Psalm 1 {Summer ’17}

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely (Ps. 1:1-2, TLB).

In this Psalm, we are reminded that we can either: spend our time with the wrong kind of people or center our lives around God’s Word. The difference between the two – is life changing.

Oh, the joys of those who . . . delight in doing everything God wants them.

We are given the opportunity to be excited about the Word of God. We can open our Bibles, and hear directly from God day or night. We can find excitement in our lives, through our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We don’t have to turn to sin or the wrong kind of friends, in order to feel soul satisfied.

More than anything else, God wants to show us how much happier we would be – if we sat at His feet and let His Words transform our lives (and even our circumstances).

Meeting with God brings prosperity. It isn’t about choosing friends with the right connections. If we want things to go well in our lives, we need to seek after the Lord. Let’s take this Summer, to read the Bible and take our cues from God. He has soo much to share with us, as we come and bring all that we are – to Him.

Our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, is the most important one we have. Our great God has chosen to make His dwelling place with us, out of shear love and desire to be with us. While things arise making it difficult to meet with the Lord, we can still make that choice to be with Him. It may look totally different from one day to the next. But, this is a choice we will not regret.

Being with Jesus leaves us changed men and women. Remember what is said about the Apostles in Acts? People knew they had been with Jesus. Their lives were completely changed, because they spent time with Jesus. May the same be true for us too!

[Those who devote themselves to God and His Word] are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper (vv. 3).

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13, NIV).

Just a reminder: Our Psalms study is kicking off in the Facebook group. Don’t be shy, just hop on over and join us – as we read through the Psalms this Summer! {Also note: I am in the process of updating my blog, to merge the chronological//psalms blog with this one}

In Christ,

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1 Samuel 4-8 (Part 1)

“Why did the Lord…? (1 Sam. 4:3)”

Unfortunately, we get like this also. We go out to fight without praying and our spiritual armor, then we bring forth our questions like this.

We want to make and carry out our own plans, but expect God to bless them.

When we do this, we are forgetting one little thing –

The Lord is the One who rules over all (1 Sam. 4:4)

Israel lost the war on the Philistines, because they went their own way versus stopping to pray and see what God wanted. They even, acted in a way – that causes the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant {which is a BIG deal} to be stolen. For seven long hard moments, God’s glory departed from Israel.

Friends, we need to pray in the battles we face. We need to pray in the midst of the battle, but also need to pray before the battle even begins. We desperately need to use prayer as our weapon. If we forfeit the weapon of prayer, we come under attack and lose the advantage.

But when we put on the full armor of God (see Eph. 6), we are aware of the devil’s schemes and can overcome his tactics. To quote 1 John 4:4, ““Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

As Israel faced losing the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, they faced God’s glory departing. There was much sorrow in this. Their sin greatly cost them. They disobeyed God, by not seeking Him. They wanted to turn to their own way, versus turn to the Lord and His way. As sons and daughters of the Most High God, we need to rethink the way we make decisions and live the lives we have been given.

Even when hard things happen, we can make the decision to seek Christ above all else.

As we observe our lives and see the battles we are facing, we need to choose to allow Jesus Christ, our Savior and King, to become our Battle-Winner. His strength and presence is far more than our enemies can handle!

The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1, ESV).

We are urged by God to give Him our bodies – as a living sacrifice. God wants all of us, as we are today. He doesn’t want us to hold off – until our bodies or souls have made it closer to a version of perfection. God wants us, as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as though my body is worthy enough to be a sacrifice, or worship tool, for my great God. I feel so far from where I could be, in terms of my physical body, sensitive and overwhelmed soul, and yes even in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want for God to be given more of me. As I enter this new season of life, I have to remember God wants me as I am. Though unworthy, He accepts me. . . and invites me to come to Him as I am. I can lay down the mask of this false self, where I pretend to be more fine or spiritual than I am. I can lay down the expectations I can never meet.

Because Jesus Christ invites me to come, and boldly come to His glorious throne as Hebrews 4:16 teaches us, I can walk in fellowship with my Wonderful Savior and Prince of Peace. What makes the difference? It is in the assurance that Jesus Christ has purposefully chosen to have a relationship of constant communion with me, that I can freely offer my body as a living sacrifice.

While I may not have much to give, I can make the deliberate choice to give what I do have – to Jesus Christ.

This is about spiritual worship. This is not about seeing my offering as “too little.” Rather, it is about coming to Jesus with whatever I have to offer.

Jesus Christ is the King of all Kings, the Name above all names, and He has chosen to make my body His dwelling place. He has made the deliberate choice to love me, even when I am most unlovable.

He has chosen to make His presence known, even in the midst of physical hardships beyond my control.

Jesus Christ has chosen to love us. Even when we were once His enemies, He came to reconcile us with the Father. While our relationship with our heavenly Father was once shatter “beyond repair” (if left up to us, mere humans), Jesus Christ brought us into this glorious place of restoration through His suffering, death, and resurrection.

God is all powerful. He is the only One who can take our broken pieces, and make us whole.

This is what He is choosing to do, as He invites us to give Him the broken pieces of our lives, and turn them into a complete spiritual worship tool.

