Monday, September 30, 2013

Steadfast in Christ

The Bible says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165 NLT). 

Do you often find yourself annoyed, easily angered, or your patience pushed to the limit?Is your day a roller coaster of emotions determined by others words and actions? So what do you do to get past these reactions? Increase your love for God's Word!

In other words, the more you  love and obey the Bible, the less you''ll be offended by what others say. The more you love God’s Word, the less you're offended by what happens to you. The more you love God’s Word, the less your walk with God will be disturbed. Some translations say, 'they will not stumble'. That's steadfastness! Uninterrupted spiritual walking!

The Bible is God's word to us. It is His directive for living. His decrees and regulations are set before us in his Holy Word. It's where we find His track record of faithfulness and His undying, relentless love for us.  This verse encourages us to dig deeper into the Bible so that we will  become more and more steadfast. It tells us that the more we dig into scripture the greater our love will  be for God and his precious word. And in doing so we will be less offended by others. 

We become steadfast in Christ. In response to His great love and sacrifice we will find it harder and harder to willfully sin. Our words will become more gentle, our hearts more compassionate, and our hands more helpful. We begin to see others as God sees us... Broken and Beautiful. Our love for God's law opens our eyes to a new perspective. 

David knew the value of reading, meditation, and application of scripture. He loved it so much that he wrote 176 continuous verses about the greatness of God's decrees, ordinances, words, precepts, and commandments. Go ahead! Read Psalm 119 and ask God to increase your love of his word! That's a prayer He's sure to honor!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Perfect Prayer

Pray like this,
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done here on earth, 
just as it is in heaven. 
Give us our food for today,
and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:10-13

This simple yet beautiful prayer leaves nothing out...... praise, repentance, provision, and protection. I too often forget to say these words when I am so caught up in the world and the things that I want to talk to God about.  Today I want to be content reciting The Lord’s prayer. I want to spend less time talking and more time listening.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Getting Real

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4: 23-24 MSG

I was keeping my grandson overnight. He began to grunt and groan about 3:30AM, so I hurried down to the kitchen to prepare a bottle for him. I thought if I could have it ready, he wouldn’t fully wake up thus allowing both of us a few more hours of sleep. As I returned upstairs I didn’t want to turn on the lights…Big Mistake! As I heard his groans become a full-on cry I began to rush. In the pitch black I turned too quickly and crashed right into the wall. The reality that I’d hit the wall came through an intense stinging in my thumb. I had jammed my fingernail into the wall lifting both the fake nail and the real nail under it. I pressed on and as the baby ate, I began to realize how absurd the whole scenario was. I go to a salon called ‘Real Nail’ to have fake nails applied. I ran into the wall because I didn’t want to walk in the light. Though no one else can see the pain, I know its there because it even hurts to type these words! And I will now have to go to ‘Real Nail’ to have the fake nail painfully removed so the black and blue, wounded finger underneath can begin healing. Makes me think of my own faith journey…

For the last few years God has laid on my heart that I needed to ‘get real’ with him. From the outside most people would have never known I was struggling. I put on a happy face, kept silent, and went about business. A mask covered my hurt and sin. But eventually the pain underneath the mask became so intense that I had to allow God to tenderly and painfully remove the mask. He’s taken me from a place of sin and brokenness to a place of trust and hope. But it didn’t come easily. It hurt and at times I felt I just couldn’t go on. But he pursued me until I ‘got real’ with him.  In my brokenness I found I was hiding from God. I had gone to him in prayer but didn’t really allow him into the depths of my heart. It wasn’t until I lay on my bed and just cried, confessed, and declared my need for him that He and I began a journey of healing. God couldn’t work with me until I was honest with myself about my sin and my needs. I needed to expose the hurt so the healing could start… on the inside! 

Related readings: John 4:1-26, Psalm 32:3-5, 1 Samuel 1:15-16

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pray God's Word

“You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.  What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.”
Proverbs 18:20,21

I read this scripture from the Good News Translation.  It is slightly different from my usual New Living Translation, which reads something like this: “Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.  The Tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”  This new translation gave me a whole new perspective on these verses.  Instead of applying it to the words that I speak to others I saw it as the words that I speak to my God in prayer.  

The way I pray should be positive and full of life!  My prayers need to be lined up with Gods will or they will not be answered (1 John 5:14-15 “And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will.  And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.”).  So if I were to speak words of negativity or to pray for things I know in my heart weren’t good for me, that could cause me to reap some consequences, in the form of a life less joyful or through unanswered prayer.  I would have to deal with God not answering my prayers because I am not asking for things that follow His character.  

