Love Is In The Air


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1 Corinthians 16:14

Let all that you do be done in love.

It’s the time of year when we find boxes of pink and red heart decorated candy and trinkets just about everywhere. You also find little stuffed animals and greeting cards expressing love. These tokens of love and friendship line the seasonal section of many retailers. Grocery stores set up portable tents to house fresh rose bouquets so you can drive though to pick up a gift for your sweetie. It’s still January, but reminders of Valentine’s Day are everywhere. It’s an 18 billion dollar business.[i] For just one day!

Couples will go out to a fancy dinner and express their love to each other. Children exchange little valentines in class parties. Millions of women will receive flowers and jewelry from their loved ones on one specific day. Why do we celebrate expressions of love and friendship on select days of the year? Why can’t we express love more often?

I think we can, but often times we don’t, because by nature, we are selfish creatures. Most often, we live for ourselves. Just take a look at the career you chose, your home, your bank account, and your pastimes. These are all expressions of ourselves; our own interests. We often live for ourselves at the expense of other people. We have to make a decision to show love. Holidays remind us to do that.

Deep down, we understand God created us to love others. So we turn to books and relationship experts explaining how to love your mate or family better, or how to express love in general. We should be turning to the good book for help expressing love. The Bible has a great deal to say about the subject. One of the most quoted passages on love is found in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13:4-7. It’s succinct.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

We tend to think of love as a feeling, but according to 1 Corinthians 13 love is a behavior. It’s an act. When I think of that, I have to remember how I acted to certain people, mostly my family. Have I acted like I truly loved each one of them, or did I hurry them through homework, dinner, chores, and afterschool activities? What about the times I’ve been short tempered, or worse, uninterested? What about the times I was not available for a friend who truly needed me?

I’ll still remember my loved ones as Valentine’s Day approaches, but I’m committed to acting like I love my family and friends, expressing love every single day, in every act. It’s not always going to be easy. I need to learn more patience, to be more interested, more aware, and tolerant. I am grateful for the guidance given me in the Scriptures.

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Blessings on your day.

Scripture:  www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

[i] http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/13/living/valentines-day-statistics-btn/

 

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A Fresh Journey Through The Scriptures


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I was busy tending to my daughter when I heard the doorbell ring followed by the thud of a package dropped on the doorstep. Knowing its contents I was a little annoyed at how carelessly the package was handled, but I reminded myself the book inside probably wasn’t damaged.

I had been looking forward to receiving this particular box for over a week. I tore open the package like a kid unwrapping a Christmas gift. Inside that box was my new Bible. I don’t really need a new Bible. It’s just that I decided to embark on a new adventure through the Scriptures and thought a new “vehicle” would help me get the most out of my upcoming journey.

Four times I’ve taken the challenge to read the Bible in one year, and each time was a blessing. This time, I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to read the Bible in three years. I know it sounds like I’m taking a half-hearted approach, but hear my plan.

  • Year 1: Read the New Testament, history between the testaments, and the study notes for each verse. Read a Psalm and a Proverb every day.
  • Year 2: Read ½ the Old Testament, (Genesis to Esther), history of the Israelites and the study notes for each verse. Read a Psalm and a Proverb each day.
  • Year 3: Read the second half of the Old Testament, (Ecclesiastes to Malachi), accompanying world history and study notes for each verse. Read a Psalm and a Proverb every day.

Instead of speed reading the Bible, I look forward to savoring every morsel. I want this trip through the Scriptures to be a personal exploration of the Bible. I also want to plant all of God’s Word deep in my heart and soul. To do that I need to take more time to mediate on individual verses and passages – something difficult to do when you intend to read the entire Bible in just one year.

So, for my three-year quest I bought a new Bible, in a different version. It’s a Study Bible with thousands of articles and dozens of maps. These tools should guide this new adventure like a compass and detailed map. Fortunately, I will also have a dedicated tour guide for my quest – God. Care to join me?

Blessings on your day.

*The Bible I selected is the ESV Study Bible.

 

Psalm 119: 18     Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 119:105     Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Joshua 1:8

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Scripture: http://www.openbible.info

Image: Google Images

Thankfulness – Day 28


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Dear God,

Thank you Lord for providing us with Your Scriptures that we may understand You as we study them. Thank you for translating the Bible into many languages so that everyone has the opportunity to get to know Your ways. Open our hearts to the truth You are teaching us. Lead us to the passages that we need to read. Bless us as we get to know You through the reading of the Bible.

Joshua 1:8

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:11

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Proverbs 3:1-2

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.

2 tim

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images, Pinterest

Thankfulness – Day 2


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Lord, today I am thankful for all those who study and explain Scripture. These men and women have studied your Holy Word, studied archaeological documents, and the customs of those who lived when the Bible was written. To help us understand the Scriptures, and You, they have written commentaries, concordances, Bible Studies and books about Your Word. This helps us understand You and Your ways better so that we may interact with this world in a godly way and know how to share Jesus Christ with others.

Acts 8:30-35

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,

 and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

May you be blessed with fresh insight into the Scriptures today. 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: Google Images, Pinterest

A Life Verse


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 Deuteronomy 11:18 (CEV)

Memorize these laws and think about them. Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and your foreheads to help you obey them.

I have heard Pastors and other Christian leaders talk about finding a “life verse.” A life verse is more than a favorite verse; it is the verse that speaks directly to you in a remarkably personal way. With more than 31,000 verses in the Bible the task seemed overwhelming to me, so I put it off. I wondered how one verse could speak to my life now, and ten years from now.

Still, it’s a concept I wanted to explore further. Over time, I read articles and blog posts from various Christian authors. There was no shortage of advice, but still, I couldn’t pick one verse. As I reflected on what verse to select I thought I should pick a verse that I could quote while sharing the gospel, and to give myself encouragement. I googled “Top Memory Verses” and read over 100 suggested verses. Several would have worked as a life verse, but I was not drawn to any one particular verse. There were also personal struggles going on in my life, which made the decision more difficult.

It wasn’t until I set out to read the entire Bible that I found my life verse, tucked away in the book of a minor prophet – Zephaniah. Part of Zephaniah, chapter 3, discusses the blessing of restoration for God’s people. It also points to Christ’s millennial kingdom. As a young adult I ignored the Lord. Although I regret my foolishness, this verse reminds me of God’s great love and forgiveness, and His ability to make great change in anyone’s life, even after disobedience. It also points to a future of hope.

Zephaniah 3:17 (GNT)

The Lord your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you.”

What’s your life verse? If you don’t have one I encourage you to find a verse that speaks to you so personally, you find it a special treasure.

Blessings on your day.

 

Image: Google Images

Facing A Storm


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Have you ever had a crisis of faith? Was there an occasion you found yourself immersed in despair, or felt totally defeated and there seemed to be no way out of your situation? Perhaps you cried out to God, but He seemed silent, just when you needed Him the most.

The Prophet Elijah faced such a situation. First Kings 19 tells us about Elijah’s crisis of faith. The great prophet found himself in the midst of a raging storm. How did he hear from God? Let’s pick up the story at verse 9, where the prophet was hiding in cave.

The Lord Appears to Elijah

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus.

The first lesson is God comes to us in a gentle whisper. When we face difficult trials and the storm is raging, we must listen for the voice of God. Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” It may seem counterintuitive to get quiet when you feel you should act, but we all need God’s guidance before we can respond correctly to any situation.

We learn our second lesson in verse 16. God told Elijah to go back the way he came. In other words Elijah was to go back and face the trial. How many times are we tempted to run from a horrible situation? Maybe we want to quit the job, end a friendship or just take an easier path. Facing the situation God’s way will result in God resolving the issue; God is the only one qualified to do so. God is strong, and God is love. He will fight for you.

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

 When I recite this verse I picture the sweetest, purest voice singing for me. The thought calms me and reminds me whose fight it really is – God’s.

Our Heavenly Father will not abandon you in your time of need. We need to learn to stop fighting the battle alone. Quiet your spirit before the Lord, listen for His instruction, and let Him calm the storm.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: http://www.googleimages.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving a Spiritual Legacy


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2 Timothy 1:5

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

 

I have some treasures to pass down to my children. There’s my great-grandmother’s Bible that she brought with her from Ireland. I also have a bracelet from another great-grandmother. It has her name engraved on it. I have a few of my own treasures, special Christmas ornaments, jewelry and other collections to pass down. There’s the Bible, with hand-written prayers in it, when I prayed for my babies. With any luck, we can also leave them a financial inheritance. But these objects don’t really matter. The greatest gift I can leave my children is my faith. That is not a one-time gift. The gift of faith is a gift my husband and I give by example every single day. I can take my kids to church, but if I don’t practice my faith, what good is it? I’ve come up with a short list of ways to help leave a spiritual legacy for our children.

  1. Pray for your kids every day. And pray for guidance for yourself too.
  2. Pray for your children’s friends, acquaintances, teachers, coaches and other mentors.
  3. Encourage your kids to invite friends to your church.
  4. Be an active member of your church family.
  5. Talk openly about your faith, and what God has done for you.
  6. Read the Bible as a family, have family devotions.
  7. Pray in front of your kids – not just saying grace at meal times. Let them see you pray.
  8. Let them see you live your faith, like taking a meal to a sick neighbor or participating in mission projects.
  9. Let them see you give your gifts to the church, and teach them to tithe too.
  10. When life lessons come up, discuss with them how to handle them in a godly way, but talk to them on their level.

What would you add to this list?

I also thought this was a good article on leaving a spiritual legacy: http://www.growthtrac.com/5-ways-to-leave-a-spiritual-legacy-for-your-kids/#.Uo3qicSkqDs

Blessings on you and your family.

Scripture: biblegateway.com

Image: google images