#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

#4- Practicing Devotion to God-Meditate on God’s Word

Unlike the ancient believers we have the whole Bible to rely upon, refer to and reference for any and all circumstances, needs, encouragement, hope and reflection.  What about God’s Word makes it special?  Hebrews 4:12 tell us “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.”  God’s Word can touch us at the very heart of our being and is living and active 2Timothy 3 16-17in us and in our lives.  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, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  God’s Word is inspired and breathed by God so that in using and applying it to our lives we can be ready to do the work and live the life that God has for us.   Can you imagine the power it took for God to create the universe?  That same power is available to us in His Word, He spoke the world into existence and we have His Word before us in the Bible.

isaiah 55 11Isaiah 55:10-11 tell us the intentionality of God’s Word in the world.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”  Sovereign God knows where His Word is going and what it will accomplish.   We can count on its success as God never fails or is defeated.  “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Job 42:2

Knowing the power of God’s Word and how God will use His Word in our lives should give us hope and confidence as we study and learn from His Word.   Psalm 119:15-16 gives us what our attitude and actions towards God’s Word should be so that we can be  used of God and bearing fruit in our life for Him.

hebrews 4 12I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

May you be mightily blessed as you open God’s Word and let your heart meditate and soak in the truths about God and what He has for you to do. Let the living Word of God live within you today!

Linda

Focus on Heart Health with Thankfulness

Many of our prayers are sent heavenward for good health.  John begins his third letter like this:  “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John :2   Scripture often refers to the health our souls and not necessarily our bodies.  Jesus spoke about this in His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:22 ““The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”   Perhaps we have our focus wrong when praying for others.  Not only should we pray for healing of the body but be concerned about the health of the soul.  James tells us that we should pray for health by getting involved with the sick person. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:14-16   Verse 16 encourages us to rid ourselves of sin through confession and pray for each other so that we may be healed.  Healing here is both in body and soul.  Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine,  but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Points us to the state of one’s heart and soul as the source of good health.

My thoughts on praying for health and well being of others needs to be adjusted.  When I pray for good health, or return to health for someone I should also be praying for the state of their relationship to God, their soul.  If we want healthy souls, we have to have the light of Jesus in our hearts as that will bring permanent light and healing to our bodies.  As James admonished we should pray for each other when sick but also check in with their spiritual health too.  Having a healthy soul is more important than having a healthy body.   As Proverbs says, a cheer heart attitude is good medicine and enlightens our soul, but a discouraged, depressed heart is crushing. Pray for one another that we may be heart healthy in both body and soul. 

cheerful heartGive thanks for your good health today as you look at your heart.  If you see the light of Jesus in your heart, you are well and blessed!

Linda

 

Words of life, do you have them?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a complete manual for living in God’s Word.  God’s Word has stood firm and resolute since the beginning of time.  His Word, Jesus, came in human form bringing salvation to all who believe.  His Words in the Bible bring life, depth, understanding and guidance to us so that we can live the lives that God intends by following His ways and bringing Him glory.   Here are a few verses affirming the guidance and hope we receive in God’s Word:

Psalm 119:9 “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.”  Obedience to God’s Word leads one towards purity in all areas of life.

God's WordPsalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  God’s Word internalized helps us not to sin.

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet  and a light for my path.”  God’s Word provides guidance to my life.

Matthew 4:4 “But Jesus told him (Satan), “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  God’s Word rebukes Satan and gives spiritual sustenance for living.

Luke 11:28 “Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”  Applying God’s Word to our lives brings blessing.

John 6:63 and 68  “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”  and “Simon hebrews 4 12Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”  God’s Words are words of life and spirit and they lead to eternal life in Him.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  God’s Word is alive and works on our hearts, minds, souls and desires to align them with His ways.

Jesus plainly said that His Words lead to life.  Thank you Jesus.

words of lifeLinda

Suggestion:  Open His Word today and reread some of the above passages.  Let Him speak to you from His Word and be blessed.

A New Spirit for the New Year

102685840-happy-new-year-2019-poster-templateHappy New Year!  I can’t believe 2018 is done and we are ready to embark on 2019.  At this time of year we wonder what the year will bring- changes in places, people, relationships and even jobs.  It is a good time to take a closer look at our relationship with God and reevaluate our commitment and devotion to Him.  God never changes.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”   Psalm 33:11, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”  James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  These are just a few verses that reassure us that God is immutable and never changes.  Knowing that fact about God, we can look more closely at ourselves, our attitudes and actions. 

How do I remain faithful to a faithful God?   God reassured the children of Israel when they were taken into captivity in Babylon that He would be their sanctuary.  He alone would hold them steady in faith.  Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,”   God promises to put a new spirit within us and remove our heart of stone- attitudes of rebellion, faithlessness, unbelief, despair, rejection….   God can and will remove those from you and give you a NEW SPIRIT for the New Year.   He will give you a heart that is loving, compassionate, believing, and filled in christ alonewith hope.   How do you get this new heart and spirit?  In Christ alone our hope is found.  1 John 5:11-12 describe our hope. “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  Belief in Jesus, commitment to Him in gratitude and service is a place to begin.  Repentance of past sins and asking forgiveness brings us to our knees and realigns our hearts with Him.

New Year new spiritCelebrate your life in Christ, your hope in Christ and be assured that God will give you a new heart and a new spirit to live triumphantly in Him this year!  2019 Bring it on!  We’re ready with a repentant heart looking to our Savior.

Linda

Always Having a Grateful Heart Through Him

ThankfulnessIn Colossians Paul talks about specific areas in our lives that should create thankfulness within us.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:15-17 NLT

Paul teaches that we are to be thankful always for the peaceful living that is possible for us as brothers and sisters in Christ as we work together for the cause of Christ.  Next,  he reminds us that our worship should reflect our thankfulness to God.  Lastly, Paul explains that we need to be thankful to God as we are able to speak as a peace of christrepresentative of Christ because of His sacrifice for us.

One of the key elements in our thankfulness is the peaceful living in Christ we experience towards one another causing us to be thankful always.  Singing praises to God creates in us a state of worshipful living in the presence of God causing us to have grateful hearts and because of Christ we can be His representatives living in and with Him causing us to give thanks through Him.

May the peace you experience this season of Thanksgiving with your brothers and sisters in Christ make you always thankful.  May your times of worship be rich and fill your heart of jesusheart with gratefulness and may your times of sharing about Christ remind you that you speak for Him to others and cause you to give thanks though Him.

Thankful always for you -my brothers and sisters in Christ,

Linda

Be on the Thankfulness Track!

Thankfulness

This week as we draw nearer to Thanksgiving, I wanted to focus my thoughts on being thankful.  It is a state of mind and being that pours out of us because of who we are in Christ and what He did for us on the cross.  In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he wrote, Col 2 7 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NLT

Look at the key steps Paul gives in these verses that result in thankfulness.   1- You accepted Jesus as your Savior,   2-You are committed to following Him, 3- You are growing in the knowledge of who He is and what purposes He has for your life 4- You are striving to live for Him and build your life on Him, 5- Your faith is growing and you are learning more and more about His truth.   All of these steps lead to *** overflowing thankfulness in your life!   The result of having Jesus in our lives will be thankfulness.  If you are not experiencing thankfulness- at which step above are you faltering?  Do you know Jesus as your Savior?  Are you committed to Him or is your faith just a Sunday thing?  Are you taking time to get to know Him-through Bible Study, prayer and fellowship with other Christians?  Are you trying to apply God’s truths to your life by letting the power of the Holy Spirit work in and through you?   Jesus knew commitment was hard and spoke of our need to be single minded and focused on His kingdom in Matthew 6:20-21. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.”  AMP  

What does your heart reveal?  When you look inside yourself, do you see thankfulness?  If not, turn to Jesus today and get back on the thankfulness track.  It is never to late to step back into the steps Paul outlines and head towards overflowing thankfulness!

thankful peopleBlessings of thanks,

Linda

A Transformed Heart is filled with….kindness, compassion and forgiveness

In Ephesians Chapter 4, Paul is exhorting Christians to be Christ honoring in their behaviors.  He encourages them to clean up their speech, eliminating unwholesome talk, and speak only words of encouragement that build others up. (29)  He does not want us grieving the Holy Spirit by our actions, thoughts and deeds that he lists in verse 31, bitterness, rage, anger, arguing, fighting, being slanderous, or doing any kind of evil.  TenderheartedIn Ephesians 4:32 Paul tell us what actions and thoughts would be Christ honoring in our lives.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

What does it mean to be tenderhearted?  The dictionary defines it as ‘soft-hearted, sympathetic’.   Does that describe your heart?  Because of Christ’s transforming love, do you react to the world with a kind, forgiving and sympathetic heart?   Paul is telling us that because we are forgiven and Christ lives within us we can react and interact with the world through a kind, tenderhearted, forgiving heart.  Let this be your challenge today.  Ask Jesus to let you see the world through a heart that is tender and loving towards those around you.

Loving with a tender heart is what Jesus did while on earth and He desires us to continue showing that love towards others in His name.

Linda

What fills your Heart today?

psalm 9 1Psalms is filled with images of the heart.  Today think about some of these and see if you can identify and claim them for your own heart towards God.

A heart filled with Praise and Thanksgiving, Psalm 9:1  “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

A heart filled with Confidence, especially in times of adversity, Psalm 27:3  “Though an army encamp against me,  my heart shall not fear;  though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.”

A heart filled with JOY because of God’s Word, Psalm 119:111 “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”

A heart that is willing to wait upon the Lord, Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;  be strong, and let your heart take courage;  wait for the Lord!”

A heart that is unafraid to call upon the Lord for help, Psalm 119:145 “With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!  I will keep your statutes.”

A heart that yearns for God’s presencePsalm 84:2  “My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;  my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

psalm 138 1A heart filled with Praise and GratitudePsalm 138:1  “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;  before the gods I sing your praise”

Our heart attitude needs to begin and end with praise and thanksgiving each day.  God’s Word is so descriptive and really points to the true needs of our hearts in relationship to and towards God.  Do you see confidence in Him? Joy in His Word? A willingness to wait upon Him?  Fearlessness in talking to God about your problems? A yearning for God in your heart?  Let His Word be your guide today as you examine your heart before Him.

Desiring a heart that is looking to God,

Linda

The True Nature of our Hearts vs God’s Power = Victory in Jesus

God knows the true nature and intentions of our hearts.  Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees as they had observed the disciples eating food without washing or cleaning of their hands.  The Jewish law required certain observances before eating for yourself and the food.  Jesus called them hypocrites in Mark 7 saying they were more concerned about the outward appearances and not about the heart’s intent.  His disciples questioned him after this encounter.   And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,22 coveting, wickedness deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”  Mark 7:18-23

Lord looks at heartJesus knew the heart of man is where the problems lie.  The Pharisee’s desired to destroy Jesus out of greed, envy, jealousy and hatred.  It had nothing to do with eating ‘unclean food’ with ‘unclean hands’.  Jesus knows our hearts too.  He knows our true motives and desires.  Our hearts are bent toward self-gratification, self-glory, self-power and self-adulation.  It comes from a heart that is not right with God.  An old hymn calls it a sin sick heart that is in need of saving, cleaning and setting right before God.   We can not deny the true nature of our hearts but we can bring our hearts to God and allow Him to transform and make our hearts clean before Him.  Jesus gave us this new way to reconciliation with God.  Hebrews 10:21-23 describes this power, “21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God (Jesus), 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”   Jesus can clean our hearts and minds.  Then we can hold to our faith with assurance and hope!  He can and will root out the evil intentions of our hearts with His indwelling Holy Spirit and mold and shape us to His will and His ways.  First, we need to be cleaned by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross (death and resurrection) and then willing to be molded and shaped by His Holy Spirit.  God’s transformation is complete and 2Corinthians5.17permanent.  He replaces the old desires with new desires 2 Corinthians 5:17 calls us a new creation,  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   Praise God for His transforming power!

Praising Jesus and His power to make me new!

Linda