“True Worship = Obedience” August 14

 

True Worship = Obedience -

True worship is more than a time of music and singing. True worship involves how we live our lives, whether we obey God or respond by hardening our hearts to His commands.

Also, God is a God of order and He has ordained authority as part of that order. No matter what we think, we are not living obediently if we aren’t fully submitted to the authority He has placed in our lives.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 19 & 20
Psalm 95.6-11
Proverbs 23.4-5
Romans 13.1-14

 

True Worship = Obedience

 

Psalm 95.6-11:

For He Is Our God

 

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.

listening ear

True worship is more than merely showing up at church to sing and raise our hands. It is submitting our hearts and lives to God in obedience and realizing that “He is God.” It’s then that we “will hear His voice.”

No matter how often we attend church or what kind of outward religious activity we perform, if we’re not submitted to God in our hearts, which is demonstrated by our obedience, we are no different from those who hardened their hearts, rebelled, and tested God.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 19 & 20:

My Redeemer Lives

 

In spite of all his miseries, Job could still say, “For I know that my Redeemer lives …” That should put most of us to shame! He went on to say, “… I shall see God.” So no matter what, he was sure of his eternal destiny.  Continue reading

“Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed” July 1

 

Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed - Betrayal: rejection, hurt, anger, disappointment. How should we respond? Don’t we have a right to be angry? To get even or give them a piece of our mind?

God has a super-weapon to deal with that kind of betrayal.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 26 & 27
Psalm 78.56-66
Proverbs 20.4-5
Acts 10.1-23

 

Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed

 

1 Chronicles 26 & 27:

Betrayed by Someone Close

 

Chapter 27 ends with the list of David’s closest advisers. It says in verse 33, “Ahithophel was the king’s counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion.” These two men were probably David’s two closest friends, people he trusted and confided in. But sadly, one of them would later betray him. David wrote about it in Psalm 55. Verses 12-14 recall the anguish he felt:

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.

Our spiritual ancestors experienced the same struggles and disappointments we do. Perhaps you have experienced some betrayal by a friend or even a spouse. Maybe you’re undergoing some other kind of hurt or rejection. If so, go to the psalms and find comfort from God’s Word, knowing that others have gone through similar things and come out the other side.

 

Our Response

 

While God through His Word can bring us great comfort, His work in us doesn’t stop there. He wants to grow and change us through our trials, even when we are deeply hurt. In the process, He may use us to bring either restoration to the relationship or conviction to the offender.

First we need to pray and give the hurt to God. Then we should examine ourselves and ask God to show us where we might have contributed to what happened. That doesn’t mean we are responsible for someone else’s sin, but we are responsible for our own actions or reactions.

Perhaps we see that we were a small portion of the problem. If so, we should take 100% of the responsibility for our 5% or 10%. That might mean going to our offender and asking forgiveness without blame-shifting or minimizing what we did.

Our tendency, even when we’re willing to go to them, is to say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper when you hurt me so badly.” In other words, I’m sorry I did it, but it’s really your fault! Instead, we should simply say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper. Will you forgive me?”

Next is the hard part! We are not to expect anything in return. They may confess their wrongdoing or they may not! Either way, we are only responsible for ourselves.

I can hear the cries now, “So he or she just gets a pass on what they did?!”  Continue reading

“I Would Never ___________!” June 10

 

"I Would Never _______!" - God’s Word has much to say about pride, humility, and wise living. When we heed its counsel, it can help us avoid many of the pitfalls that lead to embarrassment, humiliation, or disaster. Even within Jesus' inner circle, prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him. Yet, three denials later, as he heard that rooster crow, he must have experienced the worst grief and humiliation of his life!God’s Word has much to say about pride, humility, and wise living. When we heed its counsel, it can help us avoid many of the pitfalls that lead to embarrassment, humiliation, or disaster.

Even within Jesus’ inner circle, prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him. Yet, three denials later, as he heard that rooster crow, he must have experienced the worst grief and humiliation of his life!

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 7 & 8
Psalm 72.8-16
Proverbs 18.12-13
John 18.19-40

 

I Would Never ___________!

 

Three Denials Later

John 18.19-40:

 

rooster

I couldn’t help thinking about today’s passage from proverbs when I read John 18 about Peter’s denial. Prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him (Jn. 13.37).

