The Book That Can Change Your Life!

If you are like most people, you would like to change your life. For the better of course! Did you know that in 2016 the U.S. self-help market* was worth 9.9 billion dollars? Self-improvement books are an 800 million dollar business. These markets are growing. We all have things we want to change. Sometimes, we are so desperate, we will try anything!

Nothing in my life, short of salvation, has changed me like God’s word. The word causes me to look deeply into my life and seek change. The word gives me hope when my heart is broken. The word gives me wisdom when I’m clueless or have a plan in mind that probably will not end well. The word gives me words when I don’t have words and prayers when I desperately need them, but can only organize my thoughts to repeat, “please God!” over and over.

Hebrews

The overarching theme of Hebrews “God has spoken”! The author makes a case for just how powerful the speaker and the speech is. He also points out that although our powerful God once spoke through profits, Jesus was God, right here with us speaking with the same power, demonstrating for us that we could all understand God’s word and experience change from that word.

In this verse, we learn that God’s word will reveal our innermost thoughts and desires, basically, all the bad stuff we hate to admit even enters our lives. But we can not hide from the word of God, it’s able to get down deep and effect powerful change.  Referenced here is a verse from Jeremiah 23:29

Does not my word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?

God tells us he will refine us like fire. One of the tools of our refinement is his Word.

Here’s a lesson I have learned. When the word convicts, pay attention. God is lighting a fire that needs your attention. As we are refined, we develop beautiful lives. Not beauty as the word defines, but beauty as God defines. God is relentless. He loves you and will pursue you until you address what the word reveals. Sometimes, I’m willing to change almost anything except what needs changing when what I need to do is stay in the Word, listen as God speaks to my heart, and then get serious about taking my direction from the creator of the universe rather than the latest self-help author.

What about you? Where do you look for advice concerning the changes that need to be made in your life?

As you ponder this verse ask yourself:
  • Am I willing to cooperate with God to expose and correct my sin?
  • When I read God’s word, is there a repeated theme that strikes me about the way I’m living my life?
  • Am I willing to work with God in rooting this sin out of my life?

Father, I pray that as we read and think about your word we will allow it to unveil our sin. I ask that you give us willing hearts and determined minds to cooperate with the change you would like to see in us. Grow us up into women who are mature Christ-followers determined to allow your refining word to do the work in us rather than turning to other resources.

* (John LaRosa, Research Director of Market Data LTD)

5 Memory Tips Straight from God’s Word

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

“You are constantly biting your nails! You need to learn to stop it.” Those were the words of my mother. Was I biting my nails constantly? No, of course not. But I was biting them frequently and it was a habit that needed to change. Eventually, I kicked that habit.

Habits are hard. Hard to break and hard to form when it’s a change that needs to be made.

What’s your habit with God’s word? Do you study it daily? Do you commit the words to memory, or as some may say, to heart? Do you spend time letting the word roll around in your mind as you seek to understand and apply it? I will confess, I’ve been guilty at times of a quick “morning fix” and moving on. But I’ve learned that I don’t change much with that approach and changing this sin hard heart is my goal!

Joshua is addressing the people of Israel just as they are about to cross out of the desert where they had wandered for 40 years and cross into the land of promise. A lot of things were about to change. Old habits would be no more and new habits would form to take their place. No more daily manna, they were entering the land of milk and honey and would harvest the food that would be eaten daily. No more pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. They would have to learn new ways of keeping the Lord foremost in their minds. Just as God had provided for 40 years in the wilderness he was providing now. The instructions were to study those words, those instructions, those laws that God provided to guide them in the new life they were about to enjoy.

Joshua goes on to say that only then if you keep God’s word continually before you will you prosper and succeed in all you do. If you read on, they didn’t. And the outcome was not so great! The word translated here as meditate is best represented by the concept of pondering the word.

Take a look at Deuteronomy 6:7-9 “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  These are the words of Moses.

So here’s the deal. We are supposed to have God’s word constantly before us if we want to stay in his will. I was thinking too, that the instructions Moses gives are really some great memorization tips.

  • Repeat them again and again.
  • Teach them to your children.
  • Talk about them with those you come into contact with throughout the day.
  • Stick them up where you will see them.
  • Write them on your hands and your foreheads if need be!

I’m sure you have seen the pictures of Jewish men with little boxes tied to thier heads or arms. But here’s what I’m thinking. Do they even know what’s in those boxes? I hope so! I really don’t plan to go around with a box tied to me. And that is really not going to help me remember God’s words. However, if I put that verse on my phone, on note cards on the table beside the chair I like to sit in, on a sticky note on my mirror and computer monitor, well, then I’m getting somewhere!

