Category Archives: Meditating on God’s Word

Time with God is VITAL

I love it when God puts the same thought in front of me from many different venues.

Come and RestMy devotions this morning on First15 app talk about the importance of Having Time Alone with God.  Then, I’ve been working with my pastor on his sermon series for lent, which will be Come and Rest. He will be looking at how we can live today with a sense of rest, Sabbath rest, rest from sin, rest from shame, rest from worry and fear, just as Jesus needed rest while He was on earth. He needed time to be refreshed from His ministries by spending time with God.  I am also reading A Year with God: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines, by Richard J. Foster. He looks at several ways to grow in one’s relationship with God – worship, confession, meditation, solitude, and more. I am also looking at, The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning, who asks: “Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarly of a little one crawling up in daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys or even starts chatting with little friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?”  So, in a period of a week, God has been reminding me of the importance of spending TIME WITH HIM ALONE.

Some of the thoughts I’ve gleaned from these things:

  • God wants me to slow down and enjoy His presence. He wants me to delight in Him. Relish being close. Even in the stillness to just sit and enjoy each other’s company. Like two friends sitting watching a sunset together.  Slide2
  • If Jesus needed time alone with His Heavenly Father, we can all be sure we need it even more.

Mark 1:35 – Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.

Luke 5:16 – Jesus spent time alone with His Heavenly Father.

  • Time with God allows us to carry out God’s purpose in our life. Luke 4 tells of the time when Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus had been fasting and spending time with God. He taught in the synagogues and began His ministry of healing, casting out demons, and performing other miracles.
  • When we spend time with God, we clearly and tangibly encounter God’s amazing love for us. We learn what His voice sounds like. We discover His will. In Matthew 6:6, we are told that our Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. One of the best gifts we receive from God is one-on-one communion with our heavenly Father.
  • And time with God, fills us with His peace.
  • Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Slide4God’s desire to spend time alone with us is not meant to add stress to our life but to relieve us from it. He doesn’t want our time with Him to be just the routine of checking off a to-do list item.

Praying you will take time to focus on God’s nearness, on how it changes your outlook and emotions. And spend time just being overwhelmed by the depth of God’s love for you ~ Faye

 

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Abide, Remain, Dwell then Glorify

Don’t you love it when God uses a variety of ways in a short amount of time to get you to focus on a specific thing?

Here’s how God’s been getting my attention, encouraging and challenging me just this week:

  • Women’s Bible study we were looking at John 15 – ABIDE, DWELL, REMAIN, STAY in Jesus.
  • A devotional spoke of spending intentional time with God through prayer and in His Word; just listening. It had the following quote from Mother Teresa: “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.”
  • Our pastor has been preaching on being WITH God, based on the book by Skye Jepthani, With. During the Advent season, he is looking at Immanuel, God With Us. (Check out his messages here).
  • In working on some other Internet research, I came across this quote by Bill Hybels:

“If  you lower the ambient noise of  your life and listen expectantly for those whispers of God, your ears will hear them. And when you follow their lead, your world will be rocked.”

John 15v4aExpanding on John 15:1-17: Abiding, remaining, or dwelling is our response to Jesus’ words:

4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

I appreciate the perspective/reminder of John 15:8:

“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”

I love the idea of bringing glory to God for all He has done for me. During our time with God (abiding, remaining, dwelling) we may need to submit to God’s pruning knife where He cuts away things that draw us away from Him, so we may remain in Christ even more. When we do this we are able to produce more fruit so we can bring Him even more glory.

It’s December, generally a very busy season. There are school programs, Christmas parties, gatherings with family and friends, Christmas cards and shopping for presents, baking, volunteering and serving others and so many other good things along with our regular daily activities. So, spending extra time just being with God generally is not our primary focus when there are so many other good things that are demanding our attention. I am praying that you can find some time to just BE WITH God. Remain in His presence. Dwell in His love. Abide in His peace. As you do this, you will be blessed with God’s presence in you and you will bring glory to Him. What a perfect gift for you this Christmas.

Praying you are filled with time to abide, remain and dwell with God ~ Faye

 

Can You Imagine?

I wonder how it felt …

… Mary, a young teen, in her room and suddenly the angel Gabriel appears to her and says, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” What would your response be? Aside from the fear and shock of seeing the angel, disbelief at his message?  The Bible says Mary was confused, disturbed and wondered what the angel meant. Gabriel repeats, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!

I like how one author says, “She’s so ‘greatly troubled here that the angel asks her to sit down and catch her breath. ‘Fear not,’ he says in an attempt to comfort her. ‘You really are favored by God!'”

Favored (preferred/chosen) – Would you think you were preferred, precious, or chosen? Your whole life would change in a minute. You would be a social outcast as an unwed mother. All of your hopes, plans and dreams would be looking doubtful.