Jesus had answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times” (Jn. 13.38).

Now here in chapter 18 Jesus has been arrested:

15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

Verse 25:

25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not!”

26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

Can you imagine, three denials later, when he heard that rooster crow and the words of Jesus came flooding back? The heartbreak Peter must have felt! The shame!

In our pride, we too, often think we could never sin in “such and such” a way, so we let down the guardrails, pridefully thinking we can handle “it.”

So we start having lunch with a co-worker of the opposite sex, because … we’re just friends.

We contact an old flame on FaceBook just out of curiosity.

We go out with an unbeliever. After all, we’re not getting married! It’s just a date!  Continue reading

“Watch out for bad advice!” June 2

 

The Danger of Bad Advice - There is great danger in bad advice. God's commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.There is great danger in bad advice or trying to live life our own way.

A wise person seeks for wisdom all the time and keeps it “in his sight,” right in front of him to guide him. He doesn’t have to go looking for it when he needs it. He studies God’s principles for living and seeks to walk wisely at all times.

The fool, on the other hand, is looking for answers all over the place. Maybe Oprah has the answer or I’ll learn something from my horoscope or from some co-worker whose own life is a mess.

God’s commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. And when we reject them, we often learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 13 & 14
Psalm 69.16-21
Proverbs 17.23-24
John 12.27-50

 

Watch Out for Bad Advice

 

1 Kings 13 & 14:

Ungodly Counsel

 

In yesterday’s reading, Jeroboam had set up altars to false God’s to keep the people from going back to Jerusalem where they were supposed to worship. In chapter 13 God sent a prophet to Jeroboam to warn him his great sin was about to be judged.

Once it was obvious that the prophet was from God, Jeroboam invited him to “stay for dinner.” Perhaps he thought the prophet could get God to change His mind or maybe he wanted to kill him. Whatever the reason, God had already told the prophet that he was not to eat or drink there or even return home the same way he had come.

Once he left, another prophet caught up to him and claimed an angel had told him it was alright for him to eat and drink with him. Listening to his advice cost the Judean prophet his life!

God had already clearly spoken to him and he should have sought confirmation from God Himself as to any change in plans.

Like the Judean prophet, when God has clearly spoken to us, which He does primarily through His Word, we cannot allow some opposing message to sway us from God’s commandments and His truth.

This is also true when it comes to good Bible doctrine. We need the counsel of the Word and people who are solidly fixed in truth to help us understand God: His character, His principles, His commands, and His purposes for our lives.

In Galatians Paul said:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1.6-9).

Adult Woman Reading a Bible. CloseThere are all kinds of opposing “gospels” out there and all kinds of people giving all kinds of advice. Learn to recognize the real thing. Read God’s Word, spend time with Him hearing His voice in the pages of Scripture and then “the voice of a stranger you will not follow” (Jn. 10.5).

I’ve said it before but, we all need to be theologians and good theology does not have to be difficult to understand. Theology is simply the study of God.

If you want to read more check out my posts on “Bite Sized Theology.” I started this series some time ago, but my schedule at that time kept me from continuing it. I’ll be picking it up again soon. Here’s a list of the earlier posts.

Bite Sized Theology: Why Theology?
Bite Sized Theology: The Bible “The Book”
Bite Sized Theology: The Canon
Bite Sized Theology: What is special revelation?
Bite Sized Theology: Bible Study – How & Why?

 

The Danger of Bad Advice - There is great danger in bad advice. God's commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

Proverbs 17.23-24:

Seeking Wisdom from Fools

 

Verse 24, “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

A wise person seeks for wisdom all the time and keeps it “in his sight,” right in front of him to guide him. He doesn’t have to go looking for it when he needs it, like some lost set of keys.

Portrait of young couple reading newspaperThe foolish person, on the other hand, is looking for it all over the place. Maybe Oprah has it or I’ll learn something from my horoscope or from some co-worker whose own life is a mess. There are even people who will try to sound spiritual. Remember, the old prophet claimed he was speaking for God and it cost the man of God his life! Again there are many “gospels” out there vying for our hearts and attention!

But if we are faithful to grow and walk in the wisdom that we have, God will give us more wisdom and understanding and we will recognize bad advice when we hear it. Hebrews 5 tells us:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 69.16-21:

When Friends Desert Us

 

Verse 20, “Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.”

Too often even the best of people desert us when we need them most. When that happens we must remember that God will never forsake or abandon us (Heb. 13.5). He is the one we must look to in our times of trouble. Though He may use people, we are not to depend on them, but on God alone.

 

 

John 12.27-50:

When We Harden Our Hearts

 

In verse 40 it talks about God having blinded the eyes and hardened the hearts of the Jewish nation as a whole. As we continue reading through the Old Testament, you can see the people continuously hardened their own hearts and turned away from God even as He continued to reveal Himself to them in miraculous ways. His judicial hardening (the final hardening of judgment) came after they had willfully hardened our own hearts.

Hebrews 3.7 says, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says. ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion'” and verses 12-13, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

We, too, must set our hearts to obey in all things. Those “little” willful “rebellions” are not little to God because they reveal our heart attitudes and set the stage for rebellion in other areas, and before we know it, we have hardened our hearts. Let’s be doers of the Word and not hearers only in all areas of our lives (Jas. 1.22).

 

Closing Thoughts:

bible illuminationWe have completed almost half of the Bible. Have you noticed how frequently our Old Testament reading relates to the New Testament passage or to Psalms or Proverbs or vice versa? I’m continually amazed at people who doubt the validity of God’s Word. As we read more and more of His Word and get the big picture, we can see that it is one continuous story told by a variety of men over a period of several thousand years. Men who were guided and inspired by God in such a way that they wrote the actual words of God. No one but God could bring about such an amazing feat!

As the Apostle Peter said:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1.19-21).

Blessings,
Donna


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Handling Emotions Biblically - Emotions are real and part of being human. In fact, God created us as emotional beings. But problems result when we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions. When that happens, we can quickly end up in a ditch, spiritually and relationally.

You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts, including the new series “Handling Emotions Biblically.”

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I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays God Sized Dreams Embracing Everyday Blessed But Stressed
Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tea & Word Tuesday Talk
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Messy Marriage Coffee for Your Heart Christian Blogger Linkup Women of Intention Mississippi Mom Writer Wednesday Seeking God in All I Do Coffee & Conversation
Thursdays Chasing Community Warriors of the Word Booknificent Thursdays Dare2Hear Quietly Through
Fridays Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends Fresh Market Friday Dance with Jesus
Sundays Spiritual Sundays

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.

“Dangers of Wealth, Education & Co-Signing Loans” May 31

 

"Dangers of Wealth, Education & Co-Signing Loans" - As we come into this graduation season, are there warnings in God's Word about how we use education? And what about wealth, can the very blessings of God hinder someone's relationship with God? What about our attempts to bless others? Can they be misguided, such as when we co-sign loans? Can they be a snare to the receiver and to us?As we come into this graduation season, are there warnings in God’s Word about how we use education? And what about wealth, can the very blessings of God hinder someone’s relationship with God?

What about our attempts to bless others? Can they be misguided, such as when we co-sign loans? Can they be a snare to the receiver and to us?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 69.1-4
Proverbs 17.18-22
John 11.30-57

 

Dangers of Wealth, Education & Co-Signing Loans

 

1 Kings 9 & 10:

Wealth & Education

 

Solomon has been king for some time and God had blessed him and the nation of Israel beyond imagination. Can you imagine a time in history when the blessings of God were so great that silver was accounted for nothing? And, in fact, the gold that Solomon acquired was measured in “talents.” A talent was 100 pounds and would probably be worth over $5,000,000.00 today.

And it wasn’t just the monetary blessings, God had blessed Solomon with great wisdom—so much so—that the Queen of Sheba traveled 1200 miles at a time when there were no jets, no trains, not even cars, only camels, horses and carts—just to see if it was true!

But then to see how the sinful nature of man can allow even the blessings of God to become a snare. Solomon began to accumulate wealth in a way that he had been forbidden to do. It’s not that it’s wrong to “save” or to have money in the bank, or even to have material goods. Remember, God gave Joseph the wisdom to set aside stores of food to last Egypt through 7 years of famine and enough to sell to people from other nations.

But when we quit relying on God and begin to rely on the “strength of horses” and how many “talents of gold” we have stored up, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Today we may not rely on horses and we may or may not have much gold, but we can easily rely on our retirement plans, our 401Ks, the Social Security System or the government, when God wants us to rely on Him. He is to be our source and our trust is to be in Him, no matter what means He uses to meet our needs.

