#7 Practicing Devotion to God-By Thinking Biblically

This idea of thinking biblically is something I’ve given quite a bit of thought.  Scripture tells us in Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways Isaiah-55-9higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”   God’s way of thinking and doing things are not the same as ours.  We are human and finite and God is omniscient and infinite.  So, we need to learn to think biblically to understand God’s ways better.  How do you go about that?  The process begins by spending time in God’s Word, memorizing His Word, and meditating on His Word  so that your minds thoughts are immersed in His thinking and ways.  Then when you are faced with a situation, you will respond with biblical thoughts more often than with worldly thoughts and actions.  

I have had this happen many times while I was memorizing the book of James.  It is a very practical book with loads of thoughts to direct our actions.  When something would happen, I would immediately recall scripture as my first reaction to a situation.  I realized I was practicing biblical thinking and acting like God would have me act.  It is an amazing feeling when your first reaction is godly and not worldly.  Our thought originate within ourselves and are selfish at heart and of this world.  God’s ways are not like ours and only come from being fully covered in His Word.

Psalm 119:11 confirms this idea, I have stored up your word in my heart,  that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119: 98 “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.”   Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is powerful and can discern truth.  “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.”   Having God’s Word in your heart and on and in your mind causes you to think Biblically and react as God would have to you act.   As you strive to be more and more like Jesus, becoming sanctified in Him, your thoughts and actions need to reflect Jesus more and more.

psalm 119 11Ponder how you can think more like Jesus.  Delve into God’s Word and try to soak it up into your very being.  Endeavor to practice Biblical thinking this week and see if you are not wiser and led into sin less as you look to His Word as your guide.

Linda

Find Hope for Living in 2020

The Bible assures us of  Hope in various ways.   As I mentioned first we have survival hope, that is filled with God’s promises, mercy, care and  love.  It is continual hope that never quits and demand our praise because of its consistency and unendingness.  Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually  and will praise you yet more and more.”

psalm 119 114Today let’s look at the Hope we have in Scripture.  Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield;  I hope in your word.”   Psalm 119:147 “I rise before dawn and cry for help;  I hope in your words.”   Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,  and in his word I hope;”   The psalmist knows that God protects him,  as He says so in His Word.  He know that in all of life’s circumstances when he calls to God for help, he knows God will answer as He says so in His Word.  He also knows that timing belongs to God and that as he waits he has hope because of God’s faithfulness in His Word.

Do you have Hope because of the assurances God gives in His Word?  For this to be true, you have to open the Bible daily and feast upon His Word.  You have to hunger to know Him more fully and rely upon His Word.  Make it a priority this New Year to join a group that studies God’s Word each week.  Perhaps your local church has such a group, if so join and make it a priority.  Perhaps you need another place to study, look up the following organizations and see if there are classes meeting in your city.  Both groups have studies for men, women and children.  These are both Bible base interdenominational, internationally available studies that systematically delve into God’s Word seeking to know Him more fully and to apply scripture to life. Bible Study Fellowship and Community Bible Study classes are both found world wide!  Look up you city, country and see if a class is close to you.  https://www.bsfinternational.org/  and  https://www.communitybiblestudy.org/

Your Word -my hopeDelve into God’s Word in 2020 and discover HOPE for living.

Linda

 

I AM… the light of the world

Jesus made this claim and it is recorded twice in John.  Once when challenged by the Pharisees in John 8:12 and again in John 9:5 when questioned about the sin of  man that was born blind.

In John 8:12-15 the Pharisees were seeking to discredit Jesus’ claims saying He could not be His own witness to who He really was.  Jesus’ answers are straight forward and He John_8-12_2_turns the statements back to them so that they will examine themselves. 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”   Jesus’ statement is bold and shows purpose and direction.  He knew where He was going, what He was doing and why.  He assures us that if we follow His light, His truth, and His ways we will not walk in the darkness of sin but have a life filled with His light and truth!   What a wonderful assurance.  

In John 9 Jesus encountered a man born blind and His disciples asked, who sinned and made this man blind- his parents or him?  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   Jesus assured them that the blindness did not come from sin but was to be an opportunity to show the works and power of God.  Jesus performed many miracles of this kind during His ministry.  Giving sight was a living example of what Jesus can do for us as He can give us sight.  His light brings salvation, hope, understanding of God’s Word, a pathway to stronger character based on Him, guidance and direction.  He shows us the way to God.  John calls Jesus the Word in John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, john 1 4and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”   Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet  and a light to my path.”   Jesus is God’s Word brought into our lives to bring us to Him and to be the light by which we can come to God.  Praise God for His mercy and grace towards us by sending Jesus to be our light in this dark world.

Ask yourself,  Am I walking fully in God’s light, letting Him guide and direct my way?  Or am I walking part in light and part in darkness trying to live in the world, keeping worldly thoughts and actions a part of my life?   How can I walk more in God’s light and less in the shadow of the world’s darkness each day?  David gave us a glimpse of an answer in Psalm 119:9-11:                                                                                                          How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.               Stay in the Word (Jesus)
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!          Follow the Word (Jesus)
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.                     Keep the Word in your heart. (Jesus)

psalm 119 11Does this describe how your heart looks?

Have a blessed day walking in the LIGHT of Jesus.

Linda

I AM… the Bread of Life

I amAll summer I have been writing about God’s names in the Old Testament seeing that God is our refuge, our glorious sword, our King, our provider and so much more. As we enter fall, I want to switch to the New Testament voice of Jesus and who He says He is to us.  He made 7 ‘I am’ statements that are equal in measure with God’s statement to Moses in Exodus 3:14  when he questioned God, asking who shall I say has sent me?  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Picture the scene that John portrays in John 6.  The crowds were pressing Jesus and asking Him for a sign to show that He was God.  They wanted a tangible sign from Jesus and reminded Him of the manna that God sent to the children of Israel while wandering in the desert.  Jesus told them God had sent them true bread from heaven to give life to john 6 35the world.  Of course, “They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”   Jesus replies with His first of the 7 I AM statements.  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:34-35  Jesus goes on to assure them further, 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”     Jesus came to show us the Father, to do His will and hold us as His own.  We never need to fear what man can do as God holds us tighter than tight and sees to our needs.  Knowing Jesus brings satisfaction for your spiritual hunger to know God and to be fed by Him.  

Do you allow God to feed you daily from His Word?  Jesus, the very bread of life, is john 1ever present in God’s Word and John even refers to Jesus as the Word in John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”   Jesus is the Word and has the very words of life for us in the Bible.  Read the Word today and let Him feed and nurture you as you seek to know Him.  He will sustain you with pure spiritual food that will always satisfy.   Jesus promises He is the true bread of life that we need for living an authentic life before Him.

Linda

A Treasure Chest of provisions for you and me!

psalm119Today as I reflect on Psalm 119 for the last time, I am looking at the list I made of just a few of the things the psalmist found.   This glorious psalm is a song of praise to God and a declaration of the psalmist’s faith in God Almighty.

He found:   joy in seeking God,  2 “Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him    with all their hearts.”    a way to purity, 11 “I have hidden your word in my heart,  that I might not sin against you.”   answers for living, 32  “I will pursue your commands,  for you expand my understanding.”  answers for persecutors, 42 “Then I can answer those who taunt me,  comfort and hope49-50  “Remember your promise to me;  it is my only hope.  Your promise revives me;  it comforts me in all my troubles.  for I trust in your word.”  security, 86 “All your commands are trustworthy.  Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.”   meditations that bring understanding, 103-4 “How sweet your words taste to me;  they are sweeter than honey.  Your commandments give me understanding;  no wonder I hate every false way of life.”    guidance, 105 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”  a shield and refuge, 114  “You are my refuge and my shield;  your word is my source of hope”   resolve to stand with the right, 128 “Each of your commandments is right.   That is why I hate every false way.”  expectations, 131 “I pant with expectation,  longing for your commands.”  sorrow over evil, 136 “Rivers of tears gush from my eyes  because people disobey your instructions.”  God’s righteousness, 137  “Lord, you are righteous,  and your regulations are fair.”  truth, 160 The very essence of your words is truth;  all your just regulations will stand forever. “  the Sovereignty of God, 168 Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.”  that God seeks the lost, 176  “I have wandered away like a lost sheep;  come and find me,  for I have not forgotten your commands.”

This is an amazing list of things the psalmist understood because he believed in God and took His Word seriously.  How precious is God’s Word to you?  Meditate on this list of things the psalmist found- how many of them can you claim to have found in God’s Word?  Seek Him in His Word and see what you find.

Blessings as you seek Him too,

Linda

I’m claiming God’s promises for my own, how about you?

psalm 119 76The next section of Psalm 119 in verses 73-80 the psalmist speaks of his joy that God created him and the joy that living as one who fears the Lord brings.  I think the heart of his message is  in 76-77:    “Let your steadfast love comfort me  according to your promise to your servant.   Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;  for your law is my delight.”  The psalmist is praising God for loving and comforting him just as He promised.  He knows that God will be merciful to him and give him life as he learns to live delighting himself in God’s Word.

Do you know these truths about God for yourself?  Do you experience His steadfast love and comfort?  Do you see His mercies in your life?  Do you find that praying, reading God’s Word and worshiping Him brings you delightful peace and assurance?  The psalmist reminds us that all of these are promised by God to those who believe and stand upon His Word.  Here are a few promises you can claim in your life and hold onto their truth.

God keeps his promises

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;  his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.”

Psalm 86:5-7  “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,   abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.  Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;  listen to my plea for grace.   In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.”

Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord,  when he delights in his way;”

Ask yourself today, where do I see God’s love and mercy and where am I delighting in doing things God’s way?  God will keep His promises.  Claim victory in Christ today!

Walking with love and mercy given graciously by Jesus to me,

Linda

I am a princess in God’s kingdom.

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a princess (prince) in God’s kingdom.  This delightful truth requires that 1- God is King and 2- I am His child.  As a believer in Jesus, the Bible refers to me as a child of God.   John 1:12-children of God13   But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”     Romans 8:14 and 16 “ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”   When you accepted Jesus as your Savior and put your faith in Him, then you became a child of God!  

Most of us would accept that God is King but here are a few references to that fact.  David often referred to God as King.  Psalm 47:6  “Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!”   Psalm 95:3 “For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.”  Jeremiah also referred to God as King in Jeremiah king10:10a “But the Lord is the true God;  he is the living God and the everlasting King.”  1 Timothy  6:15 “F
or, At just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”   

So what does all this mean for me? Being a prince or princess in God’s kingdom means I am in a place of privilege and great responsibility.  Being related to the King puts me in His house and sharing in His wealth.  I can have the King’s ear and speak with Him daily and share in the glory of His presence.  However, being a prince or princess comes with great responsibilities too.  I reflect upon the King with my deeds and actions, I have a job to do in being open to His will in my life and I am to deliver His message to the world.  How are you doing as a prince or princess?  Are you just taking in the goodness of God, your King, and not working for Him?  Meditate on your position in God’s household today and ask God to make you the best prince or princess that you can be.  Reflecting Jesus brings glory to God.

Loving being a princess of the King,

Linda

 

I am the sweet fragrance of Christ to God.

fragranceBecause I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am the sweet fragrance of Christ to God.  Have you ever thought about how you look, taste, smell or feel to God?  According to 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 we have the smell of life to God because of Jesus.   For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”  The verse also says that to the unsaved we are the smell of death.  Why would that be the case?   The unsaved have no love or appreciation for Christ.  They have no faith in His power to save and are stuck in their sins which lead to death.  Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Through Christ we are washed clean and are sweet smelling.  There is no smell of death or sin about us.  We do not remind God of sin as we are redeemed and according to Jeremiah 31:34 “‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  The Lord sees us as pure and righteous because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  

So what does that mean for me? Am I spreading the sweet smell of Christ to those around me?  Do people feel uplifted after having a conversation with me?  Do they see me doing ‘sweet’ things for others without thinking about myself?   Jesus calls us to be self-less in our witness for Him.  As you begin this fourth week of Lent,  remember you are the sweet sweet, aroma of Christ in the world.

aroma-of-christKnowing Jesus and bathing in His Word keeps us sweet smelling!

Linda

I am not condemned.

Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am not condemnedRomans 8:1 is one of my all time favorite verses.  It brings the truth of the gospel and what it means to me into reality.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Because of what Jesus did on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins, and my faith in His saving power, I am no longer subject to the condemnation or guilty charge brought on by my sins.  The Amplified Bible romans 8 1adds to this verse and makes it really clear.  “Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”   Without Christ dying on the cross and rising from the dead, we would still be under the penalty of sin, which is death.  Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  My faith in Jesus puts me in a privileged category of No Condemnation!  When God looks at me, He sees the blood of Jesus covering me and not my sins.  I am free from the penalty which I deserve for my sinfulness by God’s grace and mercy.  He sent Jesus to take my place and redeem me. In addition, He has given me the gift of eternal life with Him.  What a magnificent and merciful God we serve!

As you ponder this truth today, praise and thank Jesus for His redeeming work on the cross.  What better thoughts to have this Lenten season than praise and thankfulness for the sacrifice that Jesus made on for each of us.  He broke the chains of sin for us and we are free to live without condemnation.  This song of Zach Williams reminds me of my true freedom through Christ.

Praising the Savior,

Linda

I am God’s Workmanship.

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am God’s Workmanship.   The verse in Ephesians that describes believers as the workmanship of God was our memory verse several years ago for our church Day Camp.  There are several different translations of this verse that can help shed light on this unique position of believers.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

masterpieceNIV translates workmanship as God’s handiwork

NLT calls us His masterpiece

HCSB says we are His creation

The Living (TLB) says we are what He has made us

The Amphified goes the extra mile adding several words: ” For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus”

Each translation adds a new dimension to the definition of what it means for us to be called His Workmanship.  God created us to do His work in the world.  He even prepared those good things He wants us to do for Him before we were even born.  God desires for us to walk with Him and do good works in the name of Jesus to bring glory to His name.   “And now, _________(put your own name in here), what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. It pleases God when we obey and serve Him.” Deuteronomy 10:12

Living a life that pleases God causes us to want to do good works, and God thought enough of me to prepare ahead of time specific things for me to do.  God’s will is that I accomplish these things for Him and bring Him glory.  He wants me to be a masterpiece or a true work of art in the name of Jesus.  When we recognize that we are not just a dot to God but a whole canvas masterpiece, we realize how much He loves us and wants good for us.

If you were doubting yourself or your existence today, doubt no more!  God has created you for good things and desires that you accomplish them in and through Jesus.  It is a privileged work He has for us in a privileged place. Walk with Him today with  open eyes and heart.  He will reveal what He has for you to do, that only you can do in Christ.

Focus on Jesus and let God make your canvas perfect in Him.

Linda