I love questions that make me think!
This one really made me think. I posed the question to my husband and he is even more analytical than I am (I know hard to believe!) and he replied, “If you are making a resolution for something, it would be something that is important to you so why would you make any resolution that you wouldn’t keep.”
That comment made me re-visit every resolution that I have ever made throughout my entire life. How serious was I about the promises I made to myself at the turn of each new year? What example am I setting to our daughters as they see me start and generally not finish things that are really important. I know that this is a pattern that I have to stop.
What's my one resolution?
Delving into the scriptures and intentional study is mandatory in these times that we are currently living. To be grounded in truth is integral to stand firm in our faith. I want to be so full of God's words that I am able to stand up against anything that may come my way.
So how would you answer that question? What's your one resolution? Grab your journal, a cup of tea and spend a few moments with it. Want support with your resolution? Write it in the comments below.
I have been studying for a lot of exciting projects that are going to be happening in the new year. Psalm 139 is an important chapter that we study. So I thought I would start there. I didn’t get very far when Psalm 139:3 stopped me in my tracks.
You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.
I always knew about the “path” that I am continually trying to locate and stay on. But telling me where to stop and rest was something I don’t ever remember reading or learning before.
If I had to pin point my location on the path I would say that I am at a resting place. I have tried fighting against this rest stop. I can see the road ahead of me and I want to keep moving and reach for the goals that God has me striving for.
The more I fight the harder God tried to hold me in the resting place. Why would I want to fight rest?
Looking back on the last two years I am asking myself a lot of questions. Currently I am choosing to enjoy the rest. I now know that this is a time of “being still” and taking time to study and prepare for what God has next. I am enjoying it and treasuring this time that I get to spend with my Lord. I am learning and growing tremendously - I have learned to be thankful for this time.
The question arises again. Why did I fight this? Why did it have to come to the point of health issues for me to give in and give myself over to a period of rest.
As a society we are driven to succeed. A period of rest could look like laziness and lack of dedication to the calling that God has placed on your life. I was enjoying what I was doing for God, why would I want to stop? I was helping people-- encouraging people to live their lives with and on purpose. I won a National award for my book-- why would I want to stop when everyone was asking when my next book is coming out?
Now that I have chosen to stop and rest I have a clearer vision of what God has in store. It is bigger and greater than anything that I was striving for when I was fighting the rest, and something I would have never seen if I didn’t have this time of rest.
Every moment You know where I am and why I am there - may I continue to be obedient and trust that you know the path better than I may think I do.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16
I love my Bible. I love to just sit and hug it sometimes. Does that sound a little strange to you? Try it. Go and grab your Bible, dust it off if you have to and give it a tight squeeze. I love to sit in a quiet place, close my eyes, hug my Bible, take a few deep breaths inhale…..….exhale……… and just be still. Can you feel it? That overwhelming sense that you are not alone. That the One who created you, the One who loves you and needs you is eagerly waiting to spend time with you.
I have to be honest with you, I stopped reading my Bible years ago. Reading it was doing nothing for me.
One day while I was visiting with a friend I told her my problem with my Bible. She told me that I was doing wrong, the problem was not my Bible, it was me.
You’re not supposed to read your Bible you are supposed to study your Bible.
Oh, I get it. If I am serious about my faith and understanding what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ I need to study God’s word.
As I began to study amazing things began to happen. I saw passages in the Bible in ways that I never heard before. Things I had learned over and over again in Sunday school and youth now took on new meaning and I began to understand how these things that happened so long ago are applicable to my life right now.
Are you up for a little Bible trivia?
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.” nlt
Wow, did that verse ever speak to me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord—it is better to escape, find cover, shelter or sanctuary in the Lord. Then to put your trust, confidence, hope or faith in people.
How often I found myself dealing with something and the first thing I would do, is to run to one of my friends. But what does that verse tell us? The best place to go would be where we can find shelter, at the feet of our Lord. It’s a hard thing to choose to do. People are tangible, they are right there in front of you, you can ask them questions and you can clearly hear their response. You know what? That can happen in your relationship with Christ as well!
As you begin to study His word (Joshua 1:8) and hide it in your heart (Psalm 119:11), you are developing your relationship with Him (2 John 1:9). As that relationship blossoms you will be able to understand scripture more clearly (Matthew 13:12) and be able to hear His “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).
How does that sound? Does it sound a little overwhelming? I know sometimes when I look at my Bible it just seems so big. I am not sure what I want to read or what God wants me to read. I get so overwhelmed that I just put it down and do something else. If you look at the last paragraph I listed five scriptures. That is a great place to start!
Take time to apply it to your life: Here is your challenge. Begin to study those five verses. How do you study? Let’s use Joshua 1:8 as our example. I begin by learning about the book. In my Bible it gives you a synopsis of each book. So I would learn who wrote it, when it was written and what the main theme of the book is. So now I know all about the book of Joshua. With that information in my head I would then read the whole chapter. So in this example I would read Joshua chapter one. I want to find out what is happening, why was this verse written and who is the author writing it to.
In order to understand what you believe in you have look at the big picture. Reading a verse here and there gives you a very limited knowledge of scripture and who God is.
Your challenge today is to go to one of your favorite verses and start to understand it completely. Who said it? Who did they say it to? Why did they say it? What was happening at this period in time in Scripture? There are so many questions that you can ask fully understand just one verse. I have done this so many times and it has lead me to study Roman history and understanding culture of the day. There is no end to knowledge and it is yours to discover.
