The Joy of Light

Today I’m breaking
it down. Verse seven of Psalm 19 that is. But go ahead and beat-box if you
choose. It’s not like I’ll feel the spray of spittle from here. Just sayin’.
On Monday, we looked
at the whole Psalm 19 in the Message translation. 
Today, I want to
look at it more in detail (just a portion) in the NKJV. I’m a fan of the NKJV and that’s what I use to study
with each morning, but again, it’s important and beneficial to study your Bible
by looking at many translations. An easy way to do this is by pulling up Biblegateway each morning, or evening when you
have study time, and yes…you should be having daily study time!
We’re focusing on
verse 7 today.
“The law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul;
testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;” Psalm 19:7 NKJV
Here it
is in the Message translation:
revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.”
meanings are the same but it’s said in a way that gives you a little different
word picture.
word is perfect. Whole.
translation says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the
I don’t
know about you, but I could stand to be refreshed. The way for that to happen
is by studying the law of the LORD. His Word. Um…yep, the Bible. Not just
skimming it out of obligation. Reading it to meet a yearly goal. But to digest
it, letting it run like oxygen through the blood stream, bringing life to every
organ and limb of your body and then applying what you’ve studied to your every
day life. If you never do that, it’s pointless. It’s just some  head knowledge. Big deal.
*A helpful hint: Use your cross-reference if you have
one in your Bible, to study. If not, use the online cross-reference at BibleGateway or
verse leads us to Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.” NKJV
I don’t
know about you, but I qualify here. I’m the simple. And I could use some
understanding. Am I the only one? Really? That’s what I thought! Then hang
tight with me a few more paragraphs and let’s bring this joker home!
The key
word here is light.
The entrance of  light i.e. reading God’s Word, taking it in
and digesting gives light. It gives understanding. I get that. I know what
understanding and entrance mean, but what exactly does the word light mean. Am
I going to implode like a firework? Will I glow like those Fisherprice worms?
better to get a grip on light but the first time it appears in scripture. At
the beginning. Like we are at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of
the Bible. Genesis. Chapter 1. The beginning.
“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and
there was light.” Gen. 1:3 NKJV
God always wanted light. From the beginning. It was the first thing He brought
about. And it’s been a steady topic all throughout the Bible.
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/thawats
brought light out to the darkness and separated the two, because light and dark can’t co-exist. They just can’t.
If you bring even the tiniest light to a dark place, it can be seen and it’s
not blinding dark anymore.
before He did that, in verse two, something was happening.
the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the
photo credit: freedigitalphotos/VictorHabbick
light was about to come.
For the first time.
We have
to ask some questions (that’s what good students do!). What exactly does w/o
form, void and dark really mean?
Without form in the Hebrew is “tohuw”
and it means, “confusion, unreality, emptiness, wasteland, a place of
Void in the Hebrew is “bohuw”
(similar) and it means emptiness, waste
And the
word darkness in Hebrew is
“choshek” and it means, obscurity–which means a state of being
unknown or unimportant.
But with
one word from The Word (John 1:1-3) it all changed. The Spirit was hovering
over the chaos, that which seemed unimportant, a wasteland, that which seemed
empty. But He saw order. He saw something beautiful and He brought light. (and
He kept on going)
Do you feel unimportant? Empty? Like your life is a chaotic
Spirit is hovering, waiting on the Word to go forth to bring order. Peace. A
purpose to your life. Just say the word and THE WORD will give the command.
Let the
entrance of His words give you understanding. And light. Light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shines from us inside out. And
it takes the work of the Spirit (sanctification) to do it. It also takes
discipline to crack the book open.
Corinthians 4:6 says, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out
of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Message says it like this:
 “Remember, our Message is not about
ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is
messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light
up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood
God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.”
Want to
light up the darkness around us?  We can.
The entrance of God’s Words bring order to chaos. Peace to anxiety and fear.
Confidence to doubt. Purpose to a wasteland. Fulfillment to emptiness.
And you
know what a person has when they have peace, confidence, purpose and
 The joy of the Lord is our strength. Nehemiah 8:10
with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3
the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water
springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 This was Jesus talking to
the woman at the well. A woman who had been married five times and was now
living with a man. I see chaos. Lack of purpose. Emptiness. But the Word was at
the well that day.
photo credit: freedigitalphotos/Adamr
Ephesians 5:8 (MSG) says,”You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer.
You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So
no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these
are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please
Christ, and then do it.”
you who sleep! Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.’ Ephesians
cleansed and transformed by the washing of the water of the Word. (Eph. 5:26)
It brings light from darkness (new life from death) and it keeps giving us
light to keep shining in a dark/dead world.
brings us back to Psalm 119:130 and ultimately our verse we began with today.
Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The
testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”
wiser? I do!
Practical application: Study your Bible just
like we did now. Choose one verse. Reflect on it. Then act on it and journal it
at the end of the day.
What one thing comes to mind right now that you can do
to shine light today? Share it in the comments and use it as accountability to
that one thing!
Join me
at Living By Grace. I encourage you to leave a verse about light in the
comments on the FACEBOOK PAGE! Let’s see if we can light it up! 
*Genesis Bible photocredit: freedigitalphotos/JanakaDharmasen

God is Better Than…

My one word this
year is Joy. You can read about it HERE.
The verses for me
this year are Psalm 19:7-15. I decided to look it up in other translations. I
encourage you do the same–with any verse or passages in the Bible. It helps
you really get the entire meaning and looking at the same thing with new words
can open your eyes to new personal revelation and application for you life!
My verses in the
Message version jumped out.  And as I
read and took them in, I thought why not take them in with you! Mondays you
and I can meditate together. I’ll call them Meditation Mondays. No, I’m not going
all “ohm” on you. Meditation simply means to reflect, contemplate or
to think on.
 Wednesday, I’ll be tackling  the latter half of verse 7. (It will be more
of a devotion/teaching day.) I hope you’ll come and discover the joy in
something as simple yet deep as light.
revelation of God is whole
pulls our lives together.
signposts of God are clear
point out the right road.
life-maps of God are right,
the way to joy.
directions of God are plain
easy on the eyes.
reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
a lifetime guarantee.
decisions of God are accurate
to the nth degree.
Word is better than a diamond,
than a diamond set between emeralds.
like it better than strawberries in spring,
than red, ripe strawberries.
 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of
directs us to hidden treasure.
how will we find our way?
know when we play the fool?
the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
me from stupid sins,
thinking I can take over your work;
Then I
can start this day sun-washed,
clean of the grime of sin.
are the words in my mouth;
are what I chew on and pray.
them when I place them
the morning altar,
O God,
my Altar-Rock,
This is a big chunk,
so let’s pick out verse 7 to meditate on today, since it’s the verse we’ll look
at more closely on Wednesday. (*Note: I’m not rigid, if a another verse struck
you, by all means hide it in your heart and keep it close to you today!)
revelation of God is whole and
pulls our lives together.
signposts of God are clear and
point out the right road.
Hints to help: How is this verse true in your life? What are some signposts God gave you to point you to the right road? Reflect on how this verse has been true in your life. Ask God to give you the desire to spend more time in his word, to make you whole and to pull areas of your life that need wholeness together.
Today’s question: Verse 10 says, God’s word is better than
strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries. What is God’s Word (and God in general) better
than to you?
Here’s mine: God and His Word is
better than a dark chocolate Hershey bar with almonds complimented with a
Cinnamon Dolce latte from Starbucks! (And that’s pretty stinkin good!)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,O Lord, my strength and my
*roadsign photocredit: freedigitalphotosbyFrameAngel
*strawberries photocredit: freedigitalphotosbyCarlosPorto

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure: Book Review

Purchase your copy! HERE

I’ve read many a
book over the decades on healthy eating and eating in general. Many of them
have been faith-based books. When I had the opportunity to review Sheri Rose
Shepherd’s new book on experiencing food, faith & fulfillment a whole new
way, I jumped.
Shepherd’s view is
anything can be eaten and enjoyed without the guilt and depression one normally
has when eating something they think they shouldn’t.
She shares personal
experiences, New Life tips (scriptures that correlate with the chapters) and
Soul Food (more scriptures) as well as over 100+ recipes. I’ll be honest, I’m a
super picky eater. I haven’t found a single salad dressing I really like–not
even Ranch. And salad, well, it’s for the birds. Literally. So, having said
that, I’ll tell you that I didn’t find many of the recipes suitable to my
palette. But, for those of you who like onions, peppers, vinaigrettes, and feta
cheese you’ll be pleased. Not that every recipe has those ingredients. I’m just
letting you know how truly picky of an eater I am.
Each chapter has a
QR code that links you to her website for additional weight loss and coaching
tips, which I found uber-cool and helpful.
Is it my favorite
faith-based book on eating? No. But I was impressed with the  scriptures and enjoyed reading her own
personal experiences.  The chapter set up
is truly unique and it’s worth a read!
Visit Sheri at
Bible Life Coaching
Author, Speaker, Teacher, Humorist 

Rose has a very refreshing way of bringing the Word of God to life. She knows
how to renew the Eternal Hope in our hearts. Her speaking style is humorous,
heartwarming and inspires every one to make their life count for eternity.

Rose is a woman who can relate to almost any woman’s battle. This former Mrs.
United States grew up in a dysfunctional home and was severely overweight as a
teen. As a young woman, she battled depression and an eating disorder. She
understands the pain that comes from a broken home and she knows what it means
to fight for freedom from your past. In spite of an English teacher telling her
she was “born to lose” and a learning disorder–Dyslexia–Sheri Rose
has (in God’s strength) written best-selling books, founded His Princess
Ministries and speaks to tens of thousands each year at churches and women’s
conferences like the Extraordinary Women Tour.

Her Joy
for the Lord, humorous heart-warming stories mixed with truth and transparency
renews our Faith by reminding us how much we are truly loved and adored by our
Father in heaven. Once you heard Sheri Rose speak you will never again doubt
that you are…”God’s Chosen Princess”… here for a divine purpose!

lives in Southern California with her husband of 22 years and their daughter.

How many books (ballpark figure) would you say you’ve read on healthy eating? How many of those were faith-based books? 

*I appreciate Tyndale House for letting me review this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

One Word in 2013

*photocredit: freedidgitalphotosjscreationzshttp:

December rolls around and I spend my mornings sipping coffee, talking with Jesus about the past year. I shared my accomplishments and failures, renewed goals on Monday. And I gear up for a new year. 

The mornings go a lot like this:
“Lord–ah, can I not slosh coffee on my pajamas just one morning!–anyway, Lord, January is coming. Where are we going this year? What one word would you have me focus on and what verse will you give me for this year? Also, the 21 days of fasting are coming up…What–gulp–will you have me do?” *I won’t be sharing that with you as I don’t want to lose my reward. Things are supposed to be done in secret, ya know. I may have lost it already just by telling you that 21 days of fasting are coming up. SIGH. 😉 
Lately, I’ve been smacking into “loving others” verses, posts, stories etc…so is it love? I mean I can always work on that. Is it love? Lord, is it? I need a sign! 
One morning, early in December, I woke up and a word popped into my head. 
Joy? Seriously, God? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty jolly, joyful girl. Um…people tell me this all the time. Just last week, the cashier said I had the best smile. You did hear that, right? 
My word can’t be joy. I got the joy. Where? Down. Down deep in my heart. Deep in my heart to stay. And if the devil doesn’t like it…he can sit on a tack. Sit on a tack to stay.
If my word is Joy, then I need a sign. A big fat sign because quite frankly, I want a better word. And though this doesn’t sound joyous at the moment, I do have joy, Lord.
But wait!! Maybe joy isn’t such a bad thing. This year You must be saying my contract is coming and therefore, Lord, I will have even more joy! And You’re going to supernaturally heal my physical pains. Because this year has been the Valley of Weeping. Joy comes in the morning. 
A silent moment. I call that the God-sigh. 
Or what if this year isn’t going to be a year of harvesting the fruit I’ve labored over and it’s not the year for healing. Are you saying I’m going to have to have joy anyway? Or are worse things going to happen and I’ll need that extra dab that’ll do ya? 
Oh for the love of…well…You, pick another word! 
These are what my first several mornings looked like. Scary, huh? I know.
Okay God, whatever. If it’s joy so be it. But I really, really need a sign. An obvious-no-doubt sign–just hanging out there. 
That morning my husband and I went to see my son’s talent show at school. We entered the office and stood waiting along with a bunch of other parents– whose children couldn’t hold a candle to my child’s talent. I looked over by the door and there in the corner stood a toy soldier about my height. Yes, I put toy and my height together. 
A tag hung–the string nearly invisible–off of his soldier’s hat. In bold red letters it said:
Shut up! 
Inside my head, I said, “Well, that’s a sign hanging out of nowhere for sure. Joy it is.
On Sunday, during the morning service, guess what my pastor preached on? Yeah. Joy. Double dose of confirmation. 
But what verses? And why Joy? Each morning I’d open the Bible and look down to see if God had directed me to the verse. He didn’t. I entered “joy” into Bible Gateway and scrolled through them to see if one would jump out. 
It didn’t.
And then on December 21st, I woke up and took my iPad into the living room where I do my morning devotions. Each morning I read a John Piper sermon or article. I always feel like I’ve been fed to the brim afterwards. This day he shared this verse to this sermon (and here is the link if you want to read it for yourself–The Bible: Kindling for Christian Hedonism.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the
testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord
are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the
ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired
are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings
of the honeycomb
. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there
is great reward
.” Psalm 19:7-11
The word joy isn’t found in these verses, but I knew the instant I read them it was the right verse. My insides started bubbling and tears sprang in my eyes. Then God began to give me a tiny break down of the verses.
Each statement has to do with the Word of God and what it does in a believer’s life. And ultimately…it brings joy. 
Another paragraph down, I read this. A third confirmation of my word.
“The Bible Kindles Joy
The reason David praised God with the words, “He
leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” is
because he had bad days. There were days when his soul needed to be restored.
It’s the same phrase used in Psalm
—”the law of the Lord is
perfect, reviving the
soul.” Normal Christian life is a
repeated process of restoration and renewal. Our joy is not static. It
fluctuates with real life. It is as vulnerable to Satan’s attacks as a Lebanese
marine compound to a suicide bomber. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:24,
“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your
joy,” we should emphasize it this way: “We are workers with
you for your joy.”
The preservation of our joy in God takes work. It is a
fight. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he has an
insatiable appetite to destroy one thing: the joy of faith.”

Looks like this year, I’ll be in the Word more than ever before. Join me as I study the precepts, commands, fear, the ways of God and ultimately joy. What are the differences between joy, happiness, and cheer? We’ll look at those in depth through passages and lives of other believers in the Bible. 
Joy isn’t about what we get i.e contracts, agents, material possessions etc… Joy is so much more. So much better. And I can’t wait to discover it all. Looking forward to 2013. Hope you’ll hang around with me and discover it as well! 
*Thank you to Melanie Moore for once again creating–for free–my one word. If you’d like her to create a one word button for you, check out her website and don’t forget to give her a big thanks! HERE

Do you have a one word focus? If so, share in the comments. If not, what are some of your goals for this new year?