Psalm 27, 2022

LORD, you are the light of my life.  You have saved me – so I am not afraid.

You protect me from danger.  There is no reason for me to tremble.  When the Evil One and his team attack me, trying to tempt me and distract me, they will not win.  Your mighty army of angels surround me – I have nothing to fear.  Even when my path gets tough, my faith in you remains solid.

The one thing I desire most of all, LORD, is to spend my life with you, enjoying my time with you and listening to your voice.

You hold me close when trouble comes.  I can hold my head high even when trials come my way.

I praise you, LORD, with songs and shouts of joy!

I know you hear me, LORD.  You answer me, showing great mercy.  You say, “Come and talk with me”, and my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

I know that you never turn your back on me in anger – you are always ready to help me.  You never leave me or abandon me, O God of my Salvation!  When everyone else leaves me behind you are here, holding me close.

Teach me the right way to live my life, LORD. Lead me down the path you have prepared for me and do not let me wander. Help me avoid the pain and consequences of rebellion. Do not let me give into the temptation to act as the evil ones act.

I live with the confidence that each day you are walking beside me – loving and guiding me.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Need Directions?

Ever feel like you need arrows pointing to the right decisions to make? How about a guide to light your path on this journey of life that we’re on?

I would be very surprised if any of us said no to either one of these questions.  I know I would like a personal guide for each day.  What would it be like to get ‘Judy’s agenda for today’ from God on my phone?  It would give me a plan for the whole day so I could do exactly what God wants me to do today and make all the right decisions.

The reality is that God has already given you and me a guidebook for our lives. The Bible.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” Psalm 119: 105.

The Bible doesn’t have directions like ‘do laundry today’ or ‘buy groceries’. We can figure out those easy things on our own.

God’s Word tells me the important stuff like what my top 2 priorities are for each day – to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as much as I love myself.

When we put our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. One of his purposes is to guide us into truth and show us what is false. When we read and study the Bible with our eyes and our hearts wide open, the Holy Spirit highlights the sections of God’s Word that we need for guidance today and he draws our attention to the truth that we need to know to make the right decisions for tomorrow..

God wants you and me to plug into his guidebook each day so we know what direction to go. Through his word he provides a lamp for our feet.

This is my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I don’t know how I would take my next step without it.

Thank  you, Abba Father.

What My Soul is Longing For

What does it mean to be ‘like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season and who leaf does not wither, whatever they do prospers.”? Psalm 1: 3.

This sounds really good.

I want to be like a tree planted by a stream – constantly being fed, never feeling empty,

I want to yield my fruit in season – do all the good things God has planned for me to do, always feeling right on target with the purpose God has for me here.

I want to avoid having my leaves wither – how can I live this marathon of faith well all the way to the end? No burnout, no wandering for me?

And I want to prosper – only in God’s eyes. I don’t need money, fame or people’s acceptance. I’ve got an audience of One. He’s the only one who counts.

God is very clear about how to make this happen in my life. Blessed are those “whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1: 2.

When God translates this in my brain I hear his encouragement, telling me to continue to read, study and memorize his Word. I’m in my 11 consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and he’s telling me to keep it up, I’m on the right track. I just don’t read the Bible, I blog about it so I have to think about what I read and apply it to my life. I find his truth as it applies to my life truly ‘delightful’. It’s just what my soul is looking for.

I also participate in 2 to 3 different Bible studies every week so I’m meditating on his word on my own in the morning and several times ‘day and night’ with other people during the week.

God has given me a life-long goal of memorizing scripture. It’s taken me over 6 years because I have a really terrible memory, but God and I partnered up and he has written 2 entire chapters of the book of James on my heart. He uses these words constantly to guide me and let me know he is right beside me.

No wonder I have lost that ’empty’ feeling I used to have! I’m blessed as I watch God grow his fruit in my life. I plan to be reading the entire Bible each year for the rest of my time here on earth so I can end this journey well.

And today, I can feel my Father God cheering me on.

Thank you, Abba.

Psalm 108, 2022

My heart is yours, O God, and my soul sings praises to you. Every morning as I see the sun rise, I praise you, LORD.

Great is your love! It fills the heavens reaching to the skies. You are exalted, God, above the heavens and your glory shines over all the earth.

Deliver us, Father. We know you reign over all the earth. Nothing and no one can stand against you, God.

With God on our side, evil doesn’t stand a chance. Victory is our’s.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2022

Hear my prayers, Father, and show me your compassion.  I will hide myself in your shadow until my fears and worries go away.

I ask that you fulfill your purposes for my life.  I know the angels of heaven are fighting my battles and they will give me victory.

Your love and faithfulness never leave me, Father.

I am surrounded by the evil one who is trying to take pieces of me and devour me.

But I still praise you, God.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

My enemy sets traps for me – especially when I am weary and distressed.  The evil one digs deep pits in my path but then he falls into them himself.

I am confident in you, oh God.  My heart sings your praises.  I awake every morning with a song of praise to you.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness which has no end.

I praise you, Father.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

Psalm 63, 2022

O God, you are my God.  I am searching for you with all my heart.

My soul needs you.  My whole being longs to be close to you in this empty, weary and very confused world.  I treasure the precious time I get to spend with you.

I have personally witnessed your power and glory.  I praise you for your love which makes this life worth living.

I will lift my hands and heart up to you in praise for as long as I live.  Only you can fill the emptiness inside of me and make me sing for joy.

In the darkest part of the night, I remember how much you have loved me in the past and how much you have promised to love me in the future.  My heart sings for joy as I cling to your promises and feel your arms around me, holding me safe and securely to your side.

The Evil One and his team are all around me, Father, trying to ruin me.  But I know you are fighting my battles, God, and you have already won the war.

I rejoice in you, God.  All who know the Truth know you.  Liars will be silenced.

I will lift my praise to you for the rest of my life, Abba Father.

I Know That Voice

Little Samuel’s story in the Bible is one my favorites.

He heard a voice calling to him in the night and he thought is was the Prophet Eli since he was living with Eli.  So Samuel got out of bed and ran to Eli saying, “Here I am”.

But Eli said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.”

This happened again and then the third time, Eli realized that it was God who was calling the boy.  This time Eli told Samuel, when he heard the voice, to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9.

When God spoke again, Samuel told him he was listening and God went on to tell Samuel what was soon going to happen.

I’ve got a challenge for you.  The next time you think you might be hearing something from God, say those same words, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”  And then listen.  Listen to what is going through your brain.  Think about what you have been reading in God’s Word and how it applies to your life.  Think about coincidences that have been happening in your life and how they relate to what you’ve been reading.  Remember things that Godly people in your life have said to you recently.

I believe God is regularly trying to break through the cacophony of our culture – especially the electronic bubble where we spend a lot of our time.  He is trying to talk to you and me – guiding us, encouraging us, and teaching us.

Have you had the experience where you are reading God’s Word and suddenly a sentence seems to stick out of the page? It almost looks like it’s in bold print? You reread a phrase a couple of times?  You start to wonder what this means in your life?  Has that phrase always been there?  I don’t remember ever reading that or even hearing anyone talk about that before?  That is God stopping us.  That is God drawing our attention to something specific in his Word so he can speak to us.

That’s what God did today with me.  He stopped me as I was reading to remind me how much I like young Samuel’s story.  Because I know God, I know he is encouraging me to continue to learn how to hear him more and more clearly as I read his Truth.  My knowledge of God is growing and the more I know him, the better I hear him.

How can I be confident that it’s God that’s talking to me and not just my own thinking?  What God says to me will always be consistent with what he says in the Bible.  He will not contradict himself.

I am also 100% sure it’s God talking when he says something I’ve never thought of before and it’s consistent with what I have read in the Bible.  God confirms his guidance to me through my circumstances as well.  When it’s God talking to me, things happening around me will line up with what God is saying.  Sometimes it will be something my husband, my pastor or a friend says.  As I pray about what God is telling me, God will often open up my eyes to how he is moving around me and I’m be able to connect the dots.

When I take time to consider all of these things, God’s directions to me become really clear.

When I work at staying aware of the fact that God is trying to talk to me, it’s not hard to hear him.

I hear you, Abba Father

I’m a Caleb Fan

Every time Caleb shows up in the Old Testament, he is being faithful, obedient and courageous.

When I get to heaven, I want to meet him.

He’s not a central character in the Bible – he doesn’t have a main story line.   He’s never the star but he does an awesome job in his supporting role.

Caleb shows up as Joshua’s sidekick a couple of times and every time he’s right on target.  He  is always choosing to believe what God has promised.  He is willing to take God’s word and act on it.  He’s brave.  He doesn’t forget what God has already done in his life.  He’s consistent.

“I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.”  Joshua 14:8.  This is how Caleb described himself when comparing his actions with those of the other spies who brought back a negative report about the Promised Land.

Wholeheartedly.  What a good word!

Even though he was surrounded by other Israelites who lacked trust in God and were weak in their faith, Caleb never waivered.  He stood strong.  His faith in God defined his life.

I am encouraged and challenged by Caleb.  I’m encouraged because he was always faithful through many years in good times and bad.  I’m challenged by Caleb because I would like that same thing to be said my life.

When I leave this earth, I want this to be true of my life – that I walked closely with God for a very long time.

Just like Caleb.

Gathered to My People

He died.

She passed away.

He was killed.

Before Moses died, God told him, “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession.  There on the mountain you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.” Deut. 32: 48-49.

I like that.  It makes great sense when someone is a believer.  Moses’ people were in heaven.  His Father was in heaven.  And his Savior was in heaven.

This makes me ask the question – where are my people?

God has blessed me by giving me a family with a very long lineage of Christ-followers.   Many generations of my people are in heaven.  My son who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty is already in heaven.

The people I identify with here on earth are also Christ-followers.  These are my people.  They will be with me when I am gathered to my Father – when I am gathered to my people. 

I’m thinking about starting to use this phrase with believers instead of ‘died’ or ‘passed away’.  Some people wouldn’t get it but that’s ok – some people don’t get a lot of things.

How about you?  Are your people in heaven?  Is your Savior in Heaven?  If so, then he has prepared a place for you.

Will you be with me when all believers are gathered to our Father in Heaven?

I hope and pray that you will.

On the day you have already determined, I will be there, Abba Father.

It’s My Life

These are not just idle words.

I can’t read and soak in God’s Word without being changed. The Holy Spirit grabs my mind and heart and speaks truth into the depths of my soul. Transforming my thinking. Moving my heart. Growing my faith and trust in God.

As I was reading yesterday, God stopped me when Moses said to the Israelites, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32: 46-47.

I’m in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I can definitely say God’s Word is my life. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not perfect and I never will be this side of heaven. But reading God’s word, hearing God speak to me, feeling his love for me as he guides me – that’s my life.

I’m not a pastor, I don’t work at a church – I’m just an ordinary person who is sold out to God. He gives my life purpose and meaning. His truth grounds my life on the Rock, not on the shifting sand of our culture.

Do you have purpose and meaning in your life? Do you see God moving in your life and guiding you? Is your life grounded on something or someone other than God?

I can’t imagine any reason why I would not read the entire Bible every year for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to miss a whole month of sitting down with God and letting him organize my thinking and plans. I can’t even imagine missing a week of opening God’s Word and soaking in his love and truth.

It’s my life.

Thank you, Abba.