in the Word Wednesday

friends. I am preparing something big for you all. for anyone.

God is doing big things in my head and my heart and I hope to share them with you one day.

In the mean time, I am praying for you all, hoping I can somehow positively influence your day.

Be encouraged today!

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faith, dreams, and plans [inthewordwednesday]

I love Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling. Yesterday was an especially needed blessing for me to read before starting my day, as I woke pondering my plans and wrestling with giving them over to God for that day. It is a constant battle for me to give over my plans for the day, let alone my life, to God. Read what Sarah Wrote (emphasis mine):

I am working on your behalf. Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams. Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to create with you. Do not try to hurry this process. If you want to work with Me, you have to accept My time frame. Hurry is not in My nature. Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for the fulfillment of My promise, a son. How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of the child! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” [Dec 11]

And Hebrews 1:11:

faith faith2

 

(source)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [ESV]

Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. [God’s Word Translation]

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. [The Message]

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. [NIV]

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. [NLT]

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. [Amplified version]

 

faith

In the Word Wednesday

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “That is the first commandment, the entire gospel. ‘Fear God’—instead of the many things which you fear.” This is a dangerous statement. How can we fear the God who identifies Himself as love? That throws many of our ideas about who God is into question. We know there is a call to fear the God of love, but we don’t know what to do with it. Our understanding of love doesn’t mesh with our understanding of fear, and so our understanding of God suffers.

This paragraph in the article, Why Fear is Essential to Faith, in Relevant Magazine (online) by Casey Hobbs really struck me. I so often battle with accepting that God is not just full of grace, but is also a very just God. It’s easy for me to praise Him for His justice when I’m wanting a karma-like-punishment for someone who hurt me. When it comes to justice in light of my own shortcomings and sins, however, I’m short of words to praise Him for being just.

My human brain cannot wrap itself around the vast differences, and yet the simplicity of likeness, of these two characteristics of my God. They seem such polar opposites, yet in some ways I find them so similar, love and justice.

I’m still marinating on all of this. But, I am so thankful for those like Casey, who cause me to think a little deeper, mid-week.

Read more from Casey Hobbs, here.

Read more from Relevant Magazine, here.

Jesus Calling

I just wanted to share this excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It just is so good.

Be encouraged.

“I want you to experience the riches of your salvation: the Joy of being loved constantly and perfectly. You make a practice of judging yourself, based on how you look or behave or feel. If you like what you see in the mirror, you feel a bit more worthy of My Love. When things are going smoothly and your performance seems adequate, you find it easier to believe you are My beloved child. When you feel discouraged, you tend to look inward so you can correct whatever is wrong.

Instead of trying to ‘fix’ yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul. Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me. Remember that I see you clothed in My righteousness, radiant in My perfect Love.”

ITWW: Isaiah 61, your heart

“Our hearts are the purest indicator of who we truly are. What we believe about our own hearts reveals to us what we really believe about ourselves.” 

I read that quote and in my head said “holy moly,” along with other thoughts such as, “crap,” and “whoa.” I mean how profound yet so simple. It was written by Elena Pellizzaris on The Good Women Project blog.

Elena then writes this about her heart (and all of our lovely hearts),

“…one thing that I now know to be true: I’ve been given a new heart. A redeemed heart. A ransomed heart. And Jesus says it is good. Really good. Good enough to die for.”

But really, did you read that? Your heart was good enough to die for. I mean, even if it wasn’t “good” Jesus would have died for it, but the fact that he saw it redeemable and lovely makes The Truth even more exciting.

How can I (a measly girl living in the midwest with little to show for herself) view my heart as anything but good?

If you need convincing, take a look at why it is that Jesus was sent, why he came.

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
    instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
    they shall have everlasting joy.

For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.

also good for your heart:

big decisions and Godly wisdom

When making big decisions – or any decision for that matter – think through the qualities of Godly wisdom as you weigh your options. This passage of scripture really touched a nerve… It made me think of the way I make decisions and how I should really consider them through scriptures such as these before finalizing a decision.

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].” James 3:17-18 AMP

Characteristics of Godly wisdom:

pure.

peace-loving.

courteous.

reasonable.

compassionate.

wholehearted.

straightforward.

impartial.

unfeigned.

 

In the Word Wednesday: Your Body as a Temple

I’m currently studying 1 Corinthians and this week my focus is on chapters 2-3. I like to read each chapter from a few different versions and also look up some commentaries. Yesterday, while reading chapter 3 I was really struck by The Message version of veses 3:16-17:

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

Trust me, I hear and remind myself all the time that my body is not my own – it is the temple in which God dwells, and therefore should be treated with the utmost care and respect.

source

The problem is, really a temple means nothing to me. I mean, I get that it is sacred – or was sacred – but I don’t worship in a temple and have never been brought up doing so, so I never gained respect for any physical temple. Likewise, I live in a society which promotes pleasure, especially pleasure through acts that tend to destroy my body temple. The foods we consume, the way we overwork our bodies – through physical exercise and a tendency to dismiss rest, sleep, and solitude – as well as drugs and alcohol abounding. We are about pleasing our bodies… and destroying them.

I’m just as guilty, and I am not saying these things are bad in and of themselves. We just don’t know how to discipline ourselves, to take things in moderation so as not to cause harm.

source

In my battle vs my body and vs food and also vs self image, I am often reminded of these verses and the fact that as a Christian, I am a dwelling place for God, and therefore need to take care of myself. But mostly, I am reminded that my heart is the sole dwelling place for God living in me, and I should really take care to protect my heart.

This is all a learning process for me – watching what I eat and how much I work out – not to look good for the approval of man, but to honor God as a steward of this body he has given me.

Related scripture:

1 Corinthians 6:12

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Galatians 5:21

Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Chronicles 17:1-5

Now when David lived in his house, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” And Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in. For I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling. …

In the Word Wednesday [1 Corinthians 1:25-31]

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” [NIV]

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” [NASB]

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God,righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written,“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” [ESV]

[This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, so that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God. But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin]. So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord. [Amplified]

God’s nonsense is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, consider what you were when God called you to be Christians. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view. You were not in powerful positions or in the upper social classes. But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame. God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something. As a result, no one can brag in God’s presence. You are partners with Christ Jesus because of God. Jesus has become our wisdom sent from God, our righteousness, our holiness, and our ransom from sin. As Scripture says, “Whoever brags must brag about what the Lord has done.” [God’s Word]