Learning from the mistakes of others is a relatively painless way to learn. Won’t you join me as I make it a daily habit to ponder God’s word?

Learning from the mistakes of others is a relatively painless way to learn. Won't you join me as I make it a daily habit to ponder God's word? #Memorizetheword #averseaday #steepedintheword Click To Tweet

If you would like to get my personal newsletter which I plan to send out about once a month from this point forward, please sign up here. If you already get my blog post emails then there’s no need to sign up again. You are already on the newsletter list.

 

 

 

 

The First and Final Word

He spoke the universe into being. The first word! Then, he sent his Son, to have the final word. This month we are going to concentrate on the Word of God.  I have decided that if I’m going to focus on what God says in his word, then it might be a good idea to also see what God has to say about his word. We will look at many of the things God tells us his word is and does.

From my study, I find there are two different Greek words for God’s word used. The first use is Logos. This is the word we will study for week 1. The second is hagah. The verb hagah means to ponder or look internally. This is really what happens when we study God’s word, and I’ve discovered, that’s exactly what God wants us to do.

Here’s the list, then we will look further at the verse for Week 32 which is this first week of August.

Week 1

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1 (NLT)

Week 2

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.  Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

Week 3

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

Week 4

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  James 1:22 (NLT)

Digging Deeper

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1 (NLT)

God created the world. This is Logos. Logos expresses an idea that gains concrete expression. Jesus is the Logos in that he is the final word in God’s redemption story. He shows us God in physical form, much like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit hovered over the deep and spoke, logos again, the world into being.

For years as I read John 1:1 it confused me. I was thinking Word…as in human words. But clearly, God’s word is nothing like human words. As I’ve studied the concept of God’s words I’ve learned that the word is many things: Here are just a few:

  • Truth
  • Powerful
  • Eternal
  • A Shield of Protection
  • Trustworthy
  • Wise
  • Life-giving/Salvation/Life Changing
  • With us

And then there is the list of things we are told to do with God’s word.

  • Believe it
  • Obey it
  • Teach it
  • Delight in it
  • Meditate upon it
  • Trust it

If you skip on down to John 1:14, John goes on to say:  “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” This is Logos again, and that word translated as home, means tent, as in the tabernacle that was also filled with God’s glory! God always ties everything up so neatly. He had the first word, and he will have the last.

If that doesn’t make you want to spend time in God’s word, I can’t imagine what will! Won’t you join me this week as we meditate on God’s mighty word so that we can gain the benefits it offers?

Here’s a printable version of this month’s verses. I hope you will print these out or write them down or both so that you can spend some time pondering these verses.

Memory Tip

Try setting an alarm to remind you to ponder your verse this week. If your life is like mine, I get busy and forget things. An alarm makes me take a few minutes to refocus.

Fearless Joy – Path to Freedom

She lived a life of fearless joy.  After years of fighting, cancer finally ended her life on earth. But what a legacy from one who lived life with joy in the face of daily pain! She feared nothing, not even cancer that sucker punched her at least twice.  She danced through life with a joy that was contagious. I know she is dancing now on the streets of heaven, greeted with what we all long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

In this Psalm, David is still on the run from the enemies trying to take his life. But he knows when he cries out to God he is heard and he trusts that the protection of God surrounds him. This brought freedom. Freedom to a man on the run and hiding in the hills. It is no coincidence that a man who trusted God in this way was called a man after God’s own heart.

But he knows when he cries out to God he is heard and he trusts that the protection ofGod surrounds him. This brought freedom. #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

Do you ever wonder, what would happen if we cried out to the Lord in our distress? Have you tried it? I have. Sadly, not as often as I should, but when I did I heard the soft whisper in my heart, “trust me” and as I trusted, my distress faded. I need a reminder that when the worry and distress of life threaten to choke me off, I need to cry out to God and then trust He’s got it! Committing this verse to memory is a good reminder for me. I’m making that promise part of who I am.

I wonder, do you need to cry out and then trust? I know my friend did, and it brought her pure joy! As I was thinking about a fitting memorial for her, it hit me! I need to live that joy-filled life! I can think of no better memorial.

Freedom to Choose Love Over Rules

I find it terribly freeing to not be caught up in a list of rules. I will memorize the rules, but then after a while, I just can’t do it! There is something in me that rebels against the constraint. Many of the old testament rules really were created by God to show how powerless we are to overcome sin in our lives. There are things in my life that demonstrate this truth. Take, for example, my many attempts to diet. I learn the rules, I commit to faithfully abiding by the rules, and I do for a while, but then as time passes I just feel backed up against an impossible standard! I want freedom from the rules!

