Shake Off the Past and Embrace Redemption

She handed a long green strip of paper to my grandmother and already my sisters and I were jockeying to be the one who got to paste the stamps into the book. As children, we loved to browse the catalog. We focused on toys and sporting equipment while my grandmother marked items in the house-wear section like a new ironing board or a pressure cooker. All of us dreamed of the day we will fill the requisite number of books and trade the green stamps for something we wanted.

Last week I was privileged to post on my friend Tracy Herbener’s site Redeemed-Rewritten-and Redefined. If you’d like to read more, you can do so here.

Write Your Own How-To Message to Show Off Christ

Turn on the television, jump over to Facebook, Twitter, or any one of dozens of sites just like them and you are bombarded with “how-to” messages and things you must do, must have, or should never…

In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3

Paul is talking to believers about having confidence in God’s plan for salvation, Christ and Christ only. His readers lived in a world surrounded by empty philosophies and well-crafted messages from those who would stand against Christ rather than for him. Sound familiar?

We live in a world where I sometimes feel absolutely bombarded by messages that I know run contrary to the teachings of Christ. The messages are well written and compelling, just as they were when Paul wrote to the Colossians. In Ephesians 3:10 we are told that the church has been chosen to display the wisdom hidden in Christ.

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:10

We are compelled as the church to display what Christ has done in the world. To live lives that show off God’s salvation and redemption. Note that the verb here is display, not argue or discuss or even plead.  No, we display the power of Christ and his salvation by living lives that are so different, so compelling that it is clear to all who see that what Christ offers is wisdom. Christ is the only path to salvation from all the emptiness of this world that clamors for our attention.

I may reach a few people with my meager offering of words. My words are intended to encourage the Christ-follower, not change the unbeliever. But how I live my life matters to those who follow Christ and those who do not.

People are hungry for answers. If this were not true, then we would see all those how-to articles go away. So, I say we live how-to lives, lives that show off the source of all wisdom, our treasure, our Savior. #Steepedintheword… Click To Tweet

People are hungry for answers. If this were not true, then we would see all those “how-to” articles go away. So, I say we live “how-to” lives, lives that show off the source of all wisdom, our treasure, our Savior. None of us are going to get this all right every day. I’d like to challenge you to stretch out with deliberate acts that show the message of Christ. Don’t focus on what you will say, instead, focus on what you will do.

Let’s Think This Through

What measuring device are you using to sort out the messages you encounter daily?

False news has been a big concern in today’s culture. How can we as Christ-followers stand protected from the impact this news has on our lives and actions?

Consider reaching out in a display of Christ’s love this week. What is one thing you can do to “show off” Christ?

Father, you have invested in us. That’s pretty amazing to me, and I don’t want to squander the investment. I want to join together with the other members of your church to demonstrate for the world that you are a life changer.

It doesn’t take much looking to see that in a world bombarding us with messages of what to do and how to think that we are living surrounded by people seeking change. Help us live lives that show we are changed. We know that with your spirit living in us, we have the power to impact our world.

What Does Wisdom Look Like?

The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. Psalm 14:2 (NLT)

At one time, I thought knowledge would solve a lot of my problems. I loved learning and as I left high school and a difficult family life behind, my goal was to get an education and change my life. And, I did, and it did. What I did not realize at this young age was that I had already begun to look to the source of all wisdom, I just needed to grow in my faith walk to recognize that wisdom tops knowledge every time.

This is a Psalm of David. He is lamenting how foolish we humans can be. So, the point he’s making here is that we try to rely on our own power when in reality, we are powerless. The only wise path is to seek and rely on God.

As Christ-followers we intuitively know this truth. The trouble comes as we try to live it out. I think in our culture of self-reliance and independence we have been trained to fall back on what we can accomplish.  As a woman who came of age in the ’70’s “I am woman, hear me roar” was beginning to become embedded in our upbringing and echos loudly today.

Christ calls us to be counter-cultural. Our call is no different than the call on first century Christians. It might look a bit different in our current millennium, but the challenges have much in common. As I think on this truth, I realize that much of what drew other’s to Christ was the fact that the lives of Christ-followers looked different than the lives of those in their neighborhoods and cities.

Much of what drew other's to Christ was the fact that the lives of Christ-followers looked different than the lives of those in their neighborhoods and cities. #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

The question I must ask myself today is how different my life looks from those who live around me. Can those whom I encounter as I go to the grocery, the bank, the exercise class or the park see that I am different? Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not talking about physical signs of difference. I’m speaking of character, of actions. If a good hard look at myself finds me fitting into societal expectations enough that my character does not stand apart, then I guess I need to be seeking God with a bit more enthusiasm if I hope to seen as one who is that light on a hill.