So you ask how can we know we are in line with His will?  How can I speak or pray so as not to destroy life?  Preserving life through our prayer would involve praying God’s words directly back to Him.  When we are seeking answers to difficult questions we need to look in the bible for positive scripture that goes along with what we are asking for.  When we speak Gods word back to Him He hears our prayers, we are in line with His will and He will answer!   Even in the NLT translation, listed above, it says wise words satisfy, they bring satisfaction.  When we choose our words wisely, speaking truth straight from the bible, we will be satisfied......God will answer our prayers!     

Think of one thing that you pray for everyday.  Maybe you want more patience with your kids (that’s usually one of mine), you need more energy, you request healing of an illness, or you have a friend stuck in a life of sin.  Instead of praying please help so in so, or God give me more energy to face the day find a verse in your bible and speak it straight from His word.  Claim His promises for your specific need.   

For example, If I were praying for a friend who was fighting depression and fatigue.  My prayer to God could simply be this, God you give power to those who are tired and warn out; You will offer strength to Sally Sue today. (Isaiah 40:29).  We know that God will answer this prayer because His word says so! 

My challenge for you, over the weekend, is to choose one thing that you have been praying for and pray differently.  Look up scripture in the back of your bible or get on line and do topical searches.  Just remember that wise words bring satisfaction, saying our prayers wisely will bring the answers we desire. Preserve life and choose your words wisely!  

* PLEASE SHARE!  We would love to hear what scripture you choose.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Finding Joy in Our Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Upon reading this verse for the first time, One might assume that James is a glutton for punishment. That he looks forward to trials and faces them enthusiastically. But after meditating on this verse, I realized that James is telling us we have a choice in how we view our tests and trials. According to the dictionary definition the word “consider” is a verb. It means to think about (someone/something) carefully in order to make a choice or decision.

As we see with Job, God allowed Job to face trials. Trials like most of us have never experienced. He lost his children, his health, his animals, his servants, and the support of his wife. It wasn’t because God couldn’t have stopped the events. It wasn’t that God was punishing Job. But rather, God allowed the trials so Job could grow in his understanding of God’s true character. God didn’t want Job to have less than He had to offer him.

When we pray, many of us (definitely myself included) pray for our circumstances to improve. We pray for the source of our pain to be taken away. We ask God to deal with the one who might be inflicting the pain. We pray in such a way that we focus on mending the circumstance instead of meeting the God who allowed the circumstance. But God wants us to persevere through the trial. He wants us to cling to him for dear life so he can show us his true character.

James is showing us that the choice is ours. We can see our trial from God’s perspective of love, or we can see it as torment and unfairness. When we endure a trial we are choosing to drawing closer to God through the hurt. And in the drawing nearer we come face to face with a God who is tender yet mighty. A God who is gentle yet firm. We meet a God who is loves beyond our comprehension. And in that my friend, we find pure joy!

Now I ask you. Do you want your circumstance to end before you receive the fullness of God? Or, do you want to cling to the Lord and persevere through the pain so you can know God fully?

I’ve considered, and I choose to joyfully persevere! I pray you will also.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Going Under The Knife

“For the word of God is full of living power.  It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.  It exposes us for what we really are.”
Hebrews 4:12

The Bible is not just a story book.  God’s word was given to us for a greater purpose than just reading material and a reason to meet with our bible study girls once a week.  The Bible, although very encouraging in times of despair, was meant for more than looking up answers to tough questions.  The Bible is what we should be using to shape our lives. 

You might ask, how is a book full of living power, how can words be sharper than the sharpest knife?  God’s word gives those who read it the power to live within God’s will.  The bible is living!  It is useful yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  His word never changes and is useful in all situations!  It is alive!  God’s word has the power to give us real, abundant life, full of joy!  It is sharp enough, so meaningful and useful, that it can shape us and mold us into the person God calls us to be.  God’s word can change a heart, it can save a woman on her death bed, and it can give someone the encouragement she needs to walk away from sin.  But you see, having all the best morals and manners, joining 5 bible studies, and going to church every Sunday isn’t enough to experience this saving power.  

We need the power of the Holy Spirit through the Living Word to shape our decisions and our character. When we read the Bible we have to be willing to let it change us.  When we sit down with God it is vital that we are willing to go under the knife.  God wants us to be open with Him and be willing to be transformed with every scripture and every story.  When we are willing, God’s word can cut into our innermost being and we can say to Him, “Change me, convict me, use me, show me.”  If receptive, God’s word can reveal to us the areas in our lives that He wants changed (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We can truly start living for God when we allow His words to penetrate our hearts and change our way of loving, living, caring and sharing.  

For years I have been in many beautiful bible studies.  I have had great lessons and even underlined tons of great scripture and Godly advice.  My problem through these lessons is I didn’t sign all of the consent forms allowing God to perform surgery on my heart.  I didn’t allow him to shape me through all of these studies.  Oh, I gained great knowledge and friendships that I will treasure forever, but my life didn’t change because I wasn’t willing to let God unleash His living power in my life.  I continued to have consultation appointments with God but I never got the courage to go through with the surgery.  I never went under the knife.

Almost 4 years ago I was so broken that my body couldn’t deny the surgery anymore.  I signed my heart over to God and I read His word differently.  I devoted my time to Him with intentions of getting to know Him.  I signed the papers and gave Him permission to fix me, shape me, and love me.  I allowed Him into the deepest part of my soul and I became vulnerable and weak but through that weakness the power of His Living Word made me strong!  

My prayer for you is that you can stop scheduling consultation appointments and decide today to go under the knife!  Your right!  It won’t be easy, the recovery may be slow and painful but God will be there giving you power and strength for each day.  You will gain a new perspective that is so freeing and makes living so joyful!  Today decide to read God’s word because you want to live for Him.  Read the Bible because you want to change your life!  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pray With Expectation!

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

It was absolutely precious! As I tucked our sweet little granddaughter into her crib for the night I told her to fold her hands so Grandma could pray with her. At 21 months her sweet little hands clasped together in an awkward yet adorable way. She closed her eyes, and as I prayed (peeking at her myself) she opened her eyes to watch me. As soon as I said “Amen and Amen!” little Emma’s eyes lit up. She clapped her hands, squealed Yeah!”  and immediately closed her eyes and folded her hands again. To my delight, I began again, “Dear Jesus…” She peeked, I peeked. I said “Amen and Amen!” and she squealed with delight. She was confident that I would respond as she folded her sweet little hands. Then she watched to see me do what she already knew I was going to do. If I had to guess I would say we repeated this little prayer game at least 12 times because by the end we had prayed for our entire family and then some! To Emma it was a game of ‘Look, I’ve trained Grandma!’ But to me it was a lesson in how I should approach my time with God. He wants to me come joyfully, even when the situation is painful. He wants me to squeal with delight because my hope is in Him, and he is faithful. As my day begins, I can praise God for his mighty works, share the depths of my heart, and then rest in his grace for the day. Yes, I can confidently wait for him to meet the need!

Dear Lord,
You are faithful to your Word. Teach me to approach your throne in confidence, to lay my heart’s desires at your feet, and rest in the assurance that you will meet me there. Amen and Amen.   “Yeah!!!”

Related Readings: Matthew 18:2-4, Psalm 145:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Monday, September 23, 2013


“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of the deep waters.”
                                                     Psalm 18:16

There are times in our lives when we may feel we are in “too deep”.  In different seasons of my life I have experienced this feeling with different circumstances facing me.  A feeling like I just want to give up.  Many situations cause these feelings of drowning.  

Sin can cause us to feel ashamed and unforgivable.  We can feel like the sin in our life is so ugly that we get stuck there not knowing where to turn or how to come to the surface.  We get buried under the pressure of heavy water, guilt that holds us down.  Trouble in our lives can also send us to the ocean depths, marital problems, wayward children, financial stress or loss of a loved one.  These situations, not necessarily caused by our own sin, can still cause great grief and begin to pull us under. Sometimes these circumstances happen so fast as if we are thrown off the side of the boat.  For others it is a slow process.....first a few pebbles in our pockets and before we know it, a brick tied to each leg.  

The cause of our sinking doesn’t even have to be a huge, life altering problem!  As a mother of 3 I often find myself drowning in laundry and homework and housework.  Even the “little” everyday issues slowly add weight to us and send us down the river until we hit a current too strong and we are pulled under.  

Yes, we are all susceptible to sinking or being pulled under.  We are all, at times, weak swimmers or just too tired to stay afloat.  We begin to focus on our problems and we forget to grab our life vest before we jump out of bed and jump into the ocean called life.  

Isn’t it comforting to know that we all have a personal life guard?  Yes, we all have a loving caring Man with insurmountable strength to follow us everywhere and save us, when we begin to struggle, to stay above water.  We all have a beautiful loving God who is devoted to us and our well being.  He knows every choice we make and stands beside us ready to pull us from the deep waters.  

No, we don’t have to stay afloat on our own strength!  God will do it for us if we allow Him.  Too many times we will keep kicking and gasping for air, arms flailing, panic sets in, beach goers watching from the shoreline when the best thing we can do is stop and rest.  Oh we may sink a little but God will never let us stay under too long.  He will be there with His strong arms to rescue us.  

God wants to be your life guard.  He wants you to choose Him to walk along side you every day. And before you get tired of staying above water on your own He wants to place his strong arms under your cute little behind and hold you up.  Just remember, if you ask him soon enough you may spare yourself from ever getting your hair wet and causing that make-up to run!