Tuesday, December 31

Making Everything New!

There's something comforting about finishing up Revelation as 2013 draws to a close. As I ponder all the possibilities of 2014, my heart yearns after an even greater hope. The hope of glory, my Savior and king, Jesus! Oh for the days referenced in chapter 21. Joy and peace to you dear friends and a very Happy New Year!

Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Saturday, November 30

Thankful for Every Morning

Something I've been thankful for lately is the beauty of sunrise. These crisp autumn mornings have been particularly stunning as of late, and a recent display brought to mind the passage below from Lamentations.

Lamentations 3:22-26 (ESV)
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

Tuesday, September 3

I will not leave you as orphans

I have another book rec I'd like to pass along: Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch. I have a few chapters left, and it's been such a faith bolstering read!

In Chapter 22, Dr. Welch explains that the key to embracing "do not be afraid" is to comprehend that God is with us. Always. Two of the several scripture passages he encourages the reader to consider are found in John:

John 14:15-21 (NIV)
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him,because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 17:20-23 (NIV)
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

How humbling it is to think of our Savior praying for us in this way!  Grace and peace dear readers, He is sufficient for all your needs.

Thursday, June 27

Be Strong and Take Heart

I'm back after taking a brief hiatus to enjoy the resplendent spring and summer weather we've been blessed with. I should be posting a bit more often now that we're on summer break. Today I'd like to share excerpts from a couple of beautiful Psalms as well as links to some of the previously referenced encouraging blog posts on Romans I came across during my Romans study.

A dear friend recently shared several verses from Psalm 27 with me, and then I came across Psalm 27 again in one of my current reads: Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch. I love it when exhortation overlaps from multiple directions like that. I highly recommend reading through the entire psalm several times. Here are some of my favorite verses from the passage:

Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

And along a similar vein, here's some refreshment from today's reading of Psalm 34:

Psalm 34:1-5 (NIV)
I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.

Lastly, here are links to two great posts by Randy Alcorn at Eternal Perspective Ministries. I love his explanations regarding Romans 14. His insights brought an excellent dose of clarity to the topic. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 30

Romans Verse by Verse

For today's post I'd like to share a book recommendation with you. As I prepared for my next round in Romans, I wanted to add some additional resources into the mix. Since there are so many options out there, I decided to go with one of Dr. McGee's recs - Romans Verse by Verse by William R. Newell. When it arrived in the mail, I began to wonder what I was getting myself into. Yes, it's quite long, and yes, it's amazing. To quote from the blurb on the back cover:

"This book is a real gem, the footnotes alone are worth their weight in gold." -James Alexander Stewart, The Treasure House of Good Books

Worth their weight in gold? I admit I was skeptical, but so far, the footnotes alone have been blowing me away! I've been covering just a few pages a day, so it's going to take me some time to finish this round, but I believe it will be well worth the effort. Yet as thoroughly comprehensive as this work is, it's still quite readable. To close I leave you with an excellent excerpt on Romans 1:16 from Chapter One:

Verse 16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel—First then, we have Paul’s willingness, all unashamed, to go to Rome, mistress of the world, with this astonishing message of a crucified Nazarene, despised by Jews, and put to death by Romans. “The inherent glory of the message of the gospel, as God’s life-giving message to a dying world, so filled Paul’s soul, that, like his blessed Master, he ‘despised the shame.’” So, praise God, may all of us!

For it is the power of God unto salvation—The second “For” gives the reason for Paul’s boldness: this good news concerning Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearing, “is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth.” There is no fact for a preacher or teacher to hold more constantly in his mind than this. It is not the “excellency of speech or wisdom,” or the “personal magnetism,” or “earnestness,” of the preacher; any more than it is the deep repentance or earnest prayers of the hearer, that avails. But it is the message of Christ crucified, dead, buried, and risen, which, being believed, is “the power of God”! “The word* of the cross is to them that are perishing, foolishness; but unto us who are being saved it (the word of the cross) IS the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18).