. . . We may not have much to offer, but how willing are we to give God what we do have to offer?

Exodus 28-29

“Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest (Ex. 28:1-3).”

Chosen

God chose Aaron and his sons to serve Himself as priests. God chose them, specifically! He gave them sacred garments to give them dignity and honor. Jesus Christ has come, set us apart, and gives us dignity and honor as we learn how to trust and follow Him! We have been specifically chosen and set apart too. Also, take notice of this: God used those whom He gave special skills. He used them to be a part of His work in Aaron’s family’s life. How awesome is that?!

God will use many. All who are willing. He will chose us and invite us to join in His big work that He’s doing!

I am reminded that everything served a purpose. Even the “church” bells ringing, as they entered the Holy Place (see Ex. 28:35). Because the bells were heard when He entered and exited the Holy Place, these priests (set apart for God) would live.

The breast piece was an important aspect of their priestly uniform. They said that it was involved in decision making. In Ephesians 6, we can see what it represents. The breastplate is of righteousness. Our decisions are so critical, when seeking to live with Jesus and choose righteousness (see Ex. 28:15a, Eph. 6:14-17).

Consecrated

In chapter 29, we are reminded of the importance of being consecrated. For Aaron and his sons, this was such an important event in their lives. This set the stage for the entire serving job they had been given.

Got Questions reminds us that…

The Bible tells believers to be a holy people, separate from the world: “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Being consecrated is a critical component in our relationship to God and to those in the world.

See Romans 12:1-2

The consecration process was extensive. We are sinful people, and undeserving of standing in our Risen Lord’s presence. Aaron and his sons were equally unworthy, even if they were part of the twelve tribes. The consecration process requires much. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be consecrated and set apart for God and His purposes. God wants us to walk in relationship with Him. This happens, because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. He took our sins away!

He is the One who cleanses us from the inside – out. He is also the One who gives us faith to believe in hard times and to remember that we have been given a brand new life with Jesus Christ – our Lord!

God consecrates us, through Jesus Christ, to stand in His Presence and so that we may serve Him. He is our great Lord, and will fully direct us in our paths.

 

The Wandering Heart {{Week 5}}

Hi, my friends,

Today’s blog post is a bit late. I apologize for that, but it’s here! For anyone who is curious about what I have been up to, feel free to catch a glimpse over at Chronically Overcoming. I actually, just wrote up a new blog post on what I am going through.

Without further adieu, here is today’s blog post on what we can Glean From the Heart of Jesus (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link for the accompanying journal). You can find all of our “Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus” posts over here (putting them all in orderly form, is quite possibly one of the best ideas – ever. Especially for when I need to redo this study at a later date. . . Might even be time to go through Ephesians again.).


 The Scriptures – Matthew 5:27-28; Exodus 20:17

Do not want to have anything your neighbor owns. Do not want to have your neighbor’s house, wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey (Exodus 20:17, NIRV).

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ (Exodus 20:14) But here is what I tell you. Do not even look at a woman in the wrong way. Anyone who does has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).

Devotion

Lusting is to have an intense desire for someone that is not your spouse.

Jesus reminds His followers that there is such a thing as “heart adultery”. This is not a light-hearted thing. Jesus is showing us the seriousness of our thought life, too. We are held responsible. Point blank. Lusting after another who does not “belong” to you (in the context of Ephesians 5) is destruction. In Ephesians 5:3-7, we are reminded that the adulterer is not going to inherit the Kingdom of God. Lust is still sin. It is breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Which means – it is, in fact, going against the Most High and Holy God of the Universe.

When we sin we are choosing to say with our thoughts and actions, that we think our ways are far better than God’s prescribed ways.

Lust actually points to a deeper problem. If we are lusting (or coveting), it reveals that we have an unrestrained thought life. This is an area of temptation for many of us, but through Christ we can overcome it. In James, I am reminded that I am the only one who can make that choice to sin. It isn’t the Devil. It definitely isn’t God causing me to make that choice. But, it is me. It is all me and I am accountable for the choices I make.

We all are, responsible for the choices we make.

Today, let’s resolve to give this area to God. Take some time to repent of the ways you have lusted after (or had a desire for) another.

Christ is our great Redeemer, who is still mighty to save!

  • Acknowledge your offending a holy God. Confess your sin to God. “God, I am coming before You right now. I know I have sinned against you, by the way I have ____________.”
  • Seek His forgiveness. and help.
  • Remember His cleansing power.
  • Begin to put a plan in motion, to help you not fall into any tempting traps. 1 Peter 5:6-11 teaches us the importance of this step. While my list may look different from yours, my “plan of action” includes: Bible study. Keep Praying, Praising, and Serving God. Set Boundaries. Guard my heart and eyes. Hold onto and live out Philippians 4:8

Lord Jesus, lusting after another is serious. I know I am guilty of this, and cannot hide it. Not from You. I come before You to ask for Your forgiveness and for You to help me turn from my sin. Help me to not just turn from my sin, but to fully turn toward you. Help me to run toward You. I need to allow You to be the One to soothe my heart and be my portion. Thank You for all You are. Amen.