The Good Deposit

My memories are full of good, faithful people who invested a lot of time and effort into teaching me about God.Dec 19 2015 the good deposit.

Sunday School teachers.

Vacation Bible School teachers.

Camp counselors.

Pastors and Laymen.

They all contributed to the invaluable Christian upbringing that God gave me through them.

The most impactful deposit was made by my Godly parents whose faithfulness never wavered through all of the struggles and trials that life brings.  Witnessing my mother’s joy as she walked closely with God for 84 years is the most precious gift she ever gave me.

And I am very grateful.

Paul tells Timothy in his second letter to ‘guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you.’   (vs 1:14)

All of us have received this good deposit – the truth in God’s Word – and we are called to guard it.

Whether we have been surround by the truth our whole lives like I have or we have just accepted the gift of salvation last week, good deposits have been made in us.

Good deposits of sound teaching with faith and love in Christ Jesus have been entrusted to us.

Paul tells us to guard them with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Because they are precious.

So very valuable.

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 – The Foundations

We are having an amazing journey through Proverbs 3 as we memorize God’s word together.  God’s truth reverberates through our minds as we repeat these words over and over and over: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. 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.

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.Proverbs 3 to verse 25

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.

Awesome!  Here are the next 3 verses – they go well together:

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. ”

The words wisdom, understanding and knowledge are repeated over and over in Proverbs.  They are the basic foundation of knowing and living the truth – and it all comes from God.

These verses tell us how God used these basics to create the world we live in.   I was stuck on these sentences for a couple of weeks because, every time I got to this part, the sun was coming up as I drove into work.

And I would get lost in thinking about the majesty of God.

The omnipotence of God.

The glory of God.

The faithfulness of God …..as the sun rises again today and everyday.

I love the poetic picture of the clouds dropping their dew.

Thank you, awesome Father, for your creation!  I praise you for your faithfulness!

Set Free

” Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31.

Set free to love.November 5 2015 set free

Set free to live with purpose.

Set free because we know how this story ends.

Jesus is the Truth.

When we know the Truth, he sets us free.

Free from the lies.

Free from brokenness.

Free from emptiness.

Free from hopelessness.

We are free when we live in the truth of God the Father.

And he has written it out for us in his Word.

This is the truth he wants us to know and to meditate on and soak in.

His word is his revelation of himself to us.

So we can know him.

Because when we know him, we can hear him.

When we hear him, he can help us navigate through the land mines around us.

He can help us walk the good and straight paths that keep us close to him.

Because he loves us and desires a relationship with us.

“For God so loved the world.”

Thank you, Abba Father.

A Wise Woman

We’ve been hearing a lot from God about wisdom lately, haven’t we?  James 1 was full of directions to us regarding wisdom.April 15 2015 a wise woman

And now, in 1 Samuel, we read the story about a wise woman who saves a city.  How does she do that?

She was wise in her approach to Joab, she didn’t let emotions get in the way, and she had a good suggestion which she was willing to follow-through.

She speaks truth into the situation.  Joab is going to ‘take down’ the city in order to get one man.  The wise women spoke to Joab, reminding him that this was a peaceful city with a strong history of faithfulness to Israel.

And Joab agrees to just take the man and leave the city alone.

Just like that.

A wise woman speaking truth saved the lives of the people living in that city.

Please give us wisdom, Abba Father.

Completely Wrong

“God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle.”december 1 b Completely misquoted

I’m sure you’ve heard this – and you might have said this before.

It’s not in the Bible.  The verse that is being misquoted is in 1 Corinthians:

“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

What?  This isn’t even about struggles or suffering.  It’s about temptations.

And that makes sense to me.  In my experience, God often gives us more hardships and problems than we can face by ourselves.  When these things happen, we are driven to reach out to him, depend on him and he gets us through them.

So, every time I heard someone use this misquote, I knew it was wrong but I just figured out why its wrong.  It’s not in the Bible.

This is a great example to all of us about how we need to be grounded in the truth.

Another saying I hear sometimes is ‘God helps those who help themselves.’  Not in the Bible.  God actually talks to us often about loving others and serving others.

Have you heard any other quotes that sound like they are from the Bible but they’re not?

We know the truth when we read and internalize God’s word to us.   Knowing the truth sets us free from the lies!

Thank you, dear Father!

Think About It…..

Consider it…..

Give it careful thought.

This is the direction given by God to the Israelites about their priorities.  They had been very busy building nice houses for themselves and they had put off rebuilding God’s temple.Sept 26 2014 Think about it

The temple continued to lay in ruins while the Israelites went about their normal lives.

They were planting a lot but only harvesting a little.

They were eating, but they were never full.

They drank, but it was never enough.

They put on clothes, but they were never warm.

They were earning money, but it immediately disappeared into a purse full of holes.

