Tag Archives: Word

Jeremiah 37, 21, 34; Psalm 79; James 5

The space between spiritual blessing and divine conviction: what am I doing when there? Working five days per week yields structure, routine, and purpose for me. Yet, come Friday, I’m like a child brought to the playground, letting loose of his father’s hand, running off to play. Well, almost. In reality, on Friday afternoon I eat a meal that I didn’t make, take up residence on the couch, and basically waste time dozing off and on while a mesmerizing box pours nonsense into my depleted, vulnerable brain. I started this habit several years ago when I lived alone and was suffering from loneliness and sadness.  It was my way of forcing the noise in my head to die down and the tension in my limbs to relax. Somewhere in this space, I hoped to find peace. Not unlike the drugs of addiction, really. A chemical solution to a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual problem, drugs anesthetize the hurt and pain or ignite and explode the numbing depression.

This space is, of course, a false interlude before the crashing realities return. Take for instance, the promise of peace when King Zedekiah commanded people to free their Hebrew male and female slaves, brothers to their Hebrew masters. God commanded that Hebrew slaves were to be freed after six years of servanthood, and for a brief time the masters let them go. Yet, it wasn’t long before the people were rounded up and taken back as slaves.

What went on between that time? Where did these Jewish slaves go? What were they doing? Did they lie on the beach each day, just thankful for a day without stress? Did they spend their days visiting family and eating home-cooked meals, or did they start projects around the house?

You may think my wandering thoughts are mundane and of little consequence, but let me ask you, “Do you look for that personal space where you can just do nothing if you want?” Why?

Why do we feel the need to get away? Why do we become weary? What disturbances in our world destroy peace in our hearts and why? James 5 has an interesting take on that space between suffering and salvation. Verse 7 – 8 says, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

This Scripture explains why on the morning after Friday’s down-time that I feel sick at my stomach (too much spicy food?), condemned in my spirit (seeking peace from a box on a stand?), confused in my mind (professing one thing, but doing the opposite?), and depressed and/or anxious in my emotions (wasting time, wasting energy?). I did not wait with the expectation that God may come right then. I did not establish my heart by seeking God’s instruction.

Well, one more Friday has vanished along with the regrets of a life that would have been better spent eating the Word which is sweeter than honey, looking for all that is lovely and uplifting, and waiting on God’s instruction for the night (might be sleep, could be holy visions…).

So I pray Psalm 79:

Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us… Help us, O God of our salvation…For Your name’s sake! So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

I ask, Lord Jesus, that I learn to wait with hopeful expectation of Your very presence, and to participate in the sweet joy of living in peace with You now, and definitely next Friday!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Samuel 25; 1 Chronicles 7; Acts 17

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11

When I began my journey with the Lord, rather than going deep into scripture myself, I relied heavily on the studies of the pastors in my life. I listened to their words and gained understanding through their revelations.

I had a desire to go deeper, but I wasn’t sure how and I was overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. I would try to read the Bible, but I had a difficult time understanding. The verses that I read often were just writings on a page that translated into a jumble in my brain and would more often than not lure me into sleep.

When I was in ministry school, I encountered so many amazing teachers and one in particular broke open the flood gates to my desire to search the scripture in a new and revelatory way. My homework every night during this particular class was to read the book of Galatians in a different translation. I was encouraged to read beyond the standard versions that can easily be purchased at a local Christian book store.

I grew up with the New International Version and many people I had encountered held to the belief that the King James Version was the ‘true’ Bible. At first I didn’t understand why I would need to read so many versions. It seemed like wasted time, because I figured they would all just be saying the same thing. But as I read through, I was amazed at how similar and yet how different many of the versions were. I came to realize that the value in studying the Word in different translations was found in the opening of the eyes of my heart to better understanding and a desire to delve into the meanings of the Words He spoke.

As I read one translation, if I didn’t understand something – a word, a concept, the history, etc. – I’d look to another translation to help me piece meaning together. If something differed, curiosity sent me to a Greek or Hebrew interlinear Bible and usually also to the Strong’s Concordance to help me understand the original meaning better.

As I have continued to study this way, God has become more and more real to me; His Rhema Word bringing life to the dry bones of my soul. My mind has expanded to better recognize and understand and every time I open the scriptures He reveals more of His truth, His promises, His revelations to my heart.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Word, Your Truth. Thank You for giving me scripture to chew on like meat so that I can grow and learn as I search for You and as I search for understanding of truth. Open my eyes, open my mind, open my heart to the revelations You’ve prepared for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Chronicles 13, 14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3

But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind. Such doubters are thinking two different things at the same time, and they cannot decide about anything they do. They should not think they will receive anything from the Lord. James 1:5-8 (NCV)

As I think about the word wisdom, I am struck that wisdom is so much more than simply being intelligent. I can be educated, well-studied, but that doesn’t mean that I am wise. I can have common sense, street-smarts as it were, but it doesn’t mean that I have wisdom.

Wisdom is defined as the ability to apply knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight in a situation. It is using the education I have received through schooling and through life experience in the context of the circumstances I am living through right now. But it shouldn’t start there; it should start with a conversation with the Lord; it should start with His Living Word.

This verse in James reminds me that if I need wisdom in any situation, all I need to do is ask God and believe that He will give it to me. I need to trust that He will give me the wisdom that I require in every circumstance. He is all-knowing, all-seeing and desires to help me through all of the events of my life. He has all of the answers and is just waiting for me to ask Him for help.

David asked God, “Should I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, I will hand them over to you.” 1 Chronicles 14:10 (NCV)

Soon the Philistines attacked the people in the valley again. David prayed to God again, and God answered him, saying, “Don’t attack the Philistines from the front. Instead, go around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then attack. I, God, will have gone out before you to defeat the Philistine army.” David did as God commanded, and he and his men defeated the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 1 Chronicles 14:13-16 (NCV)

Throughout David’s life, he consistently looked to God for wisdom and God gave it to him. He asked God for help. He asked God what he should do, what steps he should take. And, when he asked, God gave him instructions, detailed directives in everything, from how to slay Goliath when he was a youth to how to bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem after he became king. Repeatedly, David asked for wisdom in how to defeat the Philistines in battle, and God never failed to share with him the way to gain victory over Israel’s enemy.

In Luke, as John the Baptizer began paving the way for Christ, he brought conviction to the hearts of the people. As John preached about changed hearts and lives for the forgiveness of sins, the people began looking to him for answers. They asked him, “What should we do?” and because of His dedication to God, he was able to give them godly counsel to demonstrate their transformation.

The Lord God says: “The days are coming

when I will cause a time of hunger in the land.

The people will not be hungry for bread or thirsty for water,

but they will be hungry for words from the Lord. Amos 8:11 (NCV)

In Proverbs it shares that ONLY God gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I can look to a book, to education, or to another person, but the One who IS Wisdom, is the only one who can impart strategic wisdom for my specific situation. And I can receive that wisdom by asking Him and then listening to and obeying His response.

As I remember to look to God first for wisdom in every aspect of my life, He will help me apply the earthly knowledge that I have by giving me better understanding of the state of affairs by giving me directions, by guiding me in each step I need to take.

Yesappa, Thank You for providing for ALL of my needs, especially my need for Your wisdom for the various circumstances of my life. Lord, I ask for wisdom in what steps to take in managing my home well. I ask for wisdom in my relationship with my husband, my marriage. I ask for wisdom in parenting my children. I ask for wisdom to help me survive and thrive each day, to not feel overwhelmed in the day to day of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, Amos, James, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament