Relax, Don’t Do It!

 

 
If you were an 80s
child, you’re now going to be singing Frankie Goes To Hollywood all day, or
referencing Friends. Die-hard fans of the show know exactly what I’m talking
about!
 
On Monday we mused
and meditated on Exodus 14:13-14. This past week, I had a terrible few days of
fear. A fear of failing in a certain area of my life (no, it wasn’t
writing–for once). I’ve been circling a mountain, so to speak, that I can’t
seem to get victory in. Surely, I am not alone.
 
These verses means so
much to me.
 
 
In context, He was
talking to the Israelites. His chosen people. The ones He went into covenant
with. They were leaving Egypt, which represents bondage; slavery. And
also…Egypt. Ha! God had judged the nation and its gods with 10 plagues.
Fascinating stuff.
 
On their way out,
Pharaoh decided to come after them. He brought all his army, horses and
chariots, with every intention of enslaving them again. Victory would not be
theirs.
 
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but
we trust in the
name of the Lord our God.”
Psalm 20:7
 
The people shook in
their boots sandals. They said to Moses,
“Didn’t we say to you, ‘leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’?
Better for us to serve the Egyptians than die in the desert!”
 
Wow! They would
rather go back to affliction, pain, slavery, bondage, and misery than trust
God. Ultimately, that’s what they were saying. God had no intentions of leading
them out to let the enemy slaughter them.
 
 
He
has no intention of leading you out of whatever you may be enslaved to, only to
let the enemy defeat you when you get a taste of freedom.
 
Then the LORD speaks
and that’s where our verse starts.
 
Let’s look at our key words: Stand firm, deliverance, fight, be
still
 
Stand firm in the
KJV is “stand still” and in the Hebrew, the word is
“yatsab” which means, “to station oneself or to present
oneself.”
 
 Now this next little
ditty is interesting. The word is deliverance. In the KJV, it’s salvation.
Let’s take a good look at it in the Hebrew, because I want to show you
something super fascinating!
 
In the Hebrew, that
word deliverance or salvation is “yĕshuw`ah” Say it
out loud. Does it remind you of another word you may have heard in the Hebrew?
 
You
guessed right. (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt!)
 
Jesus. In Hebrew. Yĕhowshuwa`
 
You may not be able
to read Hebrew, but can you see the similarities? Why do they sound so similar?  Because the name Jesus comes from two Hebrew
root words.
 
 
Yĕhovah meaning, Jehovah–the existing One.
The proper name of the one true God. And the other root word is yasha` which means, to save, to be saved, be
delivered!
 
We may
not be facing the literal Red Sea or the Egyptian army. If so, I’d really like
to hear your story, but we do face impossible obstacles and sins that hold us
captive. Sometimes we call those sins bad habits or social faux paus. But they
are sin. Maybe we can’t get a grip on our anger, bitterness, lewd tongue,
gossiping mouths, selfishness, pride, the list goes on.
 
So we could say: ” The LORD says, ‘Don’t be afraid of the
obstacles or the bondage in your life. Present yourself to Me and see Jesus
Christ work in your life today to set you free.'”
 
But
we’re not done yet!
 
“The
Egyptians (sin; bondage) you see today you will never see again.” () mine.
God is going to not only set you a little free. He’s going to set you all the
way free.
 
But how,
you may cry out? I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I’ve tried before. I’ve cried
out before. I’m afraid I’ll fail again.
 
“The
LORD will fight for you…”  He will
engage in battle; make war.
 
“The Lord is a man of war;
The Lord is His name.” Exodus 15:3
 
You only
need to be still.
 
Is God
telling us that we don’t have to do anything?
 
Yes and
no.
 
 
No, we
don’t have to worry and try to take matters into our own hands. No we don’t
have to fight the battle in our own strength, which so many times we do, even
when we think we’re not.
 
Yes, we
have a part.  God said, “stand firm” for one thing. Okay, how?
 
“…because it is by faith you stand firm.”
2 Corinthians 1:24 When you engage your faith, you stand firm. That’s how you
fight.
 
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:3
 
“Resist
him, standing firm in the faith…” 1
Peter 5:9 (him = enemy)
 
Look at the verse in
the New Century Version:
 
“Don’t
be afraid! Stand still and you will see the Lord save you today. You will
never see these Egyptians again after today. You only need to remain calm; the
Lord will fight for you.” Not do nothing, just…
 
Remain calm. 
 
So we could say: ” The LORD says, ‘Don’t be afraid of
the obstacles or the bondage in your life. Present yourself to Me and see Jesus
Christ work in your life today to set you free.’ I’m going to wipe out that sin
in your life. I’m a skilled fighter. And I fight for you. Remain calm, have
faith. Put on your armor, and know that I AM.”
 
Relax. Don’t do it! Don’t wig out and
take matters into your own hands or flip out so bad you buckle your knees and
give up. So many times the Israelites did that and it always cost them. It’ll
cost you. It’ll cost me too.
 
What
part of this verse brings you most comfort? I love the whole verse, but
“The LORD will fight for you” really gives me goosebumps in a warm,
delicious way. 
 
*I normally don’t post on Thursdays but tomorrow I am thrilled to have Jordyn Redwood in the house and she’s talking about a deadly poison. Stop by because the medical facts are intriguing to say the least!

*And Friday will conclude our Real-Life Romance series with Gabrielle Meyer

 
I’m hosting today! “Like” our
Living by Grace facebook page1
Devotionals for each day!
 
 
 

Musing on Exodus 14:13-14: Winning Battles

 

 
This could be one of
my favorite verses in the Bible. Of course, I say that about every verse we
muse on. What I’m going through at the time determines my favorite verse for
that moment.
 
On  Wednesday we’ll unpack this verse. Does being
still mean doing nothing? What is the difference between standing firm and
being still, or is there one?
 
Meditation/Musing Prompts: Look at the picture
with the little girl walking alone on the beach. Miles of sand. A huge ocean at
her back and sides. How does this photo parallel to these verses? Put yourself
in the place of the child. Think about times God has fought for you. Meditate
on the deliverance He brought, the victory you felt, let it encourage and
strengthen you for the next challenge/battle/war that comes.  Examine yourself; do you let God fight for
you? Think of some times you tried to fight in your own power, how did it turn
out? Picture the LORD as a “a Man of War, trained for battle” take
comfort in His expert skill and leadership.
 
Prayer for today: Lord, with all the miles we
have to walk, the hot sand on our feet and an endless ocean of battles that
seem too hard to beat, with taunting waves that threaten and overwhelm us, we
know that you fight for us. That you love us. We are not alone. Thank you for
the times you’ve delivered us, extended and lavished grace and mercy. Thank
you, that you never fail us. You never leave us deserted and alone. Even when
we feel like you do. Thank you that we don’t have trust our emotions, even when
our faith sinks and we can’t trust that, we can trust the facts. The facts of
your word are true and faithful. They are reliable. They are guarantees. And
your word says, that you will fight for us. You will deliver us. You will show
yourself might and strong on our behalf. That you are with us to the very end.
Bless your name, Lord.
 
A
picture says a thousand words. In your own words, what do you see when you look
at the above picture? It can relate to the verse, but it doesn’t have to. It
can be serious or funny. I love to see how each mind is unique and thinks
differently. It’ll be fun reading the comments, come back if you have time and
see how we all look at one picture but see many different things!

How to Make it Through Tough Times

 

 
On Monday we mused
over Proverbs 19:23.
 
“The fear of the Lord leads to
life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will
not be visited with evil.” NKJV
 
So what
does this verse really mean and how can we apply it to our lives? After all, we
live in evil and harmful times. We’re not immune to it. In fact, James says in
chapter 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various
trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
 
Harm and
evil are part of this fallen world. It’s inevitable.
 
Solomon
said, “All things come alike
to all: One event happens to
the righteous and the wicked;” Ecc.9:2
 
Then we
need to dig into this verse and pull out the hidden gems. Because we know that
the Bible does not contradict itself. It’s infallible.
 
First,
let’s look at our…
 
Key Words: Life, Abide, Satisfied, Visited With
Evil
 
“Life”
in Hebrew is “chay” and it means, “living, alive, flowing (of
water), reviving (springtime). From the root word, “chayah” meaning
“to live, have life, remain alive, live forever.”
 
“Abide”
is “luwn” meaning, “remain, cause to rest, to lodge.”
 
And
“satisfied” is “sabea” meaning “sated, satisified,
abounding” from the root word, “saba” meaning “to be
fulfilled, sated (with food), be filled, to have in excess.”
 
