Psalm 19 {Summer ’17}

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In the Bible, we are given specific instructions on how to have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus and taught how to live well. God has much He wants to teach us.

Those who have chosen to follow His Son Jesus Christ, have been declared children of God. We have been saved by the grace of God! His love leads us to be adopted into His family. This sets the stage for understanding and following the Father’s instructions.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them (Psalm 19:8-11, NLT).

In Psalm 19, we are reminded about God’s law. God has specific instructions for our lives. If we want things to go well, we need to be deliberate in hearing the Word of God {the Bible} and put it into practice.

Many times, we don’t apply what God is teaching us. What we need most is to savor His Words and simply obey. We need to seek His will, not our own.

Learning to Abide

God’s Word is so important for us, as Christians. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to make sure that we stay plugged into Jesus. In 1 John 3 and John 15, this is specifically called “abiding”. We need to abide in Christ.

In its original language, this means “to remain”. We need to remain with Jesus the Christ, my friends.

Loving God and His Instructions

We need to learn what it means to love God and the instructions He has faithfully given to us – through the Bible.

God has lavished His love upon us, and continues to passionately pursue us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to show us what is right. God wants to help us to avoid the pitfalls of the human life.

As we obey God, through His instructions, He continues to show Himself to us. Not only does He show Himself to us, He protects us from the traps we don’t see.

This is why God’s Word is so important, for God wants to help us to not become hurt. He doesn’t want to see us miss out on what He is ready to give us. If only, we would listen to what our great God has told us and put it into practice.

In Christ,

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Psalm 17 {Summer ’17}

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These past few weeks, I haven’t been able to write like I usually do. Life has become difficult, but I am moving forward. I may be behind in my Summer Psalms study, but it’s okay. It is okay, that it might take much longer than anticipated. It’s about the journey. Some journeys take longer than others.


Today, I was able to write out a little bit on the Psalms. What struck me the most was – Psalm 17. In this particular Psalm, it just really hit me – as I began to write out verses 6-12.

Vicious Enemies

Life with chronic illness is hard. It literally feels like, I am being surrounded by vicious enemies who seek to put me in danger. I face a real battle, but I don’t do it alone. I have God on my side.

In verses 11-12, it really just strikes like lightening.

“They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart – like young lions hiding in ambush (NLT).”

Seeking After God’s Protection

As I read through this Psalm, I am continually reminded about the protection God gives to His people – His children. As I continue my journey in following Jesus Christ, I am standing under His protection. God is the One who will guard my life, even when things seem a bit more messed up than I am used to.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
    Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
    By your mighty power you rescue
    those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
    Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
    from murderous enemies who surround me.

What Happens Next?

13 Arise, O Lord!
Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!

God will arise, and touch us in the deepest parts of our lives. God will rescue us, and bring us to a place of healing. He can heal even the deepest wounds (or battles) we face. Even the ones that we feel are too big to hand over to God. God stands ready to act on our behalf. We need to be willing to cry out to God.

The beginning steps of gaining victory over these battles isn’t in striking down our enemies. It starts before that, as we step up in following Jesus and prayerfully share with Him what is honestly going on in our lives. And then, He acts in power – defending His people.

31 What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else? (Rom. 8:31-32, TLB)

Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

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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 1: Wrap Up

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What was special about this week’s message? I invite you to comment below, and share with me (and other readers) about how God spoke to you in this week’s Bible study on 1 Thessalonians

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:6

“You became followers of us and the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. Therefore you were examples to all who believe in Macedonia and Achaia… (1:6-7a, MEV)”

This is the message that stands out, to me. One of the reasons I love the Thessalonians is – because their faith was enveloped in strength. They heard the Gospel message, and kept it close even in affliction. This showed the entire world that their faith was not an empty act, but as genuine as our faith could be.

Further in the New Testament, we are reminded that afflictions help us to refine our faith. In times of great trials, we are reminded of our dependence upon God just as David was. David wrote many worship-filled songs, from the depths of the pit that trials can often be described as. Yet even in the midst of great agony, David chose to allow it to be a tool of worship. The same can be true for our own lives. In 1 Peter 1, we are reminded that afflictions are the . . . groundwork, I guess you could say, for a deeper faith in Christ.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith… may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ… [T]he outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (see 1 Peter 1:6-9).”

Just before we are told that trials must come and even serve a purpose, we are reminded of a great promise. 1 Peter 1:5 is one of the verses in this chapter of Scripture that I hold tightly to.

“Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you for a salvation that you will see completely at the end of things (1 Peter 1:5, VOICE).”

In the NIRV, the first part of this verse reads like this: “Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power…” Our faith is important. We have to believe that God is keeping us safe, even through the fiery trials, and that He is bringing us closer to the great salvation He has promised us! I love the picture this verse offers to me. I crave protection, and that is what God is offering to me (to us) as I continue to deliberately put my trust in Him!

Looking back on your life’s trials, I invite you to join me in deliberately seeking how God has made that part of your growing faith journey. I know, the road is hard. For me, I can see how God has stretched my faith and pruned out some of the fleshly things I once clung to. I have grown more intimate in my relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

While my faith in Jesus isn’t where I hope it will be, it is shown as genuine and experiences growth in trusting Christ through those same trials I despise. This is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit. God is working through the good and bad.

Genesis 19-21; Psalms 43-45

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jan-18

Assigned Reading: Psalms 43-45; Genesis 19-21

Psalms –

Chapter 43: “Lord, we need You to rescue us!” Things can seem so difficult and dark. Where will we turn? We are reminded that God can rescue us and our need to praise Him. There is a verse in this passage that always hits home –

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (vv. 5).

Chapter 44: God has a legacy. He has delivered our ancestors. He has delivered many others before we were even conceived in our mother’s womb. His love is unfailing, and the reason for His action. Our trust is in Him, because He is where we find our victory. When we are disgraced by the enemy, God is still the same One He has always been. We need to remember that, when we are going through a rough time. God is always the same, and will rescue His people.

I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever (vv. 6-8).

Chapter 45: God’s Kingdom is forever, and the One that sets our hearts on fire. Our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is coming and will rule over all the nations. Let’s allow the joy and presence of the Lord to infiltrate our being, and enter into every area of our lives. God is our Bridegroom, setting out to take care of us, His people, and will come back for His Church!

Genesis –

Lot’s Escape (Gen. 19:14-15)

Lot was urged to leave the town with his wife and two daughters. Slowly you see the family disintegrate due to lack of trust in God. His daughter’s fiancés didn’t believe Lot. Lot’s wife disobeyed God and looked back – turning into a pillar of salt. God’s commands are serious. God wanted to protect them. But, they wouldn’t listen.

Lot’s Daughters (Gen. 19:30-32) 

You can see his daughters’ desperation, which many of today’s single (or childless) women face. It simply manifests itself in a different way. We can easily lose sight of our calling and purpose in Christ, when our fleshly desires try to overtake us. When we look at the struggle, rather than look to God.

Abraham and Sarah

Abraham faced his own desperation repeatedly, when moving to a new town. He feared what the people would do, when they found out Sarah was actually his wife. A mess of things occur when we choose our own desperation over trusting God.

Our fear can take the place of our faith, which is why fear and carrying concerns on our own is such a dangerous thing. Our hope is in God. With Jesus Christ, we have an Advocate who wants to be our everything and to help us. He wants to lighten our load, and carry our burdens.

When we give our burdens to the Lord, we are blessed immensely and see how God will provide. God provided Isaac to Abraham and Sarah – their son.