Friday, November 28, 2014

Joy Follows Repentance

Photo by Daniel Oines (Flickr)
I have been the recipient of God’s correction quite a few times. Sometimes, the resulting emotional pain was so deep that it felt like was I being crushed by the weight of it. However, when I stopped justifying or minimizing the seriousness of my behavior – when I honestly repented of my sin – joy and gladness eventually returned. And when the joy returned, it returned with great abundance. (Click on the comment link to read more.)

Psalm 51:8 (NIV) 
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Psalm 51:8 (GNT) / for meditation purposes
 Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
    and though you have crushed me and broken me,
    I will be happy once again.

I have learned that if it wasn’t for God’s firm, but always loving hand of discipline in my life, I would have strayed from Him, or at least strayed from His purposes for me. So, until I reach the point of not ever needing His correction, (ha! as if that day will ever come!), I will thank Him for loving me that much.

What about you?

  • What are some of the ways God has disciplined you? Were you able to discern His love and compassion even while being disciplined? (Click on the comment link to read a little about one of the times I experienced God’s discipline.)
  • Once you repented of your sin, were you able to enjoy a deeper appreciation of God’s love? Did you grow to also appreciate the standards He was calling you to?

Just as our earthly parents often hate to enforce disciplinary actions, our heavenly Father loves us enough to allow us to experience consequences of our sins so we will learn from and regret our choices. Thank God (literally!).

I’m here if you need me. You can use a pseudonym if you want to share a little about your struggle (via the comment link). I’d be honored to pray with you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do You Need a Bath?

Sin can leave us feeling unclean – even stinky dirty. As we enter into our seventh week of memorizing and/or meditating on Psalm 51, one verse per week, we again acknowledge our need to be cleansed from our sin.

Psalm 51:7 (NIV)
Photo by Sheila (Flickr)
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7 (TLB) / For meditation purposes:
Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood and I shall be clean again.
Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

David asked God to wash him even before Jesus bled on the cross – and long before Robert Lowry penned the old hymn, “Nothing but the Blood” in the 1800s.

What a refreshing visual: to be washed so clean as to be whiter than snow! We cannot commit a sin that is too filthy that it cannot be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ!

What about you?

Are you in need of some serious cleansing? Perhaps this prayer would help:
Father, my sin has left me feeling dirty and soiled. I long to feel pure again; therefore, please forgive me and wash away my sin with Your cleansing blood. Amen.

I’m here if you need me. You can use a pseudonym if you want to share a little about your struggle (via the comment link). I’d be honored to pray with you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know which translation you prefer.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Weeping for Helen

Helen Q. Boldt (November 2013)
“Hi, Bert. This is Tammy with Big Bend Hospice. Your mother is declining at a much more rapid rate. We have changed her status to imminent.” Tammy had been giving us regular updates regarding Bert’s 97 year-old mother, Helen, for several months.

We weren’t surprised to hear the nurse’s words because we had been witnessing Helen’s deteriorating health. Still the news was hard to hear.

For the next ten days, we spent a lot of time at Helen’s bedside at Harbor Breeze, an assisted living facility in Carrabelle. Although she was mostly unable to respond, we talked “with” her, sang hymns she might remember, and did a whole lot of praying, asking God to grant her a peaceful passing.

Then early on a recent Wednesday morning, the phone rang. Helen was gone. My throat tightened when I saw the tears in Bert’s eyes.

We all fear it: the phone call that changes our immediate priorities – the one that announces a death, or an illness of someone very close to us. And suddenly we’re changing schedules, cancelling appointments, and gathering with our loved ones for a heartbreaking family reunion.

This week, we're stepping away from Psalm 51 to memorize and meditate on the shortest verse in the Bible:

John 11:35 (NIV)
Jesus wept.

I’ve heard many interpretations on why Jesus cried at Lazarus’ gravesite. Today, I’m inclined to believe one of the reasons He wept was because He had compassion for the grieving. I’m thankful God cares deeply about the things we go through.

As we memorize and meditate on John 11:35, let’s remember God’s nearness during the times we needed Him most. Likewise, let us pray to ask God to help us show His compassion to the hurting, as we weep with those who weep.

What about you?
  • Have you ever felt Jesus weeping with you?
  • How has God's compassion for you help you show compassion for others?
As always, if you need to talk, I’m here. Please feel free to share via the comment link or click on the About tab to obtain my email address. Pseudonyms are allowed!

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know which translation you prefer.





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are We Lying to Ourselves, About Ourselves?

Photo by bark (Flickr)
Do you have events and memories deeply hidden in your inmost heart? Even hidden from God?

The longer we allow ourselves to be deceived by the lies we tell ourselves, and the secrets we keep, the more difficult it is to face the truth.

We are in our sixth week of memorizing and/or meditating on Psalm 51, one verse per week.

Psalm 51:6 (NIV)
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Psalm 51:6 (AMP)
Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; 
make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.

What about you?
  • Are there areas of your life you would rather keep hidden from yourself – even hidden from God, if it were possible?
  • Have you been lying for so long that you wonder if you even really know your true history? 
  • Would you agree that it is in our best interest to allow God to show us the truth about ourselves?
  • Would you also agree that God deserves for us to approach Him with utter sincerity and truthfulness, the best we can?
As always, if you need to talk, I’m here. Please feel free to share via the comment link or click on the About tab to obtain my email address. Pseudonyms are allowed!

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know which translation you prefer.

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