How Close Am I?

How much distance is there between God and me?

How far?

Mark tells us that Jesus was asked which of the commandments was most most important and Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The man who asked replied, “You’re right!  I get it  now!  Loving God is more important than following all the religious rules, traditions and ceremonies.” (my version).

Jesus replied, ” You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

It’s like he said – “Good job, buddy!  You’re figuring this out!”  I’m sure Jesus had a smile on his face when he said this because Jesus was surrounded by people who weren’t getting it but this man was starting to understand the truth.

I pray that Jesus would say this to me if he was sitting next to me this morning. “You’re figuring it out, Judy!”  That’s what this journey towards the truth is all about.

Am I getting closer to God as I study his Word?  Am I letting God transform me as I put his Truth into practice in my life?

How about you?

Thank for this this journey towards the Truth – towards you, Abba Father.

Its Time to Act

Accept God’s Word as truth.

Memorize God’s word.

Open your ears to his wisdom.

Work to understand God’s word.May 16 2016 time to act

Call out to God for insight.

Cry out to God for understanding.

Look for insight like it was a pile of silver.

Search for understanding like it was a hidden treasure.

THEN, you will understand and know God.

Are you serious about growing your relationship with God?

Are you willing to invest time and energy into knowing God better?May 16 b 2016 time to act

Proverbs 2 begins with this awesome call to action for serious Christ-followers.

Does this list describe you and  your relationship with God?

If not, this a great list of actions to help you get started.

Right now.

We are crying out for wisdom and understanding, Abba Father.

Setting My Heart on God

What does it mean to set our hearts on the Lord?

We set our hearts on the Lord by loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul.  June 2 2015 set my heart on the Lord

This isn’t a superficial relationship of going to church once a week.  This is a passionate quest for more of God, less of me.

More obedience, less independence.

More seeking God’s wisdom, less thinking that we know what’s good for us.

More prayer, less talking.

We read in 1 Kings that Rehoboam established his position as king and became strong.  Then he stopped following God.  Because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.  He was not committed to God.   He was not on a journey towards the truth of God.

He was like people we know who are religious because of the traditions they follow.  But their heart isn’t involved.

They are missing it!  A personal relationship with God.  A relationship which can give us strength and peace and power and love.  WHEN we set our hearts on seeking the Lord.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Sword Fighting Class – Victory is Ours

We are having a great journey through Proverbs 2 as we memorize it together.  The journey is slow when we’re memorizing – each word is gradually etched upon our minds and our hearts.  Eventually, the first couple of verses get relatively easy because we’ve said them so many times.  And then the next couple of verses get easier as we say them over and over.

And then, suddenly, we are memorizing verse 7!  Yeah!  And we know it’s not about how good we are at memorizing anything.  If this was just us, we wouldn’t be working on verse 7 or 8 or 9.  We wouldn’t have gotten this far.

God is doing this.  He is rewarding our faithfulness of going through our memory cards  every day several times a day or writing these verses out several times a day.  As we are consistent and faithful, he is writing them on our hearts.

And we find the hidden treasure.  As we memorize, we ponder the words.  We meditate on the message.  We absorb the truth.  And God changes our hearts.  He renews our minds.

If you haven’t gotten on this memorizing journey yet with us, you can still catch up.  We’ve been adding one verse a week.  I don’t post these Sword Fighting Class blogs on Facebook so, you can sign up for an email (on the right of my blog page) if you want to receive this weekly email..Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

A group of my friends are memorizing Proverbs 2 with me and its such a great encouragement to me to hear these words coming from all kinds of people around me.  Several of them are ahead of where we are here – this can get kind of addicting because it feels so right and good.  Who doesn’t need more wisdom?

Proverbs 2:  “My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”

And we add the next verse:

“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.”

I love the thought of God holding a shield over my life.  I’m not blameless but he sees me as blameless because I’ve accepted his gift of grace which Jesus made possible through his sacrifice on the cross for me.

And I want victory in my life.

Victory over the things that weigh me down.  The things that hold me back.  Any ‘smallness’ in my character.  Any  habits or behaviors that don’t bring honor to God.

Victory has been one of the driving factors to me in my quest to eat well and exercise this last year.  After a lifetime of struggling with old habits in this area, I want victory.  As I’ve been calling out for insight into living a more healthy life and I’ve been looking for wisdom about food like it was silver, God has been giving me victory in using food as a source of nutrition, not as a source of comfort or reward.   God has opened my eyes to his numerous commands regarding food and how I need to treat my body like a temple of his Holy Spirit.  He has opened my heart to my need to obey in this part of my life.  And he is giving my victory!

God holds victory in store for the upright- to those who are doing the right things….who obey.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Audio file of what I have memorized so far of Proverbs 2:

 

Sword Fighting Class – Where Do We Get Wisdom?

“My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.”Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

Awesome!   It’s it amazing how God partners with us as memorize his word?  The vast majority of us could never do this on our own so it’s a special blessing to be able to see this how obviously God is working in our minds as he helps us memorize verse after verse….after verse.  I have started attaching an audio recording (below) of me as I repeat my verses – it’s not perfect.  But it’s close!  That’s what counts 🙂

And we hit treasure in our next verse!

‘For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.’

Do we want wisdom?

Knowledge?

Understanding?

Well, we know where to go to get it.  The Lord gives it.  It comes from him.

Do you feel his wisdom and understanding growing in you as you etch his words on your heart and mind?

I do.  It’s subtle…..but steady.

I meditate on the words as I memorize them.  And I apply them to my life right now.

I’m amazed at how often I get to use them in my conversations.

God is good!  All the time!

Thank you, Abba Father.

Audio file of Proverbs 2:1-12:

 

Sword Fighting Class – Search for It

My Child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding….”

God is helping us memorize Proverbs 2.  It’s all about wisdom and understanding – good stuff!  Here’s the next verse:

and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,”

If we knew for sure there was a pile of silver hidden in a certain place, how hard would we look?  How much time would we take?  How much effort?

If it was me and I had a pretty good idea of where to look and if I was guaranteed that the treasure would be there, I wouldn’t stop until I found it.

Here, God is guaranteeing us that there is very valuable treasure in his word to us.  We just need to read it and accept it and store it up inside of our hearts and minds.  We need to cry out for it and cry aloud for it…..and look for it.  Search for it.

It’s there.

We’re on this journey together – growing in our relationship with God.  As we grow in our ability to hear him.  As we grow in ability to soak up his truth and apply it to our lives.

Thank you for helping us grow, dear Father.

Audio file of Proverbs 2: 1-6:

 

Sword Fighting Class – It Takes Effort!

‘My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,”

We are memorizing Proverbs 2 together – one verse a week.  We know this is possible with God’s help.  Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

The next verse is:

“and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding…..”

This verse has very active words in it.  Calling out!  Cry aloud!

This doesn’t sound like it’s describing me sitting here quietly, reading my Bible.

This sounds like I need to be seriously and intensely asking for insight and understanding.  These words indicate a significant effort on my part.  Growing wise, increasing my insight and understanding is obviously not a passive activity.

It’s evident that God’s wisdom isn’t going to just doesn’t ‘sink in’ as I sit in a chair at church or turn the pages of my Bible.

We’re calling out and crying aloud, dear Father!