So we could say, “To have a deep awe and respect for the Lord
brings us alive like living or flowing water, like the budding flowers at
springtime and we will live forever–eternally and because of this, we can rest
in excess and abundance of Jesus Christ….”
 
But what
about the latter half of the verse? “He will not be visited with
evil.” NKJV
 
I’m
reminded of the story of Joseph. A young teenager who was thrown into a pit by
his brothers. Begged to be drawn out, only to be sold–bound and fettered
before their calloused hearts and evil eyes–and taken to Egypt. (Genesis 37)
 
Working
as a slave to an Egyptian captain. (Genesis 39:1)
 
Yet he
continued to fear the Lord. And he abided in abundance. Everything he set his
hand to, God was with him.
 
Then
Potiphar’s wife nagged him everyday, working her best to seduce him until he’d
come to a point of weakness and he fled. “How can I do this wickedness
against God?” (Genesis 39:10-15)
 
And
instead of a, “Well done, Joseph! You passed another test!” He was
falsely accused or rape/attempted rape, and thrown into prison. (Genesis 39:20)
 
Which
tells me that evil–calamity, sickness, disaster happens to anyone. Even those
abiding in the Lord. It happened to Joseph. It happens to us.
 
Jesus
says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may
have peace. In the world you will have
tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 
Abiding in Christ brings an inner peace when everything on the
outside is falling apart.
 
“Visited
with evil” in the Hebrew means, “to pay attention to.” So we
could say:
 
“To
have a deep awe and respect for the Lord brings us alive like living or flowing
water, like the budding flowers at springtime and we will live
forever–eternally and because of this, we can rest in excess and abundance of
Jesus Christ and when calamity or bad things of this world happen, we don’t
have to be bothered or fixate on it because we know that all things work
together for good for those who love God.”
 
What
Joseph’s brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. (Genesis 50:20)
 
All
things work together for good. Not all good things happen. We have to trust
that the hurt, disappointments, calamities, sickness, deaths, rejection, abuse
can be used by God for good in our lives. (Romans 8:28)
 
That’s
hard to do sometimes, isn’t it?
 
Joseph
said, “You have made me fruitful in the
land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52)
 
It’s in
the worst of times, we learn to trust the most.
 
Would you say that you have learned to depend on God most in the
good times or the tough times? Why?

It’s All About Water

On a sunny day in the middle of July, after being outside for more time than I care to be…I get thirsty. Parched. I can get a water bottle on about any corner. Or in my house. Water is accessible. 

In more ways than one. Imagine desert heat. Sticky-hot wildernesses. No CVS. No tap. Unbearable heat. 

But…

God makes rivers and gives water. 

Musing/Meditation prompts: Imagine the last time you were in a mess, how God made a way for you. Was it unexpected? Was it satisfying? Give Him praise for making the impossible, possible. He’s limitless. All-knowing, All-powerful! His voice is like a rush of waters. Tremble at His awesomeness. And muse on the fact that you are His beloved. He chose you. You did nothing to make Him choose you. Before you were born, He said, “You are mine. I want you.” His Word is living water. When was the last time you craved a drink? 

Fill in the blank:
If God came down (again) in the flesh to spend the day with just me, I would want Him to take me to___________ and we would__________. 


Here’s mine: I would want Him to take me to a tropical island–just the two of us. I would hold His Hand, chase Him along the beach–when He wasn’t chasing me–splashing Him with the water. I’d like to listen to Him tell the creation story as we sat in warm sand, the waves lapping at my imperfect toes, washing over his scarred feet. And as the sun set, I’d ask Him to recite a passage from Song of Solomon as I leaned on His shoulder–that took bruises for me. I’d trace my fingers along His hands, feeling the ragged edges of endured pain. He’d wrap me in the train of his white robe when I shivered from the salty air and whisper how much I’m loved. And I’d cry and squeeze Him tighter and tell him the same. Then I’d beg Him not to go or to at least whisk me away into eternity. Because a day like that, I don’t think I could ever go back to “normal” and He’d say, “I don’t want you to. I want you to go back and share the love we treasured today with others. But don’t cry…” He’d wipe my tears away and slide them into a crystal bottle He holds close to His heart. Then He’d lean down, his eyes would flash like flames of fire, and He’d whisper, “I’m coming back.”

