Monday, February 28, 2011

Find Rest, O My Soul

Installment #21 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(noun) refreshing quiet or ease; mental or spiritual calm; relief or freedom from things that worry, trouble or weigh down

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
   my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
   He is my fortress, I will not be shaken." 
Psalm 62:5-6

As the Audrey Assad song goes, "I am restless, til I rest in You O God." This Psalm expresses confidence in God. Confidence that He is my place of rest, my rock, my salvation, my fortress and because I trust that He is all these things and more for me, I should not be shaken. Verse 5 implies a quietness of soul before God, the only place such spiritual calm can be found. When I try to reason things out in the flesh or take control of the reigns of my life, it most often leaves me feeling restless and out of sorts in my mind. But when I resolve to rest in God, in His Word and on His promises, my soul enters a peaceful place of rest.

Lord Jesus, this Psalm and the words of the song mentioned ring so true in my life. I too often process things to death and forget to rest in You and on Your promises. I know that I know that You work against the odds and in ways that are beyond my comprehension. Even when my circumstances tell me to fear, You will give me peace if I rest my soul in You. In Jesus' name I pray that more and more my soul would be at ease, at rest, in You. Amen.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Woman Who Gains Respect

Installment #20 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(noun) a sense of worth or excellence of a person; esteemed, honored, favored

"A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth." Proverbs 11:16

In this proverb a kindhearted woman is compared to a man who retains wealth. Some versions put it differently, that the "gracious woman retains her honor" just as "strong men retain their wealth". The gracious woman is eager to "preserve her reputation for wisdom and modesty, humility and courtesy, and all those other graces that are the true ornaments of her" gender. Women who are truly kindhearted and gracious will secure their reputation and honor by acting with prudence and conduct becoming of a godly woman.

Lord, would You make me a woman who is gracious and kindhearted; a woman of excellence in Your eyes? One who seeks wisdom, presents herself modestly, acts with humility and courtesy. Help me to conduct myself as a godly woman in all aspects of my life I pray. In Jesus' name, amen.

Henry, Matthew. "Commentary on Proverbs 11." . Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar 1996. 2011. 27 Feb 2011.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Choice...

"Lord, You are indeed relentless:
You insist that my love be unrivaled
That my loyalty be uncompromising
That my surrender be irrevocable.
What do You want Lord
It's frightening.
Yet not as frightening
As staying as I am."

~ Author Unknown

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Resolve To...

Installment #19 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to determine or come to a definite, earnest decision about; to be deliberate

King Jehosaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and declared a fast for all of Judah.
(2 Chronicles 20:3, NIV)

David resolved that his mouth would not sin.
(Psalm 17:3, NIV)

In Ezekiel 20 the Lord resolves three different times to pour out His wrath in anger against the Israelites. The first time it was for rebelling against Him, not listening, not casting away things that were detestable to His eyes and not forsaking their idols (verse 8). The second time He  poured out His wrath because they did not walk in His statutes, they rejected His ordinances and spoke badly about the Sabbath (verse 13). Thirdly, He poured out His wrath again for rebelling and not keeping His statues, ordinances or the Sabbath (verse 21). (NASB)

Daniel resolved not to defile himself with royal food and wine.
(Daniel 1:8, NIV)

The apostles and elders met together to resolve issues.
(Acts 15:6, NLT)

Paul advises that Christians should be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life without involving the courts.
(1 Corinthians 6:3, NLT)

As I read this declarations of resolve from scripture, I am led to examine my own life. Is there an area of disobedience? Is there an area where I am struggling and need to resolve, with God's help, to choose His ways over my own?

  • Is there an issue I need to fast and pray over in order to hear from the Lord?
  • Is my mouth getting me into trouble and causing me to sin, even in small ways?
  • Am I rebelling against the Lord?
  • Am I listening to the Lord and doing what He says?
  • Have I destroyed all things in my home that would be considered detestable in God's eyes?
  • Am I allowing anyone or anything to sit on the throne of my life besides Jesus?
  • Am I keeping the Sabbath?
  • Am I defiling myself with choice foods vs. that which is good for my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are there any issues or disputes that need to be resolved in my life?
These verses bring up lots to think about and consider for me personally. It's good to examine my life like this every so often. I want to live a life that is pure and pleasing to my Lord.

