Friday, January 26, 2018

Worship Time: The Word of God

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  
(Psalm 119:10-11 KJV)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  
(Psalm 119:105 KJV)

In the previous two posts for this year, my focus is on God’s Word—its importance, its value, and its primacy.  My goal is to exhort my brothers and sisters in Christ to get in the Word each and every day and to read the Bible from cover-to-cover in a year’s time.  Any time we spend in the Word is never, ever wasted time.  By reading the entirety of God’s Word (and doing it over and over again) helps us to see the big picture of God’s plan for mankind.
My hope is to have some sermons prepared at some point this year to share (in audio or video).  However, that is going to take a sizable amount of time.  What I thought I was going to do is growing into something much bigger.  What was once one sermon has multiple sermons within it—my mentor is encouraging me to divide what I have into smaller pieces and develop around seven or eight messages!  This will clearly take a substantial amount of time.
In the meantime, for something a bit “lighter”, I am turning towards a time of worship, using hymns that focus on the amazing Word of God.

Please join me in worship:
Wonderful Words of Life

Thy Word is Like a Garden, Lord

Standing on the Promises

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, We stand in awe of your majesty and the power You possess that we read about in Your Word.  Thank You for giving us Your Word to guide and direct our lives, cause us to treasure it and truly read it daily.  We are thankful for those You inspired through the Holy Spirit to write the words we read today.  Thank You for those brave men and women who have given all because of their love for You and Your Word.  We join a great body of Christian brothers and sisters each time we delve into Word.  Open our minds and hearts each time we meet You in the pages of our Bibles—may the Word read us and we read it.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Friday, January 19, 2018

Thy Word: A Fresh Perspective

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” 
(Psalm 119:105 KJV)

Note:  This is an edited version of a post from 2015 titled Thy Word.

Two weeks ago I proposed a challenge on the blog—the challenge was to commit to reading the Bible from cover-to-cover by the end of the year.  Treasuring God’s Word above all else and knowing it is a God-given passion of mine.  Combine this with the spiritual gifts of teacher, pastor, and faith I have a deep, burning desire that my Brothers and Sisters in Christ would develop a deep hunger for the Word and a deep desire (and commitment) to be in the Word each and every day.

Seeing rampant biblical illiteracy all around me—in my Christian Brothers and Sisters, in my church, and elsewhere deeply grieves my heart.  Biblical illiteracy must break God’s heart too.  In the future, I will likely address biblical illiteracy in a post (or two); for today, I will focus on God’s Word alone.

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For those of us who grew up attending church and Sunday School, we have spiritual “roots” that came from the “seeds”, the instruction adults in our life gave us.  Sometimes these memories can resurface in our adult years.  This is true in my case.

Memories can be poignant, happy, sad, and a mix of feelings.  It is interesting to recall things learned as a young child later in life.  Many times, children seem to understand spiritual things that we struggle with as adults.  Children seem to have an excitement about Jesus and God’s Word that some adults seem to have forgotten (or perhaps never had in the first place).  To recapture that love and excitement as an adult is amazing and priceless. 

As a small girl in Sunday school, I remember hearing and learning the above verse. I may have even memorized it.  Even as a young child, I knew the importance of reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word.  (While I have spent little time memorizing the Scriptures, I have many imbedded in my heart just because of how much time I have spent in the Word.)

Sadly, however, for the most part the adults around me did not model this lifestyle. In reflecting back, there did not seem to be a hunger for God’s Word or a desire to be immersed in the Word beyond Sunday in my church.  It was not until I was in my thirties that I made and kept the commitment to study God’s Word each day; I am continuing to go strong today. 

As a college student (undergrad and graduate), I tried to study God’s Word daily, however, the academic demands of each semester “won” out over God’s Word.  I am a bit sad that I let my time with the Lord each day go when I got busy.  Some years, my priorities were more than a bit skewed.   