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Happy Bible reading and have a beautiful day!
Recently, while I was out with a group of friends we were talking about where we could improve in our walk with Christ. What kept being repeated around the circle was fitting in morning devotions either as an individual or as a family.
As everyone was sharing about their busy schedules and various reasons why they didn’t have time to fit in devotions; my mind was busy pondering the word and the act of devotions.
Why do we do devotions?
Does God require us to do devotions?
Am I a failure as a Christian if I do not do daily devotions?
Where does the word devotion come from?
Why are devotions something that we feel we need to do?
Why do we feel guilty if we do not do them?
Have you ever thought any of those questions? I know that I have asked myself these questions and I need to search out the answers.
So let’s figure this out together. Let’s get to the root of the word: Devotion.
The word devotion originated in the 13th Century as a term to describe loyalty to God. The secular translation came in the 16th Century as it was translated to French and Italian.
Today’s definition of the word devotion means to have profound dedication. The two main definitions that I found for devotion refer to the devotion between a husband and wife or a religious observance.
I am intrigued by the definition- Profound dedication- let’s take a look at that.
If you are profoundly dedicated to something then you will make time, space and money available to whatever it is. For example, if I was dedicated to becoming an Olympic figure skater than I would do everything possible to make that a reality. I would choose to spend hours training and practising, invest a lot of money for equipment, coaching, etc. and give up relationships and other opportunities to make my dedication to becoming an Olympic figure skater a priority. Are you seeing what being dedicated looks like?
The word profound really stood out to me. The word profound means- going far beneath what is superficial, external, or obvious and the word dedication means: being wholly committed to. Do you see where this is going? Devotion is going beyond what we know and can see and being wholly committed. What are you wholly committed to? That question can be answered differently by everyone. For myself, I am wholly committed to my loving Father and my growing relationship with Him. I am willing to go beyond all that I can see and know and search to know more, grow more and become more.
“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct and devotion to God.” Titus 2:12 (NLT)
Let’s go back and look over the questions at the beginning.
Why do you do devotions? My answer would be because I am dedicated to developing and growing my relationship with Christ. What is your answer?
Does God require us to do devotions? Are we failures as Christians if we do not do daily devotions? I believe the answer to those questions is: no. Our Father would love to spend time with us; He is waiting and desiring to spend time with us. It is up to us to make the time. Time spent in prayer and the study of God’s word is never wasted. The more you do it; the more you want to do it. When we do not make the time the feelings of guilt move in because there is something deep down inside of us that needs and desires that time.
The time that you choose to dedicate in devotion and worship to God is an investment into yourself. In order to fully understand who you have been created to be, you need to spend time with the One who created you.
Do you think God is pleased if you choose to do devotions because you feel you have to, out of some Christian obligation? How would you feel if someone came to hang out with you just because they felt like they had to? It probably wouldn’t be that great; it has the possibility to change and become a good time but it could also be a short, awkward visit. Now think about having someone over who is excited to be there and hang out with you. The time would pass so quickly and you wouldn’t want it to end.
If you choose to worship with this type of dedication and devotion, do you think that it will make your life easier? The path with God is not always easy, there will be ups and downs, twists and turns but you will never be alone.
The next time you sit down to do devotions, take a moment to examine your devotion. Are you profoundly dedicated to serve the One who created you?
How well I remember that day in 1995 when I rededicated my life to Jesus and became serious about my life as a representative of Christ. I felt Christ working in my life in a major way. He had shown me that I had to change my entire attitude and lifestyle. I was not doing well with the life He had blessed me with. I spent three years seriously praying and seeking God’s guidance in changing my life into something pleasing to His eyes and ears. Along the way I found much comfort in this passage from Philippians:
There definitely needs to be a theme of ongoing thanksgiving in your life as a Christian. God gives us so much and I always feel like I have so little to give to Him in return. What does God ask of us in return? Our thanks.
We live in an age of instant gratification, where if we want something—anything—we can run out to Wal-Mart and buy it. Our family needs supper - order in the little box, drive up to the next window - instant supper!
It does not work that way with God. His plan is perfect and will come to pass in His perfect timing. This is a hard concept for many of us to grasp. It is easy to know it but difficult to follow because following involves waiting, and many of us are not very good at waiting. (guilty as charge!)
In my case, I knew I had to change and that through Christ anything was possible (Mark 9:23). Consequently, I knew that I would change, but my plan called for it to happen instantaneously. God knew, however, that I had a few things that I needed to learn first.
Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” Basically, what Paul is trying to say is, “Trust God’s will to be good. Test your confidence as a Christian by doing God’s will, and you will discover that God’s way truly is good, pleasing and perfect.”
God’s plan is perfect - what God had planned for me was perfect. I had to learn to stop being my stubborn, independent self and wait on Him. I have heard these next verses quoted often, but only now, years after my transformation began, can I truly understand them: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me” (Jer. 29:11-13). Because He is our God, He has plans for us. Those plans are flawless and favorable. They will not all become evident tomorrow but as we wait we can be excited because our hope is in Him.
Carolyn's experience as a missionary, pastor's wife, national award winning author & speaker all unite to encourage, empower and equip women of all ages to delve into scripture to discover it's truth in our lives today.
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