Father, as I consider Your ways vs. my choices, I pray You would show me where I have gone astray. Please give me the courage to resolve to choose You instead. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Resist the Enemy's Schemes

Installment #18 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to withstand or oppose the effect of; to act in opposition or make a stand against; to refuse, stand firm

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."  James 4:7-8

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:8-10

God's Word implies "if/then" statements here about resisting the enemy, both in James 4 and 1 Peter 5...

"If" you submit to God and resist the devil, "then" he will flee from you (James 4:8).

"If" you resist the devil and stand firm in your faith, "then" after suffering a little while, God Himself will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

So what does it mean to resist the devil? If I become aware of his schemes in my life, what can I do to resist him and stand firm? God's Word says to first submit to Him by ordering ourselves under God's authority and the truth of His Word. That means not just hearing or reading God's word, but doing what it says. When we are walking in obedience and surrender to Him, spending time basking in His Word, we begin to have spiritual eyes to see and discern the enemy's schemes. By knowing God's truths we will more readily recognize the devil's lies and be able to resist his deception, schemes and intimidation tactics by standing on the promises of God and telling Him to flee. Learning to take lies and negative thoughts captive (those that do not line up with God's Word) and replace with His truths, gives us courage and confidence to tell the devil to flee in Jesus' name. I cannot, in my own power, make the enemy leave. He only flees at the mention of the name of Jesus.

For example, I renounce the lie that I can't do anything right and choose to believe the truth, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Satan, in the name of Jesus you must flee!
Renouncing the enemy must be done out loud. Only God is omniscient or all-knowing. Satan does not have that kind of power and therefore cannot read our thoughts (or hear our silent prayers) - only God can do that! So tell him to flee in Jesus' name out loud, then he will flee from you. Repeat as necessary, claiming truths from God's Word that are prayerfully hidden in your heart; truths that counteract the lies. Do it every two minutes if you have to. Do it until the harassment stops.

1 Peter 5 says the enemy is prowling around, looking for someone to devour. Someone he can toy with and take down. He comes to steal, kill and destroy the lives of believers. But once again we are given the same sort of advice. Be self-controlled (or guarded against temptation) and alert (attentive to the ploys of the enemy) and resist the enemy by standing firm in the faith (not just being hearers of the Word, but doers). Then, after a while, God promises to make us strong, firm and steadfast. I think this comes after we practice resisting and standing firm, not letting the enemy have his way, but recognizing his lies and deception and reminding him who our God is and what kind of power He has over him. Satan's battle is too often won in the mind. It takes paying attention to our self-talk and thought life and choosing not to agree with the enemy.

Father God, thank You that You have already conquered the enemy, and through the power of Christ within me, I can stand against the enemy's lies. I can refuse to believe them by taking my thoughts captive and believing Your Word instead. I can resist the enemy and send him packing by calling him on his schemes and telling him to flee in Jesus' name because I am a child of the King! Thank You Jesus! There is power in Your name, amen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reputation Matters

Installment #17 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(noun) the estimation in which a person or thing is generally held; overall quality and character as seen or judged by people

"If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another man’s confidence, or he who hears it may shame you and you will never lose your bad reputation. A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:9-11

Reputation matters. God's Word implies that my reputation is impacted by the words I choose to speak. With my words I can build someone up or tear them down. And if I am doing the latter, I am likely gossiping. A pastor once said something that really stuck with my husband and I and has served as a guideline for our speech ever since. Pastor John Russell said, "If you're not part of the problem, or part of the solution, then it's gossip!" Plain and simple. Gossiping about others not only damages their reputation, but my own.

Reputation matters. It boils down to my actions and words. My actions should be in line with God's Word, and my words are to be edifying. If my walk doesn't match my talk then my reputation will be be at stake. God's Word says we are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel - in a way that honors the Lord (Philippians 1:27). He says we are to encourage one another and build each other up, not tear each other down (1 Thessalonians 5:11). And we are to respect everyone, even when they let us down or make us mad (1 Peter 2:17) The person's actions may not be respectable and may downright be sinful in some cases, but out of obedience to God I should respect the person as His creation, and I know no other way to this than through my words, or lack thereof. It takes me back to the saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Reputation matters. It matters in the greatest sense to me because I am a representation of Jesus to those around me. And for some, I may be the only "Jesus" they will ever see. As mentioned in yesterday's blog, I must strive to be above reproach in both my words and actions, because I respresent more than just Pamela... I represent my family, and more importantly, Christ.

Lord Jesus, help me to represent You well and strive to have a reputation that is above reproach. Tame my tongue when it is tempted to sin and purify my heart so that my motives are pure in Your sight, I pray. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Above Reproach

Installment #16 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(noun) a cause or occasion of disgrace or discredit; to find fault, blame or disapproval; object or scorn or contempt

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." 1 Timothy 3:1-3 

Though this passage has been directed in the Bible to overseers and deacons, the Lord recently led me to meditate on the phrase "above reproach". He was impressing on my spirit that my life as a believer and follower of Christ should be above reproach. I was a little puzzled at first because the only use of that particular phrase is found in the above passage directed toward leadership. But the more I pondered it I sensed that "above reproach" should be a standard or a goal for all believers. Let me explain...

If I rewrite the verse with words meaning the opposite of the original, it would go something like this: Now the average believer who is not an overseer or deacon can be below reproach, given to many wives, excessive, out of control, dishonest, rude, unable to teach, given to drunkenness, violent, quarrelsome, and a lover of money.

Now does that sound right? Hardly! My examination of the passage in this way drew me to the conclusion that leaders should set the example in the things listed in this verse for other believers to follow. Ultimately, it is God whom we follow and Christ whom we imitate, but our goal, just as it is for the overseer and deacon, should be to behave in such a way that we too are "above reproach". We too should be married to but one person, moderate in our actions, self-controlled, honest, hospitable, able to teach others from knowledge gained or our own experiences (everyone is teaching someone even if just by their actions), not given to drunkenness, peaceable, and a good steward of the money with which we have been blessed.

Father God, help me to live a life that pleases You. A life that is above reproach. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

"If You Repent..."

Installment #15 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; to be sorry, regret or feel remorse

"Therefore this is what the LORD says:
   'If you repent, I will restore you
   that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
   you will be my spokesman.
Let this people turn to you,
   but you must not turn to them.
I will make you a wall to this people,
   a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
   but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
   to rescue and save you,'
            declares the LORD."

Jeremiah 15:19-20

God is an "if/then" God. He often says in His Word, "if" we do this or that, "then" He will do thus and such. This is just such a a verse about repentance. Here the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah saying, "if" you repent "then" (implied) I will restore you. And He goes on to tell him how.

I read quite a bit of commentary on this passage from Matthew Henry's "Commentary on Jeremiah 15". Some of the things that stood out to me were that though Jeremiah had served the Lord well and suffered much for Him, God was still not indebted to him. God expected his obedience when He corrected him, and if Jeremiah complied by repenting of his quarrelsome temper and distrustful discontented thoughts and passions, God promised to restore Him. The Lord wanted to be represented well by Jeremiah with a composed and peaceable temperament; a man reconciled to his work. Only then would God bless him with His help again - when he chose to help himself. God is not a God who is going to faithfully bless someone and grant favor if the person is not faithful to Him - responsible and God-glorifying with their words and actions. It is my choice whether to abide by the terms of God's favor that is offered to me, just as it was Jeremiah's. "Men's hearts and lives must come up to God's law and comply with that, for God's law will never come down to them and comply with them."

Lord Jesus, I thank You that You are an if/then God. "If" I repent You are faithful and just to "then" forgive me of my sins and as this passage promises, restore me. Help me live up to Your standards and not expect You to come down to mine. In Jesus' name, amen.

Henry, Matthew. "Commentary on Jeremiah 15." . Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar 1996. 2011. 21 Feb 2011.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Thought on Prayer

Just a thought on prayer today that I scribbled down on a scrap of paper some time ago...

If we are praying for anything other than God's will, we are praying for a miracle. 
Somtimes miracles appear to happen, but if and only if they were God's will to begin with.

Ponder that for a moment and consider how it impacts your personal prayer life. What are you praying, and how are you praying about it? Are you praying His promises over your life, or your desires? Are you praying with an openness to God's will, whatever that may be?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

For His Renown

Installment #14 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(noun) widespread and highly regarded reputation; distinctive, notable, glorious, celebrated, famous

"Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts." Isaiah 26:8

Whatever comes of me, whatever comes of my life, whatever comes of my name, my heart's desire should always be that God's name get the glory. Even when life is difficult or circumstances are tough, and I am waiting with expectancy for the Lord to move, I should seek to have a godly attitude, the name of the Lord on my lips and obedience to Him in my heart. Even in my darkest, most desperate hours, my desire should be for Him. God's reputation and my representation of it should be of highest concern in my life. Often times I may be the only Jesus someone else will ever see!

Am I living to make His name famous?

Lord Jesus, my heart's desire is to make the name of the Lord famous, not my own. May I live for Your renown. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Renounce It!

Installment #13 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to give up or put aside voluntarily (such as renouncing worldly pleasures); to give up by formal declaration; to disown or forsake

"Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13

Sin is sin and it is detestable in God's eyes. Concealed or hidden sin, those things kept hidden away in a dark closet so no one will see (either done by us, or to us), causes us to withdraw, be less effective for Christ, and can saddle us with shame. We carry it like a burden, or sometimes like a 50 lb. piece of luggage! God's Word says that only when we confess our sins to another, and voluntarily choose to give up, put down, disown, forsake, walk away from or sever ties with such sin, will we find mercy. Only when we are obedient to do things His way, according to His Word, will freedom be granted. And once you get a taste of true freedom, you will prayerfully not ever want to go back the weight of sin and shame again! God's Word says in Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Confessing and renouncing sin effectively means calling it by name, for what it is, out loud - then asking for the Father's forgiveness, and declaring to turn from it. One of the most effective prayer concepts I have found comes from a program I work with called Freedom in Christ. Though the actual program takes a thorough inventory of one's life, the concept of the prayers work for any situation. If you are plagued with guilt and shame over a sin that is hidden away in your heart, use the following prayer to guide you in confession and renouncing it before the Lord out loud or with a trusted friend. ("Out loud" because the enemy cannot hear your thoughts - only God is all-knowing or omniscient. And you want him to know you are declaring freedom from the bondage he wants to keep you in!)

Lord, I confess that I have knowingly/willfully/passively participated in the sin of _____(name the sin)____ . I now know that it was/is detestable in Your sight. Thank You for Your forgiveness. I now choose to renounce (willfully turn away from) any and all involvement with _____(name the sin)____ as I live by faith in You. In Jesus' trustworthy name I pray, amen.

May God bless you with a taste of His freedom today!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Renew My Spirit, Lord

Installment #12 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to restore, revive, reestablish, recover or make new again

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

In the midst of a prayer of confession to God (Psalm 51), David begins to ask the Lord to change him. The effects of sin in his life had created an unclean heart, a waning spirit, distance from the Lord, loss of joy in life, loss of joy in his salvation, and lack of motivation (vs. 10-12). He pleads with God in these verses to restore and renew his life after confessing his sins and seeking the Lord's forgiveness. He is apparently miserable and desperately desires a change. He is not concerned so much about his reputation as he is about getting the corruption of sin out of his life. Having no ability of his own to make his heart clean and new, he turns to the Lord, the One whose Word is all about making things new.

Not only does David ask for God to make him clean, he asks the Lord to "renew a steadfast spirit within". David, like me, was prone to inconsistency. He was praying and asking God to revive a spirit of perseverance and consistency in him so that he might stay clean before the Lord, in close communion with Him and retain the joy of his salvation, thus making him an effective witness for the Lord.

I am reminded of these lyrics from the 1700's hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Robert Robinson...

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Lord, I too am prone to wander and desire to be steadfast instead. Would You renew a steadfast spirit within me, I pray? In Jesus' name I ask this, amen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rend Your Heart

Installment #11 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to pull or tear, sometimes violently, in grief or anger; to split or divide; to break up or distress

"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13
The phrase "rend your heart" in this verse puzzled me for a couple of years. I marked my Bible first in 2007 when I read this passage and pondered it for quite some time. I came back to it in 2009 and meditated on it again. At that time I really felt the Lord causing me to pause and take those words in and determine what they meant. It literally distressed my heart until I heard from God.

One of the cross reference verses is Jeremiah 18:8 which speaks about God's promise to withhold disaster if the nation repented of evil. After reading this I examined my heart but found myself perplexed. I felt prayed up and clean in my heart, but couldn't shake the feeling that God was trying to speak something specific to me. As I sought His counsel through prayer He finally imparted a word regarding my heart. I noted this revelation in my Bible next to those three words... "stop going through the motions". God wanted me to do what He stated in the verse previous (v.12). He wanted me to stop going through the motions in my faith and return to Him with all my heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning over the distance I had allowed to form between us in the midst of a difficult time. While I wasn't harboring a specific sin to repent, I was at times keeping God at arms length because of the painful trial we were experiencing in our lives - and I'd apparently been doing it for quite some time. But God...

But God was declaring in the rest of the verse that He would show me grace and compassion, patience and love, and maybe even blessings! Who wouldn't want to get back on track and be devoted to a "Daddy" like that!? Once I understood what God wanted me to know about this verse, I began to realign my life with His will by spending more time in His presence, in His Word and in tune with Him.

Father, thank You for burdening me with this verse until I figured out what it meant for me to rend my heart and what You wanted me to do with it. You are a compassionate, patient and loving God and I thank You for pursuing me relentlessly until my heart was right with You at that point in my life. Do it again Lord if I get off course I pray. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Remain in Me

Installment #10 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to continue in the same state; to stay behind or in the same place; to rest, stay, continue, dwell or abide

"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 'I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.'" John 15:4-5

"When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts." Acts 11:23

These two verses speak to different aspects of the word "remain". The first reminds me that when I dwell, rest, spend time with Christ, and He with me, I will bear much fruit for His kingdom, because I will know what His will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). If I am not abiding in Him, my life will be pretty fruitless!

The second passage focuses on Barnabus who, hearing about a move of God in Antioch where many were coming to know the Lord, was sent there to witness God's grace and encourage the people. Many were turning away from the faith due to persecution, but he went to inspire them to keep on keeping on. To continue their work in Christ, trusting Him with all their hearts, regardless of what the world, the flesh or the devil sent their way. He challenged them to purpose in their heart to abide in Christ. To be intentional about it. Instead of a shallow, trial-run commitment, he spurred them on to be so committed they could not be stopped.

Lord Jesus, I ask You to bless and empower me as I choose to remain in You. Help me to purpose in my heart to abide in You. To be intentional about it. Help me to foster a faith and commitment to You that are unstoppable! I pray this in Jesus' name, amen.

Smith, Chuck. "Acts 11:23." The Word for Today. Blue Letter Bible.1 May 2005. 2011. 15 Feb 2011.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day...

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

May you sense the Lord singing over you today and 
be assured of His passionate love for you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Installment #9 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to free from confinement, bondage, obligation or pain; to let go as to release a prisoner

"If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free. And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you." Deuteronomy 15:12-14

This passage is so precious to me having experienced it first-hand in my life. With reference to freeing servants, God spoke this Word into my life quite a few years ago. He promised that when He released me from the bondage and pain of my past, I would not go empty-handed. My God is a promise-keeper. In restoring my life He has blessed me beyond belief! He kept His promise to me, and I believe this to be true for every captive He sets free. I had the privilege of watching Him release a friend from bondage just this past week. It was a sight to behold! And I am sure she too will not go empty-handed. God will bless her beyond belief. Freedom is priceless, but it's not free. It takes work, perseverance, tears, etc. But when God releases His servants and sets them free, they are free indeed!

Lord Jesus, I could never thank You enough for the release from bondage and oppression You granted me. May I live my life as a simple thank you for all You have done for me... In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reasons to Rejoice

Installment #8 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to cheer, gladden, make merry or take delight in

"Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice." 1 Chronicles 16:10
God's Word gives me so many reasons to rejoice as a believer. I can rejoice... the Lord, always. (Philippians 4:4)
  ...because the Lord has blessed me. (Deuteronomy 12:7)
    ...over all the good things the Lord has given me and my family. (Deuteronomy 26:11) God's goodness. (2 Chronicles 6:41) God's protective covering. (Psalm 5:11) my salvation. (Psalm 13:5)
 God's restoration. (Psalm 14:7)
   God's love and provision for me. (Psalm 31:7-8)
     God's judgements. (Psalm 48:11)
       the miracles the Lord has performed. (Psalm 66:6)
         this day the Lord has made! (Psalm 118:24)
           God's promises like one who finds great spoil. (Psalm 119:162)
                      ...that I may go to the house of the Lord. (Psalm 122:1)
               my Maker and King. (Psalm 149:2)
                 my inheritance. (Isaiah 61:7)
                            ...because my Lord sings over me. (Zephaniah 3:17)
                    persecution, for great is my reward in heaven. (Matthew 5:12)
                               ...because of the Lord's birth. (Luke 1:14)
                                 ...that my name is written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)
                                   ...that my Lord gathers what is lost. (Luke 15:6, 9)
                            the hope and glory of the Lord. (Romans 5:2)
                              my sufferings which produce perseverance. (Romans 5:3)
                                reconciliation to God. (Romans 5:11)
                                           ...with those who rejoice. (Romans 12:15)
                                             ...with the truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
                                               ...when I suffer like Christ. (1 Peter 4:13)
                                                 ...for my eternal home in heaven. (Revelation 12:12)

Lord Jesus, may my heart always find reason to rejoice in You! In Your Holy name I pray, amen.

Vine, W. E. "Rejoice", Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 12 Feb 2011.

Friday, February 11, 2011

No Regret

Installment #7 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to feel sorrow or remorse over a past action; to remember with distress or longing

"For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death." 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)

Regret resulting from sorrow over sin that leads to repentance is a good thing.

Sorrow and repentance are two different things. Sorrow is a feeling of anguish or heartache. Repentance is a decision to confess the sin and make a change. Sorrow without repentance can lead to the kind of regret that weighs your spirit down, or to such a despressive state it leads to death. Peter denied Christ, but with great sorrow over his sin he repented. Judas, on the other hand, was sorry he betrayed Christ but refused to repent. His regret led to physical death (he killed himself).

Lord, I want to live a life of no regret. Help me to keep a clean slate before You in Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Refuge

Installment #6 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(noun) shelter from protection or danger; a place of safety; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief or escape

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" Psalm 46:1

God is a shelter for His people. He is a safe place to run to, a place of escape, a shelter in the storm. To find refuge in my God means I can call on His name, sit at His feet, curl up in His lap in my mind and just be with Him. I can pour out my thoughts, feelings and struggles to Him. He already knows what's in my heart anyway...what's making me fearful, weary or troubled. And in that place of trouble He promises to be my strength, to stay present with me, and be the best help I could ever receive.

Lord, be my refuge today I pray. As I rest in You, as I share my thoughts and feelings with You, I thank You that You are near. I thank You for Your strength when I am weak. I thank You that Your presence is with me and You are my help in times of need. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Installment #5 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to mirror or give back an image

"As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart." Proverbs 27:19

They say the eyes are windows to the soul. Some people can put on a pretty good "happy face" and cover things least for a while. But if there is turmoil, shame, bitterness, anger, etc. in my heart, it will eventually show up on my face. God's Word says that my face reflects my heart, therefore when my countenance in downtrodden and less than cheerful, I should examine my heart and consider where my thoughts, affections and intentions lie. If I find there is sin in my heart I must quickly repent of it. I want my hands to be clean, my heart to be pure, and my eyes fixed on Jesus, so that my face reflects the Light within and draws others to Him. A corrupt heart reflects the world, but a sanctified heart reflects the Father.

Lord, I desire to live a life that reflects clean hands and a pure heart before You. A life that reflects a heart whose affections are set on You. A life that reflects time spent with the Father. Enough with the world, I desire more of You. In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Refine Me, Lord

Installment #4 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to bring to a pure state; free from impurities; to purify from what is coarse, vulgar or debasing; to remove something impure or extraneous

"For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver." Psalm 66:10 

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this. How can I let Myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another." Isaiah 48:10-11

When I read the word "refine", purification comes to mind. If I am going to grow more and more into the likeness of my Lord, I must be purified in such a way as to remove the impurities from my life. It is a process often referred to as the Refiner's Fire. As Isaiah 48 implies above, it is a testing of my faith by means of affliction, meant to remove the impurities from my life. The trials and sufferings God allows in my life - the ones He invites me into - are for His kingdom purposes. My afflictions are meant to make me to run to God, not away from God. When I am tested and continue to put my faith and hope and trust in Christ, even when it's hard, my response brings glory (vs. shame) to God's name, and points others to Him.

Thank You Father for loving me enough not to leave me the way I am. Though it sometimes hurts, and sometimes is tough, I am grateful for the refining process. It removes the impurities and hindrances in my life and makes me more like You. May the way I live my life for You, and the way I respond to sufferings bring You fame. Continue to refine me Lord until I am a true reflection of You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reconcile, Record, Redeem

Installment #3 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to bring into agreement or harmony; to restore

"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:20

The most important element of reconciliation is being reconciled, or my heart made right, with God. When that relationship is in tact, others may fall into place. And as a means of God's protection, they may not as well. My greatest concern should be being right with God in the situation.


(verb) to set down in writing as a means to preserve; to register in some permanent form

"He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels." Revelation 3:5

"Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll — are they not in your record?" Psalm 56:8

"If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?" Psalm 130:3

Record keeping is important to God in many ways. Had a record not been kept of so many things, we would not have a Bible full of facts and time references and such. From geneological records of families to the record of God's family called the the Lamb's Book of Life, records are kept. Every tear is recorded and every prayer remembered. The only thing God does not keep a record of is our forgiven sin. Praise the Lord to that!


