God’s Word


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 help to know and to understand 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 for our friends to 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 greater 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 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 2009, there were 293 million 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-pageA New Day and another opportunity to connect with our creator through His written Word. Let’s make it intentional, let’s make it a habit to read the Bible every day so we don’t miss what He has to say.  Follow the reading plan and next year at this time you will have read through the Bible! Follow below or click a day on the Calendar to the right and that day’s devotional will appear. The Bible is life changing. Don’t miss it!

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

Psalm 119 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He came so that we may live free

Psalm 119!  Observations from the longest chapter in the Bible condensed to a short blog? Impossible!  This favorite Psalm of mine is also about my favorite subject; and if that theme wasn’t detected in its reading, then somebody wasn’t paying attention.  Of the 176 verses in this Psalm, 171 of them refer to none other than the Word of God, the love of it, the meditation of it, the understanding of it, the challenge of it and so much more.

My mom quoted to me from Psalm 119 regularly when I was young, especially verse 11, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  After the Bibles were removed from China in the last century, mom would remind me that the only scriptures that most Chinese Christians had were verses they had committed to memory and how much they cherished them.  I responded by memorizing my Sunday School verses each week because I couldn’t imagine living without God’s Word.  She often quoted another classic Psalm 119 verse, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and light for my path.” (105)  Even as a little child, I understood that a path could only be followed if it could be seen, and I didn’t want to get lost.

One of my personal favorites is verse 45 because it doesn’t make sense at all in the natural, yet it is so very true, “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.”    It’s hard to understand how someone can walk in freedom but also walk in obedience to the commandments of God.  True freedom is not the ability to do only what we desire to do, something that can change from whim to whim.  True freedom is the ability to be what we were created to be.

When we walk in obedience to how the Creator directs our lives through His Word, we are not put in a position of having to live out the consequences of our sins.  We are not bound to confusion and indecision because we know how to respond to life through reading His Word.  He wrote the playbook, and we are able to fulfill our destiny through our obedience to Him with worry-free living. Freedom!

Jesus confirmed this freedom when He said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:34-36)  Free? Indeed!

Moving Forward:  I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world the freedom that comes from obedience to God’s commandments in His Word. I’ve hidden them in my heart and they are a continual light for my path. 

Tomorrow @ Proverbs 28-30

Proverbs 22 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He, the great Counselor, has provided counsel through His Word

When we’re going through a difficult season in life or find ourselves questioning things that have happened to us, we usually find a good friend or counselor to talk to about it.  They don’t always have the answers we need, but it helps to express our thoughts and feelings.  However, the Holy Spirit, the great Counselor, is our greatest listener and leads us into whatever truth we seek through His still small voice and through the pages of Scripture.  Our reading today expresses a way of counseling that is like preventive medicine.

“Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips.” (17-18)  Beginning with verse 17, Proverbs shares its wise sayings with a different approach.  Rather than single verses giving wisdom on different subjects, now several verses are combined to reveal wise instruction.  “I am teaching you today—yes you—so you will trust in the Lord.” (19)  And of course, Solomon was writing to us as well, yes us!

I like reading completely through Psalms and Proverbs every month.  Reading just five Psalms and one Proverb each day makes this possible.  Talk about keeping “these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips!” Taking just a few minutes each day to read these wonderful words of instruction and wisdom can result in life-changing benefits.  The counsel and example of David through praise and worship and the amazing wisdom of Solomon are at our fingertips every day.  They reveal to us in advance how we should respond to the challenges we may face on any given day and serve as preventive counseling.

We may save ourselves a lot of future pain by reading these treasures in God’s Word every day and keeping them in our hearts and on our lips, and I’m all for that!  “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119:11-12) 

Moving Forward: So thankful today for the mighty and trustworthy counsel of His Word! 

Tomorrow @ Joel

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