Tag Archives: Bible reading

Search Inward

Many of us are celebrating the Lenten season. It is a season of fasting and renewal, a season that reminds us that we are but dust. Life is fragile. Life is but a breath. It is a season that looks to the Cross. We spend these weeks mindful of the shortness of life, but even more mindful of the One Who poured out His blood at Calvary so that we could have new life—life in Him. As Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the Wilderness, so we spend this time in self-reflection, repentance, and prayer.

Some people are trying to stick diligently to the removal of some item from their life. Some people may have even publicly noted an ongoing battle with trying to stay true to a vow to give up this thing for Lent. It is important to remember some things about Lent and fasting, because many get lost on the journey to the Cross. Lent instructions are not found in the Bible—it’s something that was instituted by the Church. However, with the fasting, one should be mindful that publicly boasting or grumbling is not applauded (see Matthew 6:16). Fasting is personal. The idea of fasting during Lent is to remove something that is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus, and then replace that thing with something that will bring you closer to Jesus Christ.

Remember, Lent is all about Jesus. If you are keeping yourself from drinking soda or eating sweets but that doesn’t interfere with your relationship with Jesus, and you have not supplemented these things with more time in prayer, reading God’s Word, or spending time doing something that brings you closer to Jesus, then you are missing out. This is a time to search inward, a time to repent and renew yourself in Him. Today, whether or not you celebrate the Lenten season, take time to look inward. What is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus? What has become a stumbling block? Pray for the removal of this from your life. Pray for a closer relationship with Jesus. Seek Him diligently today. Pray for your heart to open and spend time in the Word. Ask Him to speak to you in a new and awesome way.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1 [ESV]

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God.” – Psalm 42:1 [ESV]

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 [NLT]

Good Judgment

Proverbs 9:10 says that knowledge of God produces good judgment. As we get to know God more, we will grow as people of God. We will dig deeper into His Word. We will seek Him more, and when we seek Him, we will find Him. With our eyes fixed on Him and His Word, we will experience growth. This growth will include using good discernment.

If you are praying for good discernment, recognize the importance of digging into your Bible to read God’s Word daily. Reading and hearing God’s Word will plant good seed in your life which will result in good judgment. If you are trying to make a difficult decision, pray and read your Bible. Seek counsel from God and His Word. You will not seek in vain.

“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” – Proverbs 9:10 [NLT]

Deeply Written

When I want to save something to remember, I will write things on my hands or take photos with my phone. As well, I am a frequent user of sticky notes on my computer. Doing these things keeps me on track to remember what needs to be remembered.

The Bible speaks a lot about remembering God’s commands. Long ago, the people had their own ways of remembering Scripture. Even their culture was built upon remembering what God had done, as they continued to meet for prayer. They invested time in passing down the sacred text. Even during meal time, they remembered.

Today, we need to be intentional when it comes to guarding God’s Word. We need to keep it ever before us, not so as to protect the Bible but to drown ourselves in His Word and treasure it. To have God’s Word written deeply in our hearts, we must be constant in the Word. Wake up reading it. Go to sleep reading it. Have it posted and spoken around our home. Have it playing in our ears. Today, ask the Spirit how you can write the Word deep within your heart, where it will be a source of life and a treasure everlasting.

“Obey My commands and live! Guard My instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” – Proverbs 7:2-3 [NLT]

Calmed Myself

There are moments in life that certainly cannot be described as calm. Because of my intense energy issues, I invest a lot in an attempt to stay calm. I cannot have a lot of noise and light stimulation due to my diagnosis. I cannot have a lot of sugar or caffeine. Along with the removal of some items, I also have things I do in my life to help remove that extra crazy energy. I drink calming herbal teas like teas with chamomile and tension taming tea. I exercise, taking daily walks and using my Fit Board. I put on calming music. I use candles. Above all, I read God’s Word.

The Psalmist wrote about calming and quieting himself. This means that he slowed down and quieted his mind. As the Psalmist wrote, “My soul waits in silence for my God only” (62:1 NASB). This is something that we have to be intentional with to accomplish. We don’t naturally walk around calmed and quieted. In the age of social media and handheld technology, the world doesn’t really allow us to walk around like this because it’s wild and busy 24/7. As well, even if our minds have not been rewired from the new tech advancements, our minds have wandered for many years prior.

Today, take some time to calm yourself so that you can hear God speak. Find a quiet place to sit with God’s Word. Don’t feel pressured to speak. Open His Word. Read. Allow yourself to sit in silence with God. It is during these moments when we are able to hear the whisper of the One with the still small voice.

“Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” – Psalm 131:2 [NLT]

No Signals

I was driving my son to the dentist when the truck in front of my van suddenly slowed down, but there were no brake lights. As we got to the fork in the road, the turn signal apparently didn’t work either. Without the signals, driving is not as easy. The signals are a way for drivers of the vehicles to communicate to each other. This makes it clear as to the direction the drivers are taking, and when a vehicle is slowing down or stopping.

Signals are nice. I prefer signals. In life, we have signals for driving. We also have signals (or warnings) when the stove burners are still on (or hot) or when bad weather is approaching. There are other signals too, signals that we have from reading God’s Word. As we read the Bible, we receive the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will remind us of His Word as we do life. We will better know how to navigate in life when we are receptive to Him. We will know when to turn, when to hit the brakes, and when we are off course.

Today, dig into God’s Word. Understand that if you aren’t in His Word, the Spirit cannot remind you of what you received. Often we say God is silent, but we don’t intentionally pursue Him. God is not hiding my friend. If you want to know Him, seek Him. If you want to know His will for your life, walk with Him. Spend time in His presence. Sit with Him. Converse with Him. Engage with Him. Seek and you will find.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13 [NIV]

Strong Vines

As I was trying to prepare the flower beds for Fall, I made yet another attempt to tear out the vines that are planted in many areas of my yard. These vines drive me crazy every time I take the effort to remove them. If you are not familiar with vines, you do not understand the nuisance it is to remove them. You begin to pull some of the vine, but soon realize you are not close to the root. Instead, you are pulling different strands of new growth, connected to other growth. It’s hard to even pull anything out because everything grows connected and is bound together underground, connected with the strong root. The root system keeps me from ever getting rid of the vines.

Imagine now how Jesus speaks of our need to abide in Him. He promises if we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4). He is our strong root system, our foundation. Paul wrote that we should let our “roots grow down into Him.” If we are rooted with Him, we are like those vines with the strong root, that is difficult to move. When we are rooted in Christ, our “faith will grow strong.” When we are rooted in Christ, we “overflow with thankfulness.”

Ask the Spirit to reveal to you your root system. If you are unsure if you are abiding in Him, consider how much time you devote to prayer, Bible reading and Bible study, and walking in the will of God. If these things sound foreign, or if these things are not of most importance on your list of priorities, it is time to start reviewing your list. Look at what you are trying to grow. Look at where you are investing yourself. Do you want to live a life growing with the strong vine, or are you trying to grow yourself to build yourself up? You’ll find that the little sprouts are easy to pull from the ground, very different from the strong rooted vines. Don’t live like a little sprout.

“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 2:7 [NLT]

Grass Clipping

I have a lot of OCD tendencies. When it comes to the lawn, I like the grass to be cut weekly. In my opinion, there is an acceptable height to the blades of grass. If the grass is not clipped at the right time, it will continue to grow unattended and then there’s overgrowth. On my walk with the dogs, I always come upon a lawn that is overgrown. The owners let the grass grow unattended for weeks. By the time the lawn is cared for, there is grass growing over the footpath.

Just as we need to clip our fingernails, get a haircut, and brush our teeth, so we need to care for our yardwork, cleaning, and laundry. But it doesn’t end there!! We cannot forget our spiritual health. Our spiritual health needs attention. God is great at pruning. As you walk with Him, He will continue to prune you and help you to grow the way He always intended. Our part in all of this is to dive deep into His Word. We cannot become dull. Continue to take in God’s Word. Write it on your heart. Allow it to reveal to you our heavenly Father. It’s all about knowing God.

As you desire to know God more, as you continue to read His Word and follow His will, He will continue to prune and grow you. Listen closely to His voice. Remember when He asks you to loosen your grip on something, it is because it is for your best. Every clip. Every snip. Every word. It’s all for your very best.