Each and every one of us is a precious and chosen child of God. Psalm 139:13-18 says,

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious (amazing are your thoughts concerning me) to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

What does Mary do after Christ is born? After the reality of all the upside-down life-changing events? She sings, praises and worships her LORD. She realizes Immanuel, God is With Us,  has come to earth to be our Savior, Messiah. He actually was WITH her, inside her, a sinner. Mary wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t holy. She was a virgin and she was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. Once everything starts to sink in and she holds her baby, Jesus, in her arms, her heart sings. She can only sit in wonder, praising her Lord from the depth of her soul.Luke 1 46-47 my soul magnifiesGod talks to you through His word, other people and His creation. Do you hear Him? In this busy season before Christmas, will you be still enough to listen to God? Will your soul and spirit MAGNIFY (praise, glorify) God for all the incredible wonders He has done in your life?

Praying you will find the favor of God in your heart so your soul sings with Joy to your Savior ~ Faye

Is It a Door or a Gate? Does It Matter?

 

In writing this blog post, I was going to just put up a picture of a door and put up the verse from John 10:9 where Jesus says,

I am the door

When I went to Biblegateway.com to make sure I had the quote correct, I looked at several versions of the Bible and was surprised to see: “I am the GATE.” Doing some research, I found that the word in the Greek – Thura – means DOOR or GATE. The definition and usage can be:

  • a door or gate where sheep go in and out of the sheepfold
  • the open door is also used as – the opportunity of doing something

It doesn’t really matter whether it is door or gate, however, looking at the passage in John and coming from a farming area, I guess I like to think of the gate outside the farmer’s pasture where the sheep are kept safe. I visited sheep on a friend’s farm once and kept thinking about how they follow the leader. They listened to the shepherd/farmer. As soon as he opened the gate and called, they came running. They knew it was time for food (which my granddaughter, Micayla helped to feed to them).

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Years ago I studied a book by Chuck Swindoll where he talked about the sheep and the shepherd.

  • Sheep are totally dependent upon their shepherd. We are like the sheep – we need a leader: The Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ).
  • The flock was kept in a sheep pen in the country. This was a rock circle with a small opening. The shepherd slept across the opening, acting as the gate to keep the sheep in and the predators out.
  • When the flock was kept in the city, they would be mixed with several other flocks in a large sheepfold. The doorkeeper would guard the door during the night. The shepherd would return in the morning and call their sheep; each sheep knew their shepherd’s voice. The shepherd would lead them out to pasture.

Jesus is telling us that He is The Shepherd of His sheep (us), and The Door/Gate for the sheep. Salvation is possible only when we go through The Door/Gate believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior through believing in The Shepherd. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

What a glorious promise – we have abundant life with Christ when we enter The Gate. There is safety, grace, spiritual nourishment and life everlasting on the other side.

I am the gate

Praying you go in and out and find abundant nourishment, safety, peace and everlasting life in Christ’s pasture ~ Faye

Prayer vs. Meditation

 

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Just a word of encouragement to spend time with God in Prayer and Meditation ~ Faye

Did You Know Marriage Takes Work?

 

Rich and I have been married 41 years this May. There have been great times filled with joy, growth and love. And there have been times of struggle and pain. There have been times when we’ve hurt each other deeply.  There have been times when we’ve blessed each other immensely.

Mom and Dad cancerIt helps to know that we have had strong mentor roles in both of our parents who cared for each other and stayed by each other through very difficult times. For example, in 2002 both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer in the salivary gland within 4 weeks of each other. I watched them devote themselves to care and love each other through the difficult times of chemo, radiation, meds and health changes.

I saw my mother-in-law struggle with cancerearl and betty laughing of the stomach, liver, lungs and bone for five years while my father-in-law encouraged, supported and cared for her. Then my mom struggled with the debilitating effects of Parkinsons disease and dementia, and my dad showed a level of care and patience for her I never had seen before. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy where the muscles in her body progressively shut down, I saw the love and commitment to God shine through my father-in-law as he devotedly cared for her. There were days I’m sure both dads wanted to just cry out “Why?” or “How Long, O Lord?”.

Sometimes difficulties in marriages can be just petty things – squeezing the toothpaste differently, putting the toilet paper on the “wrong” direction, leaving dishes laying around. But other times it can be serious difficulties. Sometimes it can be withdrawal or detachment from the relationship. Illnesses, such as depression, cancer, addictions, autoimmune disorders, all can alter the way “marriage is supposed to be”.

In the past few years Rich and I have been going through some challenging times. Through these difficulties, God has brought us closer and closer to Him. We have both found strength, comfort and encouragement from His word. We both work hard at spending time meditating on a small portion of God’s word so that it gives us hope, encouragement and guidance for our journey together. I guess that may be why when I was reading Romans 12:9-10 [New Living Translation] verse 10 really struck me:

Bleeding Heart

Delight in Honoring each other Rom 12 10b

Wow! Have I really loved Rich with GENUINE AFFECTION – God’s unfailing and unconditional love type of affection – especially when life has been difficult and Rich hasn’t lived up to my expectations? And then even more so – Do I really take delight in honoring him?

If something Rich did hurt me deeply, do I pretend to love him, or do I still really love him? And can I, through God’s leading, hate what is wrong and hold tightly to what is good about him?

This passage has really challenged me in the past few days to keep my focus on loving Rich with God’s unconditional love –

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ”       ~ Romans 12:9-10 NLT

You know, when we put our hope and trust in God, we are filled with His unfailing love. And He tells us to share His unconditional, unfailing love with others. Maybe doing that should begin at home!

Praying for you as you work through your relationships, that you trust in God’s unconditional and unfailing love to guide you.  ~ From a continual work in progress – Faye

God Is With Us

The other day I was dealing with some difficult memories and was really struggling to “see” or ”feel” God’s presence. Now I KNOW full well that God is ALWAYS with me.  Psalm 16:8 says:

          I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.

AND Hebrews 13:5 says,

          “God will never leave us or forsake us.”

However, I had been struggling with feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed by some situations. God’s peace was nowhere to be found in my current state of mind.

I walked through the local park and took many pictures of God’s creation. I sat on a swing and read from His word for a few hours and prayed. I sang, did some sketching and took more pictures. I began to feel at rest in trusting God to handle the situation. However, I still was not filled with JOY and wondered if God really heard my desperate heart. Well as I was pouring out my frustrations, worries and fears to God, He saw fit to remind me that He was there, listening to everything I had been saying.

I was about ten feet from my car when a beautiful Black Swallowtail flew around my face and landed on the flowers in front of me. He stayed there sipping from each little flower of the one plant closest to me. As I moved closer, he just moved to another blossom, but he didn’t fly away – until I took the time to thank God for the reminder that He is always with us. He ALWAYS hears us.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think the butterfly was God or a form of God. It was just “odd” how it showed up when I hadn’t seen any butterflies for the past half hour and then only a Monarch and a Yellow Swallowtail. As I was telling God how I really felt, this beautiful butterfly shows up and stays right where I am for quite a while. And when I thank God for His loving care, guidance and protection, the butterfly flew away.

I must say, I was abundantly blessed by His reminder of His presence through creation.

Praying you will see and know God’s presence in your life today ~ Faye

Why Memorize God’s Word?

My mom suffered from Parkinson’s dementia and paranoia the last couple of years of her life. One night she was suffering from paranoia and extremely agitated. My brother and dad tried to calm her on and off throughout the night. Somewhere in her memory suddenly the precious words from Revelation 21:1-4 came to her and an immediate calm came over her. How much of a blessing it was for mom and my family to know that during the deepest hours of despair and torment, God’s word became such a comfort and peace.  Rev 21 3-4 bevel

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:1-4 KJV)

I like how it is paraphrased in The Voice:

 Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes onlyAnd I heard a great voice, coming from the throne.

 A Voice: See, the home of God is with His people.
He will live among them;
They will be His people,
And God Himself will be with them.
    The prophecies are fulfilled:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
Mourning no more, crying no more, pain no more,
For the first things have gone away.

 Praying you will fill your heart with God’s precious promises ~ Faye

 

One of My Favorite Times in Worship

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There are two times in the worship service that I eagerly anticipate – one is God’s greeting at the beginning and the other is God’s blessing at the end of the service.  To know that God is with us all the time is unfathomable. To know that God calls us to spend time with Him, that He made us to worship and glorify Him, and to hear from Him in His word that He is excited to be with us are incredible times. To know that God wants to bless us from His word each week and fill us with His abundant peace is just overwhelming to me.

I pray you are so blessed when you get to spend time with God ~ Faye

What Are Mere Mortals?

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Psalm 8:1,3-4

How amazing is our God? He holds the entire universe in the span of His hands. One of my favorite videos comes from Pastor Louie Giglio – Indescribable How incredibly INDESCRIBABLE is God’s Amazing care for each one of us. He knows the number of hairs on our head, and yet the earth (our home) is such a tiny blue dot that can’t be seen when compared to the universe we currently know.

 

God’s Brilliant Splendor

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Listen to My Voice and Lift Your Voice in Praise

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that bring about incredible blessings.

