Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I Can’t Wait Until My Next Birthday!

Photo by Wendy H. Schmit
“How are you going to celebrate your birthday, Grandma?”
___

Even though I’m dealing with the issues of entering another decade (which I’ll talk more about next week), I had a great birthday. My grandchildren’s phone calls made it even better. However, due to a Bible verse I read recently, I’m looking at the question they asked me in a different light.

Before I give you the whole verse, I want to focus on the section that caught my attention:

Deuteronomy 30:20b (NIV 1984)
For the LORD is your life.

I can’t help but love its grand declaration.

When I consider everything the phrase could mean for me personally, a stirring desire grows in my soul: to live as if God, Himself – the creator of the universe, the King of Kings – was actually my purpose for living.

If I lived that way, it would mean the Lord would become the center of all my dreams and goals. Plus, He would be my motivation for living a life of obedience, rather than wanting to obey only for the sake of pleasing others.

If I were to allow God to teach me how to make those desires real in the way I live, I can only imagine how much I will have to celebrate by my next birthday.

Are you beginning to get excited, too? If so, let’s pray and ask God to help us live as if He and His purposes are our reason for living. Perhaps reading and applying the first part of Deuteronomy 30:20 can help us get started. Here is the verse in its entirety:

Deuteronomy 30:20 (NIV 1984)
And that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

May it be so with me, Lord.
_____

Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address). If you are reading this from your smartphone or email, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the actual blog where you can leave a comment. Thanks!

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.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When the Walls Seem Overwhelming

Photo by William Warby (Flickr)
During the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing about the time I was unfairly blamed for an incident involving dear friends of mine. Although it happened a long time ago, I still remember the devastation I felt.

I can’t share many details of the actual incident, but as I’ve explained, the aftermath caused me to feel as if I had slammed into a wall, emotionally.

As I spent time in counseling – and lots of time praying, reading my Bible, and memorizing and meditating on scripture, I became confident that, one day, things would be okay. But I knew I had formidable obstacles facing me.

Thankfully, Psalm 18:29 says, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall” (NIV 1984).

The first wall I had to scale was my own recklessness because I knew some of the choices I had made in previous years contributed to the situation that brought me so much pain. Therefore, I asked God to forgive my lack of prudence.

That lack of prudence included the inflated value I placed on what others thought of me. Therefore, knowing I was still vulnerable to making foolish choices, I placed myself under the accountability of people I could trust.

For instance, as painful as it was, I knew I had to separate myself and break off all communication with the people I had been living with. In the months following, whenever I was tempted to contact them, my accountability people helped me stick to my resolve.

However, I think the toughest wall to scale was that of unforgiveness. I prayed to forgive the couple who had betrayed my trust. I’m convinced that it’s no coincidence that the more I progressed in extending mercy to this couple, the more stable I became.

With God’s help, we can advance against any troop and scale any wall that is not part of God’s plan for us. And while we’re at it, let’s trust Him to help us knock down a few of those walls!

Try memorizing Psalm 28:29 every day this week and watch your confidence in God's faithfulness soar!

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.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Are You Living in Emotional Darkness?

This week, I will continue the story I began two weeks ago about a season in my life that happened a long time ago.

Photo by Fabio (Flickr)
Beginning in my teens, I struggled with self-hate and all that goes with it.

My self-esteem was either determined by what I did or didn’t accomplish, or by what others thought of me at any given time. That driving need to be loved and accepted drove me to unhealthy relationships, which left their emotional scars.

In fact, each time I was hurt, my outlook on life grew dimmer. By the time I was in my twenties, emotional darkness closed in. I seriously wondered if I would survive, mentally.

Psalm 18:28 became one of my favorite verses during that time. “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (NIV 1984).

I clung to that verse! Yet, I found myself constantly slipping back into hopelessness. I knew instinctively that if I didn’t begin to believe that God was actively involved in my circumstances, the darkness would finally overtake me for good. Therefore, I sought Christian counseling and spent as much time as I could praying and reading the Bible.

In time, I was able to see that I needed God to help me desire Him and His love for me more than the love and approval of those around me. I was amazed at how much my outlook brightened when I finally understood what real love looked like.

His Word and presence began reaching into the areas of my life that desperately needed it. I still had a long way to go, but I grew confident that God was at work in my life. (I will conclude my story next week.)

If you’re walking in spiritual or emotional darkness, would you consider meditating on and/or memorizing Psalm 18:28 every day this week? And if I can be of any encouragement, please email me.


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.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Are You Facing an Overwhelming Situation?

I had never faced anything like this before.
Photo by nimble photography (Flickr)

Due to a serious and unfair accusation from a friend, my credibility was damaged and friendships were lost. That led to feelings of paranoia, imagining what others were saying about me.

My desperation for love and attention was to blame for not stopping the escalation of events before they got out of hand. But bearing the consequences alone was more than I could handle. Due to the delicate nature of the issue, there was no way I could defend myself without making matters even worse.

I felt totally overwhelmed.

During that time, a friend counseled me to memorize scripture. In so doing, I began to experience God’s presence and compassion.

Thus, Psalm 18:16-17(NIV 1984) became very real to me:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

Though my situation didn’t suddenly resolve itself, I was able to think more rationally and make good decisions about what I needed to do next. I’ll continue this a little more next time.

Until then, how are you doing today? Are you drowning in the deep waters of depression or anxiety? Or perhaps you’re feeling as if some of life’s circumstances are overwhelming for you.

Please don’t give up.

I pray, as you seek God’s presence and direction, you will experience the hand of God taking hold of you. He cares about what you’re going through – whether or not you caused the circumstances.

Never give up on God’s compassion and ability to rescue you. He is your redeemer.

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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