Monday, May 23, 2011

John - Worship

My Bible study group started reading John this past week. I am loving this book - it jumps right into Jesus and who he is, what he's about, and what he came here for! This morning from Chapter 4 in the Message, this really spoke to me:

(at approximately v 21)  "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself - Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their true selves, in adoration. "
Is this how I worship God not only on Sunday, but every day? I need to post these verses in my home...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Philippians Ch 4 - Contentment

I like v 6-7 in the Message...they are the "Do not be anxious.." verses. The message reads "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." When I have those overtaking, overly anxious moments, I try to imagine the Spirit of God literally coming and settling down on me. I know he is always there, but the visual does so much for me.

v 12b..."I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation..." I took a Bible study at some point and made a note in my Bible that says "contentment is LEARNED". It's not "God give me this, God give me that", it is learning through Him to be content wherever he chooses to place us.

Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts about Philippians with me. I can never learn enough from Paul.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Philippians Ch 3 - Press On

This Chapter is awesome...Paul talks about how he lived so righteously and perfectly in the first half. He followed all the rules, believed in God, and had his act together. But he lacked the love of Jesus. He didn't believe in the only one who could save him. Living a perfect/righteous life does not get us in "good" with God or get us to heaven. Only believing in and loving the Son he sent to us can.

Vs 12-14 are some of my favorites in the Bible. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." What think that God "took hold me of me" for a purpose! Oh, how I LONG to know the purpose for which Christ took hold of me. More than I can express to you. What did he put me here for? But, he does give me direction: Press on toward the for him and tell others about him, and he will reveal the rest to me in his time.

V 16 is one I have never really paid attention to before. I always get stuck in 12-14! But it says "Only let us live up to what we have already attained". I think that is saying to live up to what he has already revealed to us as followers. Don't backslide or live out less than he has shown us we are to be. Live up to what he has entrusted us with - his word and salvation! I pray I will be able to do that today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Philippians Ch 2 - Imitate Christ

Paul continues to tell us how the live like Christ.
V3&4 - "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, bu in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Christ put all things before himself, and He calls us as.Christians to do the same. Very difficult

V 12-13 "...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." I need to work on my relationship w Christ every day! I'm trying, but know I fail often. How can I know what his good purpose in this life is for me if I am not spending time with him so he can talk to me?

Finally, V 14-15 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Man, if it was a crooked and depraved generation back then, imagine what we would be called now. God calls us to stand out among the world and shine like stars...we are not to look like everything else, but something entirely different. I pray I will look different to someone who needs to see Jesus today.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Philippians Ch 1

Philippians is my favorite book of the Bible. Paul has SO much to share!

Paul is so thankful for his friends, and is such an encourager to them from his jail cell! V 6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" has always been one of my faves and encouraging to me that God has a plan that is just for me! Also v.9 "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ" love more and be more discerning. Can you imagine being pure and blameless until the day of Christ?

The rest of the chapter goes on and shows Paul's incredible attitude despite his circumstance. I can only imagine what I would be saying..."God, look what I am doing for you, and you are letting this happen to ME?" Not.

Finally, v 27 "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ"...I need to pray this every morning.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Little Something....Different - S'mores Cookie Bars!

S'mores Cookie Bars

I got this recipe out of All You magazine...and boy, is it crazy delicious. Forget the fat and calories. They are so rich you can only eat one anyway, so just ENJOY IT!

2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Cups graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups marshmallow fluff
2 cups milk chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Mist foil with cooking spray

2) In a bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; mix well. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Divide dough in half. Press half of dough into pan until dough is uniform and flat. (** NOTE - I changed it the second time to about 2/3 in the pan and liked it better. You need less on top). Spread with marshmallow fluff and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Scatter remaining dough over in clumps. Don't worry about covering the top; marshmallow and chocolate chips should peek through.

3) Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Remove from pan, peel off foil and cut into bars.

Mmmmm, good!!!!!!!!!

James Ch 5

I have quoted v 12 to myself many times over the years..."Let your "yes" be yes, and your "no", no, or you will be condemned." If I say I am going to do it, I try so hard to do it. It is a good lesson for not just saying "yes" to something because you feel like you should. If I say "yes", then someone is counting on me to keep my word. And if I don't, then they will have more difficulty believing me each and every time. It takes a much longer time to build my reputation for keeping my word than to destroy it.

That's all for today :):).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

James Ch 4

Vs 1-6 speak to me about twisting or manipulating situations to get them to turn out my way. We don't ask God for help with the situation because we know our motives are wrong...but we want our way anyway. What God gives is so much better.

Vs 7-8 (Msg) "So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life." Wow, Quit dabbling in sin... This one time won't hurt, right? I think that is dabbling. It's the sins that don't seem so big or bad that satan uses to separate us from God.

Finally v 17 really brings it home. "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." So omission is just as sinful commission. I pray my eyes will be open to see what he would have me do.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Moving On...James Ch 1

I could underline every verse in this Chapter and talk about it. James is so full of wisdom. V 2-4, "Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything", mirror my life verses, Romans 5:3-5 "Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope..." and they were written by two different men. Amazing.

V 5-6 are particularly timely for me today. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt..." If I am given a choice betwden two jobs, I will need real wisdom to choose. So first I am praying I wont be given a choice, but if I am, this convicts me that I cannot doubt God will give me wisdom to make the right decision.

V 22-24... "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." Do what it says! Pretty plain and simple there. Finally v 26..."If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." I have been doing better about keeping my mouth shut, but this is telling me I can totally cancel out what I try to show to others as a Christian just by opening my mouth. Scary.

James Ch 2 - Favoritism and Faith

Verses 1-4 talk about not showing favoritism among believers. I know I am guilty of that, and that is one of the reasons God has me reading these very words. In the Message, verse 4 says "haven't you segregated God's children" instead of "discriminated among yourselves" in the NIV. The wording in the Message hits me much harder. I may discriminate among many different things in life to choose the "finer" or better for me. But the word segregate has a much harsher connotation with it, and those are GOD'S CHILDREN that I am segregating into nice neat piles. Please forgive me, Lord.

Verses 8-11 continue with the picking and choosing, yet now it is among our sins. You know, the big ones versus the little ones. The little white lies versus the big black ones. I've done this, but I've never done THAT for heaven's sake! The Message says "You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others." The NIV "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it". I know we are sinners, and sin every single day, and that is why we need Jesus. These verses just drive home that it is all equal in God's sight, so we can't think of ourselves higher or better than another.

Faith and works...they go hand in hand. v 15 (Msg) "Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" & 17 "Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?" I think we all need a sermon on this at least once a month. I can read my Bible every day and live the best, cleanest life possible, but if I am hiding in my house and never reaching out to anyone, what good has that done God's kingdom? God doesn't NEED me, but he does use me to show others what He is all about. God promises that He will always take care of our needs, but I know He uses us to help each other with those needs.

I hope you are learning and being reminded as much from James as I am. I pray it will be deeply planted in my heart and not just be for today.

James Ch 3 - Taming the Tongue

This chapter is so in my face like all others that it almost brings me down instead of feeling lifted up...but it is teaching and I know God uses his words to convict us of our sin.

I honestly don't remember a day in my life that my mouth wasn't a problem for me. As a child I was called "Mouth of the South" by loving teachers for talking so much and so loud. I always got a "minus" on my report card for that part. I always wanted to be shy and quiet, but God didn't make me that way. The challenge is taking how he made me and using it for his good!

V1 is a kick in the booty. "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." Funny how I chose that as my career. I pray if God has me enter the classroom again that I have my act more together than I did the last time I was there. But I know this also applies to teaching at church - being an example to the little or big ones that I am teaching.

V 8-10 "but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be". I need to pray every morning that I will allow God to use my tongue for good and that I would not allow my sinful self to use it for evil.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Romans Ch 16 - Watch Out!

This chapter finishes up with Paul sending his greetings to all of those he knows and loves. Wow, to be in that list...

V 17 & 18 - "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause division and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." I am sure we have all experienced such people in our church, and it is very sad. They seem so true and genuine at first, but then things seem to become a little strange. I pray we would quickly recognize those people, but most of all never become that person described here ourselves.

I pray you have learned as much from Paul in Romans as I have. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Romans 15 - Strength and Service

Chapter 15 starts right out in my face. From the Message: "Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?"" I believe God has equipped me to be able to help other people in many different ways. But how many days do I want to scream "I don't have time or desire to that right now! It's not convenient for me! Go away!" (I'm just being honest here). I dare say it is quite often. I need to be praying for God to continue to soften my heart and to step in not only out of duty, but always out of LOVE. Yes, we absolutely have to and need to at times say "no" to some opportunities to help, but many times I want to say no just because I want to be selfish, not because I don't have time.

V 4 hit me today as well. I have heard people comment that the Bible is old, that is was written for a different time and culture, that it simply cannot apply to our lives today, too much has changed in the world. This verse says the exact opposite. MSG: "Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for US" (emphasis theirs). NIV: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope". Think...they were referring to the Old Testament scriptures that were written as many as 1400 years before this time. Paul probably wrote those words to answer people who were saying the OT was written for a different time and culture! God's Word never changes. Amen!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Romans Ch 13 & 14 ~ Authority & Peace with each other

Chapter 13
V 1-7 do focus on submitting to govt authorities. I have however always felt convicted by these verses to submit to anyone placed in authority over me...supervisors, pastors, etc. it has always fascinated me how people in a workplace will not submit to authority. I think as Christians unless we are being asked to do something morally wrong or illegal we are called to ultimately submit to those in authority.

Of course v9...i doubt I love anyone as I love myself. What a thing to strive for.

Chapter 14
Today's chapter seems to primarily speak to getting along with those whose beliefs are different than ours. From the Message: v1 "Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do." v 4 "Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help". V 17 & 19 "God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. ... So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help with encouraging words: don't drag them down by finding fault. You're certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God's work among you, are you?" Finally, v 22 & 23 (parts chosen) "Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. If you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe, then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it is wrong".

WHEW! It sounds to me like I need not be concerned from one denomination to the next what the "rules" are. God leads us all to something different based on the convictions he has given us, and it is not my place to judge what he has laid on someone else's heart as correct. I best be concerned with my own self and that I am living as he has called ME to live, and we all need to work together for the greater good, which is telling others about Christ!

Finally, from the NIV, 12 & 13. "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your own mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way". I know I have been a stumbling block to others many times because of my attitude. I truly strive not to "turn my nose up" and what others opinions and beliefs are anymore just because they don't coincide with my own! God is in charge of their heart, not me. The Message adds in verse 4 "Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help". I am the first to think someone cannot possibly be a Christian because of this or that...but it is not my call, is it? It is my call to love them and be at peace with them, not judge them because their beliefs may be different. God can handle it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Romans Ch 12 - A Living Sacrifice

It starts at the very beginning for me. V 1 - "offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God" - I would love to walk around offering all I have in God's name. I get so emotionally and physically spent, which is the human side of me. But I need to be praying for abilities beyond myself to love those around me as God does - being whatever He asks me to be.

V 2 - "but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" - that is what I am trying to do!!! I have always read this verse knowing I needed to be spending more time with God to allow Him to put my focus on Him! I finally feel as if He is for the first time being given the opportunity to renew my mind - and it is awesome.

V 9-21 are instructions for how to live. I particularly like how they read in the Message. These are great verses that I should read every morning when I rise to set my mind straight for living that day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Romans Ch 11 - Doxology

This Chapter really focuses on details of Israel, God's chosen people, turning their backs on God, thereby opening the doors for the Gentiles to come to God. Praise the Lord! It was in His plan to make a way for all of us to come to Him! I love all the verses about the grafting of the wild olive branches into the tree - but God will always graft back on the original branches - the Israelites - as soon as they turn back to Him. I don't think I ever give much thought to how much God loves His people - the Israelites - and how sad it must make Him that they don't recognize His Son as the one He promised.

V6 - "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works. If it were, grace would no longer be grace". We are saved by GRACE. Grace alone! We could never earn what God has given us - again, awesome verses to remember for ourselves when we fall, but also for the new Christian. We can never be "good" enough to come to Him.

I really love the Doxology at the end of this chapter.

"Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen"

Our God is SO big - his paths beyond tracing out.

I am so filled this morning. It is amazing me what getting up and spending this time with the Lord does for my heart.

Enjoy your day :):)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Romans Ch 10 - How Beautiful!

Romans is so full of salvation verses...Paul was given such incredible revelation from God on how to put it all into words to us so plainly, so all could understand!

V 9-10 "If you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." It is so simple that SO many do not get it because they feel like it must be more complicated! But it's not! Believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth - Jesus is Lord!

God has been laying on my heart over many months (and possibly years) how important it is to reach the lost with his words. V 14-15 put it to me again this morning. "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 they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"" Send...preach (hear)...believe...relationship. Can you imagine your life if someone had never told you about Christ?

I pray we will all have the boldness to tell others about Him.

Have a wonderful day! I am praying for you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Romas Ch 9

I had SIX friends join me this morning to read! Praise the Lord!

Major Chapter theme ... God is in charge. We may or may not understand, but it IS God who is in control. Why is that so easy to believe when things go well, but not so much when they don't? I know for me it is because if God can fix it, why doesn't He? We don't always know...especially here on this side.

Regarding Jacob and Esau... (Msg) "What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that His purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don't do, but a sure thing determined by His decision, flowing steadily from His initiative." God had a plan for Jacob and Esau and US!...a perfect plan.

Again for the new Christian, or one struggling to accept Jesus, v 16 (NIV) "It does not therefore depend on man's desire, but on God's mercy." God's has mercy on us...we can never be good enough.

Finally, v 20 (Msg) "Who in the world do you think you are to second guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question?" Nope.

Again, let me say this is just what God has laid on my heart, for me. I pray His word brings you comfort and joy today.

Monday, May 2, 2011


One of the main purposes of this blog is to share what the Lord is sharing with me each day in my devotional time. I "meet" with several other women each morning via Facebook or texting. We read a chapter from the Bible, then share our thoughts with each other. I'm just going to pick up where we are's a great place!

I want to keep a record of my readings because I feel like I am learning so much. Hopefully this is much faster than hand writing in a journal.

Today we read Romans Chapter 8. My thoughts:
What a great chapter! V 1 starts right off with awesome news, especially for those who you are witnessing to. There is no past in Jesus! Stop thinking he won't love you because of who you were!

V 9... I need to remind myself of this every day. I am NOT controlled by my sinful nature. I AM controlled by the Spirit of God.

V 26 ... How many times have I not been able to pray because of sadness, tiredness, irritation, anger? Praise God His Spirit does it for me then. I am never alone.

V 28 has seen me through countless trials and will continue to.

I pray you all got as much out of this chapter as I always do. Thanks for joining me today. You are loved!