I enjoyed watching God at work the other day after a light shower. To see the intricacy of water droplets on the flowers was a study of God’s creation and attention to minute details.  If God can so beautifully decorate these flowers with drops of rain, how much more can He pay attention to our needs and desires?

Psalm 34_5 par web

I have recently been enjoying a simple book, The 30-Day Praise Challenge by Becky Harling.  The author was diagnosed with cancer and begged God for healing. A friend challenged her to spend 20 minutes a day in praise. Becky wasn’t feeling all that thankful, but as she intentionally praised God, she began to experience new joy – and her relationship with God has never been the same.

Recently I have found myself struggling with seeing the negative more than the positive. That’s not usually me, so when I found myself falling deeper into the “poor me” thinking, I decided it was time to put Becky’s 30-Day Praise Challenge to a test.  The first ten days were okay, good thoughts to consider, but nothing earth-shattering, or majorly life changing. I found I was struggling even more with negative self-talk.  But by days 11 through 15 I realized God was meeting me and speaking to me right where I was wallowing in the pit of my own despair.  And I knew I didn’t want to stay there.

So I began to earnestly dig deeper into myself. When thoughts of being excluded, rejected, abandoned, burdened crept in, instead of dwelling on them – I thanked and praised God for the fact that He loved me for who I am. I focused on God’s qualities and characteristics. God loved me enough to send His only Son to die so that I might have eternal life. Even though I didn’t always feel like it, I sang songs of joy and praise to God. I look forward to my time of praise to start off the day with God. I usually take away one or two words that help me refocus throughout the day.  These words have been:  Chosen, Beloved, Cherished, Valued, Prized, Saved, Forgiven, Provider, Precious and the one I go to most – simply “Jesus”.

Once I say, think, and/or dwell on the word “Jesus”, or any of these other words, they intentionally redirect me back to all that I have been blessed with through God the Father/Creator, God the Son/Jesus/Savior, and God the Holy Spirit/Counselor/Comforter/Guide.

God desires and encourages us to praise Him because He knows that our word declarations can be powerful in the spiritual realm. Declaring God’s praise is more than positive thinking. As we choose to rejoice in who God is and thankfully place our circumstances in His care, something happens.

  • His amazing peace comes in and shields our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:4-7).
    •  Comfort comes as we recall His promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b).
    •  He strengthens and helps us right where we are (Isaiah 41:10).

God’s Word has the power to change broken hearts and lives when we take the time to listen to what God is telling us and to spend time praising Him.  In the past week I have seen God blow away black clouds of negative thinking and fill me with praise and joy in Him.

I pray you will be filled with hearts full of praise today ~ Faye

God’s Faithfulness in Keeping His Covenant

Deut 7 9Some days we just need to constantly remind ourselves that God is FAITHFUL – all the time!  It is easy on the good days when things are going along smoothly. But what about the days when the kids are more moody than you can handle, the car breaks down, or a friend or family member causes incredible pain?

Speaking from many experiences, I KNOW God is faithful, but I don’t always FEEL it.  However, resting and meditating on God’s Word can FILL ME ABUNDANTLY with the assurance of His LOVE and FAITHFULNESS.  I may not FEEL it, but deep down I KNOW it.

Having a prodigal child can bring heavy emotions some times.  I REST fully in the promise of God’s Covenantal LOVE and GRACE to get me through these difficult times.

Praising God through both the good and difficult times for His LAVISH LOVE and FAITHFULNESS and hope you can as well ~ Faye

Power Belongs to God

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God Has Spoken

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Trust in Him

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Secure in God

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Victory Comes from God

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He Alone is my Rock

He alone

Meditating, Memorizing, Meaningful

Let all copyI’ve said in previous posts that Psalm 62 especially verses 5-8 have really spoken to me in the past year. I have decided to take up memorizing these verses so I can meditate on them day and night.  All my years growing up in Christian school I was required to memorized passages from the Bible. I have always visualized the layout of each sentence and that helped me to remember it. Recently, I thought about the photos I post here and realized I could make it visually stimulating to help me with the memorization and recall.

One technique for deeper understanding of a Bible passage has been to read it over many times, each time emphasizing a different word. This has provided richer blessings as the meaning has soaked in from different perspectives. You may want to try that.

Something else I noticed is that when I originally copied this to my mirror, to begin and end each day with this reminder, is I omitted the word quietly.  I know it is supposed to be there but on different days I may change wait quietly to intentionally, patiently, joyfully, hopefully, excitedly, humbly … the list goes on.  It has been a good reminder for me to be completely focused on how I see God and how I interact with Him.

The next couple of posts will be from these verses.  I hope you can enjoy time to meditate, memorize and be filled with God’s meaningful word.

May God continue to abundantly bless you ~ Faye

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