Friday, August 29, 2008

Worthless Things

Psalm 119:37 says:
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;and give me life in your ways.

Today, more than ever, I make this prayer. Some worthless things that I find myself looking at include:
Worries, other's deeds and misdeeds,the future.

The one thing I would like to remain focused on and keep looking at is the hope that I have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After all, I can not change one thing by worrying.

As the LORD turns my eyes from the worthless things he will give me life in his ways.


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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chesed: Lovingkindness

Last night I felt the urge to look up the Hebrew word "chesed". I knew it was frequently translated as "lovingkindness" but I felt that I wanted to know more.

“Mercy,” “steadfast love,” “compassion,” and “goodness” are other words chesed is translated into. There is no exact English equivalent for the word.

Chesed is considered an attribute of God and is usually found in the Bible in relation to covenants between God and man.

How amazing to think that God regards mere humans in this way ever! Not only to be recipients of his good love and unchanging love but merciful love as we are surely undeserving.

Things like this make me think how wonderful it is to be able to worship our loving Creator.

Psalm 40:11
Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

Check out for more on chesed and meditating on the Lord's lovingkindness.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Run in the Ways of the Lord

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart. Psalm 119:32

Heavenly father, I pray you would enlarge my heart and set my heart free so that I may run swiftly in the way your commandments. Lord, how glorious and exhilarating to not only know the path and the way through your word but to be granted the strength to run in it with joy!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Psalm 119: Ask For Understanding

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Psalm 119:73

I have to always remember to ask for understanding. How much more meaningful my study of the Scriptures is if I ask the Lord to shine his majestic light on all that I read and give me full understanding as he sees fit to suit his divine purposes.

I try to take a few minutes before I begin to read to pray:
Heavenly Father, Speak to me through your word today. Grant me understanding that I might follow all of your commands. Show me the truth in your word and help me to apply it to my life today. Amen

I know that of my own accord, I am very prone to error. I have fairly recently been led astray by not paying careful attention to God's word and not seeking his understanding.

The psalmist knew of our tendency to err and he knows we must ask our creator, the One who knows us better than anyone, to help us to understand as he wants us to understand.

How fortunate we are to serve a loving and caring God whose mercies are new every day.

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Psalm 119: Always Fresh

I am not one who usually cares to re-read a book after I have gone through it once. I get so bored reading what I already read.

How different God's word is for me!

For example, I have been reading and re-reading Psalm 119, the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible, since I answered God's call to become born again.

Each time I read it, I find more and more wonderful truths in it. Even if I only read a part of this 176-line long chapter, God chooses to reveal something else of himself to me. Today, several of the verses spoke directly to me and I wrote down some of my observations.

Sometimes the revelation is encouraging, sometimes it is convicting but I am always filled with hope after an encounter with Psalm 119.

I will be sharing more about Psalm 119 in future posts.

My verse for today is:
Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Psalm 119:73 (ESV)

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Hold On To Hope- Part 3

Have you ever felt discouraged in your role as a mom, wife or child of God? Do you ever look for guidance and instruction in how to best accomplish all the tasks you feel are important? Romans 15:4 tells us that the Scriptures have two very important purposes in our lives.
1. Instruction. We are to learn godliness and holiness through our careful review and dedication to study the holy Scripture.
2.Encouragement. We are to look to the Scriptures to see God's promises, gods faithfulness and God's power to be given hope to persevere.

We have hope! You and I, and all moms in Christ, we have hope. We will experience failures, setbacks and disgrace but we have hope. Our wonderful God, Lord and Savior has not left us stumbling in the dark. He has given us his word. Through his word, he teaches and encourages us.

How very grateful I am to serve such a loving, merciful God!

I am definitely not where I would like to be in my quest to imitate Jesus Christ. Should I just give up and get discouraged?

No! I need to keep learning and looking to God's word to keep me going to the end of my race.

Not only does God give me the instruction that I need but he also provides everything else that I need to run the race with endurance and never give up on pursuing what is right through the grace and sacrifice of Christ.

Paul includes in Chapter 15 at verse 13 a prayer that I would like to leave with all of my readers and listeners today:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hold On To Hope- Part 2

We learned in our last lesson that we are to be as Christ and one to follow his example is to be willing to please my neighbor and therefore to be willing to bear reproach.

