Tag Archives: Bible

Do What It Says

A friend and I discussed how to pray for a mutual friend who reads Scripture every day. She said, “We could pray that they can and will apply their Bible reading to their life.”

“Oh yes,” I thought. “That will really help.”

Then the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart, “How are you doing in that department?”

Uh-oh! How many times have I read, for example, Proverbs 3:5 (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding”) and went on trusting in what I thought was best? And how about Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, …noble, …right, …pure, …lovely, …admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”)? Do I think about those things or about how irritated I am about seemingly unsolvable yard problems? I almost know Ephesians 4:29 by heart (“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen). So why do I hear complaining and criticism coming out of my mouth?

Image from Pinterest.

Oh Jesus, I’m struggling to practice what I read too! I need to obey James 1:22 (“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”). Please let Your Holy Spirit help me as I turn from my own foolish way onto Your right paths. Thank You for Philippians 1:6 (“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”). Amen.

Bible Verses from the NIV.

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Perfect Words

Your Words are perfect, Lord—flawless, pure, absolute, and true. They tell me of Your love and about who You are. They lead me in right paths and will bring me home to You when it is the right time. Therefore, I will bow before You and humbly receive the spiritual nourishment, the knowledge, and the guidance of Your Word. (James 1:21)

I come to Your Word for refuge from the lies of the enemy.

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Proverbs 30:5 NIV

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Source of Sabotage

In a conversation with a respected friend, one remark flew right past the logic center of my brain and poked a hole in my heart. My friend had said one thing and somewhere between my ears and my soul it got twisted so that I heard something entirely different.

I heard blame: “XYZ’s unpleasant behavior is all your fault,” and I heard put-down: “You are a bad person, worthy of rejection.”

Aha! Rejection! There’s a mental stronghold where the enemy twists thoughts, shreds meanings, and shoots out his lies. I see other strongholds in my soul too, but what can I do?

Asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth might help. He points out a foundation stone of pride—thinking life should work the way I want it to. So I could start with humbling myself before God and remembering that He’s God and I’m not.

I’ve let past rejections and hurt feelings build up instead of dealing with them God’s way. Now fortress walls guard a breeding ground for grief and misunderstanding. They ought to come down as I choose to repent of my bitterness and to quit focusing on myself.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV).

(Picture by Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13083522)

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Where Wisdom Starts

Proverbs 9:10“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). I wonder what kind of fear that is. It must not be the fear that He will reject me if I accidentally do something wrong or that He will give up on me if I fail too many times. No, it can’t be fears like that because that fear involves torment, and God’s perfect love casts that out (1 John 4:18).

Rather, surely that “fear of the Lord” recognizes His awesome power, might, intelligence, and total authority. It acknowledges that He is God, and I am not; that He is the potter, and I am clay; and that He is absolutely righteous, pure and true. It is fear that seeks to obey His commands and walk His way. And obeying Him and His laws always results in a better outcome than anything I or any other human being could plan or do. Thus, the fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom.

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Journey Reblog 5 – Stepping Stones in the Valley

Reblogged August 14, 2019

God gave me “stepping stones” amid the muck of physical symptoms, doubts, and fears in Anxiety Valley. They didn’t make me feel any less anxious, but they helped me get through the days of struggle. Here are a few I wrote down:

  1. Psalm 116:1, 5, 7 (New Living Translation): “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” “5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!” “7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.”

I will believe God’s love. Then my soul can rest because in believing I remember God’s goodness and His presence with me. I choose to believe Him instead of listening to the lying anxiety feelings.

Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

  1. I love God. I want to love Him more. I want to grow in knowledge and discernment and depth of insight so I can know what is best and what really matters. (Philippians 1:9-10 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return” New Living Translation.)

 

  1. Father, You have sent help. Praise music and Your Word offer comfort. You said that You will never fail or forsake me (Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5). You have promised, and You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23). You sent the pastor and the counselor. You even provided a calmative medicine to help me get through this. You gave me friends and family and church family who love and support me. And the devotional readings! Some seem especially appropriate on the particular days they show up in my e-mail.

Thank You, Lord, for all these expressions of Your love and grace. Amen.

