God’s Word


John 1-2 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He became human and dwelt with us, revealing Himself to us

My mom was a personal soul winner like no one else I’ve ever known.  Although she was somewhat shy by nature, when it came to sharing her love for Jesus with others, she was fearless!  Her favorite tool was a small booklet of the Book of John, and I can’t even begin to number how many she gave out to those she had led to Lord.

Sometimes she would run out of her copies of John, but I can still hear her telling the new ones in the Lord, “Just read the Book of John! Read the Book of John because it will tell you all about Jesus.”  Mom loved this book because as a new Christian, before she found a church home or Christian friends, God directed her to read it.  Within the pages of John, she fell in love with her Savior, discovered her Shepherd and met the Great Physician.  Needless to say, the Book of John is a favorite of mine, too.

While the other gospels include wonderful, anointed biographies of the life and times of Jesus on earth, John’s approach in writing was different, more thematic.  Just as a lawyer systematically presents his argument to a jury, John gave a deliberate and methodical case for the deity and power of Jesus.  His closing argument, if you will, is found nearly at the end of John in chapter 20:30-31, “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.”   Persuaded by the powerful words of John and our own undeniable experience, my mom and I accept the verdict – Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God!

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1)  In our language of today, the term Word is an unusual way to begin a case for the deity of Christ, but in John’s day, it was a term familiar to Jew and Greek alike.  To the Jew it was a term used for God; and to the Greek, Word was a term used to represent the current philosophy or reason of an expressed thought.  During the troubled times of persecution after the fall of Jerusalem, John was able to capture the attention of both the Jew and the Greek.

Similar to the Greeks, today much of the world’s thinking about God and His Son is ruled by philosophy and reason without faith – He was simply a good man or possibly a prophet. Just as my mom had discovered, the words of John along with the testimony of our personal acceptance of Him are powerful tools to convince the world that Jesus is the Son of God.

I love the unforgettable words from John – “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29), “For God so loved the world that He gave” (3:16), “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep” (10:11), “Now you are my friends (15:15), and so much more.  Just read the Book of John!  Read the Book of John because it will tell you all about Jesus. And we will read it.

Moving Forward:  I’m convinced, and willing to share with anyone who will listen, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word, the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Mighty Counselor, the Healer…and my friend. 

Tomorrow @ 2 Thessalonians

1 Kings 19-22 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He speaks to us through His gentle whisper

@ 1 Kings 19
I don’t know why it is, but so often we find ourselves on the floor of the valley after an incredible mountaintop experience.  That is where we find the great prophet Elijah in our reading today.  God had just shown up BIG at Mount Carmel; what a demonstration of His greatness! Now rain had come to the dry, parched land, and Elijah should have been walking on air, but he wasn’t.  We find him under a broom tree wanting to die. Not good.

Jezebel wanted Elijah dead for killing all her prophets of Baal, “So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah, ‘May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.’  Elijah was afraid…” (2)  If you’ve ever experienced a Jezebel in your life, you probably understand his fear. Even now, almost 3,000 years later, most everyone understands that a Jezebel spirit, often attractive and compelling, is evil personified and represents a controlling spirit bent on taking us down.  Rather than living in the grip of fear, we will do well to remember Jezebel’s fate – she was thrown out a window, trampled by horses and eaten by dogs. (2 Kings 9:30-37)  God is not threatened by Jezebel.

However, Elijah sat under the broom tree discouraged, fatigued, afraid and ready to die, but God was not going to let His servant stay that way.  He sent food to strengthen Elijah for a 200-mile journey to Mt. Sinai.  After he arrived, the Lord asked him this question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”(9)  Elijah gave a little history lesson of all had happened, something that really wasn’t necessary, and then said, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (10)

Then God showed up BIG for Elijah again with a mighty wind, an earthquake and fire, proving once again that He was able to control all things including the fate of one Jezebel, but God’s message to Elijah was not in these demonstrations. It was in the gentle whisper where God spoke and caught Elijah’s attention, “And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  And a voice said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” God went on to tell him all about his role in the future events of Israel. (12-18) Everything He said came to pass.

As with Elijah, we may have finished a great task, built a new church, held a big event or completed an assignment and find ourselves on the floor of the valley feeling discouraged, fatigued and afraid of what the future may hold.  We may be tempted to give Him a history lesson of all that has happened.  We may be looking for the great wind, the earthquake and fire, skywriting or a spiritual leader to show up with a word, but perhaps God is whispering to us: What are you doing here, dear one?  Get up and eat from My Word, My bread, and be strengthened for the journey ahead.  At my Holy Mountain, in My presence, I will direct your steps, and all that I have said will come to pass.  What are you doing here, dear one? 