*Lori Wildenberg will be here on Wednesday talking about Living Water! Don’t miss it! Especially if you’re a parent. 

The Pasture of Uncertainty

 

Where do you dwell?
Today we’re breaking down Psalm 37:3. After spending Monday musing and
meditating over this verse, I think it only fair to spend today studying it.
 
The NKJV says it
like this: “Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and feed on
His faithfulness.”
 
But the KJV puts it
like this: “Trust in the LORD, and do good so shalt though dwell in the
land and verily thou shalt be fed.”
 
Looks like we need
to pull out…
 
Key
Words: “good” “dwell” “feed on His faithfulness”
 
Trust in the Lord.
Trust defined by the dictionary is: “assured reliance on the character,
ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”
 
But what is good?
It’s a broad word.
 
“Good” in
the Hebrew is “towb” meaning, “pleasing, agreeable (to the
senses” it means to be pleasing, be joyful, be beneficial.” (from the
root word)
 
So we could say,
“Rely on God and His character, ability, strength and His truth and be
joyful and beneficial…”
 
What exactly does it
mean to dwell? Off the top of my head, I would say live. But it actually means
something else.
 
“Dwell” in
Hebrew is “shakan” and it means to “settle down, abide” and
the root word of “shakan” is “shakab” which means “to
lie down, to rest, to relax”
 
 
Reminds me a little
of David’s Psalm, “you make me lie down in green pastures.”
 
And what of land?
Well, the Psalmist might be referring to 
Canaan–the promised land. However, we can’t all just pick up and move
on in over there. So it must mean more than just that particular piece of land.
Right?
 
It can also mean
land in general or the whole earth.
 
And our last key
word before we put it all together is that phrase “feed on his
faithfulness” or in the KJV, “thou shalt be fed”
 
The Hebrew word for
this phrase is “ra’ah” meaning, “to pasture, to tend, to graze,
to shepherd.
 
So we could say,
“Rely on God and His character, ability, strength and His truth and be
joyful and beneficial and you will abide and be able to relax on this earth and
be fed as sheep in a pasture, tended by a good shepherd.”
 
We
live in a land that is full of uncertainty, chaos, violence, disease, death,
grief and the list goes on.
 
Proverbs 3:5 says,
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding.”
 
I’m so glad that’s
there, because when it comes to this earth and what happens in it, I don’t
understand. But I don’t have to. And neither do you. We are to trust the LORD
in every sense of the meaning.
 
 
This scripture in
the Psalms is like a sandwich. It begins with a command to trust and what? do
good. Be beneficial and joyful. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be overcome by
evil but overcome evil with doing good.”
 
God knows the place
we live can suck the joy right out of us. He knows we need to trust Him and He
speaks that first, and then we’re plopped into the land to dwell. But…the hope
and promise is in the last part of the verse.
 
You shall be fed
i.e. taken care of, provided for, able to rest and abide because someone is
looking out for you and caring for you.
 
John 10:11 (Jesus
speaking) says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his
life for the sheep.”
 
I can trust a
shepherd who laid down His life for me. 
And so can you.
 
He is faithful!
 
Practical
application: Trust God to take care of you in an uncertain world. Relax. Be
joyful. He is the good Shepherd.
 
What
is one of your go-to scriptures when you are in uncertain times and need to be
reminded you can trust God?
 
Come by I’m hosting! 🙂 
 

Trust in the Lord: Psalm 37:3

Today we’re going to
muse and meditate on Psalm 37:3. Maybe you’re familiar with it. On Wednesday,
I’ll unpack it and give a practical application! I hope you’ll join me.
Here it is in a
couple other versions:
“Trust in
the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou
dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” KJV
“Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in
the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” NKJV
Musing/Meditation prompts: Do I trust in the
LORD? Remember over past things you’ve trusted God for and how He’s taken care
of you. Think on those moments of comfort when you trusted God in uncertain
times–what other scriptures did He use to “feed” you during those
times? Look those up and reflect. What does “dwell” mean to you?
What is one thing you will do today to show that you put your trust in
God?

*Wednesday, we’ll unpack this verse and take a deep look at what it means and I’ll give a practical application. Hope you’ll join me!
*Feel free to pin the photo to your Pinterest board! 

Joy from Light Bulb Moments and a Lesson from Daniel

Ah-ha
moments. I love them. How about you? Those moments when the light bulb clicks
on over your head. We’re unpacking Psalm 19 the next few weeks. Let’s look at verse 8 today.

“The
statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the
eyes;” NKJV
Here
it is in the Message:

“The
life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.

The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.”

KEY WORDS Today: Statutes/life-maps/pure/eyes
(always pull a few key words from
scripture to help you understand the meaning better)
Statutes
or life-maps are also translated as precepts.
Statutes
in Hebrew is, “piqquwd” and it means “precepts.”
Precept
according to the online dictionary means:
1. A
rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct.
2. Law An authorized direction or order; a
writ.
So,
we could say, God’s authorized
directions that come from His written Word make the heart glad and bring joy.
The
order, commandment, of God is pure. “Pure” in the Hebrew is “bar” and
it means sincere, or clear. It enlightens, or brings light to the eyes. Eyes in
Hebrew is “ayin” and it means, “eye” “of mental or spiritual
faculties/qualities.”
So
we could say, God’s Word is sincere and
clear and it gives us spiritual and mental ah-ha light bulb moments about our
life and the direction we need to take.
Let’s
look at someone from the Bible who had an ah-ha moment. We’ll look at what it
led him to clearly do and the result that came from his obedience.
Let’s
look at Daniel. Chapter 9 starting in
verse 1.
“It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the
son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians. During the first year of
his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as
revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy
years.” 
From reading scripture (scrolls and Jeremiah’s word more
specifically), Daniel had a light bulb
moment
. Here’s what God told Jeremiah:
“This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early
in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. “This
is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple
of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to
worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. Perhaps
they will listen and turn from their evil ways.”  Jeremiah 26:1-3
God’s people were turning from Him. He’d warned them early on that
if they stopped serving Him, He would do whatever was necessary to draw them
back. Jeremiah has come to warn them and bring judgment–which is fair.
Here’s what God instructed Jeremiah to say, and this is what
Daniel read years later.
 “Say
to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me
and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my
servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you
would not listen to them—–then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed
Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem
an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’”The priests, the prophets,
and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s
Temple.  But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying
everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all
the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. Jeremiah 26:4-7
Not exactly welcoming to God’s
words, huh? So…
“Then Jeremiah spoke to the officials and the people in his
own defense. “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this Temple and
this city,” he said. “The Lord gave me every word that I have
spoken.  But if you stop your sinning and begin to obey
the Lord your God, he will change his mind about this disaster that
he has announced against you.” Jeremiah 26:12-13
However they did not. And…
“‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God
of Israel, says: With my great strength and powerful arm I made the
earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to
anyone I choose.  Now I will give your countries to King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the
wild animals, under his control.  All the nations will serve
him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and
great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon.  So you must
submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will
punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord. I will send
war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.”
Jeremiah 27:5-8
Seems harsh? Nah, not really
and besides…
“‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay
there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to
Jerusalem again.’””Jeremiah 27:22
When?
“This
entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands
will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.” Jeremiah 25:11
And what will happen then you ask?
“This
is what the LORD says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years.
But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I
will bring you home again.” Jeremiah 29:10
And what famous verse comes after?
 “I say this
because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt
you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And we know in Daniel Chapter one, it begins. Nebuchadnezzar comes
in and takes them captive, a young Daniel is swept up among them.
At this point in Chapter 9, Daniel is an old man, still serving
the Lord, still reading scripture. He’s been in captivity about 67 years. And
he discovers that the 70 years is almost up. The same words we take comfort in today, Jeremiah 29:11, he took
comfort in on that day.
God was about to do something awesome! Daniel had trusted God on
many occasions. When he refused to eat idol-sacrificed food at the king’s
table, when he interpreted dreams for the Neb and then later his
great-grandson, and of course when he was thrown into the lion’s den for not
compromising his faith.
Daniel knew when God spoke a
word, He was good for it. Do you know that? Do you believe it?
As a result of reading this, of having his eyes enlightened—he knew
good things were coming. Freedom could be tasted! What did Daniel do?
 “I turned to the Lord
God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting.” Daniel 9:3
Turned;
prayer; fasted
Daniel’s
prayer is amazing and it’s recorded in verses 4-19. But I want to pull out
these verses:
But
the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled
against him. We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed
the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets. All
Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to
your voice.” Daniel 9:9-11
God wasn’t being harsh, He was being fair. They rebelled. They had
not followed the instructions.
What does Psalm 19 say? The instruction of the Lord (His precepts)
rejoice the heart. When we do not follow them, when we rebel, we go into
captivity. Maybe not like the Israelites…but I assure you, you’ll find yourself in
bondage. Enslaved.
And miserable.
Like Daniel, we pray. And God,
Who is faithful to forgive us our sins when we confess them, acts.
On our
behalf. With mercy. And grace.
 “O my
God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how
your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not
because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O
Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my
God, for your people and your city bear your name.” Daniel 9:18-19
Daniel’s faith and faithfulness to God opened up a special
blessing. God gives Daniel some amazing visions, and he gets to see Christ in all
His glory in a few of them! What could bring more joy?
All because he loved the Word of God.
Practical application: Spend time in God’s Word. When we spend
time with God in His Word, it will always keep us pointed on Jesus Christ.
When was the last time you
had a light bulb moment from scripture? If it’s been awhile, why do you think
that is? And care to share that amazing moment in the comments? 

