Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Path

I can’t wait to start memorizing scripture with all of you. In Residency last Wednesday morning, we were reading about why the Bible is reliable. Thank you Dr. Rick Taylor for all that you have been teaching us, and I’m going to share a little bit here!

The bible is reliable because it is God breathed! It is God speaking to us. It is written over 1500 years, in 66 books/volumes, by over 40 authors, in 3 languages, on 3 continents, with ONE message! What other area of science, philosophy, medicine, etc. could you say that? (“Is the Bible Reliable, Rick Taylor 2008)

The bible is reliable and the source to which we should look for guidance in life. He referenced this scripture and I just thought it was great to meditate on before we begin this journey together through God’s word.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is profitable for . . .
Teaching: showing us how God designed our life to be lived
Reproof: Showing us when we get OFF of that path
Correction: Showing us how to get back ON the path
Training: How to STAY on the path

His word is a guide to the path that leads to relationship with Him and everlasting life! What a gift the LORD has given us, let us treasure it, cling to it, learn from it, and delight in it!

Are you ready to set out on our path? I am!

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obey & Worship

We finished reading Exodus a couple of weeks ago and I was looking back through my notes and some of the scriptures I had underlined. It was amazing to glance through His word like this, and to see these big themes jump right off the page! Look at some of the scriptures I had underlined during our time in Exodus:

15:26-“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”

19:5-“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;”

24:7-“Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”

25:8-“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.”

34:6-“The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”

34:8-“And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.

I loved learning about the Law and seeing God’s heart behind it all . . . to protect us from disease, to heal us, to guide us to the Promised Land, to treasure us, to dwell with us, to love us . . . that we may worship Him. God’s plan for us is simple, obey and worship. Following may not be simple, life is certainly not easy, but oh that through these trials we would obey His voice and worship Him. Obey and worship. Let that be the mark of our lives, we are a people who obey and worship.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trust & Heart

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

There are so many scriptures that reference the heart and trust in the LORD. I see that popular Proverb “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). I wonder what it means, what it looks like to trust Him with ALL of your heart . . . and lean not on our own understanding.

I think it’s a tragedy today that so many of us get to the point of belief, and then stop. The rest of life-we try and figure out on our own. We come up with our explanation of what God wants for our lives without consulting Him. I think when we’re honest; we lean on our own understanding a lot more than we trust in Him. His word IS a guide for our lives, comfort when we hurt, answers to confusing questions, and instruction on living that leads to joy, peace, and love.

Let’s not just “memorize” scripture, but let’s learn it, take it and apply it to our lives. Let it minister to you, comfort you, encourage you. It is meant to transform your thinking, and give you roots that can grow deep so that your leaves will always be green-in every season. A season of joy and peace, or deep pain and suffering, you will not wither or die. When the heat comes, His purifying fire, you will not burn; you will stand strong and cling to what is good. I love this! I love knowing that it is His word that strengthens me, and I must guard my heart (Proverbs 4:23) with His word. I must not let my own thinking or understanding guide me, but His word. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:1)

Do we go to Him with our fears, our questions, our worries, our doubts, or do we lean on our own understanding. Do we trust Him that He is truly working all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpos (Romans 8:28)? It’s so comforting to know that even when I don’t make the right decisions, when I am unclear about something, when He is not answering a prayer I’ve prayed for years, when nothing makes sense, I can go to His word and remember He is working for the good. Ugh, even in ways I don’t understand. He is working for the good.

That’s why I think His word is such a treasure!! He doesn’t want us just to be saved FROM something, but saved TO something! There is death AND resurrection! A new life! A new way of thinking! We can take off the old and put on the new! “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

Let us be pure in heart (Matthew 5) as we pursue this journey in life. Let us be free to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37) Let’s drink from His river of delights (Psalm 36) and rest in what He has done for us and what He is doing in us and through us. Let our hearts be pure and our trust be in the LORD.

“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” (Luke 8:15)

I have been praying that our hearts would be “good soil” that His word would be able to grow in our hearts. I hope that when we read and hear His word it will be with an honest and good heart. That we would not simply hear it, but that it would take root and regenerate us, and increase our TRUST in Him.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. (Psalm 37:4)

Let’s delight in Him, trust in Him, and purify our hearts.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wild Olive Trees

I woke up this morning with a marvelous idea! I opened up the window in our bedroom which looks out to our backyard, directly to the beautiful olive tree in the corner. Santino loves olive trees, I think because he’s Italian. It reminded me of the scripture we were just reading during our morning bible study from Romans 11.

“For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11:24)

I immediately jumped up (which I almost never do first thing on Saturday mornings) and said “Santino, I have an idea!”. At which he inevitably responds “oh no” (that’s his typical first response to all of my “ideas”). I emphatically said “I am going to start a blog . . .”

What does this have to do with “Wild Olive”?
This olive tree reminded me of how I used to be “by nature a wild olive tree” and I am now a cultivated olive tree. The LORD has pruned me, shaped me, and redeemed me from my wilderness. My hope is that we would allow our gardener to prune us, shape us, redeem us, and tend to us through His word and His love. That is my hope for this blog, that we would grow intimately with our Heavenly Father, the Gardener (John 15).

I have been grafted into God’s orchard, His tree, and I pray that my roots will grow deep down in Him (Colossians 2:7). I know that we get strong roots by being planted near streams of water (Psalm 1:3), living water (John 4:10), the washing and renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), by meditating on His word and keeping it in our heart (Psalm 119). I know that with knowledge comes understanding and that the LORD says He is seeking those who worship in “Spirit and TRUTH” (John 4:23-24).

Which leads to the real jewel of the “great idea” . . .

Scripture Memory Team
I was reading on Beth Moore’s blog about how they started a scripture memory team. I wanted to participate in the 2010 year, and found out she will not be doing this year. She encouraged women to get a group together and do it anyway. So that’s my idea! I want to start this blog with the intent of connecting with more women, through scripture and prayer! Three of my favorite things: the Word of God, People, and Prayer!!!!

So here’s the plan . . . we will memorize a new scripture on the 1st and 15th of each month, starting in February. I will post the scripture that I will be memorizing, and you all can do the same!!! You can post the scripture you’ll be memorizing or use the same scripture I’ll be memorizing.
So if you’re interested in participating in the Scripture Memory Team please sign up as a follower and send this link to anyone else you think would want to grow their roots deep down into Him!

I am excited to grow with you, to learn with you, and to see what God will do in us and through us! Even if you don’t want to memorize with us, I hope you’ll still visit the site and share what’s going on in your life!

So, check back on February 1st for our first scripture. Until then, I will be praying for each of you. Let Him cultivate you . . .