Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome to Tuesdays Together in the Word, hosted by DeeDee at I have No Greater Joy... We are a group of women reading through the Word together and posting some of our thoughts on Tuesday's. Would you like to participate? Jump on in!

It's a wonderful experience to be in God's Word daily. I'll touch more on that subject tomorrow, so be sure to come back for my WFW post.

One of the things that spoke to me this week was the speech Stephen made in Acts 7 before he was stoned to death. Oh, that I would be so bold and faithful and know so much of God's Word were I facing martyrdom. This drives me to want to memorize more and more Scripture.

Of course, the conversion of Saul was a wonderful thing. The fear and faithfulness of those who attended him spoke to me, too. Do you find yourself skeptical when someone who is known to be "the worst of sinners" comes to the faith? I pray that I would respond in faith as Ananias did, tending to their spiritual needs and helping them grow in faith, trusting God to provide the true healing of their souls.
Judgement would take a huge back burner here, as it did for Peter when he had the vision of the large sheet holding all those foods that Peter thought were surely unclean. God clarified that we are to call nothing, including food or people, unclean or impure in Acts 10:15. Just as all foods were declared clean, isn't it wonderful to know that we are grafted in to the family of God, the chosen ones of Israel? Peter would face a crisis of faith that would lead him to a certainty that Jews and Gentiles were both loved by God and saved by the precious blood of His Son.
One thing I have been meditating on is Psalm 19:7-11.

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. " ~ Psalm 19:7-11 (NIV)

The Hebrew word for law is towrah. It means:
1) law, direction, instruction
a) instruction, direction (human or divine)
1) body of prophetic teaching
2) instruction in Messianic age
3) body of priestly direction or instruction
4) body of legal directives
b) law
1) law of the burnt offering
2) of special law, codes of law
c) custom, manner
d) the Deuteronomic or Mosaic Law
This is the foundation of the Jewish religion. In the Law is found many prophecies of Christ. It's surely what the saints in the NT had to refer back to in living out their faith after Christ rose from the grave and went Home to Heaven 40 days later to prepare a place for us before He comes back to get us.
The Hebrew word for perfect is tamiym. It means:
1) complete, whole, entire, sound
a) complete, whole, entire
b) whole, sound, healthful
c) complete, entire (of time)
d) sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity
e) what is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact (neuter adj/subst)
Doesn't that just beautifully describe God's Word? It is complete, whole, and trustworthy. It is healthful to our hearts, minds and even our bones. When we take God's Word as it is, whole and perfect, we try our hardest to live lives of holy conduct. This includes taking care of our bodies, which is an area I'm growing in right now. As I struggle with an issue over self-control regarding one area of my body, this passage speaks volumes to me and helps me understand that God's Word is so very personal. It's revived my soul to try to take captive the area that I'm struggling in and turn it over to God. I'll go ahead and confess my issue right now. I am a smoker. Of the cigarette kind. I want my body to be healthy but this addiction is one that is hard to break. I find myself smoking less on the weekends, which is a good thing! I mainly struggle at work or on long car rides. But if I believe God's laws to be perfect, and I do, I know that that I must be obedient to His Word and treat my body as His holy temple. I won't be smoking in Heaven, so I may as well start preparation for an eternity of not smoking by honoring this body He gave me here on earth. I hope you don't think less of me for smoking and confess that it concerns me that some will judge me as not being faithful in my walk with Christ. Once I have manifested the fruit of self-control in this area, if I still feel so called, I'm going to publish a book of devotions. I can't until I quit smoking, though. The Lord just won't let me. I know in my heart that although I cannot be perfect, I cannot willfully keep harming my body in this way and setting such a poor example.
The Hebrew word for warned is zahar. This verb means:
1) to admonish, warn, teach, shine, send out light, be light, be shining
a) (Niphal) to be taught, be admonished
b) (Hiphil)
1) to teach, warn
2) to shine, send out light (fig.)
I consider myself warned and that's why I share His Word and what I am learning with others through blogging. I love to teach and shine for Jesus. He has redeemed this dark shell of a body and radiated His light through salvation, admonishing me to share with others. I have never been so bold in my life, ya'll! I have a sister in Christ in-real-life that I can bounce ideas off of and I love sharing things that I've learned through writing. God's Word brings me joy and gladness and serving Him this way is one of the reasons my heart beats.
"Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression." ~ Psalm 19:13 (NIV)
What are willful sins? One like I mentioned above. Abusing your body with harmful substances such as nicotine is not a good thing. It's a total lack of self-control, too. Surely it is an addiction, but I cannot say, "Oh, well. I can never be cured. I tried and who's perfect anyway?" No, I am to strive toward living a life that is holy and pleasing to God. Knowing I am engaging in any willful sin (and I'm not saying smoking is a sin for everyone; however, it is for me - there is no judgement here on anyone else but myself) hurts and I don't want sin to rule over me.
The Hebrew word for willful is zed. It means:
1) arrogant, proud, insolent, presumptuous
a) the arrogant ones (as n coll pl)
b) presumptuous (as adj)
OUCH! Who says God's Word cannot be convicting? Not me!
The Psalmist implored God, "may they not rule over me."
The Hebrew word for that phrase is mashal. It means:
1) to rule, have dominion, reign
a) (Qal) to rule, have dominion
b) (Hiphil)
1) to cause to rule
2) to exercise dominion
Back to that self-control thing again. We must bear this fruit of the Spirit! We must not let anything but God rule and reign over our lives. Certainly we are to submit to governing authorities, but you know what I'm saying here, and what I believe the Psalmist is saying. He's talking about sin, not governing authorities. He wants to live upright and innocent, as do I.
The Hebrew word for innocent is naqah. It means:
1) to be empty, be clear, be pure, be free, be innocent, be desolate, be cut off
a) (Qal) to be empty, be clean, be pure
b) (Niphal)
1) to be cleaned out, be purged out
2) to be clean, be free from guilt, be innocent
3) to be free, be exempt from punishment
4) to be free, be exempt from obligation
c) (Piel)
1) to hold innocent, acquit
2) to leave unpunished
Christ paid all our debts when He died for us on the Cross. I just want to be able to say that I didn't hurt Him one further by continuing to willfully sin. As He bore our sins He suffered a great deal. What if I quit tonight? Does that mean it hurt Him just a little less when He bore our sins? Oh, my heart grieves to think that I could have quit months or years ago and spared Him one more ounce of pain.
Which brings me to the verse I pray every day and night.
"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)
The Hebrew word for pleasing is ratsown. It means:
1) pleasure, delight, favour, goodwill, acceptance, will
a) goodwill, favour
b) acceptance
c) will, desire, pleasure, self-will
I want to know that I please and delight God. That His goodwill and favor rests upon me and that my words and innermost thoughts are pleasing to Him.
I've kept you long enough. Let me leave you with his. Dive into His Word and make it real and personal to you! Let me tell you, the Old Testament is anything *but* boring! It sets the stage for so much of the New Testament and is so rich in history. You'll recognize names, as in the case of Stephen's speech in Acts. You'll learn more and it all just ties so neatly in together.
I have so much to do today - doctor's appointments and meetings at work. I'll be catching up on emails and reading your blogs later today. I can't wait to stop by and catch up! I kind of took the weekend - Monday off from that because we were off work. I spent the day with my beloved. We had a great day!
Blessings & Love to all...



Denise said...

I love you, and all the wisdom you constantly share.

LAURIE said...

I love your honesty here and I pray that nobody will judge you for your confession as I think we could all look inward and find something that we struggle with. Vices come in all different shapes and sizes. From smoking to over eating. I have learned yet another thing here about you, and once again we have another thing in common ... I have already started writing a devotion book, something God placed on my heart to do but I am certain the rate I am going - you will publish yours before me. Lets make a deal...I will give you a copy of my book in exchange for a copy of yours. (ha ha) love, Laurie

Homesteader in Training said...

My dear friend. I admire your honesty and openness! I know that the Lord can deliver your from that addiction and I pray right now that He does. None of us likes to think that something has a grip like that on us. I pray that you are released from that grip in Jesus' powerful name. Amen!
I love your heart sweet sister!
Big hugs my friend.

LauraLee Shaw said...

Sweetheart, of course I don't look down on you! If any single one of us were to say that we didn't have an ugly stronghold, or even two or three, we would ALL be lying, and therefore, sinning. lol. You know what I mean. The mere fact that you are confessing it shows a repentant, broken, humble heart that longs to be rescued from all sin.

That, my friend, makes me love you even more than I did before...and that was a whole lot. I will be praying fervently for you, and I look forward to the day we can praise Him for setting you free.

"I want to know that I please and delight God. That His goodwill and favor rests upon me and that my words and innermost thoughts are pleasing to Him." Amen. Me too, sister.

Lady of Value said...

In no way do I look down on you! Like the other posts, you have a humble spirit. We all struggle with something right? I struggle with my weight and my tongue, it gets me into a lot of trouble sometimes because I speak before I think!!

My husband smokes, my parents used to smoke so I know of the power of the addiction to nicotine has on people. Praying for you that when you are ready, laying the smokes down will be a piece of cake for you and I need you to pray for me that my piece of cake will be some fruit instead!
((Hugs to you!))

June said...

Precious one, I would never judge you based on your vices, when I also have a beam in my eye. My bonus daughter is also drying to stop smoking. The say smoking is the stronges addition to break.
With God's help you and my daughter will be victorous.

Question??? Where do you get the scriptures that you are suppose to read and comment on Togther In The Word? You can reply to junewren@aol.com
Thanks, June

Tricia said...

Hey Laurie Ann
You always have such good posts, full of wisdom and great nuggets from the Word.

Thank you for your honesty and transparency... I think when we are transparent with others about things we struggle with it encourages others to know that they are not alone in their struggles, and it gives them the opportunity to come along beside you and pray for you and give you encouragement. I will be praying that God would take your desire for smoking away and replace it with an even greater hunger and thirst for Him and His Word... nothing is impossible with Him!

I also love that portion from Psalms that you shared about, it brings such comfort to me when I read it... have a wonderful day and thanks for joining us!


Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

I too appreciate your wisdom and your honesty. I have been struggling with taking proper care of my body as well...in the area of eating more healthy and exercising. Food has been a weakness for me sometimes, and I'm praying for His strength to overcome my weakness as I seek freedom from the bondage food has been in my life. Some days are better than others. I'll keep you in prayer as you seek freedom on your own journey. Thanks for this great post...I so enjoy walking through the Word with all of you.

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

How I love you! And to know Jesus loves you more still makes me stand in awe of that wonderful maker of ours!!

I'm going to be praying for you. I have never smoked but my beloved did when I first met him. When I asked him not to smoke in front of my daughter, he asked me if I did not like smoking and I timidly admitted "no". He threw the cigarettes away and never touched them again. The power of love my sweet sister. And I can't wait to see the power of the love of Christ working in your to help you with this addiction. He will do it...of that I am sure.

Hugs to you, my friend.

saleslady371 said...

Hi, Laurie Ann!
Thank you for obeying the Lord and walking in your gift of teaching. I am always encouraged when I study with you. What a blessing you are and I love you more because you share what you struggle with. With me it's my sweet tooth and coffee. Like you, I believe Jesus gives us victory and we don't have to be slaves to it.

Peggy said...

Blessings Laurie Ann...I read through the comments for the first time because I usually do not want anyone to influence what I was thinking to write but this time I
wanted to make sure that not one was judging you least they be judged...and I pray that nobody looks differently at you either,
for that too would be hypocritical
because we each have "stuff" or mask our inner struggles. Your honesty and your heart shows so much more who you are and your gift of examining God's Word. You are very self critical like me but clearly God must be directing you in letting go of this so we can support you and you can be accountable. It is difficult to surrender anything whether it's a vice, a habit or something we don't let go of...but anything that affects our temple needs to be commanded to leave our beings and stop causing harm. We can have victory though sometimes the battle is an upward struggle...towards
heaven. I hope your freedom doesn't take that long because I don't know how you'll get a devotional published and read up there...when we will be face to face & behold His power and glory and He has the triumph for you also starting now step by step, day by day, hour by hour...you can do it! I know your desire to be pleasing in His sight.

Your words and study from ACTS are
once more inspirational & full of
great insights! Thank you for all your work & presenting this study from your Daily Reading. I had Acts, too! Thanks for your sweet words and visit. Love you even more
...be sure to come & check out my Thurs. ABC's that I have scheduled,

He And Me + 3 said...

Laurie Ann,

I love your honest heart and posts. I will be praying for you. Thanks for always sharing exactly what the Lord lays upon your heart.
You are a blessing!