God was telling them that he was withholding his blessings from them because their priorities weren’t right.

What about us?

Is it time to re-evaluate our priorities to make sure they are matching up to God’s?

Are we experiencing all of the blessings God has for us?

* Contentment because what God has already given us is enough?

* Fulfillment because we know we are busy completing God’s purpose for our lives?

* Peace because we have given God control over our lives and we’re trusting him?

* Joy because we are experiencing the love God has for us every day?

* Strength for each day and every situation because our lives are built on our Solid Rock?

God has these blessings along with a storehouse more, just waiting for us.

We thank you for your abundant blessings, dear Father!

 

A Perfect Father….

disciplines us.

When we do things that aren’t right, God loves us and so he chooses to discipline us.  It’s for our good.August 23 2013

When we react well to his discipline by learning the lesson and not repeating our error, we grow more like Christ and our relationship with God is stronger.

But it doesn’t feel good to be disciplined.  It’s never fun. 

When God has disciplined me, it’s always been a tough lesson.  I have learned one very important thing about God’s discipline – I need to learn the lesson the first time.  Otherwise, the lessons grow bigger and more obvious and harder until we hit bottom and THEN we look up to God.  I think this explains many of the issues we see in our lives and in the world around us – people are not responding positively to God’s discipline and so the issue gets bigger and worse until people finally  turn to God.

I’m trying to avoid that situation by ‘getting it’ and repenting and changing my behavior the first time.  It’s not easy, but its  worth the effort.

I’ve been forgiven and I’ve changed but I still  experience the consequences of some of my old, bad choices.  I’m amazed how sometimes I’m still paying the consequences for bad decisions I made over 30 years ago.  It doesn’t seem fair until I realize that paying those consequences remind me of my need for a Savior.  They remind me of how much I have been forgiven making it easier for me to forgive others.  Dealing with the consequences for my old, bad choices reminds me of my continuing need for God’s redeeming power in my life.  It reminds me of how faithful God has been to me so far on this journey and it helps me trust him with my future.

And I am reminded that he disciplines me because he loves me.  He wants only the best for me.

Thank you, dear Father.

Where am I planted?

A tree planted by a stream of water spreads its roots out to the stream and is rewarded with a constant source of nourishment.  The heat doesn’t bother it and its leaves are always green.  The tree doesn’t have to worry about rain or no rain – its planted in just the right spot.  It grows fruit every time its in season.  The storms come but the tree’s roots are strong and well-nourished so nothing can blow it away.

Sounds really nice, doesn’t it?  God uses this example a couple of times in his word to us – this time it’s in Jeremiah and the same picture is given to us in Psalm 1.July 31.2

Because this can be us.  This can be our life.  We can choose to plant our lives very close to the Living Water where we will be rewarded with a constant source of truth, peace, joy, love and encouragement. We will live fruitful, purposeful lives.  When we live close to the Living Water, we don’t have to worry about rain or no rain.  The storms come but we are firmly rooted, never blown away.

It’s not a one-time decision.  It’s a daily decision.

We decide if we’re going to live close to God today.

And then tomorrow we need to make the decision again.  And every day after that.

It’s priorities.  We all have a long list of things we can fill our days with that draw us away from God.

God just has to be more important to us than those things.

As God moves up our list of daily priorities, our roots grow stronger and we become better and better nourished.  We begin to grow more fruit.  We don’t have worry about rain and the storms don’t scare us.

By the time God gets to the top of our daily list of priorities, we are experiencing all of the blessings God has for us as we are lavishly fed by his Living Water.  Life is not perfect but it’s as good as it gets here on earth.  We have a Rock, we have a Refuge, we have a Counselor, we have the Truth, we have a loving Father and an Eternal Savior.

We need to seriously ask ourselves – where am I planted?  We can honestly tell where we’re planted by how much of the Fruits of the Spirit we are experiencing in our lives.  Love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  How much of these do we have in our lives?  The closer to God we grow, we experience more and more of these fruits in our lives.  If we want more of these, we know the Source.  it’s our choice.

Thank you, dear Father.

Let’s Boast

We aren’t boasting about our wisdom, dear Father.

Any wisdom we have comes from you.

We aren’t boasting about our strength, Holy God.

Our strength to even breathe comes from you.  It all comes from you.

We aren’t boasting about our riches, Omnipotent Creator.

Whatever we have has all come from you.

We only boast about knowing you.

You have chosen us, we are yours.July 29 2013

You have opened our eyes so we can see you.

You have opened our ears so we can hear you.

We experience your kindness in our lives every day.

We depend on your justice as you rule the universes.

We claim your gift of grace and become righteous in your eyes through the death and resurrection of your Son, our Savior, Jesus.

We boast about you, dear Father.  We delight in you.