Wisdom Whispers Review

I am delighted to be part of the Launch Team for Wisdom Whispers.  It is thought-provoking and easy to read.  It gave me much new insight into one of God’s chosen.

Sarah writes in such a way that the words get into your mind and heart.  Wisdom (and understanding) grows with each days lesson.

I have a new appreciation of King Solomon and his writings thanks to Wisdom Whispers. As I completed each day of this study I was struck with how much he was like a real person, with real struggles, just like me. Even though Solomon was incredibly blessed by God he fell into the trap of great riches and power not recognizing his blessings were from God and not of his own making. This resulted in life choices that changed him from a devoted man of God to a contriving man of the world. (i.e., 700 wives of whom many were princesses of other realms married for political purposes.)

Whether you go through this study alone or invite a group of people into your home you will find the time spent in this segment of God’s word worth it.

I hope you’ll check it out.  IT’S FREE! You won’t regret it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

Do You Know All You Need To Know?

How do you read through the Bible? Do you use a plan to do it in a year? 3 months? 6 months?  Any way you choose to do it is the right way if it works for you.  I choose to read at my own pace.  Sometimes a few verses, a couple of chapters, a whole book…  Today as I was reading, (I’ve reached 1st Corinthians.) the Word spoke loudly to me on what I need to know.  Check out 1 Corinthians 8:1-3.

1-corinthians-81-3

I saw myself in this verse and knew I needed to make a change.  I do not want to be a know-it-all, or even come across that way.  So how do I fix this issue?  First and foremost,  Only God is omnipotent, all knowing.  Verse 3 tells us clearly that we really don’t know anything until we recognize that God knows everything.

What does that mean?  It’s all wrapped up in our puffed-up, ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’, academically arrogant minds.  When questions of what we believe come up we think we have the inside scoop because we’ve experienced it, read about it…  Friends, that’s just not so!

Paul is referring to a reoccurring question that keeps popping up among the Christians of His time.  Should we, can we, eat meat that was offered to idols.  In our own time it could be should I accept a party invitation where I know they’re serving alcohol? Should I be part of a conversation that blasphemes God? Should I fit in or stand out?

We know how we would respond to those questions.  Yet are we being insensitive to the needs of other believers?  If I choose to go to a popular, local restaurant that serves really good Mexican food and alcohol am I causing another Believer to question their own beliefs? To stumble?  We can cause confusion in the mind of another believer by the things we think, do, and say.

So the real question is does it really matter?  The final verses in Chapter 8 give the perfect answer. (I’ve put it in my own words for you.)

Jesus gave up His own life for everyone, believers and non-believers.  Our choices make a difference.  Would you want to hurt your friend, perhaps cause him to go to hell because you confused the real issue?  Keep this in mind, Christ hurts when we hurt others by our words, actions, deeds… Nothing is worth causing any of our brothers and sisters to stumble.  Nothing!

And so, there it is.  Do you know all you need to know?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

3 Words

three

Have you noticed how many 3 word admonishments, commands, and connections there are in the Word?  Starting with the Father, Son, and Spirit before time began.  (Actually, ending with the Holy Threesome when time ends.)  Three wise men.  Noah had three sons.  Job had three daughters.  Daniel prayed three times a day.  Jesus answered satan’s three temptations by answering with three scriptures.  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months.  Three witnessed the transfiguration.  Three heavens. Three crosses.  Jesus rose on the third day.

The number three is significant because it represents completeness.  Not just the single number but all its multiples.  For example there 27 books in the New Testament which is represented mathematically as 3x3x3. God’s completeness is shown in many ways.  Time is shown through yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  God’s people are called, chosen, and elect.  Man is body, soul, and spirit.  We serve God in thought, word, and deed.

God’s word is full of three phrase commands.  Take a look at these…

Micah 6:8 tells us to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

In 2 Timothy 1:7(The Message) we are to be bold, loving, and sensible with what (gifts) God has given us.  In the same chapter, we are to not be afraid because the Spirit gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

How about Deuteronomy 30:16?  For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  This one is a command with a promise…

Love. Obey. Keep.  =  Life.  Increase.  Blessings.

And just one more three to complete this post.  The only attribute of God that is mentioned in groups of three in the Word is Holy, Holy, Holy.

Blessings upon blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

 

 

Search Me

bible-1089930__180Search me, O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive (wicked) way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.   Psalm 139:23-24

When was the last time you dedicated time to searching your heart for offense and wickedness?  What would happen if we were to do that on a regular basis?   If you’re ready to do a little (a lot of) soul searching read on.

Many times our anxious thoughts come from an unforgiving heart.  If we are refusing to forgive, for any reason, that is offensive to God.

bible-216962__180For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15

Did you notice verse 15.  If I (you) do not forgive others He will not forgive me (you). Those are powerful words.  I can’t bear the thought of not being forgiven, can you?

Are there situations and issues in your life that you think are unfair and you are unwilling to forgive those who have harmed you?  Of course, there are.  Everyone has them.  There are people and actions that seem, or really are, unfair and out of our control at the time they happen.  What should we be doing about that?  Let God have total control of all that happens to us, against, for us, without us…   Give it to God!   Ask Him to make you totally aware of any anger, bitterness, resentment, or envy you are harboring against anyone.  Only when the burden is given to Him can we move forward and forgive.

bible-102684_960_720Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit in me.  Psalm 51:10

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Life Interupted

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami' al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami’ al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Have you noticed that when life is going smoothly something happens to interrupt?  It can be something small like the phone ringing when you’re trying to finish a project.  It can be something much larger like a life-threatening disease or accident, severe weather (blizzard, tornado, earthquake), birth, death, loss of a job…  When you start getting a case of the ‘why me’ syndrome give some thought to these lives that were interrupted by God Himself.

Moses             2 forty year visits to the desert

Noah               Stop, drop and build a boat on dry land

Abraham         Leave everything and travel to an unknown location

Sarah              Baby at 90

Joseph            Dropped into a pit and sold as a slave

Mary                Suddenly pregnant

Dramatic and sudden interruptions happen all the time.  Case in point…Jonah.  He was living a great life but God wanted more for him.  So God told him to go to Ninevah.  Jonah wasn’t having any of that.  That city was known as the ‘Sin City’ of that era.  So, Jonah decided to run to another place.  Really!?  Did he really think he could hide from God?  Yes, he did.  While on that journey, in the opposite direction, the ship he was on was hit with a threatening storm.  Those on board determined it was Jonah who was causing the problem, so they threw him overboard.  We know the rest of the story…

Let’s look at this from a different angle.   This is a story of many miracles.  The first two are in verse one.

Jonah 11

First – God spoke!

Second – God allowed a person to hear His voice!

When He allows one of His creation to hear His voice it’s a huge privilege.  We often hear His voice and don’t recognize it.  The difference with us and Jonah is he knew exactly Who was speaking and choose not to obey.

Then, how do we know we’re hearing God?  How do we know He’s interrupting us?  Have you ever been listening to a speaker and the words seem just for you?  Have you been reading the Word and it’s speaking to your heart?  Henry Blackaby says we hear God through His Word, prayer, other Christians, worship, and life circumstances.  God talks to us often through the Holy Spirit living in us and He expects us to listen.

When we hear God what are we to do?  Easy answer, yet hard to follow through.  We’re to drop everything and listen.  He is saying I have a plan and I want you to be part of it.

The interrupted life is not always the big events I mentioned earlier.  It can be a crying child, a husband or wife’s attention, a new friendship, an unexpected phone call, a knock on the door….  God wants us open to His voice!  Anytime!  Anywhere!

He is calling.  Are you listening?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Signs

Sign Collage

Look around!  They’re everywhere!  Stop signs.  Sale signs.  Billboards.  Not just ‘man’ signs.  God did some pretty spectacular ones.  The rainbow.  The Babe in the manger.  Reversing the sun.  What?  Take a look at Isaiah 38:7-8.

Here’s the story in a nutshell.

~Hezekiah got sick.  Isaiah went to visit him and told him he was going to die.

~Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed, pointing out his righteous life.  He asked for nothing.

~God heard his prayer and gave him 15 more years.

~God said he would give Hezekiah a sign to assure Hezekiah He could and would do what He said He could.  God moved the sun’s shadow 10 notches backward on the sundial.  The near impossibility of that happening then or even now is astronomical.   Even though the people of that time believed the sun moved around the earth it was till going to be a really big event.

Are you watching for His signs?  (I’m not really referring to end times here.)  When God wants our attention He can use several ways to get it.  Working/speaking through other believers – Isaiah spoke God’s message to Hezekiah.  Motivation to pray and seek answers – Hezekiah turned to the wall, toward God in prayer.  Everyday activities, like watching television or listening to music, will start pointing you in the direction God wants you to go.  Discomfort/sickness – Hezekiah was on his death bed.  God signs are visible but we must be watching, waiting, and ready.  All we have to do is look!

Ah, Lord God, open my eyes, my ears, my heart, my mind to where You are working and what You want me to see.  Give me the ability to take all that is going on around me and see it through Your eyes.  Let me hear Your voice as I try to determine the right response.  Give me wisdom and knowledge to see it Your way.  Make it so in Jesus Name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I am a part of Holly Garth’s Launch Team for her new book, You’re Already Amazing.  From time to time you will see some of her work in this spot on the blog.  Enjoy it with me.  She is a very gifted writer for such a time as this.