What does this have to do with hope?

Psalm 69, which Paul has in view, is ultimately a psalm of hope. Although David has suffered and is suffering, his hope and praise are in the Lord.

In the midst of his disgrace, David's poignant response in Psalm 69 is:
But I am afflicted and in pain, let your salvation O God set me on high!
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.(v. 29,30)
And again,
For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. (v. 33,34)

The apostle Paul directs his Roman readers to this Psalm anticipating the difficulties and trials that will be faced by following Christ.
The hope that we have in the salvation of our wonderful Creator and Savior is the only reason for us to persevere in the ways of righteousness to which Paul is directing us.

And how are we reminded to have hope? How are we to be encouraged as we embark on the reproach-filled road of the Cross of Jesus?

God's word, the Scriptures, are our source of hope and encouragement.

Romans 15:4 tells us:
For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope.

How amazing that Paul writes that the Old Testament Scriptures were written for us in the New Testament church. A careful reading of the New Testament will surely direct us continuously back to the Old Testament for the foundation of the truths found in the New Testament. How reassuring that Paul did not feel the need to "reinvent the wheel"in his teachings to Jesus' followers!
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hold On To Hope

This post is inspired by a John Piper sermon series I recently listened to called "The Fruit of Hope."

Romans 15:4, 5 says:
For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Brief Background on the Book of Romans:

Paul wrote the letter to this letter to the Romans to edify and encourage the Christian church in Rome, the capital of the ruling empire of the time. One of the major themes of Paul's writing is unity under the Gospel message. Weak and strong, Jew and Gentile, Paul reminds his readers to strive to be of one accord that God may be glorified.

Romans Chapter 15 is concerned with the Roman church living as Christ in relation to one another. The chapter reinforces a similar theme in chapter 14. We are first told how Christ would act and therefore what we should then do.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbors for his good, to build him up.(verses 1,2)

Those are pretty tough commands- at least for me they are. How can I not lose hope in trying to follow this impossible command to put others before myself and not only bear with the failings of the weak but to actually build them up?

All my flesh wants to do is berate the weak and in my pride to brag and boast about my strengths as compared to others. I please myself by being able to boast in my own strengths and by having everything the way I want it. I see this message as being written directly to me especially in relation to my dealings with my husband and children.

Why not focus on pleasing myself? Verse 3 tells us:
For Christ did not please himself...

I am to model myself after Christ.

If I model myself after Christ, what will I get as my earthly reward? What was Christ's reward for not pleasing himself? Reproach. The verse continues:
...but as it is written, 'the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.'

What is reproach? It is a term that means disgrace or dishonor. This verse quotes Psalm 69:9:
For zeal for your house has consumed me and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

David in Psalm 69 cries out to God about the suffering he has experienced because of following the one true and living God, the God of Israel. He says in verse 7 of Psalm 69:

For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face.

David goes on to say that fasting and repentance, following God's commands, bring on further ridicule from all, from the noblest to the lowest of men.

This puts me in mind of Hannah who was even ridiculed by a priest, Eli, for her fervent prayers to the Lord. Praying with all her heart to the Lord, Hannah was thought to be drunk. Can you imagine even bearing the reproach of your priest for following your heart to cry out to the Lord?

How can you hold on to hope in the face of reproach?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of "Hold on to Hope".

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

How We Got the Bible: Book Review

It has been a while since any book besides the Holy Bible had me so captivated that I could not put it down. I took this book around with me everywhere (even swim team practice!) until I finished it.

The book is "How We Got The Bible: A Visual Journey" by Clinton E. Arnold. What a rich treat!

Until I read this book, I knew very little of the history of the Bible. I was very aware that the precious book, the Bible, had faced destruction throughout most of it's history. I knew that rulers had long tried to keep the Bible out of the hands of common people.

I did not understand how the Bible actually came into being from ancient manuscripts.

"How We Got The Bible" gave me a brief but very interesting and informative view of the history of the English-language Bible.

The large number of photos, interesting sidebars and clear prose made this book quite one of my recent favorites!

With photos of actual manuscripts, paintings of notable figures in the Bible's history and interesting charts and lists, this very easy-to-read guide whetted my appetite to read more on this subject.

I recommend this book for anyone who would like to know more about the origins of the Bible.

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