Decades later, I still love to learn. I learn new things all the time. But I have come to value wisdom above knowledge, and I am learning to seek the source of all wisdom through his word. I am challenging myself to examine God’s word and unravel my cultural perspectives as I strive to be more like Christ.

Let’s Think This Through

  1. How much do you think the culture around you influences your decisions and your actions?
  2. How do you think the life of a Christ-follower might look different than the lives around them? Think of actions, rather than words.
  3. How can you make a conscious effort to live a life that looks more like Christ and less like your culture? Focus on just 2 or 3 things for now.
  4. What role do you feel reading and thinking about God’s word plays in your path toward wisdom?

Father, Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us through your word.  Help us to live lives that speak for us, without words being needed to show the world that we are striving to follow after you.

We know that without your help, we are powerless to find wisdom. Use your word to change us. Share your wisdom with us as we read your word and think about it regularly. Provide opportunities for us to sparkle with your wisdom being lived out in our lives and draw others to your light.

The Path to Wisdom

I have been studying wisdom. In our society, we tend to think of the wise as one who possesses knowledge or intelligence. Here’s what fascinates me. The source of all wisdom is God and I believe he is all knowing and certainly has intelligence. So much so, that even thinking we might have a bit of intelligence is laughable.

Biblically, God’s wisdom is expressed through his creative and redemptive work. And then, of course, his power to keep it all humming along. But wisdom for man is expressed more as a moral measure. So, essentially, God is wise. He created us and the world we live in. He gave us laws to live within his world and our expression of wisdom is learning and living by those laws. I don’t know about you but although this makes perfect sense, it did require that I adjust my thinking a bit about wisdom.

I’ve lived much of my career in a world where knowledge was valued, or perhaps revered is a better word. Knowledge was seen both as a means to an end and as a solution to many of mankind’s problems. I still value knowledge, but I’m learning to put it in its place. So much of science is the infinite study of God’s creation, but the knowledge of the creation is often sought without the acknowledgment of the creator. That is not wisdom. I want us to be on the right track. So this month, let’s take a look at wisdom, rather than knowledge, from God’s perspective.

What God Says About Wisdom

Week 40

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it. Proverbs 8:11

Week 41

The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. Psalm 14:2

Week 42

In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3

Week 43

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Matthew 7:24

Week 44

A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. Proverbs 15:14

Discovering the Value of Wisdom

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. Proverbs 8:11

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it. Proverbs 8:11

Solomon, known as the wisest man ever, sought and valued wisdom. Oh, he had riches too because he was also the richest man ever.  Hmmm…think there was a connection there? Of course, there was! God said, Solomon because you asked me for wisdom, and not riches, I’m giving you both. So, God says seek wisdom, ask me for it, and I will unfold many things for you that are worth having. This does not mean that God will make us all rich enough to have a palace full of rubies, but it does mean we will not come up lacking. The man who should know said, there is nothing we can desire that can compare with wisdom. God’s wisdom is practical. It brings joy and gives life.

God says seek wisdom, ask me for it, and I will unfold many things for you that are worth having. #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

Father, We know that wisdom has value. But sometimes we forget that you are the source of wisdom and we turn to other places looking. Help us keep our eyes on the wisdom you have provided for us in your word. Help us to value your wisdom enough to spend time studying it. Enough to commit it to memory. Enough to put it into action.

Thank you for making wisdom so attainable. For most of us, there is nothing standing between us and your word.

All verses are from the New Living Testament unless noted elsewhere.

Facing a Challenge When You Feel Inadequate

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NLT

For a long time, friends who know me well have been telling me, “you need to write.” And you know, my heart is really in writing Bible studies. But I have no theological training other than what I have gleaned from God’s word on my own or sitting in church on Sunday for over 50 years. Feelings of inadequacy taunt me. You know why? Because I’m looking at my own personal skills when what I should be looking at is my skill plus God’s guidance if he’s called me to write, and I believe he has.

Why do I struggle to control those things that seem problematic in my life when I could just turn loose and God would either take care of it or remove me from the situation? #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

When we work with God we are capable of unimaginable things. But I forget this I guess because I’m often found judging what I can accomplish based on my skills, abilities, and resources. Sound familiar to anyone? Why do I struggle to control those things that seem problematic in my life when I could just turn loose and God would either take care of it or remove me from the situation? I’m great at asking this question in hindsight!