With Jesus

You can also find this post in Pondering and Prayer.

Listen! Concentrate! Pay Attention!

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Listen!  Can you hear Me?  Do you know the sound of My voice?  Hey you!  Paying total attention to someone requires all of everything we have focused on the One who is speaking.  Eyes on theirs.  Ears hearing every nuance of the words.  Mind totally focused on the subject.  It’s hard but it’s worth it!

Solomon was giving some fatherly advice in Proverbs 4:20-22 when he said:

Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice.  Keep My message in plain view at all times.  Concentrate!  Learn it by heart!  Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.                                                                               (The Message)

Do you know the voice of God?  Adam and Eve did.  When He called to them in the garden they knew right away that it was Him. (Genesis 3:8-9)  We know certain people’s voices even when we’re not looking at them, at a distance, in a crowded room, anywhere.  God wants us to know His voice in every place and circumstance.  How do we hear His voice?  By knowing His Word.  Yes, memorizing it!  Thinking about it!  Reading it!

So, what do we get out of it?  A body and soul that’s healthy, really healthy.  The roadmap to living.  Not just breathing in and out but a life that is fully aware of all that is going on around us and answers to the hard questions.  It’s all there.  All in the Bible.  All we have to do is open the book and start reading and memorizing.

Father, You and You alone are all that matter.  Your Word is my life guide, my way to knowing You.  Open my heart and mind to every word.  You have breathed every single word so I can know You and what You want of Your child.  Thank YOU!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Here’s another post on the same subject: Calming The Restless Mind

You can also find this post on the Pondering and Prayer page.

James My Go-to Book

book-1156001_960_720Do you have a favorite book in the Bible?  One that you can turn to and know that you’ll find new insight into living the way God wants?  James is my go-to book.  It’s the first book I read when I get a new Bible.  It’s underscored, highlighted, marked up, and has notes in the margins.  It speaks something new to me every time I read it.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.  Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.                                         James 1:2-8  (The Message)

Right away we’re told we’ll have tests and challenges.  Why?  So we are forced to be faithful and let others see Jesus in us.  Then, in the next paragraph,  we’re told to pray when we aren’t sure.  Pray with hearts and minds wide open.  Not just saying the words but with the expectation that He WILL answer.  And He will!  He wants to help us!

Abba, Father, hear my prayer.  In all the confusion and challenges of life hear me.  Help me show You to the world around me.  Let my faith shine!  Make it so in Jesus’ Name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

You can read more short devotionals in Pondering and Prayers

 

 

Quit Gloating

Have you heard this? “I knew that would happen!” “S/he got what s/he deserved!” “Told ya!” There’s a word for enjoying another person’s consequences.  Epicaricacy means ‘delight in another person’s misfortune’.

God has plenty to say about this and when that happens we can know where He stands on the issue and what He wants us to do about it.  So let’s dig in…

Do not gloat when your enemy falls

God knows everything, every thought, every moment of our lives.  He knows what we’ve done, said, or thought.  You cannot hide from Him.  Sure, we know when someone has failed or worse, sinned.  God says, “Let Me handle it!”  The writer, Solomon, is saying that if we dish out disapproval  He will turn toward us instead of the person it’s aimed at.  Trust me, I’d rather have someone fail miserably than have God point His finger at me.

If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune...

Job 31 is a list of the ways Job could have sinned and hidden in it is the verse above.  Read the whole chapter and you’ll discover that Job understood, totally, what God wanted him to do and he practised it.  He was not a gloating, self-centered person.  He had a very clear picture of what God wanted and he followed through.

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves

And so, what does God want of us?  We are to be merciful.  We are to choose kindness and gentleness.  We are to model patience.  We are to forgive like God has.

Marie

The Double Edged Sword

DoubleEdgedSword

This has long been one of my favorite passages in the Word.   I am often humbled by the fact that I will ultimately give an account of my life to my Great High Priest, Jesus.  It tells me that I must use the Word to define my life.  But there’s more to it…

Active, in the Greek, is energes.  It is commonly used, in the Bible, as a medical term that means engaged to/in work, effective.  Think about that.  God’s Word is meant to be active, healing medicine for us.  The double-edged sword is a reference to a surgical knife.  In modern terms a scalpel that opens the surface (skin), cuts through to the bone, and reveals all.

And so, God knows all and sees all.  His word is meant to heal us.  It is meant to protect and defend us.  He gave it and breathed it so we would have the answers and ‘remedies’ we need. (2 Timothy 3:16)  His expectations are for us to read it and use it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie