Monday, December 21, 2009


We know the story. The order was given for a census, and Joseph took Mary, not yet his wife, though she was pledged to become so, to Bethlehem to register. The 60 mile trip from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, the city of David, must have been tiresome for them. I'm sure there were many stops along the way, and that Joseph had a lot of explaining to do. "Yes, she's pregnant, but I'm still going to marry her. Why? Because I love her and I know she's carrying the Messiah." I've never carried a pregnancy to term, but I have seen those who have. Whether they are walking or riding, or just sitting still, they are so uncomfortable. "Oh, yes. I'm fine. Don't worry about me, please." I wonder how many times Mary, great with child, reassured her traveling companions.

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." ~ Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)

They arrived, finally, only to find there was no room in an inn for them to stay.

The Greek word for room is topos, which means:

1) place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space
a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district
b) a place (passage) in a book
2) metaph.
a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly
b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

There were no reservations at The Ritz. Did they stay with family? Did an innkeeper offer them lodging in a barn? Perhaps there was no opportunity or power, occasion to act for anyone, innkeeper or otherwise, to offer them space. Perhaps they simply lodged where they could. Wherever they stayed, we know it wasn't a fancy hotel or even a quaint Bed and Breakfast.


After they arrived, the Savior was born, wrapped in cloths His mother had probably packed for the anticipated birth of the Son.

The Greek word for wrapped in cloths is sparganoō, which means:

1) to wrap in swaddling clothes
a) of an infant just born

How carefully it's planned what outfit they will wear home from the hospital these days. I wonder during her visit with Elizabeth if they began lovingly sewing clothes for their babies, still in the womb, or how many late nights Mary stayed up, lovingly stitching sized 0-3 months tiny outfits and blankets, to swaddle her Son, her Savior, as any proud mother would do. There would be no spare rags for this Baby Boy.

Was it before or after they registered together as a family that our precious Savior was born? How long was Mary's recovery period? Was her birth difficult or easy? What prompted her labor? The long ride or walk there or did the time just simply come?

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." ~ Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

Can you imagine the rush to see Him? The long awaited Savior was born into the world. The baby was lying in a manger. I have seen people stampede toward the nursery to get that first glimpse of the precious little one just born. They want to see who he looks like, want to count fingers and toes. They want to see her hair, or lack thereof. This I know. I have led those stampedes when grandchildren and nephews were born!

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." ~ Luke 2:15 (NIV)

The shepherds had waited more than a short nine months to see this baby. They lived merely minutes from the location of where they could see the Savior anticipated for centuries!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

What would the Son charged with the government on His shoulders look like? Who were His parents? Would He have a glow about Him?

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." ~ Luke 2:16-18 (NIV)

The Greek word for hurry is speudō, which means:

1) to haste, make haste
2) to desire earnestly

When my grandsons were born, I snapped pictures through the nursery window the moment I had the opportunity and sent their pictures and weights, heights, birth time, every detail, out into cell phone land. I was excited. Imagine the excitement of the shepherds!

The Savior at long last had arrived. (Oh, to be there! To be a shepherd the night the angels appeared!) And as quickly as they arrived, they knew. They saw the Word in the flesh! Their only method of announcing the birth of the Holy Child was to spread the word.

The Greek word for the phrase spread the word is diagnōrizō, which means:

1) to publish abroad, make known thoroughly
2) to discriminate

They shared with everyone they could every detail they knew, what they had heard and seen for themselves!

Things Pondered

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." ~ Luke 2:19 (NIV)

Mary had other things on her mind. She must have memorized every detail of her Son, the Savior, the Messiah. Many arrived to see the long-awaited Messiah, but Mary probably sat back in a chair or leaned against a bale of hay, pondering the wonder of it all. The Greek word for treasured is syntēreō, which means:

1) to preserve (a thing from perishing or being lost)
2) to keep within one's self, keep in mind (a thing, lest it be forgotten)

There were no digital cameras or video cameras back then. The mother who had been blessed to carry the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, had to have been given long pause to take it all in, perhaps remembering what seemed like a dream when the angel of the Lord told her she would carry the Son of the Most High God, reassuring her nothing was impossible with Him.

I'm sure she treasured the sweet sweet smell of the Savior Child as she held Him to her breast, and then the arrival of all who came and went after seeing the Babe lying in a manger, as well as the gentle care she must have received from those attending her birth - all thoughts we won't know unless she chooses to share them with us in Heaven.


"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

Have you ever had the privilege to be at the bedside of someone who is slipping away into death? My husband's best friend died in 2003 and Steve and I held his hand as he died. Stripped of the things which sustained his life, a tough choice to be made by his family and Steve (whom they considered family), Todd was about as humble when he died as I ever knew anyone to be. It was a privilege to be there with him when he left his body and went home to be with the Lord. Death is about the most humbling thing there is to me.

And our precious Savior, placed in a lowly manger, whose birth was announced to shepherds guarding their flocks one night, humbled Himself to die for all mankind.

The Greek word for humble is tapeinoō, which means:

1) to make low, bring low
a) to level, reduce to a plain
b) metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances
1) to assign a lower rank or place to
2) to abase
3) to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded
4) to humble or abase myself by humble living
c) to lower, depress
1) of one's soul bring down one's pride
2) to have a modest opinion of one's self
3) to behave in an unassuming manner
4) devoid of all haughtiness

As Mary watched the humble Word made flesh die, she couldn't hold His hand and have one of her other sons sit at the foot of the Cross, singing Amazing Grace as she told Him of the treasured memories of His humble birth, a short thirty-three years before.


"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~ John 11:25-26 (NIV)

When Todd died, we left the room while the heart/lung transplant team removed the equipment we had seen for more than six months. We returned to the room and Todd was still there in body, but not spirit. We knew without a doubt he was with Jesus.

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)

When Jesus talked to Martha about her own brother's death, He encouraged her with the hope of His own resurrection.

The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis, which means:

1) a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat)
2) a rising from the dead
a) that of Christ
b) that of all men at the end of this present age
c) the resurrection of certain ones history who were restored to life (Heb. 11:35)

The Gift

As Mary treasured the birth, the death and the resurrection of the Savior, may we treasure it, too.

The gift of Jesus was not simply given to Mary or to shepherds long ago. He was given to us for a purpose. Life with Him.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

L - Love - "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." ~ 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

I - Intervention - "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:10 (NIV)

F - Forgiveness - "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." ~ Acts 13:38 (NIV)

E - Eternal Life - "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." ~ John 6:40 (NIV)

Note: this post originally ran on 12/23/08.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Encouraging Others

Paul was writing to the Thessalonians of the coming of the Lord in the verse mentioned above. During these last days here on earth, let's continue to encourage others and build each other up.

The Greek word for encourage is parakaleō. Let's look at some of the meanings below:

1) to call to one's side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
a) to admonish, exhort
b) to beg, entreat, beseech
1) to strive to appease by entreaty
c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
1) to receive consolation, be comforted
d) to encourage, strengthen
e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
f) to instruct, teach

In what ways do we summon others and teach them, comforting and exhorting them in these days (weeks, months, years) before Christ's return? We need to literally beg others to make Jesus the Lord of their lives if they are not in a saving relationship with Him. Wouldn't it be a shame not to encourage and strengthen others, teaching them about Christ and have them miss out on Heaven because we neglected to share Him with others?

I am very shy when it comes to face-to-face witnessing. I don't have a hard time talking to Christian friends at all about Christ and the matters of my faith; however, set me in front of someone who is in need of salvation and I stumble over my words. I can write to them all the day long about it, but a face-to-face conversation scares me. I have missed opportunities to share Christ with others boldly. I tend more to lead by example and strive to make my walk one that I hope would engage a person to talk with me about what I have that they don't (and that has happened.) I can comfortably share when they open the door to the conversation, but I just can't seem to initiate a conversation about it.

I finally figured out what the reason for this was. When I was a senior in high school we had a Crusade where I was a counselor. Sure enough when the altar call was given on my night, a girl in my class came down. She actually chose not to receive Christ that night! I was very discouraged over it and pursued the matter with her once at school. She told me bascially to shut up about it or I would push her farther away. My grandmother told me not to take it personally, that maybe I had planted a seed and all that. Still, rejecting my Savior hurt and I wonder if I could have done anything differently to change things.

Satan loves to plant seeds of doubt like that. He tells me that I cannot witness effectively and I believe him. I get tongue tied. He tells me that I shouldn't even try and I go years without sharing my faith with others, selfishly keeping Jesus to myself.

And then one day I read this verse. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) Christ tells me through the apostle Paul to encourage others and bring them closer to Him. He tells me that I am able to encourage. It is a verb, implying action!

We are also admonished to build each other up. The Greek word for this phrase is oikodomeō. It means:

1) to build a house, erect a building
a) to build (up from the foundation)
b) to restore by building, to rebuild, repair
2) metaph.
a) to found, establish
b) to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness
c) to grow in wisdom and piety

I am now on a mission to promote growth in Christ among those who are saved and those who aren't. I want people to grow in wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness and blessedness. I want to plant seeds in their hearts that cause them to come to a saving knowledge of my precious Savior and Lord. No more keeping Him to myself!

Are you shy about witnessing to others? Find ways to encourage others and build them up before Christ returns. Pray about what may be hindering you from sharing His love, and take action to encourage and build others up in Christ!

Time is drawing short. I believe that we are living in the last days, and I believe God has a harvest out there ready to reap.

But how will they know if we don't encourage them and build them up?

E - Encourage others now; don't delay. "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." ~ Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

N - Never believe the lies of the enemy; believe the promise of Christ. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10 (NIV)

C - Commit your plan to encourage others to God. "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." ~ Psalm 37:5-6 (NIV)

O - Open your heart receive the words God would have you say. "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, " ~ Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

U - Understand that we merely plant the seeds; God causes them to grow. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." ~ 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

R - Read the Word of God daily so you stay prepared to encourage others. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

A - Act wisely when you encourage others to come to know God. "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." ~ Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV)

G - Go to God in prayer in humility in order encourage others to come to know Him. "We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection." ~ 2 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV)

E - Examine your heart and make sure you are walking your talk. "May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame." ~ Psalm 119:80 (NIV)
Note: This post originally ran on 01/28/09.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WFW - A Prayer of Surrender

One of the most precious prayers we can pray is a prayer of complete surrender. As we surrender ourselves to God, He reveals things about us to ourselves, causes us to repent of the sinful ways hidden within, and leads us down a path with Him far better than any we could ever imagine for ourselves. David prayed such a prayer.

Total surrender in this type of praying will bring to light anything we need to know about ourselves. Sometimes we fall back into old behaviors or old hurts may be stirred up within us, reminding us that we haven't dealt with forgiveness, jealousy, or matters of pride. Often we don't know what issues God will bring to mind when we pray this prayer. We may not feel particularly sinful or we may be doing something so routine and habitual that it doesn't seem like a sin to us. We must invite God to search our hearts and free us. The Psalmist invited God to do just that in the verse above.

Search Me

The Hebrew word for search is chaqar. It means:

1) to search, search for, search out, examine, investigate
a) (Qal)
1) to search (for)
2) to search through, explore
3) to examine thoroughly
b) (Niphal)
1) to be searched out, be found out, be ascertained, be examined
c) (Piel) to search out, seek out

Inviting Him to do this kind of intimate search and knowing requires alot of trust and faith in the One who loves you so dearly. He will never use what He reveals to you to lead you farther into the bondage of sin. What He might just do is reveal to you the way that is keeping you tangled.

Know Me

The Hebrew word for know is yada`, and it means:

1) to know
a) (Qal)
1) to know
a) to know, learn to know
b) to perceive
c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
d) to discriminate, distinguish
e) to know by experience
f) to recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess
g) to consider
2) to know, be acquainted with
3) to know (a person carnally)
4) to know how, be skilful in
5) to have knowledge, be wise
b) (Niphal)
1) to be made known, be or become known, be revealed
2) to make oneself known
3) to be perceived
4) to be instructed
c) (Piel) to cause to know
d) (Poal) to cause to know
e) (Pual)
1) to be known
2) known, one known, acquaintance (participle)
f) (Hiphil) to make known, declare
g) (Hophal) to be made known
h) (Hithpael) to make oneself known, reveal oneself

This is not a request to be ask God if you aren't ready to totally surrender to Him. He will truly reveal and make known to you and to Himself your heart and mind.

Test Me

The Hebrew word for test is bachan. It means:

1) to examine, try, prove
a) (Qal)
1) to examine, scrutinise
2) to test, prove, try (of gold, persons, the heart, man of God)
b) (Niphal) to be tried, proved
c) (Pual) to make a trial

The Hebrew word for anxious thoughts is sar`aph. It means:

1) disquieting thoughts, thoughts

The Hebrew word for offensive, or `otseb, means:

1) pain, sorrow
2) idol

While we are never to put God to the test, we should certainly ask Him to test us. In surrendering to this examination, we are tried and often refined during the process.

He longs to free you, just as you long to be freed from any anxious thoughts or offensive ways.

Lead Me

I love this portion of this prayer. After our hearts and minds and anxious thoughts have been tested and the wicked ways are exposed, we can truly mourn over our sins, confess and repent them, and be led in "the way everlasting."

Ways, or the Hebrew word derek, means:

1) way, road, distance, journey, manner
a) road, way, path
b) journey
c) direction
d) manner, habit, way
e) of course of life (fig.)
f) of moral character (fig.)

God leads us in His way. We follow His example and with freshly cleansed hearts we are prepared to journey down a road of holy conduct. We have a fresh new start! Our manners and habits are back on track and we, in our total surrender, are set back on the path once again.

What is this path? The everlasting path. The path we lost sight of in our sin. While our eyes were on the world and situations around us, they were off God. They were off the goal.

The Hebrew word for everlasting is `owlam. This means:

1) long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world
a) ancient time, long time (of past)
b) (of future)
1) for ever, always
2) continuous existence, perpetual
3) everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity

Our eyes are back on God and on the eternal life set before us. Make no mistake, we do not lose eternal life just because we've backslidden, but we can lose sight of it.

In Closing

Total surrender in this prayer reveals the things we need to cast aside, give to Christ to carry, or move beyond. It removes the sin set before us and sets in place forgiveness and moving beyond our sin into hopefully a more constantly surrendered life with Him.

Father, search me and try me and know my anxious thoughts. Cast them far from me and remove the transgressions You reveal to me. While I mourn over the sins I have committed, I rejoice in Your forgiveness and am ready to be placed back on the path You have for me. Help me continue to keep my eyes on You and the eternal life You have promised me through Jesus Christ my Lord. In His Name I pray. Amen.

Are you ready to surrender to God in prayer, letting Him examine your heart and mind? Join me in inviting Him to search my heart and lead me in the way everlasting.

S - Submit to God in your surrender. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." ~ James 4:7 (NIV)

U - Untangle yourself from anything that keeps you from total surrender. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." ~ Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

R - Respond with surrender to God's call on your life. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" ~ Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

R - Reject the world and surrender to God's ways. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

E - Earnestly surrender to God daily in prayer. "pray continually;" ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)

N - Never lose your joy as your surrender in trust to God. "In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." ~ Psalm 33:21 (NIV)

D - Determine to let God lead you as you surrender to His plan. "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;" ~ Psalm 25:4 (NIV)

E - Examine yourself to make sure you are surrendered to Christ. "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

R - Reinforce God's Word in your life by reading it daily, surrendering to Him. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." ~ Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

The purpose of Word filled Wednesday is to share God’s word (no famous quotes or other literature — only the beautiful word of our Father) through photo’s & a Bible verse! For more WFW, visit Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.

Note: this post originally ran 02/25/09


Friday, December 11, 2009

A Life Well Lived

How many of us turn to self-help books to learn how to live a life worthy of our Savior? We read books that teach us about boosting our self-esteem, managing our stress, being happy, loving well...the list goes on. I'm not knocking those books. Many are written by strong men and women of God and are very applicable to our spiritual growth; however, sometimes I think we forget that some of the best rules or principles for living come from the Word of God - the Bible.

On Guard

We are to be on guard in our lives. The Greek word for guard is grēgoreō, a verb which means:

1) to watch
2) metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active
a) to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one

If we are alert and at watch, we tend to give more caution to what we allow into our minds through books, television, movies, internet, music, etc. The media bombards us with sensationalism and it can really get us to thinking on the wrong things if we let it.

We also must guard those we are charged with protecting in our lives. From spouses to children, extended family and friends, we must take action and never be idle lest the devil gain a foothold in their lives.

A good way to guard is to read the Bible. Warning signs clearly given of things to stay away from will help us know how to pray to guard ourselves and others we love.

While God is our ultimate guard, we must, through the power of the Holy Spirit, guard our hearts in Christ so that we can guard not only ourselves but those we love.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." ~ Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Standing Firm

The Greek word for the phrase stand firm is stēkō. Also a verb, this means:

1) to stand firm
2) to persevere, to persist
3) to keep one's standing

We must take a stand for the things we know are right. While tolerance is preached in cotton candy churches and in the world, we know that we are not of the world. Sin can so easily entangle us if we let it creep into our lives. We must remain steadfast and persevere for God, living a life of purity and holiness, setting an example for the world around us, rather than becoming of the world around us.

The root word of stēkō, or standing firm, is histēmi. This verb means:

1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set
a) to bid to stand by, [set up]
1) in the presence of others, in the midst, before judges, before members of the Sanhedrin;
2) to place
b) to make firm, fix establish
1) to cause a person or a thing to keep his or its place
2) to stand, be kept intact (of family, a kingdom), to escape in safety
3) to establish a thing, cause it to stand
a) to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything
c) to set or place in a balance
1) to weigh: money to one (because in very early times before the introduction of coinage, the metals used to be weighed)
2) to stand
a) to stand by or near
1) to stop, stand still, to stand immovable, stand firm
a) of the foundation of a building
b) to stand
1) continue safe and sound, stand unharmed, to stand ready or prepared
2) to be of a steadfast mind
3) of quality, one who does not hesitate, does not waiver

We have some great guidelines in the meanings above on how to stand fast and what it means to stand firm. I think I'll be following these a little more closely myself. I have found one show on television that I thought was a great show but alas, twas not to be. When a doctor on the show referred to God as a Christian's imaginary friend, I didn't even change the channel! How is that standing firm? I was ashamed. God is not to be mocked, yet I left it on a show that was mocking Him. What did that say about my standing firm? Oh, I fail. But through perseverance, I try again. No more "that show" for me.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Standing on Faith

We are to stand firm on the faith. We've heard about faith all our lives, that it's the belief in the unseen, that it's a hope that we have in God. Let's look at the Greek word for faith. Pistis means:

1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
a) relating to God
1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ
b) relating to Christ
1) a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God
c) the religious beliefs of Christians
d) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same
2) fidelity, faithfulness
a) the character of one who can be relied on

Faith is a strong thing! It's built on a strong conviction, and is not something to be taken lightly. If we don't have this strong faith in our life, what is the point of being on guard? And if we do have this strong faith in our lives, how can we not be on guard? We must be on guard and stand firm because of faith. Faith in God demands it.

"Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Timothy 3:13 (NIV)


As men and women of Christ, we are given this command to be of courage. The Greek word for courage is andrizomai. This verb means:

1) to make a man of or make brave
2) to show one's self a man, be brave

Bravery is not for the fainthearted. We must be of courage to tie all these things together. With the way the world is going, indeed it is a necessity. By our courage, we can show others our faith and perseverance, our standing firm and being on guard. Timidity has no place in the Christian faith. (Reverential awe does, but this is not about that right now.) How many stories have you read in the Bible about courage and bravery? Countless, no doubt. One of the bravest men I know is Paul. In chains he still preached the Word. I doubt if he turned on the television today that he would shake in his boots over rumors of swine flu (he was bitten by a snake and lived) or be kept up at night because there is talk of going to a one world currency. No! He would remain content, no doubt, and while praying for the moral depravity in the world, keep preaching the Word. We should be as brave.

Just as the Lord promised Joshua, we, too, can be men and women of courage, being on guard and standing firm on faith, because we know God is with us.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Strength in the Lord

We are also commanded to be strong. The Greek word for strength is the verb krataioō, which means:

1) to strengthen, make strong
2) to be made strong, to increase in strength, to grow strong

This isn't something learned overnight. A child who is baptized at 7 is still afraid of the dark. As he grows he learns that darkness isn't always a bad thing and in fact, comes to need it to sleep. Just as that child grows in strength, so should we.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." ~ Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

Doing Everything with Love

Is that really possible? God seems to think so. We are commanded to do so in Scripture.

The Greek word for everything is pas. It means:

1) individually
a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
2) collectively
a) some of all types

The Greek word for love is agapē. It means:

1) affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
2) love feasts

It comes from the root word agapaō. This verb means:

1) of persons
a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2) of things
a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

Do you struggle with tying all these things - being on guard, standing firm in faith, being men (or women) of courage, being strong - up with love? I do! It's hard to love the process you go through of learning to embrace that Scripture. Who loves pain? Not me. But I love what it makes me when I finally go through it.

Stretching those faith muscles and keeping this Scripture in your heart will be well worth it in the end.

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." ~ 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

Our love for others should be evident in the way we think, speak, write and serve.

Wrapping it Up

Questions for Reflection: Which part of the Scripture given above do you find the hardest? How can you make it easier? Through prayer, Bible reading, stretching and growing?

Verse of the Day: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." ~ 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)

Prayer: Father, as we learn how to be on our guard, standing firm in the faith, becoming men and women of courage and doing everything in love, we ask for Your help. Strengthen our hearts and our love for others and place within us a burning desire for living a life that is worthy of You, a life well lived. Impress upon our hearts the seriousness of Your Word and help us not to fear but to be encouraged because You reign victorious. May we do everything for Your glory, Lord, and not our own. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

A life well lived is an abundant life in Christ.

A - Accepting Christ as our Savior frees us from living life in the pit. "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." ~ Psalm 40:2 (NIV)

B - Believe that God has provided us with goodness, mercy, and everything we need to have love toward others. "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

U - Understand that God has a plan for our lives and the lives of those we love - a good plan! "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

N - Never lose sight of the prize set before us - eternal life. "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

D - Deny wrong earthly desires we feel and fix our eyes upon Jesus. "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." ~ Galatians 5:16 (NIV)

A - Admit our sins to God and keep a short account them. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." ~ 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

N - Never forget that God delights in us and in those we love. "the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." ~ Psalm 147:11 (NIV)

T - Trust God to provide His goodness for us. "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." ~ Psalm 27:13 (NIV)

L - Let our attitude be one that exudes confidence in God, during hard times and good times. "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." ~ Isaiah 32:17 (NIV)

I - Identify with God, not the world. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

F - Fill our lives with the fruit from the Vine - the fruit of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

E - Eagerly share Christ's love with other believers, spurring them on toward an abundant life in Christ. "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." ~ Mark 16:15 (NIV)
Note: this post originally ran on 5/27/09.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Do you remember the first time you really tried to wrap your heart around the fact that Christ loved you so much that He was born to die for you?

Like the people who heard the shepherds report of the night the holy proclamation of our Savior's birth was announced, I, too, was amazed!

The Greek word for amazed in the Scripture above is thaumazō, which means:

1) to wonder, wonder at, marvel
2) to be wondered at, to be had in admiration

I continue to wonder, marvel, and admire the love that God has for me. I never cease to be amazed at His precious gift of grace.

Christ was born in a lowly manger because there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. He went from the manger to the cross and from the cross to the grave. From the grave He triumphed over death in a resurrection scene that rivals any blockbuster hit at a movie theater, all because He loves us.

Let's think back to that time when we first accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. If we've lost our amazement at the grace He gave us let's rekindle it. Picture yourself as waiting for a Savior, having heard about Him all your life, and suddenly, one starry night, the shepherds come, proclaiming the Shepherds birth!

"We love because he first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Let's remember the Love that was born in that lowly manger, the Love that was born to die so that we can spend eternity with Him, and prepare our hearts to be amazed again.

A - Adore God through praising His many names. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

M - Make daily Bible reading a habit to keep the Light burning in your heart. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

A - Admonish others to know the One you know they need. "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ." ~ Colossians 1:28 (NIV)

Z - Zealously praise Him for His love for you. "For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD." ~ Psalm 117:2 (NIV)

E - Encourage yourself to be like the church at Thyatira, to persevere. "I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first." ~ Revelation 2:19 (NIV)

D - Delight yourself in the works of God. "Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them." ~ Psalm 111:2 (NIV)

Note: This post originally ran on December 17, 2008


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pictures of the Grands

Nolan is 26 mos., Liam is 13 months

Nolan & Liam




Monday, November 16, 2009

Living a life of thanks to God is a reciprocation of the life He has blessed us with. It shows Him how grateful we are to the grace, mercy and love He has extended to us in so many ways, particularly beginning with the death of His Son on the Cross and His resurrection on the third day.

Did you know that a form of the word thank is found the following number of times in each version of the Bible as listed below.

134 times in the KJV
144 times in the NIV
165 times in the NLT
162 times in the ESV
138 times in the NKJV
193 times in the AMP
139 times in the MSG

Obviously, being thankful is important stuff in the Word of God!

Did you know that Jesus actually expects us to be thankful? It's not just a bonus to Him if we happen to remember to praise and thank Him for the blessings He gives us or prayers that He answers. It's an expectation.
Let's read...

"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." ~ Luke 17:11-19 (NIV) (Emphasis, mine)
Christ had taken the time to heal all 10 of these lepers, yet only one returned to thank Him.

The word Greek word for thanked is eucharisteō, which means:

1) to be grateful, feel thankful
2) give thanks

Christ wanted thanks, not for Himself, but to give praise and glory to God. How sad it must have made Him that this opportunity of thanksgiving and glory to God had been passed up by 9 out of 10 men healed.

Leprosy was, according to, "2) a most offensive, annoying, dangerous, cutaneous disease, the virus of which generally pervades the whole body, common in Egypt and the East." The stigma of having this dreaded disease that resulted in scaly, rough skin, was awful. Lepers were social outcasts and considered very unclean.

Put yourself in this Samaritan leper's place for a moment. You're traveling from colony to colony, and you hear that Jesus is nearby. You stand, waiting for a glimpse of the One you've heard about all your life. You gather the others around you and say, "Perhaps if we can get His attention, He will have mercy on us. What do you think, friends? Is it worth a shot?" The others around you shoot you down and say, "No, don't bother." To rally the troops, you share with them the story about a woman in your village, the home that you lived in during a life-time ago when you enjoyed life pre-leprosy. You know the one. Remember when Christ had mercy on a sweet Samaritan woman at a well? You remember His gift of Living Water and know His power to heal if He so chooses.
The men around you are encouraged and begin to cry out, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
Christ does choose to have pity on you and as you and the others travel, your skin begins to heal. The scales seem to fall off at once and you're so excited! Now, instead of going to find another leper colony to live in, you can go and show yourself to the priest, as Christ directed, and begin living life again. But wait. Part of that life is thanks living!
You tell your friends, "Wait! Before we go to the priest, let's go thank Christ for this miraculous healing!" The nine others with you sneer and say they're not wasting one precious moment going back. They're on their way to better lives and are moving forward without a backward glance. But you cannot. "Men! We have to go back and thank Him!" "You go back if you want," they say, "but we're heading on into town! Just wait till our families see us!" Breaking away from the group, you head back alone. You have a spring in your step, your skin is back to the olive complexion, clear and bright as it was years ago, but you have to go back and thank Him, the one who healed your body, and possibly your very soul...alone.

Now, what if you were any one of the other nine men who did not return to thank Christ for His healing?

That, my friend, is precisely how to *not* to live a life of Thanks Living.

Let's purpose to always to give thanks to God. In all circumstances, let's find something to thank Him and praise Him for. Admittedly, it's a little easier to thank God in good times than it is in the hard times, but we are commanded to thank Him. He expects it of us. He gave us grace and salvation, after all. Let's not let Him down! During the hardest of the hard times, I have been able to thank Him for being Lord of my life, for the salvation He has given, and that His will is done no matter what.

How can we live a life of thanks living to God, returning thanks in our everyday lives?

T - Tell God often how thankful we are for Him. "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." ~ Psalm 118:1 (NIV)

H - Happily offer our praises to God. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." ~ Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

A - Acknowledge that all gifts come from Him. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ~ James 1:17 (NIV)

N - Never pass up an opportunity to thank God for loved ones in your life. "I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)

K - Know that God hears our thanks and praise. "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Psalm 22:3 (KJV)

S - Seek to constantly praise God. "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." ~ James 5:13 (NIV)

L - Live a life of gratitude to Christ. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

I - Invite others to join us in praise. "Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts." ~ Psalm 105:2 (NIV)

V - Visualize how pleased He is with our thanks. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV)

I - Intentionally thank God for others and pray for them to know the Savior you know. "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." ~ Ephesians 1:16-17 (NIV)

N - Never forget to praise Him in the storms of life. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." ~ Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

G - Give thanks to God by guarding our words and motives in acts of service.
"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." ~ 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
Note: This post originally ran on November 25, 2008.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Peace

Jesus knew a thing or two about peace. After all, as we see in Isaiah 9, one of His names is Prince of Peace.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Sometimes I need to be reminded to slow down and be still. I have been sick since June and it seems I am always running toward recovery. I think if I take that extra step I will become well again. It doesn't work that way and I end up stressed because of it.

"Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give and bequeth you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." ~ John 14:27

Jesus gave us peace. The Greek word for peace is eirēnē. It means:

1) a state of national tranquillity
a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
4) of the Messiah's peace
a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)
5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

I love these definitions, because they offer such comfort to me and remind me what true peace is. It exasperation at being on eight different medications, it isn't fighting a massive case of writer's block, and it certainly isn't looking elsewhere for my peace.
The peace I have was given to me by Jesus.

The Greek word for give is didōmi. Scroll down through the definitions.
1) to give
2) to give something to someone
a) of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage
1) to bestow a gift
b) to grant, give to one asking, let have
c) to supply, furnish, necessary things
d) to give over, deliver
1) to reach out, extend, present
2) of a writing
3) to give over to one's care, intrust, commit
a) something to be administered
b) to give or commit to some one something to be religiously observed
e) to give what is due or obligatory, to pay: wages or reward
f) to furnish, endue
3) to give
a) to cause, profuse, give forth from one's self
1) to give, hand out lots
b) to appoint to an office
c) to cause to come forth, i.e. as the sea, death and Hell are said to give up the dead who have been engulfed or received by them
c) to give one to someone as his own
1) as an object of his saving care
2) to give one to someone, to follow him as a leader and master
3) to give one to someone to care for his interests
4) to give one to someone to whom he already belonged, to return
4) to grant or permit one
a) to commission

The precious gift of peace was something Jesus gifted us with. It would be such a shame not to accept it and use it.

This week I am so thankful for peace and for our host, Lynn. Her post and her hosting really ministered to me.

P - Prepare your heart and soul for peace by staying focused on Christ and not the world. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." ~ Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

E - Expect good results from the gift of peace. "Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give and bequeth you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." ~ John 14:27

A - Aim for peace in your life. "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." ~ Romans 14:19 (NIV)

C - Call on the Lord when you need peace. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~ Romans 15:13 (NIV)

E - Enjoy the benefits of peace. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

What are you thankful for this week? Visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and link up and share.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Standing in Awe of the Love of God

What are some things that really "wow" you? I mean really make your jaw drop?

I salivate over beautiful cookware, good chocolate, and great books. Okay, so I don't get all slobbery, but I can browse for hours in a bookstore, I can sit for hours at a time reading, and I could max out a credit card on Le Creuset cast iron cookware.

How long has it been since I have really just all out praised God for His holy name and the fact that He alone is God? The question I asked myself today is if God still wows me. I am pleased to be able to answer, "He does!"
"No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power." ~ Jeremiah 10:6

"Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" ~ Exodus 15:11

"For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God." ~ Psalm 86:10

I am in awe that the God of the universe knows me, loves me, and is involved in my daily life on an intimate level.

Out of 6,943,738,621people on earth right now (and counting), God knows me. The God who is great, whose name is mighty in power, the God who is majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, the God who works wonders, is great and does marvelous deeds loves me.

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." ~ Psalm 86:15 (Emphasis, mine)
How does God show His love?

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:9-10

How could we not be in awe of a God like that? The only God. The one TRUE God. I asked myself another question today. "How do I show my love for God in putting Him first?" This morning I overslept and only had a few minutes before leaving for work to sit down. What I really wanted to do was read a book, but a glance over at the end table showed my Bible open to where I had left off in Matthew. I had a choice to make. Steve knows that on Wednesday nights at 7:30, I enjoy watching Grant Jeffrey on TBN. He knows I won't miss it and if I do have to miss it, he records it for me. (I'm DVR illiterate at the moment.) I stop whatever I'm doing on Wednesday nights at 7:30 and catch that show! I can spend time with him, read, do chores at home, go buy food from afar at Walmart, or visit relatives, but I forgo all that because I love Bible Prophecy Revealed. I have a choice to make. When it comes to loving God, do I put Him first? If I haven't had my quiet time for the day, do I choose God or something else? If I haven't prayed, do I choose God or something else?

"You shall have no other gods before me" ~ Exodus 20:23

Above all, whether it's reading, cookware, chocolate or even a television show, I will have no other god's before You, Lord. I will give You my whole heart and praise Your awesome name. I will love You with the everlasting love with which You have loved me, and I thank You for that love and grace manifested through Your Son Jesus. What beautiful names You have, Lord God.

This post originally ran on 9/12/08.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WFW - Psalm 27:14

While We Are Waiting

Who enjoys a good, long wait? Not me. I have places to go and people to see. Hah. Seriously, although I am patient to a degree, when I am going through a trial I want it to be over. I have been battling a trial of illness that hardly lets me even write since June. That's the whole summer, ya'll! One thing I have found is that there are things I can do while I am waiting.

The Hebrew word for wait is qavah. I looked it up on the handy-dandy and found this verb to mean:

1) to wait, look for, hope, expect
a) (Qal) waiting (participle)
b) (Piel)
1) to wait or look eagerly for
2) to lie in wait for
3) to wait for, linger for
2) to collect, bind together
a) (Niphal) to be collected

This speaks volumes to me. It makes me have no self-pity, just a need for practicing more patience. It encourages me to hope and expect that I will be healed or God will act in someway. I look eagerly for that. No matter what our trials are, we should wait and linger for God to intervene. And He will. God is like that. He loves us! He is not going to leave us where we are. I can feel myself improving, little milestones, but they're there, blessings given by God.

Don't Worry...Be Strong

All of us have gone or are going through our own personal trials. While we are waiting on the Lord, we are encouraged by the Psalmist to be strong.

The Hebrew word for the phrase be strong and take heart is chazaq. Implying action, this verb means:

1) to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore
a) (Qal)
1) to be strong, grow strong
a) to prevail, prevail upon
b) to be firm, be caught fast, be secure
c) to press, be urgent
d) to grow stout, grow rigid, grow hard (bad sense)
e) to be severe, be grievous
2) to strengthen
b) (Piel)
1) to make strong
2) to restore to strength, give strength
3) to strengthen, sustain, encourage
4) to make strong, make bold, encourage
5) to make firm
6) to make rigid, make hard
c) (Hiphil)
1) to make strong, strengthen
2) to make firm
3) to display strength
4) to make severe
5) to support
6) to repair
7) to prevail, prevail upon
8) to have or take or keep hold of, retain, hold up, sustain, support
9) to hold, contain
d) (Hithpael)
1) to strengthen oneself
2) to put forth strength, use one's strength
3) to withstand
4) to hold strongly with

I submit that if we truly make the effort to be strong, we will not remain in the pit long. I like each and every one of these definitions. They are the epitome of strength and what we can do to use to strengthen ourselves.

Where does your strength come from? Mine comes from the Word and from knowing that God will pick me up in His time.

Wrapping It Up

We all need encouragement during times of trials, so if you're going through one, rest assured I am praying for you, bloggy friend.

Questions for Reflection: Where does your strength come from? What are some ways you have been strong through trials?

Verse of the Day: "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." ~ Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

Prayer: Father, we all face trials of different magnitudes. These trials can rock our worlds and seem to last for seasons upon seasons. Others are shorter but just as tough to go through. Help us, Lord, as we wait and find our strength in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

S - Sing praise to God no matter how dark the night. "I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High." ~ Psalm 7:17 (NIV)

T - Trust God as your deliverer. "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." ~ Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

R - Remember Who your strength is. "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him." ~ Exodus 15:2 (NIV)

O - Obey God's command to be strong as you wait. "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." ~ Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

N - Nourish yourself by reading your Bible. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

G - Go on with life at a pace you can deal with. God will sustain you. "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." ~ Psalm 54:4 (NIV)

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Susan, at Forever His, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WFW - Discretion

Weighing Our Words

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." ~ Proverbs 13:3 (NIV)

The first time I read the Bible from cover to cover, the Holy Spirit had a running theme going with me. I saw a commonality throughout the Scriptures that the words I speak do matter and that I should pay careful attention to them. This was a Scripture I really thought about for quite a while. Our words have weight behind them and can lead to victory or ruin in our lives.

Guard My Words

What does setting a guard over my lips actually entail? The Hebrew word for guard is natsar. This is a verb that means:

1) to guard, watch, watch over, keep

a) (Qal)

1) to watch, guard, keep

2) to preserve, guard from dangers

3) to keep, observe, guard with fidelity

4) to guard, keep secret

5) to be kept close, be blockaded

6) watchman (participle)

Guarding my words involves carefully considering what I say. Wisdom, discretion and motive are things to be considered here.

I have to ask myself if what I have to say is something someone really needs to know. Some of the words that are so easy to speak are actually things that should be closely kept, guarded as a matter of wisdodm, discretion and motive, perhaps because someone has asked us not to say anything or through wisdom we know that discretion dictates not telling everything we know just to be saying it, especially when the motive is just chatter.

How can we keep our words so closely to our hearts? I think the outline of biblical usage for guard as mentioned above is key. We do what it says.
Watch, keep, guard, preserve, keep close, blockade...

Rash Talk

Speaking rashly can cause a downfall in our lives more quickly than anything else. If we utter profanity, we lose our witness. If we gossip or slander someone, there's a great chance it will get back to them before we know it.

Rashly speaking hurts not only ourselves but those we love and those we have other types of relationships with.

The Hebrew word for rash is pasaq. This verb means:

1) to part, open wide

a) (Qal)

1) to open wide

2) to be talkative (of the mouth)

b) (Piel) to open wide

Is it easier to hold our tongues when our mouths are open or closed? Closed, of course. We should keep the lid on rash talk. But how?

I think it is vital to pray before we begin our day or to go into meetings, even before answering the phone or chatting with friends, whether in person or online. One prayer I pray every time I go to meet with friends is this verse:

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." ~ Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Do I always have victory in this area of my life? This bear looks ashamed. So am I sometimes. But I'm striving toward victory!

Besides prayer, we need to check our self-control meter. We should temper our words and lack of self-control in this area if we are struggling. Most of all, we need to purpose in our hearts that each and every one of the words we speak will glorify God and bring Him honor, not discredit Him to others who are watching and listening to the example we set.

S - self-control is so important in guarding the words we speak

P - Pray about the words you say, do they honor God, do they honor others, do they need to be shared at all

E - Expect fallbacks - we are not perfect, but we can be forgiven

A - Always count to 10 before you share something or respond to something "questionable"

K - Kindness goes such a long way in setting an example for others to follow

I - Invite God to be your mouthpiece before you begin your day

N - Notice the speech of those around you - it can rub off on you

G - Grumbling mouths are a sign of grumbling hearts

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Christy, over at Critty Joy, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Serving God With a Whole Heart

One of the ways we can be obedient to God is to serve Him with our whole heart. I am thankful for the opportunity to put forth my best foot in trying to be obedient to Him this way.

Paul, in his desire to visit the Romans, penned these words…

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.”
~ Romans 1:8-10 (Emphasis, mine)

What does serving God with a whole heart, living our faith out loud, involve? To me, it involves dying to self daily, and making our faith walk and talk.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” ~ Galatians 5:16

Living in the flesh, or sinful nature, is something I did for years before I began living life by the Spirit. My earthly/fleshly body is about 16 years older than the new creation I became when I became saved. Living in the flesh has far more experience on me than living in the Spirit does.

Life by the Spirit is something I am maturing into. It’s a growing process that I’m learning to live. A number of years after I came to a saving knowledge of Christ, I lived an on-again off-again relationship with Him. It is only in recent years that I have had the true desire, the true calling, to serve my Savior faithfully and wholeheartedly. I finally realized that I was called into this life of having my heart beat to serve my Savior daily.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” John 15:16

God chooses us and appoints us to live lives worthy of Him, and He calls us to bear fruit. He chooses people who have a will to serve Him, who have a vision to serve Him, and those who are filled with His Holy Spirit - those who will serve Him wholeheartedly.

When we serve Him wholeheartedly, we live the faith He desires us to live out loud in our daily lives.

So what about this business of serving Him wholeheartedly, of living our faith out loud? What does serving God with a whole heart involve? And how do I serve with my whole heart?

For me, it begins with a life of PRAYER.

P - Prayer - do I pray about what I am to do for Him, what He wants me to do rather than following my own will? “But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” - Psalm 88:13

R - Respect - do I have a proper respect for God, admitting His holiness and sovereignty in my life? “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. - Isaiah 37:16

A - Able - do I believe that He is able to teach me and direct me in the way that I should go? “This is what the LORD says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17

Y - Yes - am I always willing to say, “Yes,” to God and “No,” to self? “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” - Luke 9:25

E - Equip - am I equipped to serve Him? Have I spent time in His Word, learning all I can about servitude? “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” - Psalm 119:105

R - Reliance - do I rely on Him or on others as I serve Him? “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” - Joshua 24:15

What other verses come to mind for you as you think of each of the truths for this acrostic?

Do you serve God wholeheartedly? Are you ready to make that commitment if you’re not?

It is my desire that I serve Him wholeheartedly, and that I begin to do it afresh today.

We can find a great example of obedience in Luke.

He had fished all night and didn't catch a thing. He was a fisherman by trade. He knew the water. But he also knew his Savior. "But because you say so..." Simon listened to the Savior and *together* they caught so many fish the nets began to break. Had to have help to haul them all in.

He was willing. Willing to have obedience, faith, honor and love. May I be as obedient, faithful, honoring and loving as Simon Peter was, and simply respond to Christ with, "But because you say so, I will do it."

One of the markers of obedience to God is serving Him wholeheartedly.

Simon didn't have to re-cast the net. He could have said, "Lord, what about just using a pole? I'm so tired after fishing all night and not getting so much as a nibble."

Because he respected Jesus and knew that there was a lesson to be learned, he moved in obedience to the command of the Lord. He had ever reason to pack up and call it a night, but he obeyed with his whole heart.

We have the opportunity to do that, friends. I am so thankful for the privilege to serve God in obedience, even when I've "fished all night and haven't caught a thing."

Are we willing to listen for His voice and do what He tells us?

I pray that we will all be thankful for the privilege to serve the God who saved us when we could not save ourselves.

This was a post that I originally did as a guest post for Laced With Grace and Thankful Thursday while back and another post I did on obedience last July. I apologize for the re-run (I did edit it to include some new thoughts).