 14)
God sees me as His child. He knows I still have a lot to learn and that I am going to make mistakes.
God expects me to obey him as my heavenly Father. Becoming a child of God marks a change in my life. I stop my old way of living and I learn how to live a new life. The new has come - the old is gone!!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. (Psalm 36:5-6)
God is unmeasurable. Take the biggest thing you can think of. Like Mt Everest. God is bigger. Look up at the sky, how vast and how wide. God is bigger.
God is loving and he is faithful. Even when I am having a bad day and I'm just not in a mood to feel the love, God still loves me. And I can never outlive his love!
Third Day set these verses to music and I'm glad they did. It always kind of tickles me when I come across scriptures in the Bible that I know from somewhere else. Don't really know why. But I do get a smile and warm fuzzies when that happens.
I know of a few common sayings that have their roots in God's word. Just off the top of my head - let's see what I can come up with...
Treat others like you want to be treated. Biblical
One day at a time. Biblical
Wash Your Hands. Biblical
To everything there is a season. Biblical
I bet there are others. Will have to keep thinking about that.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Accountability. Good word. I am part of a small group of women who meet each week to discuss our week, our lives, and our struggles. These women keep me accountable for my actions in a great way. If I can't talk about it in that group, then really it is something that I shouldn't be doing it.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
1. Life should be lived wide open - all in and all out for God. God doesn't want half-hearted service. He doesn't want some of my time or part of my attention. He wants whatever I do to be done for Him.
I am changed when I become a part of what God is doing. As I turn more and more of my life over to him, God molds me and prunes me. I am so not the person I was ten years ago. And I know that God is not finish with me yet. I still got a lot of changing to do.
2. Life should be lived with a positive expectation. There are going to be bumps and trials and tests in this earthly life. There are going to be hard times and sad times and bad times. But our hope is on God's promise that this life is not the end. God promises a full life forever.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The process of being changed or pruned isn't always pleasant. I'm too quick to say I can't do that and I can easily come up with a list of all the reasons why I can’t. I complain sometimes. 'I don't want to. I'm just not comfortable doing that. Let someone else do it.'
But ultimately I yield to God. And God has led me to places that I never would have dreamed of going on my own.
That’s how God is. His view of me and who I can be is vastly different from my view.
So God still pushes me. And I have to admit that I feel the closest to God when I'm being pushed.
Being pushed forces me to trust him.
Being pushed forces me to lean on him.
Being pushed forces me to pray harder.
And one thing I pray is that God will never stop pushing me.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Reading tonight about the building of the tent of the tabernacle. Moses had asked the people to bring gold, silver, yarn, linen, incense, oil, etc. to be used in the construction process.
So these people went to their tents and they gathered their things and they gave it to God. They gave of their own possessions. There was no quick writing a check or running down to Wal-Mart to purchase supplies. The people took what they owned and gave it to God. And they gave so much that the workers had to ask them to stop giving.
What would it be like to give that way today? Can I live my life simpler so that I have more to give to the work of the Lord? I am sure that I can. Am I willing to? Hmmm....
Friday, February 11, 2011
Doubt - Confusion - Silence
Wondering - Questioning
Lost - Cold - Outside
Searching for answers
Tired of being lonely
Wanting to be loved
Needing to be needed
Empty - Hungry - Hopeless
No idea of how to make it better.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
READ: Genesis 7-8, Mark 4
EXAMINE: Mark 4: 18-20 – "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown." Jesus used a parable to describe what happens to different people when they hear the word of God. Later he explained to his disciples what this parable meant.
APPLY: What do I do with God's word? Reading my Bible plants a seed of God's word in my heart. I have a choice – I can let that seed grow and change my heart, my life, so that others see God's word in me. Or I can just let that seed lie still in me while I focus on the worries, wants, and wishful thinking. I admit that I have done both. But being fruitful is much more pleasing to God and pleasant for me.
PRAYER: Lord God, Thank you for giving me your word. Make my heart a fertile valley where your word can grow and blossom. Cut out the thorns that continue attempting to take over my life. Teach me, Lord, how to be fruitful for you. Amen.