Posted in exhortation, Prayers and/or Scriptures

December 4 & 5, 2011 Scriptures & Thoughts

Psalm 4:3 Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.

Psalm 4:5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 4:6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O LORD.

Psalm 34:11-15 “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and keep your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry.

If we love life and wish to see many good days, not just long life, but a long life full of many good days, we need to watch what we say, carefully. Out of the abundance of the heart is what the mouth speaks, and we are to keep our tongues from evil. The best way to be sure that we are speaking good and pleasing words that honor God is to abide in Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to re-new us, the power of the blood to cleanse us and the resurrection power to transform us.

We do not have to keep our tongue from evil on our own. God doesn’t expect us to do anything that He doesn’t equip us to do. God has sent His Son to pay the price for our sins, to cleanse us, and to allow us to have direct fellowship and access to Him. He has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort us, encourage us, quicken us, convict us, and to give us the power and boldness to live for Him. If we just accept all of the good things the Lord has done for us and accept all of the good gifts He has given to us, we can live a long life filled with many good days.

We are not only to keep our tongues from evil, but we are also to keep our lips from speaking lies. Two of the things we need to do, here, are regarding what we say, how we use our words. There are many verses regarding how we are to watch what we say. Our mouths are very powerful tools and James talks about how difficult it is to tame our tongues. James 3:8 “but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Notice that James says, “no man can tame the tongue.” If we wish to have conversations that honor God and please Him, if we wish to speak truthfully and have no deceit coming from our lips, then we must allow God to be at work in our hearts and lives.

If we want to live many good days, we also need to turn from evil and do good. Verse 14 says we should not only totally turn away from evil, but we should also replace evil in our lives with doing good. When we run away from bad influences and temptations, we should run to all that is good. Replacing sin with good deeds and good attitudes will definitely have an impact for good days. We reap what we sow. We enjoy the consequences of our attitudes and actions when they are good, when they fit with God’s will, and when we allow Him to work in our hearts and lives. We do not enjoy the consequences of our actions when we are sinning, doing evil things, and are thinking and dwelling on evil.

Whether we do good or evil there are consequences and this verse tells us that if we love life and wish to have many good days, we should turn from evil, flee from evil, and do good. We are not expected to just sit around and keep ourselves from evil. We do not need to lock ourselves away and just try to stay out of trouble. We don’t have to live a boring or unsatisfying life just trying not to do too many bad things. We are shown here to turn to good and to do good. Doing good can mean many things and depending on your spiritual gifts you may find more satisfaction in one way of doing good than another. The Body of  Christ has many functions and we all fulfill a part of God’s wonderful plan.

Some ideas for doing good:

Helping widows… there are widows who are young and old, some have children, and others don’t. Helping can be anywhere from just spending some time with them, listening to them, or to taking out their trash and raking leaves. You could take them to dinner or provide some groceries. You could reach out to the homeless people, visit prisoners, minister to military families, sing, teach, or just be grateful. More ideas for doing good are reading your  Bible, being a friend to someone, and loving your children.

There are so many ways to do good, some are simple and some are more involved. But they all lead to satisfying experiences that make up many good days. A long life filled with many good days is accomplished when we allow God to work in us to help us keep our tongues from evil, our lips from deceit, and when we both turn from evil and replace it with doing good.

Also, verse 14 says we must seek peace and pursue it. We should actively look for and search out peaceful solutions to our problems. When we are having an issue with someone, we should look for a way to relate to them and resolve the situation with a peaceable solution. Our homes should have an atmosphere of peace. Our spirit, our hearts and minds should be at peace. We should pursue, chase after, and work towards peace. One of the best ways I have found to gain peace in my life is to remember Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

When God tells us to seek peace and to pursue it, He doesn’t leave it all up to us to do on our own. He has spelled it out for us right here in Philippians. If we will just come to Him with everything that is bothering us, with prayerful hears, requesting His attention, favor, intervention, for His good plan for us to take place, and if we come to Him with our anxieties, with thankful hearts, with gratitude because we know He loves us and cares for us, then He will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus with His peace.

A long life with many good days filled with the peace of God, and God’s goodness, free from evil, filled with kind and true words spoken in love, sounds wonderful to me. Lord, please help me remember what You have taught me in these verses from Your Word, from Your heart. Thank You, Lord, for Your love and care and faithfulness and for revealing Yourself, Your plan, Your will and Your love to me, to us, every day.

Robin came over and we began talking about everything going on in our lives. We talked about how God is at work in our lives and where He has brought us from and where He is taking us. We spoke of His sacrifice for us and how He gave His life for us on the cross. Robin shared with me something that God revealed to her the other day. There is a song in Spanish, “Solo Cristo,” Only Jesus – that she was singing. They had been talking in Spanish class about the difference between por and para. Por, in Spanish, means for, or in place of, or by. In the song it says, “Solo Cristo moriste por mi en la cruz.” Robin said she just always thought about it meaning “only Christ died for me on the cross.” But in Spanish, por, means more than just that Christ died for me, for my benefit. It means that He died because of me and in my place. What an awesome way to really let the depth of His sacrifice and His love sink in.

We talked about so much, shared so many insights and lessons learned and memories, good and bad. We took turns reading the Bible together, what I wrote about Psalm 34:11-15 and Robin mostly read all of Colossians. Very deep and powerful scriptures, words from our Lord. We talked about how the Bible is not just a book. It isn’t even just a love letter from our Creator, or just an instruction manual for life from our Maker. The Bible is THE WORD OF GOD – John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word. If we want to spend time with God, know Jesus, hear from Him and experience transformation, we need to read our Bible. We need to hunger and thirst for as much time as we can get hearing God’s Word, soaking in the Holy scriptures, meditating and dwelling on His Words, the Bible, the Word, is God. There is supernatural power in the Words written in the Bible. It is definitely not just a book.

Thank You, Lord, for the precious  moments we are able to spend together, for Your restoration, for You working all things together for good for those who love You. Please cause our hearts to desire all that You desire. Help us to honor and glorify You, Lord. We praise You and only You!

Posted in Prayers and/or Scriptures

December 2, 2011 Journal Entry and Scriptures

Psalm 20:10-12 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 31:19-20 How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You. In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from the intrigues of men; in Your dwelling You keep them safe from accusing tongues.

Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgive, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

“And in whose spirit is no deceit” – I believe this part of the verse is here because sometimes we know that we are wrong or not doing the right things, but we try to go on as though we are somehow hiding this from God. In the past, I have tried to avoid God in certain areas of my life, or tried to somehow cover up, keep hidden, or pretend that my problem areas weren’t there. Now, I pray over everything openly with God – how can I hide anything from God!? That is ridiculous, really. We are being deceitful in our spirit when we try to act as though we don’t need God’s help in certain areas. We are being deceitful in our spirit when we don’t confess our sins and shine God’s light on them and allow Him to completely change us and renew us for His glory.

Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

We can either try, unsuccessfully, to cover and hide our sin in darkness and continue toward destruction and death – or we can open up with God, share our problems and weaknesses with Him, ask Him for His loving help and forgiveness, and allow Him to cover our sins with the blood of Jesus to the forgiveness of our sins and the regeneration of our hearts, our minds, and our souls. Praise be to God! I choose to open myself completely to You, Lord, to bring all of me to You, to confess all of my sins and needs to You and to allow You to mold me and use me for Your glory!

Psalm 32:6-7 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:8-10 (God says!) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.

Psalm 62:5-8 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty Rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:11-12 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that You, O God, are strong and that You, O Lord, are loving. Surely You will reward each person according to what he has done.

Psalm 92:12-15 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”

Posted in Prayers and/or Scriptures

November 26, 2011 Journal Entry Philippians 4:4-7

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS! I will say it AGAIN: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by PRAYER and PETITION, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the PEACE OF GOD, which TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS.

Powerful!

The Lord shared this with my heart a couple of months ago when I was worrying, dwelling, and thinking about several situations in my life and in the lives of others around me. He actually brought Philippians 4:6 to mind and it was as if He whispered to my heart, “Instead of running around in your own mind trying to figure things out and see all the angles and wondering what to do, what can you do, and what will happen? Just bring all of these issues to Me and talk to Me about them. And speak to Me about how My promises pertain to these situations and events and thank Me that I AM ABLE and WILLING to do ALL things. Thank Me that I have a good plan for You, to prosper you and not to harm you, and that all things will work together for your good, because you love Me.”

Really, it was as if He opened the eyes of my heart a little wider and revealed this to me – and I believe He is reminding me this morning – to thankfully bring all of my concerns to His loving side, lean there and rest – knowing His peace. His peace truly does go beyond any human understanding. And I believe it is guarding my heart and my mind. I am still experiencing the fact that the more I surrender to the Lord, the happier, more satisfied and at peace I become.

Thank You, Father, please continue to speak to me, mold me, and grow me up in You. All glory and honor and praises, to You, Jesus!

Another key to peace!

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is ADMIRABLE, – if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY, – think about such things. 9 whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into PRACTICE. AND THE GOD OF PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU.

Another key to enjoying PEACE, is dwelling on positive, good, true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy thoughts. It is OK to be informed about what is going on around you and in the world, such as keeping up with the news. The Bible does say to watch and to pray and Jesus gave us signs to look for regarding how the world would be, leading up to His triumphant return. But we are not to dwell on these things out there, or even right in our own life, that are not pure, holy, positive, and uplifting things.

Posted in Prayers and/or Scriptures

November 21, 2011 Journal Entry & Scriptures

Psalm 51 – written by David when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. David confesses and repents – a great prayer when convicted of sin. An example of the correct response of the heart!

Psalm 51:6 Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Psalm 51:9-12 Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will turn back to You.

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 71:20-21 Though You have made me see troubles, many and bitter, You will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth You will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Psalm 81 – another psalm of Asaph v 1-5 Reminds God’s people to observe the celebrations which honor God and bring to mind His love, deliverance, provision, and mercy. v 6-7 God says “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.” v 8-16 God says, “Hear, O my people, and I will warn you – if you would but listen to me, O Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the Lord Your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. But My people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. If My people would but listen to Me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes! Those who hate the Lord would cringe before Him, and their punishment would last forever. But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the Rock I would satisfy you.”

In Psalm 81, I see that God truly loves us and wants to bless us abundantly. He says to open our mouths wide and He will fill it. He wants to warn us and speak to us – if we would just listen! He has delivered us, restored us, protected us, provided for us, blessed us with His very presence – yet we get busy with everything else and forget Him. He says to us, “I am the Lord your God,” not “the” God, but “OUR GOD.” He desires our love, our worship, our reverence, our attention – so that He can fill us with more, more of Himself. He is the only one who can truly satisfy us – mind, soul, spirit, and body. If we continue ignoring Him, rejecting Him, and choosing our way over His, then He will turn us over to our own stubborn hearts to follow our own devices – O Lord, please, NO! I know there is nothing good in us and apart from God and if we are left only to our own devices, plans, schemes, desires – the only outcome ends up in destruction, devastation, desolation – evil and death. There are more ways to die than just physical death. We can lose our mind, relationships can die, our spirits dwindle and perish when we do not seek God.

Posted in Prayers and/or Scriptures

November 18, 2011 Scripture and Journal Entry

Psalm 18 is great. There are so many good verses in this psalm – here are just a couple of my favorites: Psalm 18:1-6 & 16-36 & 46-49

Psalm 18:28 You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

Psalm 18:35 You give me Your shield of victory, and Your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great.

Psalm 18:36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.

Psalm 18:46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!

Psalm 78 Asaph is saying that we should tell our children all the praiseworthy things God has done – His power and the wonders He has done. He is saying that we should pass on to all generations, the decrees and laws that God set forth, and His great deeds so that our children will not turn away from the Lord, but they will trust Him, remember His deeds and His greatness and will keep His commandments. He says that if we teach our children of God’s laws, deeds, wonders and love, then they will not be like their forefathers – a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to Him. Then, Asaph goes on to give examples of how God’s people turned against Him time after time and how God performed miracles for them and provided for all their needs, and even their wants, out of His love for them. Yet, even though God  proved His love and care for them, they still did not trust or appreciate God. His anger burned against them and He showed His power by striking down the sturdiest of them, the young men. In spite of all this, they continued to sin. In spite of God’s wonders, they did not believe.

Psalm 78:34-39 Whenever God slew them, they would seek Him; they eagerly turned to Him, again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. But then they would flatter Him with their mouths, lying to Him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to Him, they were not faithful to His covenant. Yet He was merciful; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time He restrained His anger and did not stir up His full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.

Then, v40-64 of Psalm 78 goes into more detail of God’s wonders and His people’s rebellion. Finally, v 65-72 tells of the Lord, once again, showing mercy to His people and then choosing a servant, David, from the sheep pens, to shepherd God’s people.

I would like to focus on v34-39 of Psalm 78 for me to remember and constantly check my heart and be sure that I am not just running to God in times of distress or trouble. I’ve got to praise You, Lord, in the good and in the bad times. There is no time when you are not with me! You are ever-present! I never want to find myself, where I once was, like the people described in these verses. Yes, they knew God’s wonders, His laws, and He loved them, showed them mercy, provided for them, delivered them, and disciplined them. But they didn’t truly believe and trust God. They eagerly ran to God when trouble came, when He reminded them that they needed Him. But, as He gave to them even what they wanted, not only what they needed, they became content, satisfied with what they had, and forgot to honor God, to remain loyal, and faithful to Him. They would say the right words, get God’s attention, get what they wanted, and then sit down and go back to the attitude that they were doing okay, and God would be there “if they needed Him.” O Lord, forgive me for being this way in my life. I see now that is one way I kept drifting so far from You, to places in my heart I dared never go – places I didn’t dream existed within me. Lord, I wish to dwell with You forever – to cherish time with You, hearing from You, praising You, and honoring You with all that I am. And praise You, Father – in v38 & 39 – it says that even though Your people continually forgot to honor You, You were merciful! You forgave their sins and You did not destroy them. You remember, Lord, that we are flesh, weak – Psalm 103:14 – You know how we are formed – You remember that we are dust. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and forgiveness and understanding and for all the chances and lessons that You have given me – for where You have brought me from and for where You are taking me. I know that I can trust You to complete the good work which You began in me.