After a career that focused on problem-solving my natural inclination is to see a problem, come up with a potential solution and put that solution into action. Not only do I feel out of control when I’m not doing this type of problem-solving, I feel like I’m not pulling my weight. But you know what, I’m not meant to pull such a heavy load, and neither are you. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t meant to sit around on our backsides sipping coffee and eating chocolate, we have work to do work that is assigned to us. When we stay in our lane, the God who raised Christ from the dead, will act from his lane, right beside us, which is where the heavy lifting occurs. We are only kidding ourselves if we think we can accomplish what God has planned for us alone.

Let’s Think This Through

So…God says we are created to do good works, things he assigned us to do.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

God will apply his mighty power to accomplish more than we can even wrap our brains around. (Ephesians 3:20)

But when the load get’s too heavy, we are probably taking on things that weren’t assigned to us. Here’s what Jesus said:

“For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28

Putting it into Action
  • What problem is burdening you right now?
  • Are you trying to solve the problem alone, or have you leaned into God for his direction and power?
  • If you have not spent time discussing the problem resolution with God, what’s stopping you? I’m not talking about presenting God with your own solution and asking him to “make it happen”, I’m talking about asking him for his solution and then leaning into that.
  • Is there anything you feel you should do, and you believe God is asking it of you, but fear is holding you back?

Father, we are so tired of trying to solve our own problems. We are also tired of feeling inadequate to do what we need to be doing. Please help us to remember that if we will give you control you will not only lighten our load but amaze us with the things we are able to accomplish with your power working in and through us. Thank you for using us to do your work. And thank you for your patience as we learn to let go of our need to control and lean into you.

There’s An App For That

I have a new memory tip for you. This week I read about a couple of apps that help with Scripture Memory. I loaded two on my phone and am trying them out. They have slightly different features and I’d like to share what I’m learning.

The first I loaded is called Scripture Typer. It helps you memorize by reminding you to review a verse and then asking you to type only the first letter of each word in the verse. You can set it to give you a signal when you miss a word. There is a pro version but I’m not sure it’s something I need. This app works on Apple products, Android products, and even Kindle.

The second I loaded is called Remember Me. You also have the option to type the first letter of each word, as you do, it reads the word out loud. Some of you may like this. For me, it’s distracting. But this app also has some features to work word puzzles with the verse. I had read that it was a free app but I use an iPhone and it cost me $2.99. That’s certainly a price I was willing to pay for the basic features. Additionally, it will read the verse to you one word at a time, but I don’t like the voice inflection which isn’t always consistent with the meaning of a word in context. This app is available for Android and Apple products. Here’s a video on how this app can be used.

For now, I’m keeping both apps. I will use Scripture Typer to test myself and reinforce my memory. It will be useful to keep me reviewing verses so that they go into long-term memory and not just short term. I will probably use an occasional game on the Remember Me app just because it’s fun.

Both apps also let you create groups and then you have accountablity for your efforts to memorize scripture.

Have you used any apps to help you memorize scripture? If so, I’d love to hear what you have used and what you think about them. Who is interested in joining a group on Scripture Typer for accountability? If you are, please let me know, I’ll start one.

If you are interested in accountability you can post below or send me an email.

When It Feels Like the World is Careening Out of Control, God’s Got It!

So many things happen that I don’t understand. I’m not talking about things that happen just to me. I see it all around me, and I know there is much more, so much more, that I don’t see. But just because there is adversity, just because evil does exist and people are hurt by it, just because there is a tragedy, does not mean God is not in control. As a matter of fact, because of all of this, I am grateful, that God is in control when it feels like the world is careening out of control! I take comfort that it’s not as senseless as it appears. It’s not as hopeless as it feels.

I am grateful, that God is in control when it feels like the world is careening out of control! #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

In this verse, the crooked is the adversity that God allows into our lives. I cannot change the adversity. God has allowed it. In doing so, His word tells me, there is a purpose. So rather than focusing on what I want to see changed, I need to focus instead on what God is doing with the adversity in my life.

Is he drawing me close? Is he pruning out things in my life that will leave me better off when they are gone? Is he teaching me or giving me a gift for later? Faith tells us that in the blink of an eye, God could right all these wrongs, clear every adversity from our path. But as we look around us, it is clear that he does not. He is in control. Our challenge, to trust his love and provision in spite of and through these hard things, and perhaps in some instances, because of the hard stuff.

