Saturday, October 18, 2014

Read, Underline, Study, Apply



I am in the process of reading and underling important information in a 421 page book.  Because of so many important details, I have also added numerous brightly colored sticky tabs on pages I need to reference again.  In order to better understand the big picture and purpose of a specific diet, in hopes of helping improve symptoms of MS, the author highly recommends that one read the book completely through before beginning to apply the concepts.  I am rereading selections and continuing to study in order to achieve the maximum benefit.  After getting the go ahead from two doctors in the next few weeks, I am ready to practice what I have learned.  The more disciplined I am willing to be, the better chance I have for improvement.

I am also in the process of reading all 1094 pages in another book.  It has even more valuable life changing information in it.  The plan I am using has me read between 3 and 4 chapters a day, which gives me time to read, reflect on, and apply what I have read.  There are times I come back to passages, reread them for clarity and encouragement, and study them further, in hopes of applying them correctly.  It will take me a year to complete the process.  And then I’ll begin to read it again.  One of the gems about the Bible is that the author desires me to begin applying what is read as soon as possible.  I don’t have to wait until I understand it all or have read it completely to take action.  Whereas the book on nutrition has the potential to offer a better quality of life now if applied, the Bible assures me of an abundant life both now and for eternity.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16

 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Luke 24:45

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”
Isaiah 40:8

Saturday, October 11, 2014

OUT OF ORDER



This week I attended Bible study at church.  Our routine is that I drive to church, call Larry when I get there, he meets me, takes the walker out of the car, and then he walks with me to the elevator which takes me to the third floor.  This week, I was on my own because Larry was out of town, but that was not a big deal since with a little effort I can get the walker in and out by myself.  It is a sweet blessing though when Larry is able to help.  Since I never know what traffic is going to be like, I try to leave an hour before the Bible study begins.  That morning the traffic was noticeably light and I was able to drive the speed limit the entire way. 

After arriving more than thirty minutes early, I took the walker out of the car and headed into the church.  I walked to the elevator and noticed the sign “OUT OF ORDER.”  My first thought was, “Oh, no.  Larry is not here and he knows what to do to help me get upstairs.  OK Lord, what am I going to do?”  Within two minutes, God orchestrated a plan that turned a mild inconvenience into joy, provision, and an unexpected blessing.  The security policeman happened to be in the main area and offered to carry the walker, my purse (which is not exactly light weight), my Bible and book up to the third floor.  Bambi offered her arm so I could have the rail on my right side and her arm for stability and Christina and Kathy Lynn gave extra arms of support on the two landings.  We made it up the flights of stairs in just a few minutes.  What a blessing that it was a good walking day and the steps were great exercise.

Christina happened to mention in the Bible study she helps lead that I had walked up the stairs.  When Elisabeth, a dear friend from Nashville, Tennessee, who was visiting in her mother’s class, heard that she came upstairs and surprised me with a visit!  What extra sweet gifts of provision and blessings all because the elevator was “OUT OF ORDER.”

As if that wasn’t enough encouragement for the week, my Bible reading the next day once again reminded me again of God’s constant love, care, provisions, and blessings.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's Fall



Fall has arrived.  Football and soccer games are being played, the leaves are changing colors, and cooler temperatures are on the way.  School has been in session for several weeks now and the holidays are quickly approaching.  So many things are predictable and routine about the fall season.  Soon the trees will begin the process of losing their leaves.  The trees will be bare, as they rest for a season, in preparation for the spring and new growth.

Unlike trees, we do not automatically lose what needs to be discarded for new growth.  Instead, we must be intentional about what we want and need to release.  Sometimes I need to let some good things go for a season so that the best has a chance to thrive.  Then there are times, like the last leaves on the tree, that I hold on by a thread and need God’s Spirit to blow and encourage me to release what I am hanging on to.  I continue to find that it is much easier to grab and take hold of the new when I have willingly released and let go of the old.  And sometimes I need to rest and wait for a season for the new to have time to take root and grow.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Umbrellas, Shadows, and Safe Hands

With the abundance of rain these days, I have been grateful for my umbrella.  Being under the umbrella allowed me to stay dry and be sheltered from the showers.  The umbrella even helped protect me from some of the stronger breezes.  As long as I stayed underneath the boundaries of its protection, the umbrella was able to provide the services I needed.  If I had left the umbrella in the car or decided not to use it, I would have paid the consequences and been soaking wet in no time.

God also offers his protection when the storms in life come.  Time and time again, God reminds us of how He wants to offer refuge in the shadow of His wings.  That protection is available when we are willing to stay close to Him, within His shadow.  When we venture outside those limits we are taking on more of the storm solo than God intended.  Jesus reminded us that when we are in God’s protective hands, no one can snatch us away. 

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
Psalm 17:8

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
Psalm 57:1

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 63:7

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
Isaiah 51:16

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
John 10: 28, 29
 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sharing the Good News



There are many ways to share good news:  verbally, by the written word, over social media, or through our actions.  St. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying,

“Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.”


This past week, Robert Griffin III, quarterback for the Washington Redskins, arrived at a press conference to discuss last Sunday’s football game sporting a pair of crutches and wearing a t-shirt that read:

KNOW
JESUS
KNOW
PEACE

According to Michael Phillips, the Redskins reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Griffin was told by NFL Uniform Inspector Tony McGee that he couldn’t wear the T-shirt because it wasn’t a Nike product.  Thus, Griffin’s shirt was worn inside-out during the interview so that it was a solid color without a message.  Even though I’m not sure of the motive behind the decision, my hope and prayer is that hundreds of thousands more people will see and think about the meaning of the shirt now that the story and picture of Robert Griffin III, wearing the shirt with the message showing, have been posted on social media.

With the turmoil and situations in our world today, we are all in need of good news.  People need to know and understand that when there is NO JESUS there is NO PEACE.  God needs us to help spread the word that when people KNOW JESUS they can find and KNOW PEACE.  And we have all kinds of ways to choose from to communicate that message.  And may our actions speak as loud as our words, if not louder. 

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7 

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 
Romans 10:13-15
 
 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20