Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What Are Your Children Seeing?

Photo by Spirit-Fire (Flickr)
What do your children see when they watch you?

Psalm 1 presents two contrasting scenarios. Read all six verses, and consider which scenario reflects the choices that are shaping your life.

In previous weeks, we looked at the first half of the psalm that speak of blessings, delightfulness and the satisfying fruit we experience when we choose to be nourished by God’s Word and His ways. Consequently, our lives produce good outcomes and reflect mature decisions.

This week we will conclude our discussion on Psalm 1. Notice the sharp contrast in the tone of the last half of the psalm:

Psalm 1:4-6 (NASB)
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Are these verses convincing enough to persuade you to make some changes? These verses give serious warning to those who are living without God. The Amplified Bible ends verse 6 with “but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought)."

For sure, the last half of Psalm 1 is less fun to read or even think about. But important in its warnings, nevertheless. Our heavenly Father is loving, good and merciful. I can only begin to imagine how profound His longing must be in wanting us to choose the correct path. But the choice is ours.

Which scenario do you want for yourself: Do you want to seek God and His wisdom? Or do you want to rebel against God and His ways? Think about it: we can have purpose, direction and meaning, or we can live recklessly – ending with disappointment and regret.

Which scenario do you want for your child? He or she is watching you.
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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.

As always, please remember that 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.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Today Can be a Prosperous Day

Bert and Helen
About a year before my mother-in-law, Helen, died, Bert and I drove to the next town to celebrate her
97th birthday with her.

On the way to the facility where she lived, I meditated on Psalm 1:3.

Psalm 1:3 (NASB)
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Due to Helen’s dementia issues, she sometimes behaved in a hostile manner toward me. Therefore, grabbing the last part of the verse, I asked God to prosper my time with Bert’s mother. I prayed that the visit would be a good one – one that would bring joy to Helen and that I would represent my Heavenly Father well. On our way back home, I thanked God for a good visit.

I am grateful for God’s Word. I stay dependent on the Holy Spirit to mold and shape me so I can be ready to serve Him throughout my day, in all circumstances. This includes becoming better at loving and respecting my husband, Bert, and becoming better equipped to serve my family, church,
and community.

I look forward to becoming the kind of person Psalm 1:3 describes: a solidly planted Christian, who isn’t easily distracted from whatever God is calling me to do, at any given time. One who doesn’t become discouraged or cop out when faced with uncomfortable or challenging obstacles.

Therefore, I constantly ask God to help me not stray from His presence. I need His Spirit to teach, guide and recharge me.

I know God is able to prosper and mature my (and your) labor, exactly on time (in its season) – including all future endeavors He has planned for us. However, we must firmly plant ourselves in Him and His Word, first. Continuing to memorize and meditating on Psalm 1:3 will help.

I hope you have a truly prosperous day. I’m trusting God you will.

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Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

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.

Also, please click on the tabs on the top of the page to receive tips on memorizing and/or meditating on the Word of God.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

To Delight in the Midst of Stress

My goal is to find my delight in God and His Word, even in – no, especially in – the midst of my stress.

Photo by Unlocking the Bible (Flickr)
Recently, during one particularly stressful week, I struggled with how to handle a personal situation that involved family members who are very dear to me. I wanted us to stay in each other’s lives, yet I knew I couldn’t go along with the direction they had chosen. As I spent more time in the Bible and thinking about the passages I was reading, I was able to discern ways to handle the emotional and awkward situation.

If you need to know how to handle problems you’re facing, the best thing you can do is spend time in Scripture. Without a doubt.

Last week, Psalm 1:1 warned us not to align ourselves with people who mock God and His ways. This week, verse 2 encourages us to desire and habitually meditate on God’s Word:

Psalm 1:2 (NASB)
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Re-reading a passage of the Bible over and over again, and taking time to think about what His Word is saying to you regarding your own circumstances, will help you esteem the Author on a deeper and more personal level.

For instance, after pondering each word or segment of the verses last week and this week, it could evolve into a prayer, something like this:

Father, I want a closer relationship with You and to live a life You can bless. Please give me the perseverance to meditate and reflect on Your Word, as much as I need to – even if it’s all day and all night. And as I do this, help me resist anyone and anything that mocks You; including: inappropriate friends, TV shows and music. Amen.

I hope you experience tremendous delight as you meditate on God’s transformative Word.

___

Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

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.

Also, please click on the tabs on the top of the page to receive tips on memorizing and/or meditating on the Word of God.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

You Don’t Have to Stay Friends

Photo by Emanuele Tripani (Flickr)

Are you hanging out with people who offer bad advice, or invite you to go to unsuitable places or makes fun of ideas you hold sacred?

Have you been wishing you had the courage to break ties with them? Sometimes, we need to make the tough decision to end a friendship.

If you are becoming increasingly frustrated because of the choices you’re making, and you know that it’s greatly due to the influence of another person in your life, then please read (and seriously think about) this week’s verse:

Psalm 1:1 (NASB)
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, 
Nor stand in the path of sinners, 
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 

What if, with each choice you make this week, you reconsider the short and long-term consequences, including who you spend your time with – or even seek advice from?

If you want to get back on track (or get on track for the first time), try memorizing and/or meditating on Psalm 1:1 every day this week. Allow this verse to help you take those important (but difficult) steps toward a better life.

If this isn’t something you struggle with, perhaps you could mentor someone who has trouble making sound choices. Most likely, your pastor can refer you to someone who could use your help.

By the way, we will continue this discussion next week. However, if you can’t wait to find out the next step on how to begin living a life even your old friends might envy, continue reading the rest of Psalm 1. It’s only six verses. Six life-changing verses.
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Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

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.




Friday, July 3, 2015

I Just Had the Best Chat!

Carol waved to her best Friend from across the grassy field, then grabbed her three-year-old daughter and swung her onto her right hip. She could feel Shelby bumping up and down as she hurried to greet Jesus.

Upon reaching Him, Carol greeted Jesus and began chatting with her Lord. “I'm glad to see you again! I have so much to tell You since the last time we talked …”
___

Photo by Ashraf Fekry (Flickr)
Using the above story, picture yourself as one of the people in this week’s verse:

Mark 9:15 (NIV)
As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 

During one of my quiet times, this verse moved me so much that I pictured myself face-to-face with Jesus. I could feel His delight when I told Him how much I adored and needed Him. Then I thanked Him for the sale I made the day before – and especially for all He’s done in my marriage. And I hung onto every word I imagined Him saying back to me.

During our chat, I also shared important prayer requests (for the salvation of family members, and for friends to be healed), and some of my dreams (to be an author and speaker). All the while, I sensed He was pleased to be spending time with me, too.

It was such an incredible time that I want to make running up to Jesus a regular habit.

Remember, we don’t have to wait until we’re in a crisis to talk to Him. Imagine running up to your closest Friend to share the latest news about how your job is going; or to your Shepherd, when you need protection; or to your Counselor, when you need advice. If you don’t necessarily need anything, take a moment just to worship your Creator.

Spend time imagining yourself actually chatting with Jesus face-to-face. What would you talk about? What do you think He would say to you?

This week's goal:
This week, I will develop the habit of running up to Jesus throughout the day to: share good news (or sad news), request His help (or thank Him when His help came through!), and to express my love for Him. In addition, I will take time to listen to what He says to me.

My prayer:
Father, help me to realize how much You delight in my running up to You. Thank You for loving me so much that You want to hear about my day and everything that matters to me. Most of all, Lord, give me ears to hear every word You speak to me.

1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible) 
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.


Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).


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.

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