And what about much learning? Is there danger in education?

Even great wisdom, if it’s the world’s wisdom instead of God’s, can be a stumbling block. Romans 1 tells us:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (vv. 20-22).

That is the state of much of our educational system today.

Once we begin to focus on things other than God, we can easily be drawn into greater and greater sin. In tomorrow’s reading we’ll see the downward spiral of sin in Solomon’s life.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 69.1-4:

Up to Your Neck in Problems

 

Have you ever felt like the psalmist—so overwhelmed with problems that you felt like you were “up to your neck in them”? Here the psalmist was even falsely blamed for being the source of the problems. Tomorrow we will see that in spite of it all, the writer kept his eyes on God knowing that He would vindicate him in due time.

 

Proverbs 17.18-22:

Co-Signing Loans

 

Verse 18, “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend.”

co-signing

The word “understanding” is often used in Proverbs and means “the ability to process information.”

This verse is about “co-signing.” So we could paraphrase it, “A man without the ability to process information co-signs for a friend.”

That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

Besides not being the wise thing for us as the co-signer, it is usually the wrong thing to do where the other person is concerned. There is often a reason they are unable to purchase something on their own: their age, their income, or past decisions, for example. Too many times we are getting in the way of God’s work in their lives and allowing them to get in over their heads.

There may be a few exceptions, but I have found they are few and far between.

 

John 11.30-57:

Anger or Belief

 

throwing stones rocks angerIn chapter 11 Jesus had performed the great miracle of raising Lazarus after he had been dead for four days. It caused some to believe and others to plot to kill him (11.45, 53). The same is true today. While God’s handiwork is everywhere, those who choose not to believe are not only not persuaded, but angry at the suggestion He is at work!

Blessings,
Donna


FREE eBOOK:

Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer LifeI would love to have you join me on this journey through the Bible. Just sign up for the BIBLE IN A YEAR daily posts so you don’t miss a single one.

Sign up now and receive a copy of “Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life.”


Handling Emotions Biblically - Emotions are real and part of being human. In fact, God created us as emotional beings. But problems result when we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions. When that happens, we can quickly end up in a ditch, spiritually and relationally.

You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts, including the new series “Handling Emotions Biblically.”

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Marriage Made in Heaven?

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Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

Previous Posts in the “Blended Families” Series



I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays
Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tea & Word Tuesday Talk
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Messy Marriage Coffee for Your Heart Christian Blogger Linkup Women of Intention Mississippi Mom Writer Wednesday Seeking God in All I Do Warriors of the Word Coffee & Conversation
Thursdays Chasing Community Booknificent Thursdays Dare2Hear
Fridays Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends Fresh Market Friday Dance with Jesus
Sundays Spiritual Sundays

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.

“A Fool Has No Heart for Wisdom” May 30

 

A Fool Has No Heart for Wisdom - A fool has no heart for wisdom because wisdom is truth and knowledge applied in a godly way. Only the Spirit of God can provide that ability, but the good news is: the wisdom we need is ours for the asking!A fool has no heart for wisdom because wisdom is truth and knowledge applied in a godly way. Only the Spirit of God can provide that ability, but the good news is, for those who belong to Him, the wisdom we need is ours for the asking!

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 7 & 8
Psalm 68.28-35
Proverbs 17.16-17
John 11.1-29

 

A Fool Has No Heart for Wisdom

 

Proverbs 17.16-17:

Trying to “Buy” Wisdom

 

Verse 16, “Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?”

People with the ability to “buy” wisdom have always surrounded themselves with advisers. The Pharaoh’s of Egypt had their wise men, as did the Babylonian and other pagan kings. The Jewish kings also had their advisers. In modern times even criminals and kingpins have their lawyers and accountants.

In reality, it’s impossible to “buy” wisdom even if we have the “purchase price.” We may be able to buy information, but we need God’s Spirit and His wisdom to apply it in wise and godly ways.

But the good news is, when we have the Spirit of God because we belong to Him, the wisdom we need is ours for the asking (Jas. 1.5).

Fools, however, are not interested in genuine wisdom, only their own opinions (Prov. 18.2). In fact, Proverbs 23.9 says they despise it. This is the attitude of many in our relative, “my truth is what I believe it is” culture.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

1 Kings 7 & 8:

The Last Days

 

The description of the temple is beautiful and amazing to me. Many believe that, even now, preparations are being made to rebuild it, which Scripture tells us will happen as part of the events of the last days. At that time the Jews will resume temple worship.

What an exciting time in which we live. It’s quite possible that our generation will see the return of Jesus for His church (the Rapture) and we are, even now, seeing many of the events leading up to that time (Matt. 24.36).

 

Solomon's Temple

 

Psalm 68.28-35:

Because of Your Temple …

 

As I read verse 29, “Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring presents to You,” it reminded me of part of Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.60-61, “that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”

The “presents” in Psalm 68 represent giving honor to the King, in this case the “King of kings,” Jesus Christ. Today we are the temple in which the Spirit of God dwells. Just as the magnificence of Solomon’s Temple was to cause people to see the awesome God for whom it was built, so today, others should see and give honor to our King because of our lives.

 

John 11.1-29:

For His Glory

 

Here is, as John MacArthur puts it, “the climactic and most dramatic sign in this Gospel.” One of my favorite verses in this passage is verse 4 when Jesus said,

“… This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

How does God want to use our sicknesses and infirmities today? Even though He does not always heal us or raise the dead, at least not in this life, He still intends it for His glory. And He has promised that His glory and our good are connected (Rom. 8.28-29)!

 

What About You? Questions to Ponder or Journal:

Do people honor God because of what they see in your life?

Do you seek to be wise by studying God’s word and praying for the wisdom to apply it?

Blessings,
Donna


FREE eBOOK:

Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer LifeI would love to have you join me on this journey through the Bible. Just sign up for the BIBLE IN A YEAR daily posts so you don’t miss a single one.

Sign up now and receive a copy of “Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life.”


Handling Emotions Biblically - Emotions are real and part of being human. In fact, God created us as emotional beings. But problems result when we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions. When that happens, we can quickly end up in a ditch, spiritually and relationally.

You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts, including the new series “Handling Emotions Biblically.”

Previous Posts in the “Handling Emotions Biblically” Series

Marriage Made in Heaven?

Previous Posts in the “Marriage: Made in Heaven?” Series


Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

Previous Posts in the “Blended Families” Series



I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays
Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tea & Word Tuesday Talk
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Messy Marriage Coffee for Your Heart Christian Blogger Linkup Women of Intention Mississippi Mom Writer Wednesday Seeking God in All I Do Warriors of the Word Coffee & Conversation
Thursdays Chasing Community Booknificent Thursdays Dare2Hear
Fridays Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends Fresh Market Friday Dance with Jesus
Sundays Spiritual Sundays

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.

“Knowing the Voice of God” May 28

 

Knowing the Voice of God - Knowing the voice of God: Is it possible to know when God is speaking or when it's the enemy? If so, how can we know if the voice we're hearing is really His?Knowing the voice of God: Is it possible to know when God is speaking or when it’s the enemy? If so, how can we know if the voice we’re hearing is really His?

Also, will God give us wisdom when we ask? And with whom is a wise rebuke effective?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 3 & 4
Psalm 68.15-20
Proverbs 17.10-12
John 10.1-23

 

Knowing the Voice of God

 

John 10.1-23:

Knowing the voice of God

 

Here in chapter 10, Jesus said of Himself, “I am the Good Shepherd” (v. 11) and in verse 4 He said:

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”

As we follow Christ, by reading His Word and obeying His commandments, we grow in our ability to “know His voice” and to recognize the voice of a stranger (Satan, v. 5). We become more and more discerning about the truth and God’s wisdom and recognize the enemy’s lies.

Knowing the Bible isn’t enough though, we must also “follow” the truth that we know. Knowledge without doing doesn’t bring discernment, it brings delusion (Jas. 1.22).

James 1.22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

 

So How Can We Know if We Are Hearing from God? 

 

Go to the Bible. What does God say about it in His Word? God will not lead us contrary to His written Word (Tit. 1.2).

Knowing the Voice of GodIf we are one of His, we can know His voice, but the more time we spend reading and meditating on His Truth, the more clearly we will know and the more we will recognize a voice that is not His.

God will sometimes speak truth to us through sermons and other teachings, through our consciences, through people, and even through circumstances. But if it is Him, it will not contradict His written Word.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

God still gives wisdom when we ask.

 

1 Kings 3 & 4:

Do You Need Wisdom?

 

In chapter 3, God appears to Solomon in a dream and gives him a blank check to request anything he wants. Instead of wealth, or fame, or any material blessing, Solomon asks for wisdom to rule the kingdom.

God still invites us to ask for wisdom and gives it freely to those who do.  Continue reading

“5 Reactions to the Claims of Christ” May 23

 

5 Reactions to the Claims of Christ - During Jesus' earthly ministry there were many different reactions to the claims of Christ. Some were convinced, some contrary, some confused, and others hostile. Not much has changed today. Where are you and what is your attitude toward Christ? Do you say you believe without putting "feet" to your faith? Do you believe He exists without trusting Him personally? Are you convinced He is who He said He was and live your live accordingly? Do questions about other religions or science confuse you? Or do you believe something else? Even as professing believers we can fall into some of these attitudes. We can trust God for our salvation, but be contrary about obedience in certain areas or refuse to trust the Bible wholeheartedly. Or we can be confused because He isn't working in our lives the way we want. We can believe He isn't answering our prayers. Could it be that we have a wrong understanding about God and how He works in our lives? I hope you'll read today's post and evaluate where you are.During Jesus’ earthly ministry there were many different reactions to the claims of Christ. Some were convinced, some contrary, some confused, and others hostile. Not much has changed today.

Where are you and what is your attitude toward Christ? Do you say you believe without putting “feet” to your faith? Do you believe He exists without trusting Him personally? Are you convinced He is who He said He was and live your live accordingly? Do questions about other religions or science confuse you? Or do you believe something else?

Even as professing believers we can fall into some of these attitudes. We can trust God for our salvation, but be contrary about obedience in certain areas or refuse to trust the Bible wholeheartedly. Or we can be confused because He isn’t working in our lives the way we want. We can believe He isn’t answering our prayers. Could it be that we have a wrong understanding about God and how He works in our lives? I hope you’ll read today’s post and evaluate where you are.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 17 & 18
Psalm 66.16-20
Proverbs 16.31-32
John 7.28-53

 

5 Reactions to the Claims of Christ

 

John 7.28-53:

Where are you?

 

John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible that this passage “catalogues the different reactions of people to Jesus’ claims.” We still see the same categories today.

First, those who are “convinced” of the truthfulness of His claims—faithful believers.

Verses 40-41a, “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.'”

Part of the meaning of the words “faith” and “faithful” includes the idea of “unquestioning belief or loyalty.” The convinced are loyal to Christ.

doubt questioningSecond, the “contrary,” those who find something wrong with everything.

Verses 41b-42, “But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?'”

“Contrary” people are still around. “All the pastor wants is your money.” “Churches are full of hypocrites.” “The Bible was just written by a bunch of men.” And the list goes on.

Third, the “hostile,” we’ve all met them. They don’t just not believe or not agree with you, they are prepared to go on the attack where the things of God are concerned.

Verse 44, “Now some of them wanted to take Him …”

There is a move today in our country, and it’s growing stronger, to make speaking biblical truth a crime. There are those, for instance, who would love to see anyone who speaks out against homosexuality or abortion arrested for what they call hate crimes.

Fourth, are the “confused.”

Verses 45-46, “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you not brought Him?’ The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!'”

These men had been sent to arrest him, but when they went they didn’t know what to do because they saw something about him they didn’t understand. The Pharisees challenged them by saying, “Are you also deceived?”

Many people are confused today. They’ve seen just enough truth to think there might be something to it, but have not made the choice to believe. Often these people fear man more than God. They may be afraid to speak up or seek out the truth because of what people will think.

Proverbs 29.25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”

Or they’ve heard questions about other religions:

“Don’t all roads lead to God?”
“How could all those Muslims be wrong?”

Or tried to use human reasoning:

“How is it fair that an evil person could get saved on his deathbed?”
“How can the miracles in the Bible be true?”
“But science says …”
“Why would the Bible condemn someone who’s gay when they say they’re born that way?”

There is a fifth group, too, the “religious authorities,” we might call them the “religious establishment.” These people are often more concerned about maintaining their position and authority than in being a true follower of Christ or in seeking biblical truth. These people respond in the complete opposite way from John the Baptist, who said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3.30).

Many in the religious establishment today are busy trying to stay “relevant.” For years some have ignored the first few chapters of Genesis in favor of a more “enlightened, scientific” view of creation. Others have “evolved” in their views about homosexuality and other politically incorrect issues. Still others refuse to discuss these subjects at all, preferring to teach more palatable things, some lifted out of context like false advertising claims.

Sadly, they can have a profound effect on others. They may put pressure on friends and family members not to leave their religious “tradition,” even though their church has actually left them and biblical truth.  Continue reading

“Bored with the Things of God?” April 3

 

Bored with the Things of God? - Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we're no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become "ho-hum" about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we’re no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become “ho-hum” about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 29 & 30
Psalm 40.1-5
Proverbs 13.9-10
Luke 7.1-30

 

Bored with the Things of God?

 

Deuteronomy 29 & 30:

When We Fail to Seek Understanding

 

In chapter 29.2-9 Moses was recounting what God did for them those 40 years in the desert:

“You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.”

In his Daily Bible, John MacArthur says, “The Lord had not given them an understanding heart, simply because the people had not penitently sought it.”

Perhaps, they took God’s work in their lives for granted. Perhaps, they found trying to understand and know Him too difficult or too much trouble. Perhaps they were bored with the things of God and found life in the pagan nations around them more exciting.

Marilee Bible study Scripture memory cardWhat have you not “seen” because you have not sought it? God desires to show us more and more, to take us deeper and deeper into His truth, for us to know Him better and better, but we must want it, seek it, and ask Him for it. Do you study God’s Word with that attitude?

In Matthew 7.7-8 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

But on the other hand verse 29.29 reminds us that there are things God has not yet revealed to us and, while we can pray for answers and understanding, we’re not to seek to know things apart from the Him. You can read my post from a few days ago about fortune telling and witchcraftContinue reading

“10 Steps to Parenting God’s Way” March 22

 

10 Steps to Parenting God's Way - I couldn't decide what to title this post. There were so many things I wanted to highlight. I could have called it "Parenting 101" or "Delighting in the Lord" from Psalm 37 or "Wisdom, Respect & Stupidity" from our Proverbs reading. Or even, "Mary, Saint or Sinner" because there is so much confusion about the mother of Jesus. Does she intercede for believers? How should a Christian view her? You can read more about this in today's New Testament commentary. But because I like these posts to be practical, something you can put to use in your life today, I decided to focus on the practical ways we can apply God's parenting principles.I couldn’t decide what to title this post. There were so many things I wanted to highlight. I could have called it “Parenting 101” or “Delighting in the Lord” from Psalm 37 or “Wisdom, Respect & Stupidity” from our Proverbs reading.

Or even, “Mary, Saint or Sinner” because there is so much confusion about the mother of Jesus. Does she intercede for believers? How should a Christian view her? You can read more about this in today’s New Testament commentary.

But because I like these posts to be practical, something you can put to use in your life today, I decided to focus on the practical ways we can apply God’s parenting principles.

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 5 & 6
Psalm 37.1-4
Proverbs 12.9
Luke 1.21-38

 

10 Steps to Parenting God’s Way

 

Deuteronomy 5 & 6:

Parenting 101

 

Chapter 6.6-9 is one of the clearest passages on parenting. It says:

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

First we are to hide God’s Word in our hearts. Then we are to faithfully teach it to our children, not just in formal ways, but as we go about our everyday activities—when we are relaxing at home or having a family dinner, when we are out running errands, when we go to bed at night and the first thing in the morning.

We should constantly look for ways to incorporate spiritual lessons into the events of everyday life. But we can’t do that unless He is an ever present reality in our own lives—unless we’re aware of His involvement all the time, in the daily routine of life.

Do you stop to consider what He says when you feel the pressure to make a sale at work? When you have a fussy child? When the waiter gets your order wrong? When you feel unjustly accused? When someone just zipped into your parking space?

Do you seek His guidance when faced with a decision or a choice to respond to some person or situation? Do you seek His peace when your are anxious or His ability to forgive when angry?

Is Jesus only someone you sing about on Sunday or is your relationship with Him a reality all the time?

Where’s your Bible? Is it where you’ll see it and pick it up first thing in the morning or does it spend the week in the car with empty soda cups and gum wrappers and until you carry it in to church on Sunday?

And the last time you had a personality conflict, Continue reading