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Our Help Is in the Lord

One of my favorite names for God is “Maker of Heaven and Earth” because it spoke peace to me in a crisis a few years back. At that time I searched for comfort one night by leafing through the Psalms. I came upon Psalm 124:8—“Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth (NKJV).” I could relax. No matter what happened, my hope was in the God who made heaven and earth. It would be all right.
So when God points out to Job in Job 38 the greatness of His creative acts, I’m reminded to praise the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Some things to praise God for from Job 38:4-11 NIV:
You, Lord God,

  • Laid the earth’s foundations;
  • Marked off its dimensions;
  • Shut up the sea behind doors when it first burst forth;
  • Clothed it with clouds;
  • Wrapped the sea in darkness;
  • Fixed limits for it;
  • Told the sea, “You can come this far, no farther,” and “Here is where your proud waves halt.” (And it obeyed.)

Wow!!
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. Oh, my soul, praise Him, for He is my help and salvation! All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near. Join me in glad adoration.”–from the hymn ”Praise to the Lord the Almighty” (lyrics and video at https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/praise-to-the-lord-the-almighty/

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Thanksgiving and Praise

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Yes, Lord, You are so good! You are good and do only good (Psalm 119:68 NLT). I praise You for Your total goodness. I also thank You for Your goodness to me.
Thank you for your unending mercy and loving-kindness! How I need Your mercy! If I continued to look at how often I’ve failed to show love or have gone my own way, surely I would faint from discouragement. But Your mercy is fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and it endures forever! Thank You!

In the New Living Translation, “loving-kindness” is translated “faithful love.”Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful love! Your love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

“Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord? Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?” (Psalm 106:1-2)

“All the praise that is due God”—indeed, Lord, You are worthy of unending praise. No matter how many praises I sing or say, You are worthy of more.

“Bless (Affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)

O my soul, when you are tempted to feel sad or discouraged, remember God’s goodness and mercy and faithful love. Put into words some of His mighty deeds. Then affectionately and gratefully praise your Lord and bless His holy Name. And remember that His mercy and faithful love (even for you) ENDURE FOREVER!

(Scripture quotes are from the Amplified Bible.)

 

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Looking Through the Faith Filter

 

At times I have approached the Word of God—whether reading, hearing, or studying it—feeling fearful. I feared I could never do enough or that maybe I couldn’t please God or that I would find that I was a hopeless failure. That kind of thinking interfered with the benefit or growth I might have had.

But fear lies. The truth is that Jesus took care of my failures at the cross. Another truth: I could never be good enough to earn God’s love, but God loves me anyway. And another: I’ve received God’s gracious gift of salvation and have become His child. Furthermore, God has given me His Holy Spirit. He is a spirit of power, love and a sound mind (1 Tim. 1:7).

Because of these truths, I can look at Scripture in the faith that says God loves me and wants to show me His ways which are life-giving. When I use that filter—the faith filter—in my reading, hearing, and studying of God’s Word, I can learn to really live.

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Recommended Sermons on Revelation

I’ve appreciated Pastor Tom Hilpert’s sermons on the Book of Revelation. Three I especially liked were #17 “War, Famine, Disease and Death: In All Things God Is In Control which I reblogged earlier today; #20 The Joy That Awaits at https://clearbible.blog/2018/02/27/the-joy-that-awaits/ ; and #21 The End of Grace at https://clearbible.blog/2018/03/13/revelation-21-the-end-of-grace/

I hope you’ll check them out.

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Without Fault

I got excited about Ephesians 1:3-4 this morning: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”*

Wow! I am “united with Christ” and “in Christ,” so these verses apply to me. I wrote: “I praise You, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! I praise and thank and love You, our Father in heaven, because you see me (and all Christ-followers) as holy and without fault, and you have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, and You loved and chose us before You made the world. And You are the One who placed us in Christ and united us with Him (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)! May Your name be ever praised!”

I heard a radio preacher say that God has “in-Christ-ed” us. He encouraged everyone to look in Scripture for the results of being in Christ. Besides Ephesians 1:3-4, one of my favorites is Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”*

*New Living Translation

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