Photo from Pixabay

What can we do to model a hunger for God’s Word to those around us, especially the children and youth in our lives? How do we demonstrate just how important the Word of God is for His children? How can we increase our biblical literacy?  These are important questions to be considered deeply, some of these questions may be addressed later in this blog.

In 2005, I made the commitment to read the Bible from cover to cover in a year (something that I continue to do), I began discovering many “gems” that I had nearly forgotten.  In fact, many years I have been able to read the Bible from cover-to cover more than once!  The above verse from Psalm 119 highlights, I believe, just how important God’s Word is for us.  God’s Word illuminates our path, so we can see the way we are to walk.  Ignoring God’s Word can cause us to wander off the path and cause our relationship with the Lord to grow cold, stale, and lifeless.

In God’s Word we can find Scriptures that address all our life situations.  By obeying God’s Word, we can save ourselves (and others) from much heartache and sorrow by making wrong choices.  I am so thankful for God’s Word and the ability to read and understand it for myself! 

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Throughout the world there are many believers who do not have the Word of God in their heart language; while others simply have no access to a Bible due to where they live.  These dear ones long to have access to the Word of God.  Get that:  they long to have the Word of God to read.  When they receive a Bible, it is a treasured item that they lovingly care for and read with great hunger.  If this is true for them, why is not true for so many in countries where the Word of God is readily accessible?  What has caused us to grow cold, complacent in our faith?     

What are you thankful for in God’s Word?    

What can we do to increase our desire for God’s Word to be part of our daily lives?  

It is a choice we all make.  For me, I choose to read and study the Bible first thing every day (before I get on the computer or do anything else).  Some days I have to “push through” and do it whether I want to or not.  It also helps to be around others who are also hungry for God’s Word and are faithful to reading and studying it.

What about you:  How do you approach the reading and studying of God’s Word?  What commitments have you made?

God’s Word truly is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path!  What about you?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Father, thank You for Your wonderful Word.  Deepen our hunger for it so greatly that we cannot ignore it.  Remind us to turn to Your Word for knowing how we are to live.  Bring growth to the seeds that are planted each time we immerse ourselves in Your Word.  Increase our knowledge of You through spending time with You and in Your Word; we want to know You, not just know about You.  In Jesus’ precious name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


P.S. As I was preparing the original post, a song by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant came to mind, Thy Word. Take a listen here: 

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Challenge for the New Year

With my whole heart have I sought thee:  O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee
(Psalm 119:10-11 KJV, emphasis mine)

*Note:  This is an edited and revised post that I have shared the last few years to kick off the New Year.

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As I work on this post the New Year is just underway—a fresh start from God.  Truthfully, each new day is a fresh start from God.  The New Year gives us the opportunity to adopt new behaviors, set new goals.  Hopefully, the new behaviors will be beneficial to us personally and to others!  The new calendars we opened four days ago are a tangible sign of this fresh start.  What will this year hold?  Only God knows for sure; whatever it holds, we can still learn, grow, and develop in our walk with the Lord. 

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.  
(Psalm 119:18 KJV)

The New Year also affords us the opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to all the possibilities that it holds.  Now is a wonderful time to either begin or renew or deepen our relationship with Jesus.  What can you do to grow in the Lord this year?  What is the Lord calling you to do or to not do? 

As you prayerfully discern what God is directing you to do this year, I hope that you will commit to reading the Bible from cover-to-cover in 2018.  This is my New Year challenge to you! 

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Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  (Psalm 119:105 KJV)

Any time spent in God’s Word is never wasted.  God’s Word’s goes out and does not return to Him void (see Isaiah 55:11).  The dividends are amazing!  Reading the whole of God’s Word allows us to get to know the heart of our Heavenly Father and to begin to see themes, interconnections, and more with ease.  One of the perks to continually reading the Bible (beyond beloved passages) is it will help you find passages with ease in a variety of settings.  The more you read the Word of God, the more you will see connections between the Old and New Testaments.  Another perk to Bible reading is doing much better in Bible trivia games!

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  
(Hosea 4:6 KJV, emphasis mine)

Keep in mind there are many atheists and agnostics who have read the Bible cover-to-cover multiple times.  We, His people, should hunger for the Word in such a way that we will want to read all of it!

The prophet, Hosea, in the above passage is speaking God’s heart to his people; I believe it is applicable to God’s people today.  To not hunger for God’s Word says much about the state of our heart—much like our bodies not wanting food when we are ill.  Sadly, I know of pastors who see no need to read the whole of the Word of God—this grieves my heart for them and the people in their respective churches.  Thankfully, my last pastor and current pastor read the whole of the Word and encourage their people to do the same.

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I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.  (Psalm 119:176 KJV)

It is my heart’s sincere desire that you are setting time aside in your daily schedule to commune with God and that you are growing in your relationship with Him.  God loves you so much and desires nothing more than relationship with you.  He loves you so much, in fact, He is crazy about you!  Keeping your eyes on the goal (prize), will help you stay focused and not get off track.  A word of caution: be kind to yourself, realizing that some days or weeks will not be so great; things will go wrong—give yourself the grace you deserve—give yourself the grace you would give to others.  Be sure to encourage yourself over how far you have come.

Time?  Yes, this does take time.  However, if we consider the amount of time we spend on social media or mindlessly watching television or reading books that do not edify; the cost is minuscule.  The cost is more than worth it in the end.

If my grandma, who only had a sixth grade education could do it; so can you!  Grandma Emma made that commitment; she lived without many of the modern conveniences we have, therefore, nearly everything took her much longer to accomplish.  Her life was not an easy one; she loved God and those around her.

Personal Photo: Grandma Emma and me--my first Christmas

Since 2005, I have read the Bible from cover-to-cover at least once each year, if not more!  One time, I read the through the Bible in ninety days (and even managed to read the New Testament twice in that period!).

Who will take me up on this little challenge?  I will cheer you on; you can do this!  Moreover, this is where supportive relationships (accountability) with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are so helpful.  Our relationships allow us to lend a helping, supportive hand to a sister or brother who is hurting or struggling; we can also be on the receiving end of the help and support of others.  How about we support and encourage each other?  

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Why not make 2018 the year that you allow Christ to change you—making you more and more like Him?  Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you and deepen your walk with the Lord.  What is holding you back?  I want to encourage you to commit to opening yourself to what God wants to give you.  You may find that you will go places and do things you never thought that you would do!  Keep on reading and studying God’s Word and praying!

A variety of plans exist that you can select from to guide you in this endeavor.  If you happen to fall behind, please do not get discouraged—keep on going and get caught up when you are able.  Moreover, apps exist to help you read, study, and understand the Word of God—one such app that is also accessible through computers is YouVersion. For more about YouVersion see here and here.  With YouVersion you can connect with friends and others for support and encouragement.  

Here is a link that will take you to a site that gives a variety of plans to read through the Bible in a year.  Bible Reading Plans  For some other ideas please pursue the content in the right side bar of this blog, particularly:  50 Day Spiritual Adventure 2015 and 50 Day Spiritual Adventure Fall 2016

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What are you looking forward to most in reading God’s Word this year?  How can I encourage you?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of life and for the gift of another New Year and for all the possibilities that it holds.  Help us to be always faithful to You—doing what You would have us to do each day.  Deepen our longing for You, so that we will press in and not quit until we have all that You have to offer us.  Instill deep within us a hunger for Your Word that is not easily satisfied.  Encourage us to commit to and keep that commitment to read the whole of Your Word this year; we can only do it with Your help.  Come Holy Spirit; enlighten the eyes of our understanding, as we read the Word You inspired.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Happy New Year! 
May God bless you richly throughout 2018!
May 2018 be the year to give more of your life to the Lord.