Friday, January 14, 2011

Great Verse...

Our church is once again memorizing a verse a week together for the year. And as always I am starting out determined to learn them all ... I pray I stay determined and finish knowing all 52 verses! It is so easy to slip away around March or April.

This week's is a verse I am not familiar with.. although I am certain I have read it. It just wows me when I think about it,

"You alone are the Lord. you made the heaven, even the highest heavens, and their starry hosts. The earth and all that is on it. The seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything and the multitudes of heaven worship you."  Nehemiah 9:6

WOW! Not one thing in that verse was unknown to me before reading it, but having it all put together and said so straight forward and clear.. wow. What an awesome verse.. especially when I realize that the One spoken of loves me and has adopted me as His child. This is my Father Nehemiah is talking about!

Kids often brag on their dad.. how big he is.. how tough.. just think, as a child of God I have the best bragging rights!  My dad created the heavens, the earth, the seas .. everything on and in them.. and gives life to EVERYTHING... not some things.. not a few things.. not a lot of things.. EVERYTHING!  WOW!

And again... He loves me and chose me to be His child!  That is Scandalous!  And the cool thing.. He loves you too and if you are not His child, you can be. It is a very simple task that leads to the most glorious life with Him forever! If you want to know more about becoming a child of God, contact me through this blog or check out this site:  Steps

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Obedience... yet again...

I pick a word of the year each year and have yet to decide on one for 2011. I am beginning to wonder if Obedience will be it. Oh my!  Definitely need to pray about that!

On to what I wanted to share.... I read a devotional the other day by Robert J. Morgan (wrote The Red Sea Rules).  He was talking about Noah and he said "So in an age in which people knew nothing of rain, God told Noah to build an enormous ship, and Noah obeyed completely, down to the last nail."  

I am always wowed by Noah's obedience.. his immediate and unquestioning obedience... I like to question God a lot!

Morgan then offered this.... which truly does give me (and maybe you) cause to stop and ponder....

"To measure your faith, pull out the dipstick of obedience.  Does God tell us to build up others with our words? To be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another? To do the work of an evangelist? To avoid sexual immorality? To keep our eyes from vanity? To meditate on Scripture?"

Ouch... my toes hurt!  We talk of taking God at His Word.. and we should.. we can walk confidently in every single promise we find in the Bible BUT we also need to take Him at His Word when it comes to His commands and do what He says.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Believe Therefore I Speak.. and Think...

As I read my Daily Devotional this morning, the author talked about how "God wants His people whole -- spirit, soul and body" -- and how "words have power and our bodies will try to fulfill the word we speak."

Several scriptures came to mind as I read that.  2 Cor. 4:13 says we believe therefore we speak.  This verse reminds me to Believe God's Word and to Speak It with assurance and boldness.  I learned some time ago the need to speak God's truth out-loud -- there is power in the Spoken Word!

I also thought how our minds "speak" to us -- no one else hears our thoughts, but we do and they effect us. Romans 12:2 talks of our need to renew our mind. Phil. 4:8 lists the things which should occupy our mind. Things that are pure, righteous, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, noble and true.  We should think on these things.

Eph. 4:29 tells us to speak only that which is useful for building up. We usually consider this verse in light of what we say to others and well we should, but we also can apply it to the words we speak to ourselves whether spoken aloud or thought. We need only to build up not tear down.  We must speak the Truth even to ourselves!

Imagine how different our world would be if we spoke only Truth and held to the Phil. 4:8 plumb line in our thought life?

This is not about having a positive attitude, although it is good to be positive instead of negative. It is about walking in the Word... in the truth of our Lord ... with confidence and assurance.

This is how we are able to live life as more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:37)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Binding those Emotions!

I am using a devotional this year called 365 Days to a Prayer-Filled Life.  I have to admit that the title does nothing for me.. in fact, I tend to avoid anything that says X number of days until.... but the author is Germaine Copeland.  I have several of her books and love them. They are full of Scripture based prayers and so is this devotional.

I read a line in today's prayer that just seemed to stop my world... "In Your name I bind my emotions to the control of the Holy Spirit and go forth with confidence."

Wow!  I just love that thought... the picture in my head of my emotions, which can run wild, being bound to the Holy Spirit's control.  Why do I even try to keep them in check? They are often the flesh at work in me.  How completely right to let the Holy Spirit control them.

This does not mean there will be no emotions. Not at all!  God created emotions and He made us emotional beings. What is does mean is appropriate emotions at appropriate times. And I am not talking about observing social graces or putting on a good face.

My hope is that this will keep me from yelling in the car that the driver that cuts me off or drives wayyyy tooo slow... that it will keep me from loosing my patience as I stand in line at the store while the person ahead of me tries to figure out how to use the self-checkout or the cashier feels the need to have a 20 minute gabfest with another customer... that it keep me from going into self-pity mode when I don't get my way -- things like that.

I pray this act of binding will enable me to bear fruit -- the fruit of the Spirit! -- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control,

"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven."  
Matt. 18:18a

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Obedience... can't get away from it!

I have decided to read through the Bible this year. I have done this before. In fact, I did it several years in a row and found that after a while I was just reading to check off a box, so I stopped... using a plan, that is, I still read the Bible.  It is time to read through again. There are many, many plans out there to fit everyone's lifestyle and preferences. Plans to read the entire Bible in a year or just one of the Testaments or just certain passages. I encourage you to look around and find one that fits your lifestyle and dive in!

I am using this plan:

My reading for today was the Gospel of Mark, chapters 1 - 3. I am using the New International Version of the Bible for my reading.  It is so easy for someone who has been reared in church and/or is familiar with the Bible to read and not really learn.  Familiarity gets in the way of insight. I pray before I read, most days, and ask God to reveal something new to me as I get into His Word.. or to remind me of a truth I need to be reminded of. I think I got a bit of both today. What hit me as I read is a truth I know, but had never noticed in this passage.

In Mark 1 Jesus heals a man with leprosy and then "Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 'See that you don't tell this to anyone.'" (v. 43-44) He further instructs the man to do as the law requires and go show himself to the priest.

I've always found it odd that Jesus said don't tell anyone. Why not? Why not let the man tell and praise Jesus for doing this and bring glory to God the Father for miracles that still happen. What is the harm?

Other than the fact that the word tells us that God can do whatever He pleases... and He certainly does not have to tell us why (in fact, in Habakkuk He says basically if I told you why, you wouldn't understand)... other than all that, we see as we read on what happens.

Verse 45 tells that the man did go and tell others and as a result "Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places."

As a parent, my instructions to my children likely didn't always make sense to them, but I had my reasons and they were to obey without question. It is the same with God and His children. He says do or don't do and we are to do or don't do... no questions... no second guessing... no trying to reason with Him to do things our way... just simple, straightforward obedience... immediate obedience.

Father, Help me to obey You immediately and completely... stop me when I start to question or second guess You. Remind me that Your ways are not my ways and that You are in control, not me!  I know Your ways are always best no matter how it may look to my eyes. Teach me to do as the old hymn says... to "trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."