Moving Forward: Strengthened by your Word today, I wait in your presence and listen for your gentle whisper

Tomorrow @ Psalms 75-77

Isaiah 51-55 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He reveals His thoughts and ways through His Word

When author Dr. John Gray wrote his book several years ago, Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars, his goal was to help men and women understand each other, to help them understand why their mates think the way they think and do the things they do.  Kudos to Dr. Gray for attempting the near impossible!  However, according to Isaiah 55, this challenge is a piece of cake, as they say, in comparison to understanding the thoughts and ways of God.  It’s not a matter of different planets – we’re talking beyond the Universe! 

@ Isaiah 55
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord.  ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” (8-9)  So how in the world, no pun intended, are we ever able to know and understand our God?

When I begin a new computer program or application, I approach the instructions and guidelines with fear and trepidation because understanding computerese is not my gifting.  I must admit that it’s somewhat demoralizing for me to read the instructions and then find it necessary to Google for instructions on how to understand the instructions, but I’m always thankful for the help.  And fortunately, God has not left us without support to know and to follow Him and His ways.  He has given us His Word.

Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word was written by holy men to help us understand our Creator, our God. (2 Peter 1:19-21)  Just like we desire that our friends know and understand us, God desires that we know and understand Him.  He, on the other hand, knows us better than we know ourselves

God’s Word is intentional.  Just as an arrow leaves the bow on an unaltered course, God’s Word whether heard or read cannot be retrieved – it will reach its mark. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”(10-11)

I recently heard the story of a young boy who attended a Sunday School class one time and heard one scripture read by the teacher that day.  The boy grew to be a man, never attending church or hearing God’s Word again.  But one day 40 years later, one God-appointed day when the man needed it most, that scripture came back to him.  Because of it, he gave his heart to the Lord and has a great testimony to share today.  God’s Word restores, renews and replenishes just as faithfully as His rain produces fruit.  Whether in reading it ourselves or in sharing it with others, God’s Word is powerful in our lives, and its potential is far more significant than we can imagine.

Created to be in an intimate relationship with God, I can’t think of a single reason to miss reading God’s Word each day.  It is Holy Spirit inspired to help me understand the heart of God whose thoughts and ways cannot be comprehended without it, and it is intentional in touching my life in a very personal way.  Reading His Word every day?  It’s a no-brainer. 

Moving Forward: Without excuse and full of desire, I gladly read His Word today so that I may know Him and know His heart.  The added bonus to my reading – “You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! (12)  Let the music begin!

Tomorrow @ Matthew 26-28

Psalms 1-2 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: His Word is a wellspring of counsel and guidance for us

It’s not a surprise to me that Psalms, this wonderful book of comfort, inspiration and guidance, would open with a Psalm directing us to the Source of all comfort, inspiration and guidance.  We’ve all heard the old joke about the individual seeking guidance through Bible roulette.  One opens the Bible to a random page, places a finger on a random verse that says, “Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.”(Matthew 27:5)  Not receiving any viable direction from this verse, the seeker once again arbitrarily selects a verse which reads, “Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)  Not good.  However, some of our sources for advice and direction can be just as misdirected.

@ Psalm 1
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” (1) This is one of the verses that my mom drilled into my heart early in life.  Even now, I can almost hear her saying, “Phyllis, do not ‘walk in the counsel of the ungodly.’”(KJV)  Of course, we would never intentionally seek out the counsel or advice of ungodly people, but our lifestyle seems to lend itself to it at times.  I remember working in a bank, sitting around during coffee break and hearing all sorts of counsel coming from my co-workers for me as a young college girl.  No, they didn’t openly mock God, but their lifestyles were in and of themselves contrary to God and His commandments.  The hair or nail salon where we sit for an hour or two or three is another source of free advice that flies around the salon along with all the fumes. Unless these scenarios are Christian environments, I’d rather take my chances with Bible roulette.

And then there is the mother of all free advice – the internet.  According to Google stats for 2017, there were over 3.5 billion Google searches per day – that’s a lot of Googling! These stats represent people searching for advice, guidance, comfort and just a myriad of answers.  The internet is great for advice on how to fix the washing machine, where to buy the cheapest copy paper and how to make Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake, but do I really want to find direction for my life there?  Even with Christian websites like this blog, if they do not point us to the true Source of counsel, they are joining in with the mockers.

Speaking of the Source, “But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.  Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (2-3)  If we want to prosper and be successful, let our counsel come from Him, His Word.  Meditate on it; get it deep within our hearts so that when advice is needed, we are able to reach down into our roots that are saturated with His Word and bring forth His counsel for our lives.  And then others, some godly others, may serve to encourage, inspire and perhaps provide some tools in sync with His counsel.  With the counsel of His Word, we will prosper in all we do, and who doesn’t want that!

Moving Forward:  As I meditate on His Word, I know He will direct me in the counsel that I will need for this very day because He is the Source and He’s got it covered. 

Tomorrow @ Job 1-2

blog-home-pageIntentional> Deliberate> On purpose> Planned> Premeditated> Calculated.  When we step away from the myriad of responsibilities and opportunities calling to us each day to spend time with God, we have made an intentional decision to connect with Him.  

Join with me as I read through the Bible this year – every day will deliver a life-changing read and provide the guidance we need in the days ahead.  Just follow below or click a day on the Calendar to the right for that day’s devotional. 

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”  (Ps.119:105)  More than ever before, let’s be intentional!


Jude (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He provides the defense of our faith in His Holy Word

No one wants a lawyer defending them in court who is not acquainted with the case.  A casual flipping through the trial brief by our defender would not offer much confidence for a desired verdict.  We want our lawyer to know our case forward and backward, up and down and all around.  We want him or her to know the history of other cases that pertain to our trial, and we want the lawyer to know us and to understand our motives and heart.  We want our lawyer to stand firm with us and remain committed to us and our cause regardless of how things look throughout the process.  Well, we are defenders today, defenders of our faith.  Would God expect any less of a commitment from us in our defense?

“Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share.  But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.” (3)  Jude was the half brother of Jesus and the brother of James and wrote this letter to the Christian world of his day as well as to us.  “I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (4)  Obviously, these ungodly teachers have been around for quite a long time.

So if we are defenders of the faith, we should know the trial brief inside and out – God’s Holy Word.  Studying His Word is the only way to know what we are defending, its history and its future. Lawyers today live, eat and sleep the case they are defending because they want to win.  As we read His Word, we become personally involved with our defendant and come to understand His heart and motives, and we build our case on truth, not the lies of His accuser.  Then, as a unified team, we are not swayed by the ungodly people who want to destroy our faith.  We stand firm with our defendant for a sure victory.  We celebrate when His coming to earth, but that was just the beginning of our eternal relationship with Him.

In this process, we bring along others to work with us. “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” (20-21)   Our courtroom strategy is not so much on paper but in the power of the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit, where our faith is strengthened to encourage each other.  What a team!  Move over Perry Mason, here we come! 

Moving Forward:  I claim this today for all of us on the defense team:  “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with GREAT JOY into his glorious presence without a single fault.” (24) 

Tomorrow @ Deuteronomy 32-34

Deuteronomy 4-6 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: His commandments guide our steps as we keep our focus on them

Having already confessed the fact that I’m a compulsive list maker, I might as well come completely clean.  Some have labeled me the Queen of Sticky Notes, and there is an element of truth to this lofty title.  Surely everyone finds them helpful, just as I do in organizing my day, my stuff and my life – I have sticky notes for my sticky notes. I’m happy to report, for those who are not as savvy on the subject of sticky notes, these notes come in many sizes, colors, degrees of stickiness and some even have lines!  Imagine my relief to find that Moses was also a little over the top on posting notes everywhere in order to remember important things. 

@ Deuteronomy 6
Ready to enter the Promised Land, the Israelites were once again instructed by their leader, Moses, “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (4-9)  They would have loved our sticky notes.

Moses began his exhortation with a call to love the Lord and follow His commands with their whole hearts because it’s impossible to remember something we don’t already know.  Once they were acquainted with God’s commands, they were to repeat them over and over to their children while at home and while on the road, when they went to bed and when they got up in the morning.

It’s been my experience that many parents expect the church to do all the teaching about God to their children, and that’s a big mistake.  The greatest chance of a child remembering a scripture and its concept outside of the church walls while at school or with friends is when they have been taught and reinforced outside of the church walls by the parent as well.  God’s Word is not just a Sunday thing – it’s a seven-days-a-week guidebook for everyone.

Growing up in my mother’s home, a day never passed without her quoting at the very least one scripture to me, and we always started the day by pulling out a scripture from the Scripture Box on the kitchen table.  Her examples followed me in raising my children where lengthy rides to church were filled with Bible stories disguised as great adventures.  The books of the Bible and scriptures were taught by my husband with the Jerry Lucas picture/memory system, and we still laugh today about the inventive pictures that were used.  Each night they fell asleep listening to Bible stories on tape by the delightful “Dan and Louie.”  God’s Word was not just for Sundays.

Still today, Orthodox Jews tie small boxes around their foreheads with scriptures inside in observance of this command.  I must confess I have not posted scriptures on my forehead with my sticky note fetish, but I have posted them on mirrors, computer screens, kitchen cupboards, calendars and just about everywhere else, even a doorpost or two.

I can’t seem to get enough of God’s words of encouragement as well as His disciplines.  The commands that Moses was speaking of are what guide our steps to do what blesses Him, and when God is blessed, we are blessed.  “Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)  Oh, that’s good one.  Where are my sticky notes… 

Moving Forward: I’m so thankful today for His commands that give guidance to my day as I follow them, assured of success. 

Tomorrow @ 2 Chronicles 25-28

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