(verb) to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner; to rescue

"No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—" Psalm 49:7

"But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22

Redemption is God's business. He is the One and Only Redeemer. Once I called upon His name, He received me as His own and redeemed this broken life. And each time I fall short, He reminds me that when I confess, my sins are forgiven and He rescues me again.

My Father, I am so grateful to have a life that is reconciled to You. I am thankful for a God who keeps no record of my wrongs and who has my name written permanently in the Lamb's Book of Life. And when I fall short, thank You that You forgive me of my sins and redeem me. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Little Nuggets...

I came away from the Straight Up Weekend (SUW) student event I was involved in this weekend with nuggets of truth, as well as musical lyrics that touched my heart. I decided to take a post to share. The music was performed by our very own Zack Olsen & the Refuge Band. The speaker was Casey Cease on the theme "The Rebellion," based on the passage Romans 12:2.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
  • Wanna be a rebel? Read your Bible daily...most of the world does not.
  • Chorus: "Nothing's gonna take Your praise out of my mouth, as long as I shall live..."
  • Don't be so against the world that you are no good to the world. Or so much like the world you become little use to God.
  • It's dangerous to disconnect our practices from biblical teaching. Out actions should line up with Truth.
  • Love, especially for God, is something to be chased after, pursued and hoped in, even when we don't "feel" like it.
  • We often treat Jesus like "training wheels". We need His help at the beginning of our faith walk to get going, but leave Him behind as soon as we get comfortable and think we can do it (life) on our own.
  • You might be a Pharisee if you (1) are more consumed with appearing righteous that pursuing the Righteous One (2) care more about your outward appearance than the condition of your heart (3) or are quicker to talk about what you're against than what you are for. How is your heart?
  • Your sanctification is your responsibility.
  • What if my time with God were not just for me? What if it were not only for my nourishment, but the nourishment of others, for the purpose of pointing others to the Father.
  • Prayer is to the church like breath is to life.
  • If you're not giving a thought to God until you come to a church service or event, you're a "binge Christian". Repent and turn to Jesus. He is better than whatever you're doing instead!
  • One of the girls in our group said, "Do what's right even if you're standing alone." ~ H.D.
  • Your sin affects your body and the body (of Christ).
  • What is your faith walk costing you? Anything? If not, it should be! (time, money, sacrifice, rejection...)
  • If we're not living rebelious for Jesus, or counter-cultural, we look just like the world. We must stand for the things that Jesus stands for if we're going to change the world.
  • This one was more for me as a parent... Don't let my future daughter-in-law marry a "son" - prepare him to be a "husband" so he will not distort her view of God and hinder her worship. Wow!
  • Worship is whatever captures your mind's attendtion and your life's affections...
  • God rescued me. What would it look like to live the rest of my life as a "thank you"?
  • Rather than grumbling about the world, be Jesus to the world. Point them to Him!
  • What would it look like to deny yourself and rebel against your own flesh?
  • When good things happen we want to take credit. When bad things happen we want to blame God.
  • In what ways do I intentionally position myself to hear from God?
  • Some of us have fallen on rough times or tough circumstances in our lives, but instead of being angry at God, we need to run to God. He is the only One who can save us, satisfy us, fill us.
  • If you are living in sin, it's sin, whether or not you feel convicted.
  • Don't just be hearers of the Word, but doers. (James 1:22-25)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rebellion, Rebuke, Receive

Installment #2 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)


As what seems to be God's confirmation that I am on the right track with my little project, and as He would have it, the next word on my list is "Rebellion". Tonight starts a discipleship weekend with our middle and high school students, of which I am a part of, and the theme is called "The Rebellion". I love it when God does stuff like that!


(noun) resistance to or defiance of authority, control or tradition

"An evil man is bent only on rebellion; a merciless official will be sent against him." 
Proverbs 17:11

Rebellion is most often used with negative connotation and when referring to a person, is one you would want to avoid if you are walking on the straight and narrow road with Christ.

In the case of our discipleship weekend, we are turning it into a positive thing. Taken from the idea behind the book Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris, we will be encouraging the students to live a life that is counter-cultural. One that rebels (as a teenager) against the world's immoral standards and low expectations.


(verb) to express sharp, stern disapproval of; reprimand

"You rebuke and discipline men for their sin..." Psalm 39:11

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

In the first passage God is the One doing the rebuking. He disapproves of sin and He reprimands or disciplines as a loving Father should. In the second passage, I am reminded that when the enemy comes prowling around my life I have authority in Christ to rebuke him so that he will flee.


(verb) to take into one's possession as something offered

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." Matthew 19:29

"...everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43

There are so many uses of the word "receive" in the Bible that I had to just pull a couple of favorites. First, to the one who has lost much in this life, God promises to give much. A hundred times as much! But only if the second passage has come into play... God's promises are for those who have received His forgiveness for their sins, believed on His name and accepted the precious gift of eternal life!

Father God, thank You for the ability to turn rebellion into a positive thing. Help me to teach the girls I will spend time with this weekend to live counter-cultural. To live in rebellion to the immoral standards of this world, the shady practices of some, and choose to live a life that honors and values what You honor and value, like purity, a good work ethic, honesty and integrity. Lord, where I/we fall short and fail You, would You rebuke me/us in a loving way and set my/our feet on the path to righteousness. And thank You that in Christ I have authority to resist and rebuke the enemy so that he will flee. I gratefully receive all that You desire to bless me with and thank You for my salvation. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reach, Read, Reap

Sitting in a Bible study class last week the instructor made mention that there are a lot of words in God's Word that begin with the letters "re". Intrigued, I began to think of Biblical words off the top of my head that met the criteria. Making a list around the edge of my paper, I included my own definition of the prefix "re" and noted verses that correlate. Word girl that I am, I was fascinated! My mind wouldn't let it rest so I decided I would do some exploring later.'s later, and I am doing just that!

"Re" is sometimes used as a prefix to a word, and other times seems to just be the first two letters, but may still have some qualities of the prefix definition. Let me explain.

As I sat there without resources for research, I jotted down the phrase "'re' means to do over". And I thought of these two passages...

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:19

These verses came to mind as a reminder that God is making all things new. So many "re" words in the Bible are an indication of that. I have decided to hopscotch through a list of them, researching the definition, selecting a passage and writing my thoughts or impressions on a few words each day. My goal at the end of my self-assigned project is to combine the God-making-things-new-kind of "re" words with other significant ones in such a way that they tell a story. I will work my way through the words I select in alphabetical order beginning with "Reach"...


(verb)  to succeed in touching with an outstretched hand

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

Jesus came with outstretched hand to reach a lost and dying world.


(verb) to look at carefully so as to understand the meaning of

"They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read." Nehemiah 8:8

When I read and study God's Word He unveils the mystery of it so that I may understand. With understanding my mind is renewed and ultimately I am changed.


(verb) to gather a harvest; to gain or collect as a reward

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6

God's Word says we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Sow mercy, receive mercy. Sow evil, reap evil. Sow love, receive love. And sometimes in His graciousness, we even reap the benefits of what someone else has sown (John 4:38). If we keep sowing into the Kingdom we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

Father God, thank You for the insight that studying Your Word brings to my life. Thank You for giving me a love for words and the Word. Help me Father to live the gospel and be an instrument through which You can reach a lost and dying world. As I read Your Word I pray the message of it would permeate my soul, renew my mind and change me into Your likeness. And Father, when the time is right, I believe Your Word that I will reap a harvest for any seeds sown. Thank You for Your faithfulness. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Have an Enemy

"But I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands'... He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin...and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me." Nehemiah 6:9c, 13

I have an enemy. He has come to intimidate and tempt me to sin. He wants to discredit me and give me a bad name. The good news is...I'm on to his plan! God's Word has made me aware of his plot to steal, kill and destroy - but my God has bigger plans. He has come to give me life and give it abundantly!

There was a job to be done - a wall to be built. The task may have seemed insurmountable. But with God's help Nehemiah's hands were strengthened, the enemy's plans were thwarted and the wall was miraculously completed "with the help of our God" (vs. 16) in just 52 days!

When I face what seem to be overwhelming odds, impossible tasks or trials, or feel like I'm in over my head, I must remind myself that the enemy is there whispering and affirming such thoughts. He wants to weaken and frighten me, render me less useful to God and weaken my faith. But when my eyes are fixed on Jesus, my hope and trust in the Lord, I can tell my mountains of impossibility how BIG my God is and that He has already won the victory. And I can ask Him to strengthen my hands.

Father, I do ask that You would strengthen my hands, especially for the immediate tasks ahead. Sharpen my mind and grant me Your wisdom and discernment. Please give me eyes to recognize the enemy's schemes so that I can take my thoughts captive and replace them with Truth. Renew my mind and make my hands useful for You. Remember me with favor O God and show me what You have for me. I ask this in Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My husband took priority over my blog today. He says to say he's sorry! :0)