Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finding Answers in God's Word

"Blessed be the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1: 1-3 (NIV)

In this wonderful Psalm, which is called a Wisdom Psalm, we are given instruction in how to be and how not to be. We are not to ask for advice from foolish people, people who do not know God, and people who have fallen away from God. Rather we should delight in the law of the Lord, the law being God's Word, the Bible. It is far better to search for answers there because it is there that the principles for a good life, a happy life, are found.

For my younger audience, I want to say this means, Don't hang around with people who are messing up their lives. If you do, eventually you'll find yourself in a messed up situation of your own. If you read a small portion of the Bible each day - maybe, for instance, read the rest of this Psalm, you will find the right teaching, the right guidelines. 

When I was a new Christian, I used to just open the Bible, and let it fall where it may. You would be surprised at the number of times I found just what I needed. Now I don't recommend doing this and only this. Choose an entire book of the Bible: Psalms, Proverbs, one of the gospels (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke  and John) and read the entire book, not in one sitting but a chapter at a time. Then think of what you've read. Meditate on the deeper meaning and how it applies to your life. When you've finished this book, move on to another. Do this for a week, or a month, and check back with yourself. What have you learned?

I still do this. Right now I'm doing an individual Bible study on the book of the Psalms. I learn something new each time even though I've read the same verses several times before. I believe God wants us to stay in his world throughout our lives, reading his instruction day by day by day.

Now, do I do this. No, not all the time. Sometimes I fall away. And guess what. I find myself feeling as if I'm slipping farther and farther away from God. I start to sin more frequently. I become depressed. I have become separated from God. Only when I turn back to the Bible do I begin to feel God's joy again.

I want to say a word about the different translations of the Bible. There are many, and some are easier to understand than others. Right now, the translation I'm reading on a daily basis is the Common English Bible (CEB). The one I quoted from today is the NIV (New International Version). When I first became a Christian I read The Living Bible (TLB).
 And there are many more. Go online, or better yet, go to a Christian bookstore where you can open the different versions, and find one that feels right to you. Feel free to leave comments and share your opinion.

And with that, I'll finish for today saying,

Have a blessed day, and may you find peace.

What kind of Person am I

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When The Unexpected Happens

"God, listen to my cry; pay attention to my prayer! When my heart is weak I cry out to you from the very ends of the earth. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I am..." Psalm 61: 1-2 (Common English Bible translation)

Recently, I experienced the unexpected in my personal life - my husband and I separated, decided to not be married anymore. But it wasn't an easy decision, and I am grieving this loss, still quite fresh to me.

I cried out to God because my heart is weak, and he answered by showing me that Joe and I don't have to experience total loss. In the midst of  everything we remain best friends. He came over earlier this week to help me make peppermint ice cream for Christmas, and tomorrow we plan to catch up on some of our favorite TV shows that have been previously recorded. Most importantly, we still share our faith, and have decided that both of us will stay at our home church and be in fellowship with people who care for both of us.

Still, I have my bad days when all I can do is cry.  Remembering what we once were to each other is sometimes painful because our relationship can never be the same. Mealtimes will be different as I cook only for myself. We cannot hold each other, cuddling in bed as we did before. And though this may sound silly, I grieve the fact that I no longer launder his clothes. When laundering my own, I look at the puny load and feel an immense sadness.

And then there are times when I view the future with great hope as God promised in Jeremiah 29:11. "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope." (CEB)

Though no one knows what lies ahead of us on the road that we must follow, we take the next step, and the next, and in doing so we claim the promises of God who will never forsake us. My wish for you this day is that you may experience our Lord in both the routine rituals of life, and also in the unexpected. Peace on earth - goodwill to all.