I’m hosting at LBG today!
Come by and share your
favorite verse about light!


**Photocredit: lightbulb tree: freedigitalphotos/zirconicusso
**Photo credit: bulb with a book: freedigitalphotos/digitalart
**Photo credit: clear glass of water: freedigitalphotos/by gt_pann 
**Photo credit: rubble: freedigitalphotos/cbenjasuwan 
**Photo credit: infant hand: freedigitalphotosNutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot
**Photo credit: faith and believe: freedigitalphotos/thepathtraveler
/**Photo credit: steel cage: freedigitalphotos/bejim

Reaching the Top

It’s another Meditation Monday! I love the following verse. Truly, I do. And since we’ll be talking about Daniel on Wednesday, I thought it would be fitting to meditate on some of his most powerful God-breathed words. 

“…the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great
exploits.”
Daniel 11:32

Meditation Prompts: Think about your accomplishments, education, abilities in comparison to simply knowing God! God is looking for those who will get to know Him to do great things. He’s not looking for the smartest, prettiest, best dressed, best mom, dad, sister, brother, teacher, or the richest. He wants someone who is willing to give them their time–to know Him! What dream is inside you that will take strength? How can you know Him better today? 
What does knowing God 
look like in your life? And why do you think people who know God can be strong and carry out great exploits?

*Just a reminder, I’m now offering critiquing services! Are you entering the Genesis contest? About to query sample pages? Need a fresh eye on your manuscript? I’d love to partner with you to make it shine. Please see my Critiquing/Editing page, with endorsements, HERE! (at the top right of the sidebar)
**photocredit for climbing a mountain(first photo) freedigitalphotos/SuraNualpradid

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;
The
testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;” Psalm 19:7 NKJV
Here it
is in the Message translation:
“The
revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The
signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.”
The
meanings are the same but it’s said in a way that gives you a little different
word picture.
God’s
word is perfect. Whole.
The NIV
translation says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the
soul.”
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
Biblos!
This
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?
Where
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
He
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.
But
before He did that, in verse two, something was happening.
“And
the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Why?
“The
earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the
deep.”
photo credit: freedigitalphotos/VictorHabbick
But
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
chaos.”
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
wasteland?
The
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.
2
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.”
NKJV
The
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
fulfillment?
JOY
 The joy of the Lord is our strength. Nehemiah 8:10
Therefore
with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3
“…But
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.”
“Awake
you who sleep! Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.’ Ephesians
5:14
We’re
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.
Which
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.”
Feel
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
do 
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

Dear Teenage Girl,

Fill in the blank:


If I could offer only one piece of advice to a teenage girl, I would say________________________. 

Tonight, my daughter is having a slumber party for her 14th birthday. Ten teenage girls will be crowding my house with giggles, shrieks, and who knows what else. My husband and Myles rented a hotel room–they’re not sticking around for it, but my friend “Jane” is coming (with her daughter) to spend the night. 

We did the same thing last year, only Tim went to Thailand. LOL On a missions trip–not to escape. At least he said it was a missions trip. 😉 

I blogged about my daughter getting lost on our street in the subdivision on that night and the hoopla that went on. You can read it for fun HERE! 

Have a great weekend! Can’t wait to share the advice you leave in the comments with her. 

*Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos