Truth – Not Lies

It’s a struggle, isn’t it?

Figuring out which way to go is not easy.  Discerning between truth and lies is tough.  Avoiding the bad decision to give into temptations – those things that are very attractive to us but aren’t good for us.

I am very inspired and encouraged by the account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.  Satan approached Jesus when he was at his weakest point – after a 40-day fast.  Of course, Satan offers him a way to get good food fast.  After a 40 day fast?  I can’t imagine it.

This is what Satan does to you and me, too.  He waits until we are most vulnerable and then dangles the carrot – or the bottle of beer, or the dish of ice cream, or the credit card – in front of us.

Satan tried to coax Jesus into turning some of the stones within his reach into bread.  “You need some food, Jesus.”

Satan also tried to get Jesus to show his strength and to prove his identity by jumping off the temple so the angels could swoop in with a big dramatic flare and save him.

Satan tried to appeal to Jesus’ human need for recognition and ‘more’ by offering him all the kingdoms of the world.

In each situation, Jesus replies with scripture.  Of course he does.  Because those are his Father’s words which are always true and always wise.

What a great role model for me! And for you!  When we are tempted, we should see what God has to say about it.  I’ve found it’s even better to memorize scripture so, just like Jesus, we can recall God’s words right in the middle of a situation.

That’s one of the reasons I love this account of Jesus’s life so much.  God does this in my life.  When I need truth and wisdom and I ask him for it, God highlights some of the scripture in my brain that I have memorized.

God has etched truth and wisdom into my head and he uses it daily to guide me.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Sword Fighting Class – Open Our Eyes

Last week we started on our journey of memorizing James 2 – say this with me:

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”

And now we add:

“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.”

I love it when God uses examples in the Bible that could easily happen today.  I’m visualizing us meeting in church or meeting in our Bible study and this is happening.

It’s easy to see that God is going to talk about how we respond to people differently depending on how they look on the outside.

If our eyes are open, he will be teaching us each our own lessons on what we are memorizing as we go about our lives.  That’s how he blesses us.

Please open our eyes, LORD.

Raising My Game

If you have been following my blog for a while, you might remember the time several years ago when God had challenged me to raise my game and take my faith walk to the next level – by memorizing James 1.

I invited you along and called it my Sword Fighting Class because God’s word is the offensive weapon in our Armor of God.  This is how we face the trials and problems of our lives.  God’s word guides us as we wake up each day and take our next step. We are wandering on the dark path unless we let God shine his light of truth into our lives through his Word.  When it’s etched on our brains, God can use it all day in every situation when there are no Bibles or Bible aps in sight.

God and I had an amazing time working through James 1 together.  I have a terrible memory – you never want me on your trivia team – but I can remember scripture.  That’s God.  Through memorizing James 1, I experienced a whole new facet of my relationship with my Father God.   It was awesome to have a firsthand seat as I watched God move in my life and make this happen.

Since then, I have realized I don’t just know James 1 by heart – I feel the words of James 1, my brain uses the truths in James 1 all of the time to make decisions and  my spirit resonates with the wisdom God revealed to me through James.

Since then, God has helped me memorize Proverbs 2 and 3 and Psalm 46.

Now God has given me a new challenge.  Memorize James.  Yes, all of James – the rest of the book.

There is obviously more God wants me to know and understand.  He also wants to prove to me again that he can do this in my life – I just have to do my part.  And God asked me to invite you along on this journey.

The reality is that God commands us to etch his word on our hearts and minds.  We like to treat it as if it were an option – based on how good our memory is or how much time we have.  If we want to do what God commands us to do, memorizing scripture is not an option.  We’re deceiving ourselves if we look at it that way.

James tells us several times to stop deceiving ourselves.  That’s one of the things I really like about James.

I’m planning to add a verse every week, sometimes adding a couple together since they make more sense together and then taking a couple of weeks to get those totally added to the rest.  I’m starting with James 2 – you can start there with me even if you haven’t gotten James 1 down yet.

God is going to do some amazing things in our lives as we open up our minds, soak in his word and let him change our thinking from the inside out.  It happened to me with James 1 – I’m excited to see it happen again in the rest of James.

And it doesn’t matter how long it takes, right?  God will bless us each step of the way.  He has promised and he always keeps his promises….

So, let’s begin.  Watch for my first Sword Fighting Class tomorrow.

Sword Fighting Class – Belonging to Christ

God is doing a great job of helping us memorize Romans 8!  We are going to have a great understanding of what living in the spirit means by the time we’re done?

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death.  Because what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live according to the spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”

“The mind of sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.  The sinful mind is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s laws nor can it do so.  Those who are controlled by the sinful mind cannot please God.”Romans 8; 1-9

And now the next verse –

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Spirit of God comes to live inside of us.

And we belong to Christ.

How awesome!

Thank you, Abba Father!

Sword Fighting Class – Garbage in, Garbage Out

God is doing a great job of helping us memorize Romans 8!

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death.  Because what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of man to be a sin sacrifice.   And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

The next verse is:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires.”Romans 8; 1-9

What are we focused on?

What do we fill our minds with?

Garbage in, garbage out.

If we fill our minds with the garbage so prevalent in our culture, our thoughts will not be pleasing to God.  Our thoughts become our attitudes and our attitudes become our actions.

That’s just the way it is.

So, if we want to change our actions, we have to change what we’re thinking about.  We have to fill our minds with God’s truth – every day.

This is exactly the reason why God commands us to memorize his word.  Because it fills our minds – renewing our thinking, changing our attitude and transforming our actions.

We’re on the right path when we’re spending time and effort on memorizing God’s word.

It’s a great thing to remember as we struggle through some of these long, complicated verses.

God is pleased and he blesses our efforts.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Sword Fighting Class- Preserve Sound Judgement

It’s amazing to see what God can do when we review his scripture day after day.  He writes it on our hearts.  And he talks to us through it….constantly…..guiding our days through these words:

“My child, do not forget my teachings but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the site of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruit of all your crops. Then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine. My child, do not despise the Lords discipline and do no resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father, the daughter he delights in.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, who gains understanding. For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies, nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand, in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all of her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her – those who lay hold of her will be blessed.Proverbs 3 to verse 25

By wisdom, the Lord laid the earth’s foundations. By understanding, he set the heavens in place. And by his knowledge, the deeps are divided and the clouds drop their dew.

Great job!  God is so awesome!  Here are our next verses:

“My child, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight. For they will be life to you, an ornament to grace your neck. “

Dear Father, we desire sound judgement based on your truth.  We want to be able to discern what is from you and what is a lie.  We ask you to remove anything in our minds that is not true and replace it with your words.  We want your words to guide us, your truth to be obvious in our lives – so obvious that it’s an ornament that graces our neck.

We pray these things knowing that we will receive them because they are in your will for  us.  Thank you, Father.  In the awesome name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

 

Sword Fighting Class – Life!

We are memorizing Proverbs 3 together.  So many great promises from God!

“My child, do not forget my teachings but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the site of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruit of all your crops. Then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine. My child, do not despise the Lords discipline and do no resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father, the daughter he delights in.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, who gains understanding. For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies, nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand, in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all of her paths are peace.Proverbs 3 to verse 25

Great job!  Here is the next verse:

She is a tree of life to those who embrace her – those who lay hold of her will be blessed.”

Embracing wisdom = life.

Embracing wisdom = blessings.

And we know where wisdom comes from.  Our Father God.

When we seek him, call out for insight, cry aloud for understanding, search for it as for hidden treasure – God gives us wisdom.

As we take hold of wisdom by memorizing God’s word, we are being blessed.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

 

Sword Fighting Class – In Your Own Eyes

We’re being blessed as we memorize Proverbs 3 together:

My child, do not forget my teachings but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all of your might and lean not on your own undertanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

As we add this next verse, its interesting to me to see how it relates to last week’s verse:

“Do not be wise in your own eyes.  Fear the Lord and shun evil.”

If I had to tell you one thing that I’ve learned as I’m memorizing God’s word is that my past thinking and judgement had some big holes in it.  Not all of it, but enough that taking this verse literally is very wise for me.  I needed to realize that my thinking was not always in line with God and that I should depend more on God for my wisdom.  Not myself.

As God is etching his Word on my mind, he writing over some old, incorrect thinking and renewing my mind.  Adding his wisdom.

It’s changing me.

Preparing me for the next season of my life.

It’s growing my respect for God’s wisdom and increasing my awareness of evil so I can avoid it.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Audio file of my memorization of Proverbs 3 so far:

 

Sword Fighting Class – A Favorite Truth

Its truly supernatural.  We are memorizing Proverbs 3 together and, as we faithfully review these scriptures everyday, God is writing them on our minds.  Such a great way to experience him working in our lives!

 My child, do not forget my teachings but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Today we add some very popular verses that you may have already memorized at one time.  One of the blessings I am experiencing by memorizing whole chapters is really seeing the context of verses like this – what God is saying in the verses before it and after it:

Trust in the Lord with all of your might and lean not on your own undertanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

This is such an awesome verse.  So much wisdom!

Trust with all my might!  What does that look like in my life?

Don’t make decisions based just on what I already know, my own wisdom and knowledge – what does that look like?

Always acknowledge him – I think that answers my last question 🙂

If I always check in with God, trusting him in all situations, constantly keeping my eyes on what he has told me and where he is leading me, I will be walking down the right path.

Thank you for how clear your directions are in your Word, Abba Father.

Audio file of my memorization of Proverbs 3 so far:

Sword Fighting Class – Love and Faithfulness

We are just beginning our journey of memorizing Proverbs 3.  More wisdom, more understanding, more insight – thank you, dear Father!  We are counting on God to etch these words on our hearts as we review them daily.  He has commanded this so it’s in his will and he will make it happen if we do our part.  We started with the first verses last week:Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

“My child, do not forget my teachings but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.”

And we’re adding the next verses:

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Let love and faithfulness never leave you……..

These words reverberate through my mind.

What a great life we will have when our thoughts and our actions are full of love and faithfulness!  Awesome!

God is telling us how to do this – we need to bind his words onto our lives and write them on your hearts.  As we do this, he is transforming our thinking which changes our behaviors.   He is promising that this will bring us a life full of love and faithfulness along with approval from others and from him.

Wow! These verses are jam-packed with fabulous promises!

Thank you, Father God!

Audio file of my verses.  I am working ahead so this is through verse 16: