{Summer} Psalms – Introduction

Okay, here’s the deal: I have decided to scribe my way through the Psalms this Summer. Part of any Bible study journey, for me, is blogging. Versus starting a brand new blog for what could be a short or long term adventure (because let’s be real: I am not always super consistent for one reason or another).

. . . Thus, this post.

Brand New Journey

This is the start of a new journey. Same writer, just a different way of studying. Ideally, I will write out the Psalms on a daily basis. But, I have chronic illness and Summer is where it is at its worse. So, daily may not happen. There may be days or weeks, where there is this aching gap between thoughts jotted out by me – concerning the Psalms or perhaps even the Chronological Study.

One of my monsterous reasons for this Psalms journey is – I don’t want to waste this Summer. I want to be able to look through my notebooks and blog, to see how God has moved in me – during a rough season.

I need to be able to see that something good has come out of my Summer. God teaches us that He is able to bring goodness out of fiercely difficult seasons of life.

Basically, I need to see God do a Genesis 50:20 kind of miracle on my behalf. Joseph had been sold into slavery, put in prison for a crime he did not come, a high leader in Egypt, and reconnected with his biological family. Still, Joseph proclaimed that it was for the glory of God!

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (NIV).

The good I seek, in these days, are found through my relationship with God with Jesus Christ. I want to focus solely on Jesus, and allow Him to take a joyless and depressive situation and bring an explosion of joy along with His Presence and Power!

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A Day at the Hospital {The Prayer Offering}

Last night, I wrote about the goal in trials. My goal, during hard times, is to remember I am a daughter of the Most High God and allow this crucial identity to shape my thoughts, words, and actions.

Today, I was given the opportunity to put this into practice. I had an appointment at the county hospital. Things went right. Things went wrong. But, the biggest achievement? It was simply remaining as quiet as possible, as Trigeminal Neuralgia talked to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

As long as I stay quieter on the rough days, I can avoid saying things that might hurt, rather than help, someone. My ability to control the kind of words – becomes harder, as the symptoms become more intense. The temptation to use hurtful words is definitely there.

The Heart-Felt Prayer

Today was a day of praying for God’s peace and presence. In my life, I have little control over how I feel on a given day (with the exception of my attitude).

What I can do is control how I respond to trials. So I responded, by “trying” to stay quiet. This was both easy and difficult. It was easy, until the moment of leaving the hospital to go home. Then, the overwhelming symptoms and impatience kicked into gear.

The good news is – I survived my long hospital day. I am preparing to have surgery in about 1.5 weeks. We had appointments scheduled for today and Friday, but by God’s grace and faithful prayers of others – I was able to get it all done today.

What We Need

The truth is. . . We need to pray over our souls for His peace and presence. This is what we need more than anything.

We can survive many things, but only with Jesus Christ leading the way. I don’t know about you, but nothing soothes my anxiety quite like the peace and presence of our great Savior, King Jesus, can.

If you are finding yourself in a rough spot tonight, begin praying over your souls for His peace and presence to overwhelm you. When we are overwhelmed by God, His presence, and unimaginable peace, we are in the best place possible to overcome our trials. They will not overcome us, but we will be able to overwhelm them with our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, overwhelm our souls with Your peace and presence. We live in a difficult world. You remind us in John 16:33 that we will face troubles in this life, but You offer to us a peace that is nothing like this world’s. Overwhelm us with Your peace and presence. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7, TLB).

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Until next time,

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Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths on 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.

Week 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:3

This week’s memory verse is 1 Thessalonians 4:3. This is a precious piece of Scripture. While all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), this one is quite meaningful for the lives of many believers in Jesus Christ.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice… (AMP-C)

Friends, we have been set apart for God and His purposes. This is the tremendous joy of the Christian life we live. God has many amazing things in store for us, as His people who have been redeemed (rescued) by His Son Jesus Christ, and choose to continue seeking after God’s will.

For the Christian, one of the greatest temptations is sexuality. It is a hot area where the Devil knows just what crafty word or action to use, as he stands in the way between us and God. We all know someone who have fallen prey to the Devil’s lures with sexual temptation, and left their faith and lives in ruins.

While God has given us the ability to desire sex or things of that nature, it is a gift human beings have completely misused and reaped the consequences. This command is given for our benefit, for sexual sin destroys.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other… (Matthew 6:24, NIV)

Our sexuality is going to influence the sanctification process. Sexual sins promise little, deliver none, cost us much, and cause us to flee from God and His presence. And since many face this temptation and give into it, the Devil doesn’t have to try too hard – in order for us to give in. This is why we need to be aware of how we struggle with temptation, so we might stand firm and protect our relationship with our heavenly Father.

In Asbury’s Commentary, we are reminded of the remedy for temptations: run to God and stay in His presence!

Few things have contributed more to the downfall of believers than sexuality. However mature one might be, the constant bombardment from a society that does not know God (v. 5), coupled with the nature of sexual desires, provide ready ammunition for the Tempter (see 3:5). Paul’s implied remedy is the continuing presence of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

Our faith is heavily involved in this choice – whether we obey or reject this command given to us by God to abstain from sexual sins.

Faith is the belief in the Father’s love for you, the Son (Jesus Christ) who willfully went to all costs to redeem and reconcile you to the Father, and the truth that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your life. The Holy Spirit will not sit around and do nothing. God has set you apart and equipped you to live a godly life. Keep drawing near, and watch Him work!

How are you focusing on His Presence, as you face temptations?

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.