In this verse, Paul is talking about how the Christ-follower has been set free from rule-following. Instead of being governed by a list of rules and by the dictates of man, we are instead governed by a greater principle, that is love.

Love, on the other hand, is not tied to rules. You live in the moment. You ask yourself, what is the most loving thing I can do, then you do it! Sometimes, giving up our freedom, because it is the loving thing to do is a choice we are compelled to make. But, we are free to choose to do the loving thing.

Jesus made choices like this all the time. Healing on the Sabbath, eating with tax collectors, forgiving sins. Freedom is not the easy way out. It’s the opportunity to step up to the plate and truly love one another!

When we accept Christ we are guided by the spirit living in us. The spirit will not condone satisfying our sinful nature. Sure, we can refuse to listen to the Spirit’s guidance and just do as we please sin and all, but then we aren’t really allowing Christ to be lord or ruler of our lives.

We are compelled as Christ-followers to go even further. We use our freedom to serve one another because love is the greatest commandment right? (Matthew 22:37-40)

This week let’s break a few rules as we use our freedom to demonstrate love!

 

 

No Longer Condemned

No condemnation. I’ve needed that message for a long time, and chances are I’ll need it again. I’ve been sensitive to criticism my entire life. I’ve endured a lot of it. The criticism has not only come from others but sometimes my self-talk is pretty condemning too, but I’m trying to change that! I grew up in a family that was pretty harsh with words. I thought this was normal until I was a grown woman. Continue reading “No Longer Condemned”

What Freedom Provides

This last week I pondered my freedom a great deal. I want to see my freedom as God sees it. Not from a cultural view or from my own selfish perspective.

In this portion of the gospel of John, Jesus makes the argument that a slave can never have security. Even a beloved slave can be sold. Once an owner dies, the slave is available to be purchased by another owner. Only a family member has the security of freedom. Continue reading “What Freedom Provides”

True Freedom is Found in Christ

Freedom, that’s what we celebrate as a country here in the U.S. Actually, we celebrate our independence as a country. But for me, as a Christ-follower, there is a freedom that is far more meaningful and much more valuable. I celebrate my freedom in Christ.

This freedom looks a little different. In Colossians We are told that in this new life it doesn’t matter if we are a Jew or a Gentile, barbaric, uncivilized slave or free.*

Yes, in this upside down world of the Christ-follower, freedom looks a bit different. #aversaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

Yes, in this upside down world of the Christ-follower, freedom looks a bit different than the freedom our country represents. We are free to love, free to serve and free to give up our own lives, take up our cross daily and follow our savior. In doing so, we learn in John 8:36 that then we will be truly free! Continue reading “True Freedom is Found in Christ”

Protected By My Father

Protected. Secure. Loved. Those are the feelings I remember. My earliest memory of my father is being carried down the street in his arms. He was wearing the suede coat he only wore in cold weather. But I was not cold. I was the treasured daughter of my father. I do not remember where we were. I do not know how old I was. But I clearly remember those feelings.

When I let go and lean into God I feel those same things! I’m encouraging you today, lean in! Let go of whatever is causing you to feel otherwise and just relax in our father’s arms. Yes, I’m speaking to myself too. The letting go is a daily effort.

I'm encouraging you today, lean in! Let go of whatever is causing you to feel otherwise and just relax in our father's arms. #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

I pray this week you will feel Protected, secure and loved by our heavenly father! Meditate on this verse to be reminded that he will always rescue you!

 

I Look Like My Father

I don’t look like my father, but I look like my father’s mother. Often, we can be placed into a family by our physical appearance. I have a half-sister who looks more like me than either of my sisters with whom I share both parents.

Our heavenly father wants us to look like him too! So he molds our character through life’s challenges to make us look more like him if we will cooperate.

Our heavenly father wants us to look like him too! So he molds our character through life's challenges to make us look more like him if we will cooperate. #memorizetheword #averseaweek Click To Tweet

When I first started to study the scriptures, I read discipline as punishment. That is not what this verse refers to. The verse speaks of a loving father who molds our character.

It’s a poor father who does not take enough interest in his child to influence their character for good. God is not that type of father. So the challenge is to lean into the molding. To trust the hands that mold. To see the challenges and the trials of life as opportunities to reflect a character that will cause others to take one look and place me in his family!

I pray this week you will look at each obstacle in your life through the eyes of the father who would coax your character into a reflection of him.