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” – John 15:2 [ESV]

Embrace the Timing of God

Lately I need to be even more patient than usual. That’s difficult for me. It took long enough for me to get the patience I have—and now I have to be even more patient?!? Things take longer than I ever could imagine. Things aren’t as simple as I first considered. The struggle is real. You know what I mean? I’m sure you are patiently waiting for this devotion to end (let’s hope not because I didn’t even share what God has shown me). Perhaps you are recollecting your drive home or the long line at the supermarket. A half hour ago, I waited 4 minutes for a red light. FOUR MINUTES!!

Despite my love of not waiting, I have learned to embrace God’s timing. Oftentimes, this means that I must make good use of that patience He has taught me over the years. Usually it means I will be stretched to the max, growing in patience or falling while pulling out my hair asking God what is taking so long. The truth is, I embrace God’s timing because I have realized He has the best plan. He has showed me how extra time brings everything in line the way He orchestrated. Waiting on His timing allows for people to step up that He positioned to rise. Waiting on His timing gives me the opportunity to see Him move in mighty ways. Embracing the timing of God is a walk in faith and it produces great fruit. Plus, I have proven time and time again that my timing is HORRIBLE!!

Today, you might not know what God is doing. You may even say He is silent or absent. I can promise you that He is not absent. He promises not to leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8). God is always moving too, so if you think He’s silent, it’s quite possible that you aren’t listening. I have many times found myself guilty of not taking a pause in life to listen to our heavenly Father. Take the time today. Pray. Read His Word. Simply sit still. Embrace His timing. Carve out some time to rest and listen. Wait for the Lord. Wait for the Lord.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14 [NIV]

 

Disconnected

Today we had the internet installed. Everything was up and running smoothly. That is, everything but my laptop. For some reason, my stubborn laptop was not communicating well with the new router. Even though the line of communication was present, my laptop was having none of it. After ten minutes of frustration, thankfully everything was resolved.

Communication is vital in any relationship. The most vital relationship for each one of us is our relationship with God. Consider then, how vital communication is when it comes to our relationship with God. Sadly, many of us are like my disconnected laptop. God is reaching out. God wants to have a close relationship. He continues to reach out in a variety of ways, but we are disconnected from His still small voice. We are disconnected from His Word. We are disconnected from the people He is speaking through. We are disconnected from our prayer life. He is never disconnected; we often are disconnected.

Today, if you are wondering why you are not hearing from God, consider if you are truly listening for Him. Are you reading His Word daily? Are you continuously in prayer? Are you making time for Him? Spend more time with Him today. Be intentional. Read Psalm 13. Embrace Him. Drown yourself in His Word. Pour your heart out to Him.

“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.” – John 15:4a [NLT]

“I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word.” – Psalm 119:15-16 [NIV]

 

Flip Flop Fiasco

It was only supposed to be a quick walk around the block. I got the dogs ready to walk, fitting them with their harnesses and latching them to the double leash. Since it was only going to be a short walk, I solved the no-socks-downstairs problem by simply slipping on my flip flops (thongs). I walked down the street a bit and realized we had a problem. Dogs were approaching. Max surely would get anxious, so I turned and went another direction to avoid the situation.

As I continued on the walk, I was about ready to turn and head back home. Once again, there was a dog up ahead. What was going on this evening? Was everyone walking their dogs? It became apparent that I would be taking the dogs for a much longer walk to avoid the other animals. There I was with my flip flops, certainly not good walking shoes, walking over a mile with the dogs. Talk about being prepared.

When we venture off for our day, we are supposed to be prepared. There is a battle out there. Before we step outside the house, we need to be sure we are armored up. Did you pray? Did you read His Word? This is the preparation that helps to start off the day the right way. When we leave the house in a hurry, missing out on our morning time with God, we likely will continue to walk around in flip flops for miles, when we should have been ready. Just like my feet were not feeling right afterward, so we will feel drained, burdened, and tempted out in the world. Just like I turned again and again trying to find the path to take, in the same way the unprepared turn and turn again going around in circles, never realizing that God has made a way to travel. You have a choice today my friends—how are you going to start your day?

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3 [NIV]