Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dec 18-25

Monday: Genesis 50
Tuesday: 1 Samuel 21
Wednesday: Psalm 75
Thursday: Jeremiah 13
Friday: Ezekiel 7
Saturday: Matthew 15
Sunday: 2 Peter 1


Prairie Chick said...

Genesis 50. "Joseph's brothers became fearful."

Ah... this is so typical of us. To second guess, doubt, worry, fear. I had a moment of this the other day when I felt led to speak really directly to a situation where someone needed encouragement but also some insight. After I did it, (it felt so natural in the moment) feelings of fear and mortification started to creep in. All the things the other people may or may not have perceived or been thinking about me. Seriously I was plagued by a million fears. But I know that fear is not from God, and I know where it is from, so I stopped myself and prayed right then and there that God would show me if my fears were ungrounded, if I had indeed been on the right path or walking where angels fear to tread. This was on my personal day when I was holed up in the church youth room with my books and music and scrapbooking. I poured myself a fresh cup of coffee and sat down with my book on "authentic relationships" and this is the paragraph where I picked up reading:

>>"Paul exhorted the early believers to build each other up, or as he also termed it, to edify one another. This act of love isn't designed to fix a specific problem but to nourish others in the life of Jesus. If helps us grow closer to him and look beyond any current crisis to give attention to spiritual growth that will yield great rewards in days ahead. A few years ago I met an Australian man whose ability to trust Jesus has impacted me deeply. Whenever I have been able to spend some time with him, I always come away lighter in spirit, freer to trust Jesus myself. Just listening to him talk about Jesus or praying with him lifts me out of my own efforts and frees me to trust God more. I find myself less anxious for weeks afterward, less inclined to try to control everything around me, and far more confident in God's ability to work in me. I find myself quite naturally looking forward to every contact with this man. No wonder Paul said building up one another is at the heart of our church life.
Nourishing one another's spiritual life is simply serving spiritual food and drink to those who cross our paths. How can we do that? Whenever you get some time with another believer, look for ways to share what God is teaching you and doing in you. Share what you are learning about his nature that leaves you in awe of Him. What have you been reading in Scripture that has spoken to your heart? How has he made his love known to you or known through you to someone else?
You often will find that as you share freely from your life, others will do the same. Hearing how others are learning to follow God and mining the wisdom they are uncovering from God's Word not only will enrich your own journey but will enhance the depth of fellowship you experience with others. This kind of sharing is the bread and butter of body life. By serving them up to others, you will help those people in ways you may not always notice at first but in ways that will bear fruit in them for years to come." Wayne Jacobsen<<

It was very cool how when I asked God to relieve my fears he did, both 1. by the words from this book, which confirmed what I know to be true, and then 2. by later responses of the people in question who confirmed as well that my words were meant to be shared and did what I hoped they would do. Encourage, inspire and uplift.

Satan is the father of lies and fear. True love casts out all fear and I am remembering the lyrids "cast out our fears and enter in, be born in us today".

Prairie Chick said...

1 Samuel 22

"David heard these comments and was afraid...."

fear seems to be my theme lately.

Prairie Chick said...

Psalm 75 "I increase the power of the Godly." v10

this is a wonderful promise!

Prairie Chick said...

Jeremiah 13. I was struck by the strong parallels between yesterdays Psalm, and this chapter. The cup of wine (judgement), the pride and the end of pride.

I loved this; "as a loincloth clings to a man's waist so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me." v11

Prairie Chick said...

Okay, I have to admit, I got a wee bit of a jolt when I opened this chapter up this morning and read "The end is here... The end has come. It has finally arrived. Your final doom is waiting!" In light of the Mayans I had to nervously LOL at the timing of reading this chapter :)!

But on a serious note, what stood out to me was "Buyers should not rejoice over bargains, nor sellers grieve over losses, for all of them will fall." v12

Gain or loss on a material, earthly level, accounts to nothing in the end. What will endure is what we have invested in our relationship with God, the encouragement and strength we have poured into others to build up their relationship with God, the things we have invested in the eternal economy.

Prairie Chick said...

Matthew 17:9 "they teach man made ideas as commands from God."

We are all guilty of this. Of thinking that we know what "holiness" looks like. It doesn't smoke, doesn't swear, it doesn't drink, and heaven forbid it should dance :) And yet holiness has nothing to do with any of those things. C.S. Lewis was a heavy smoker, Noah got drunk, Bono uses pretty rough language and Miriam led the Israelite women in dancing. We look to the exterior and set up standards of "holiness" that are completely messed up. Our holiness doesn't come from following a list of do's and don'ts. It really doesn't. Our holiness comes through our relationship with a person. Jesus Christ. And when we understand holiness, we stop judging externals. When we are passionate about Jesus on a level that all else pales in comparison, the externals become irrelevant. What I mean is that if C.S. Lewis smoked because it was an act of relaxation and promoted reflection for him, there is nothing worse in that than me drinking my coffee. If Bono uses harsh words to communicate shocking truths for the cause of social justice... would Jesus condemn that? I think Jesus used some pretty choice words against the pharisees as well. Man looks at the exterior and judges, the Lord looks upon the heart and the motives.

Prairie Chick said...

2 Peter 1 Wow... my bible notes on this chapter were heavy duty. "Many believers want an abundance of God's grace and peace, but they are unwilling to put forth the ffort to get to know him better through Bible study and prayer. To enjoy the privileges God offers us freely we must grow in our knowledge of God and Jesus. Faith must be more than belief in certain facts. It must result in action, growth in Christian character and practice of moral discipline or it will die away (this is the part that hit me, not sure what I think of that, we are taught that "faith is a gift from God" so if it is a gift how can it die... but then interestingly, a few weeks ago in Sunday school Bob Ratzliff explained a little bit about Ephesians 2:8 (the verse commonly used to say that FAITH is a gift) and how the *it* (gift from God) actually points back to the salvation, not the faith. So I am pondering faith, how we have it, how we increase it, how and if it can grow stagnant and die. This is a new contemplation for me.

my notes go on to say "Peter lists several of faith's actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God's will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically, they require hard work. They are not optional, all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don't finish one and start on the next, but we work on them all together. God empowers and enables us but he also gives the responsibility to learn and to grow."

Wow. hefty stuff.