>Again we repeat that it is of the very first and final importance that the preacher or teacher of the gospel believe in the bottom of his soul that the simple story, Christ died for our sins, was buried, hath been raised from the dead the third day, and was seen, IS THE POWER OF GOD to salvation to every one who rests in it,—who believes

*Footnote - “Notice, it is not the cross. Romanists put the cross on the top of the cathedral; millions wear a figure of the cross around their necks; but they may never have heard “the word of the cross.” As Paul says further in I Cor. 1:23, “We preach Christ crucified, [not the cross, merely] unto Jews a stumbling block, and unto gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are saved, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

As one has said, “Not to Thy cross, but to Thyself, My living Savior, would I cling! ‘Twas Thou, and not Thy cross, that bore My soul’s dark guilt, sin’s deadly sting. “A Christless cross no refuge were for me; A crossless Christ my Savior could not be: But, O CHRIST CRUCIFIED, I rest in Thee!”

Taken from Romans Verse by Verse © Copyright 1945 by William R. Newell. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 2

In Order To Bring Praise To God

This week I'll be finishing up my study of Romans...or will I? As it turns out I enjoyed my journey through this book so much that I couldn't bear the thought of it ending just yet. I actually teared up in chapter 15 at the thought of this adventure reaching it's conclusion. And then a very happy thought popped into my mind - why not start over? Indeed, why not? So I'll be beginning again in chapter one next week, hooray! 

For this round I plan to look at some additional commentaries. I'll continue posting some of my favorite verses here as well as links to engaging articles and book recommendations. Today I wanted to share an exhortation from none other than chapter 15. I love the encouragement to accept our fellow believers "in order to bring praise to God." Enjoy dear ones!

Romans 15:4-7 (NIV) 
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Wednesday, March 6

Whether We Live or Die

I'm still working my way through Romans, and it's still marvelous. I plan to go back and share some thoughts on chapters 11-13, but before I do, I wanted to share some incredible verses from chapter 14. I love how verse eight encapsulates any and all situations. It's all for the Lord and we belong to Him!

Romans 14:8-9 (NIV)
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

I also wanted to include another favorite passage that I think compliments the Romans verses quite nicely. They provide a practical prayer for direction each day:

Psalm 143:8 (NIV)
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

Wednesday, February 6

Step by Step in the Word

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I’m currently in the book of Romans. I’ve been slowly working my way through a more in-depth study of the Bible, but I’d been putting off tackling Romans, since it’s quite a daunting book. But I’m glad I finally took the plunge because it’s been such a bolster to my faith. This post will be a little different than my usual entries, because I thought it would be helpful to share my process. I’m not a theologian or even a seminary student, just a stay at home mom with two little ones to keep up with. It’s certainly slow going, but no less enriching. And of course I don’t always have time for this kind of study. In between my in-depth studies, I like to read through Proverbs for a month or immerse myself in the Psalms.

I hope this simple method will be a useful tool for you. I find the repetition does wonders for my comprehension and memory. Also, I didn't include it in the steps below, but it can be nice to have someone studying along with you so you can discuss what you've read.

Step 1 – I read through the chapter once or twice sans highlighter or commentary.

Step 2 – I read the commentary on the chapter in Thru the Bible by Dr. J Vernon McGee. If I still have questions about something after reading Dr. McGee, I look up more commentary at Matthew Henry’s complete commentary is my go-to pick.

Step 3 – I listen to an audio-recording of the chapter on Bible Gateway’s phone app. I usually have to listen to it two or three times because I’m a terrible auditory learner. It helps if I read along while listening.

Step 4 – I read the chapter one last time and this time I use my highlighters to highlight verses that stick out to me. I use five colors: pink for love, blue for doctrine, green for instruction, orange for warnings, and yellow for miscellaneous inspiration.

And that’s it! I’m a little over halfway through Romans and I expect the rest will probably take me at least a month. I’ll be sharing more of my favorite passages in future posts, but for now I leave you with this gem from Romans 10.

Romans 10:9-11 (NIV)
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

Sunday, January 20

Love & Good Deeds

Today was absolutely beautiful - uncharacteristically warm with bright blue skies. The kind of day that stirs my soul in wonder and gives me pause to reflect on all things good. And speaking of good things, I wanted to share this amazing admonition from Hebrews 10. One of the things I love about this exhortation is, not only does it encourage us to act, but to first give thought to our actions, to consider.  What will you consider on this glorious day dear friends? 

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.