Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sparkling Gems

A new year, full of promise and hope.  There does seem to be an optimism in the air about this year.  I am choosing to expect great things to happen this year...and I expect God to see us safely through 2012, no matter what comes our way.

I am excited to begin a new devotional book for this year.  It was a book given to me by a former Greek student of mine.  "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" is a book of 365 Greek word studies for every day of the year, designed to help sharpen my understanding of the Word of God.  I am 8 days into this book, and I am loving it.  Every day the author, Rich Renner, takes one verse and chooses one or two words out of the verse to expound on.  There is a lesson to learn from each verse.  I'll probably be blogging my notes on these daily readings, for those of you who read my blog as a devotional for yourself.

I gave an in-depth detail of our Christmas vacation trip in my last blog, and closed out 2011 with it.  I spent the rest of this past week catching up at work, including working on the year end tax papers.  I always dread doing that, but once I get started, it really isn't that bad. I have the W-2's ready to go out this week, and everything else goes out by the first of February.  Whew...another year behind me!!  Will I still be here to do 2012 tax papers?  God only knows.

I love changes.  I am ready for changes.  Only my granddaughters love coming to visit us on this campground, and I want to be here for them.  That's why it's best to leave our future in God's hands, for He alone knows what's best for all concerned.

I'm back on the cash only basis for daily expenses.  Time to pull the belt in a little bit.  But that's okay...I need to.  I am also starting the new year with continuing on the fasting plan I was on last year...Sunday night 6 p.m. until Monday night 6 p.m., liquids and fruits only.  I was ready to quit for the new year, then the sermon we heard last Sunday was on fasting!  Who ever preaches on fasting??  The Lebanon, MO church is on a 21 day fast starting today.  I am going to give up chocolate from today until February 1st as my special fast, but I intend to keep the weekly fast part of my routine.  I need it.  It's the least I can do for God after all He does for me.  I take that 24 hours to focus more on His will in my life, and my need of Him in our camp finances, home finances, and our family.  He has way out given me.  In fact, I give Him all the credit for protecting us and our son and his wife in our freak accidents during our vacation (read previous blog).

Today we attended morning worship at Family Valley Church.  Very good sermon on making goals for 2012 so we have a direction to move in to living lives more pleasing to God.  I believe my daily readings are also going to help me do that as it chips away at the ugly things hidden within me.  I want to be more Christ-like as I walk through this year.  I want to have His attitudes, His responses, His compassion, His patience...all areas of my life that I need to strengthen through Him.

Now to my devotional reading for this past week:

The Word for You Today
1. "Launch Out"

  • be willing to leave the safety of where you are, and go where God wants to take you
  • set goals, make a plan to reach them, and become accountable
  • devote your life to something greater than yourself
  • stay in sync with God's will, confront your fears with the attitude"God is with me.  I will fear no evil."
2.  "Who Are You Relying On?"
  • you will never know what God can do until God is all you have
3.  "Gossip"
  • Troublemakers listen to troublemakers.  (Proverbs 17:4)
  • people who gossip can't be trusted
  • stop them by asking "Why do I need to know this?"
  • ask these three questions to determine if it's gossip:  

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it necessary to tell?

4.  "Overcoming the Fear of Loneliness" (1)

  • The Lord...will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Deut. 31:6)
  • understand who you are - a unique being created by God Himself
  • understand who God is - He is your Father, and He exemplifies warmth, security, acceptance, concern, compassion, assurance, provision, etc for His children...and you are one of them!

Sparkling Gems

Colossians 3:15
New Living Translation (NLT)
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
  • allow God's peace to dominate and govern every emotion and situation you face
  • "rule" - God's peace works like an umpire or referee in our hearts, minds, and emotions.  (it is a choice we make to allow His peace to rise from deep within us.)
  • peace calls the shots, not anxiety or worry
  • when you feel overwhelmed by problems or emotions, stop and deliberately set your heart and mind on Jesus and God's Word.

Philippians 1:19

New Living Translation (NLT)
For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
  • when it looks like your resources are drained and you can't go on, that's when Jesus Christ steps in to provide a generous contribution of the Spirit's grace and power.  He will give you all the strength you will ever need.

2 Timothy 1:6

New Living Translation (NLT)
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
  • "remind" - recall memories of God's faithfulness, and play them over and over again
  • we must take our eyes off our current troubles and remember how God has never let us down, and He never will

Ephesians 6:18

New Living Translation (NLT)
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

  • "at all times" - at each and every occasion
  • pray anytime there is a need - no matter where you are or what you are doing
  • use every possible moment, in every season, on all occasions to pray

Ephesians 4:30

New Living Translation (NLT)
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

  • "bring sorrow" - grieve - the kind of grief that is experienced between two people deeply in  love
  • the Holy Spirit deeply loves us...He longs for us and wants to be close to us.  We are in His thoughts all the time, and He wants to show Himself to us
  • when we deliberately choose to sin, it brings deep sorrow to Him, just like being unfaithful to a spouse

James 1:21

New Living Translation (NLT)
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
  • "get rid of" - lay apart - laying something down and pushing it out of your reach
  • you don't go to bed in clothes that are dirty, and you should not go to bed with an attitude that is wrong
  • the negative things in your life must be removed

James 1:22

New Living Translation (NLT)
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

  • being a listener only is like auditing a class rather than taking it for are entertained by the information, but nothing is required of you
  • God wants us to act on what we know from His Word

Jude 1:23

New Living Translation (NLT)
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
  • "rescue" - save - a present imperative, a command calling for immediate action, continuous action
  • we are to act immediately to help deliver our fellow believers from situations that are brought about by their sin; we must confront them, but be merciful to them
  • speak the truth in love

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