There are so many questions in life for which we have no answers. So many situations which we can not change. The human reaction is to call these tragedies. In reality, they were allowed by God. There is somewhere, most likely outside of our human understanding, a reason. I believe we will never know the reason for many of these situations this side of heaven. If it were up to me, I would do away with all these challenges, all these sorrows. But, I choose to give over control to God, for things I can not control anyway. I trust that God loves me and that whatever he allows in my life is for my good.

A life of faith keeps me holding onto God’s promises.  The last recorded words of Jesus, just as he ascended back into heaven:  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  

This is like the locker room pep talk! It’s not going to be easy, but you can do this! I am with you, and I have already overcome the worst there is. Nothing that touches you on this earth is more than I can handle, stick with me, you can handle it too!

Putting it into Action

  • What is the worst thing that has happened to you that’s in your past? As you look back, do you see any good that came from this situation?
  • Are there things in your life that feel out of control right now? How are you dealing with that feeling?
  • As you look around, do you have moments when you feel a sense of despair for what you see in the world? Do you ever fear that this is an indication that God has lost control? How does your faith impact how you react to these situations?
  • How do you think you can prepare yourself for troubles that lie ahead in your path?

I believe God sees a much bigger picture than we do. I choose to trust Him with all the despair, knowing that he loves and cares for every individual he ever created. But at times, hanging on can be hard. This is one of the reasons I’m so grateful for the Word of God planted in my heart.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Over the last year, I’ve come to appreciate a song by Laura Story called Blessings. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.

God, we look around, and some of the things we see are so troubling. So much we don’t understand. Help us make a choice to trust that your big picture is better than our daily view. I ask that you will help us to fortify our faith by storing up your word for the hard times that we will encounter in this life. And thank you, for your assurance that despite the way it looks sometimes, you love us, and you’ve got this!

 

 

When It’s Too Big to Control You Need Power Under Control

I already knew this thing was too big to control. We flew in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. It was very dramatic. This bubble of windows flew low over the trees with a recorded soundtrack playing. It was some dramatic music I don’t remember, only that it was building to a crescendo. Suddenly, the ground fell away beneath us, and we were over the canyon. I’m afraid of heights; I gripped my husband’s leg frantically. But then I became enthralled. Tears threatened to burst free, and I was singing How Great Thou Art in my mind and soul. It was just too incredible to express. But what an expression of God’s creative power.

When we gaze into the night sky or watch the eclipse of the sun like John, and I did a couple of summers ago from a park near our home in the path of totality, we know we see something awesome. If you have any faith at all, you realize the power and attention to detail that was needed. Or, if you spend your professional career looking through a microscope at the wonders of cellular life and the order and detail you observe you realize that it’s just another expression of this same awesome power.

But hear this, while his power is capable of control, he is not interested in being controlling! #steepedintheword #averseaweek #memorizetheword Click To Tweet

Now, jump to your life. If God is in control of the stars and cares enough to order the microscopic world and I’m telling you there is amazing order there! Then it is rather foolish to think that we can do a better job of controlling our own lives than God can. If God calls the stars by name, then he’s interested in more than just their position in the sky. He knows your name too friend, and he’s interested in every detail of your life. But hear this, while his power is capable of control, he is not interested in being controlling! He can provide you with an orderly and amazing life. This is called abundant life in his word you know. But he provides the order by giving us guidance on how to live our lives. He allows us the freedom to  “opt-in” or out and then for those who ask for his salvation he works to guide us down the best path by his spirit and his word.

This is why I learn his word. I have learned that God’s order is something I want in my life. I’ve seen its awesomeness in the skies overhead, the canyon beneath our helicopter and through the microscope. I know that at every level of creation he does awesome things. I want in!

What about you? Do you want to learn more about God’s plan for us by studying his word? If so, are you actively doing that daily? I hope so, and if you are not, let me tell you from experience, it is life changing….in a great way!

Putting it into Action

What are the most awe-inspiring displays of God’s power you have seen in nature?

How does thinking about what God does in the natural world inspire you to trust him?

If you trust God, what are you doing to learn about his plans for you?

Father, I have seen your awe-inspiring works in creation at all levels. I don’t pretend to know the power you possess, but I know it’s bigger than I can wrap my brain around. Seeing your power helps me to see that absolutely nothing that happens to me is too big for you! Thank you for providing me with the assurance that you not only care about every detail of my life but have the power to do something about it! Thank you too, that you allowed me the choice to love and trust you. I want to trust you by learning your word as a guide for living my life.

If you are new here because I met you at White Mills Christian Camp, welcome! If you would like to get a verse a week to help you steep your life in God’s Word then please subscribe. This conveniently places each week’s post right in your inbox.

Life Lessons as God Guides Our Steps

Some lessons are learned by walking them. I had retired and had plans to get so many things accomplished. God had other plans. He knew I had some healing to do and he provided the space for that. But then, I got stuck. I had spent so many years rushing that once I set down to rest, I just stayed there. I knew this was not good, so I took a part-time job. I planned to be out around others, being more social, which can be a challenge for this introvert, and to learn a lot of new things. God must have chuckled at those plans because I find myself often spending 90% of my time in the office alone. The first few weeks, I learned a lot, but then the job became pretty routine. The need to stretch my mind is rare. But God did provide a lot of time to think. Looking back, I’m pretty sure that God knew I was going to get stuck and he just wanted to get me moving again. He is teaching me to value the flexibility of retirement but to apply the same structure and discipline I had during my working years at perhaps just a bit less frantic pace. While he left me free to choose the path he would use to teach me this lesson, he provided the lesson all the same.

God really is interested in every detail of our lives. If you look up the word here for directs is means orders or established. God brings a sense of order to the decisions we make, even if you sometimes tend to ping or be a bit random as I can. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge, other times we need a shove to get going in the right direction.

When we read that God directs our steps, this is not as in laying out a road and commanding we walk only on a single path. His direction is more of a goal than individual steps, and he moves us steadily in that direction by moving things out of our way that might trip us or allowing other events, even though they may be difficult, to remain in our path. His guidance will grow our character and our faith too if we acknowledge His hand on our lives.

David is writing this Psalm, and he’s speaking from experience. He’s writing about the preservation of the life of one who delights in the Lord because he has had first-hand experience of God showing up and preserving his life.

He’s the boy who was chosen least likely to be anointed king by his father and his brothers but was anointed king. Why? Because God was looking at his heart and liked what he saw, a young boy, who trusted in him.

He’s the boy who threw off man’s protection of oversized armor, facing a seemingly invincible giant with his faith and a slingshot along with a healthy dose of indignation that his countrymen were allowing their God to be insulted.

He’s a young man, on the run from a king and his army learning how to be a king. Trusting God for provision and finding it again and again.

Put It Into Action

As you lean into this verse this week ask yourself:

  • In what difficult circumstances of your life have you seen God provide for you?
  • Where do you sense God’s pleasure as you walk through life?
  • Where do you think God may be re-directing your path?
  • Can you think of small things in your life where God has shown up?
  • Proverbs 16:9 says We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. What does this verse mean to you in light of this week’s verse?
  • Proverbs 149:11 remind’s us that the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him. Those who put their hope in his unfailing love. The fear spoken of is a healthy respect. How does this influence your path?

Father, we are so thankful that no detail of our lives is too small for your attention. You care about the little things as well as the large. We also thank you both for the freedom to make our own choices and your gentle or even not so gentle redirection when it’s called for.

I know that you want what’s best for us, and because you created us, you know what delights us, and you provide for our fulfillment. Because we can be so short-sighted sometimes God, we thank you for using your infinite knowledge to keep us safe, prepare us for the path ahead and pointing us in a direction that is good for us when we get off track. Help us tune our hearts to hear your voice.

The NLT Bible translation is used for all verses quoted here.

The Illusion of Control

As a woman who often believes she’s got control of her own life, it sometimes takes a peek into someone else’s life to drive home the truth. I read an article this week.  It was about young women who are not ready to have children, but who are concerned that at some future date they may desire children and find that the window of fertility has passed. So, they freeze their eggs. It wasn’t the egg freezing or even the ticking of the biological clock that got my attention, but quotes from the women. Here’s one that’s typical.

“The process, she said, “is a way for you to feel like you’re in control of your life, at least at the time you are doing it.”

Who hasn’t been down that path of thinking? We all have moments when we think we can wrangle control of our own lives, direct our destinies. But that is nothing but an illusion. And furthermore, it’s foolish.

The Challenge

I Peter1:14

I think one of the difficult things in a walk of faith is to let go of the control. Sure, we have dreams, but to walk in faith, we must hold those dreams and plans loosely and allow God to guide. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can make better decisions than God. Peter tells us that letting go in obedience is a key indicator of a changed life.

Because God loves us so much, he plans what’s best for us. Now I know from personal experience, that it doesn’t always feel that way when you are in the thick of it. But what I have learned about God’s nature, and my faith tells me it’s true. And as I’ve walked this path of Christ-following, I’m finally starting to figure out that life is a lot easier if I let go of my plans when it’s clear that God has something else in mind.

As I read on in the article, I noted that at least one of the egg freezing facilities had suffered from a power outage rendering the eggs non-viable. Women were suing. Now, I get that.  They went through a great deal of discomfort and paid a lot of money to store up those eggs for later use. I’ve invested in plans too. I’ve had those plans fall flat. I’ve railed at the disappointment I felt and pleaded my case.

As I throw a hissy fit, God is willing to listen to my disappointment. When I’ve exhausted the emotional storm, he points to his crucified son and asks “Are you ready to trust?” I see many examples in scripture where he patiently listened, but then he has the expectation that we will put the rant behind us and get lined up with his plans for us.

As I throw a hissy fit, God is willing to listen to my disappointment. When I've exhausted the emotional storm, he points to his crucified son and asks, Are you willing to trust? #steepedintheword #averseaday Click To Tweet

That’s as good a segway as any to the verses for September, reminders of the illusion of control and the power in letting go of that illusion.

Verses for September:

Week 1

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.    1 Peter 1:14 (NLT)

Week 2

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23

Week 3

He determines the number of the stars and calls them by name. Psalm 147:4

Week 4

Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he’s made crooked. Ecclesiastes 7:13

Week 5

Now all glory to God, who is able through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

And Now…

Won’t you join me this month as we spend time examining our desire for control and our need to turn it over to the only one who is worthy?

Father, help us to recognize the power of filtering all our dreams and plans through your hands. We want to trust you to keep those that are good for us and discard those that will harm us. We want to hang onto you as life throws the hard stuff at us, rather than trying to hang onto control. We know that you have the power, the wisdom and the love to handle not only our dreams but the emotions that go with them. I’m so glad you see a bigger picture than we do. Help us to trust your love as we walk forward together.

Test the Promise

Diet plans are a dime a dozen. We read about them, we hear about them, and if we want to lose weight, we try them. How do we decide what to try? Speaking for myself, I try what I believe will work. I take the first steps to test the promise. Once I see a change in my body, I’m more likely to stick with the plan and share the plan with others.

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)

James is pointing out to us that if we really believe God’s word, we will put it into action! The proof of our belief is by our action. Now I know, we don’t find salvation by our own actions. However, if we truly believe in the power of God and the principles he lays out for living our lives in his word, then we will test the promise by implementing what we read.

James said earlier in this chapter that we should lay aside the sinful living that we had before our encounter with Christ. Any void must be filled with something. James suggests that we fill the void in our lives with obedience. God’s word is powerful.  When we allow the word to reveal our sin and then live by the instructions the word gives, our lives will be powerfully changed. But, if we refuse to see our sin, or we don’t implement a new, obedient way of living as our sin is revealed, then there really is no power in reading or even memorizing God’s word.

Today my pastor talked about the rich young ruler and his encounter with Jesus. This young man was not really open to change. He asked Jesus, “what should I do” but when he heard, he was unwilling to change. He was not willing to look inside himself and decide that change would give him what he sought. So, he went away sad. It really is sad, because he had just encountered the true answer to what he said he was seeking. He’d met a man who would fulfill his promise.

If I have discovered the ultimate diet plan, but I continue to overeat daily, enjoying all sorts of sweet, rich and salty foods, then the diet plan is worthless.

I have discovered the ultimate plan for changing my life, exchanging the old way for a life that is called abundant by God. But I have to do more than just read about it, I have to grab hold and live it!

This week I pray that you will allow the word to reveal in you the change God desires. Then friend, live what you are reading and learning from God’s word. That is where you will find the power!

Put It Into Action
  • Are you willing to test the promises of God’s word by putting them into action?
  • Are you letting go of sin and filling that void with living according to Biblical principles?
  • Are you seeing God’s power in your life?

If you don’t see God’s power just now, hang on! Not all change is instantaneous. In fact, most lasting change is not! Sometimes you have to step back a bit from the situation to see the change God brought about. If you find yourself here, then I’m praying with you!

Father, help us to bravely test your promises. Give us the courage to make lasting change in our lives. To let go of our sin and ask for your help to live out your word. I believe you can change us. Help us cooperate with your holy spirit and continue to learn from your word as you transform us into women who enjoy abundant life!