Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Stay On The Straight Path

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3:5-6

We live in a complex world, replete with complex choices. On any given day, we are bombarded with messages and information, so many details that discerning the truth takes time, patience and knowledge we often don’t possess. Like a stone being polished by running water, we sometimes let ourselves be molded by the thoughts of this world without realizing the implications that has on our relationship with God.

Submission can be hard. In this country, we pride ourselves on our independence, on our ability to take care of ourselves against even tremendous odds. But the truth of the matter is acting as if we alone control our fate makes us a slave to a world that thrives on chaos. If I control what happens to me, I have to be on top of all the details that make up my life all the time. I have to come up with contingency plans for factors I can conceive and even be prepared for calamities my finite mind has no way to perceive. Refusing to submit is an exhausting way to live.

Making my own choices comes with other hazards. My human mind is too often influenced by my human heart, the great deceiver.  My heart, no matter my best efforts, will always ultimately love me more than anyone else, no matter how hard I try to make it act differently. How else do people convince themselves it is okay to stray in an unhappy marriage or drink to excess when they are blue, or any of the other myriad mistakes we make when we are most fallibly human?

God loves humility. He honors those who live in full knowing of His omnipotence. I love this verse from Proverbs because it reminds me that I should not be trying to manipulate the world according to what I think should happen. Because the Holy Spirit lives in me, I can depend on God’s guidance as long as I ask Him for it.

This verse also reminds me that I need to fill my mind with God’s messages and not the messages of this world. In His Word, God gives us insight into what is right and wrong. He shows us the value of loving Him first and doing our best to love others as much as we love ourselves. He proves to us that His peace surpasses anything this material world has to offer.

When I fully realize that God will make the best out of anything that happens to me, when I fully embrace Jesus’ admonition to only think about today, which has enough worries of its own, no twists and turns of this crazy world can truly phase me. All I have to do is call out to Jesus and trust in God’s promises to see me through.

God keeps His promises, even if His timetable is nothing like my own. Abraham learned this lesson the hard way, waiting decades for God to even give him a son when God had promised to make Abraham a great nation. Israel wandered the desert for forty years before finally reaching the Promised Land. From the time Nehemiah was written to the arrival of the true Messiah, almost 400 years of silence passed.

The world has enough perils without making more for ourselves. That’s what makes following God and sticking to a straight path even more important. This promise that humbling myself and acknowledging God’s supremacy will help me find the straight path in this life is a comfort when it feels like the world is against me, when troubles are abundant and my hope is bleak. Humbling myself to God’s will each day is the most important thing I can do because it allows me to trust in His power to help me stay on the straight, narrow path that leads to redemption.

In Christ,
Ramona

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Make God Your King

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.–Judges 21:25

This is one of those verses that I love, not because of the verse in and of itself, but because of the story it represents.

If you read the book of Judges, you’ll see that upheaval and uncertainty mark this period in the life of Israel. Coups, political intrigue, victories and defeat make for a life that is only consistent in its uncertainty. Over and over again, Israel finds prosperity when it chooses to believe in God and utter defeat when it falls away from following Him. Without making God their True King, Israel makes the mistake of doing what is right in its own eyes.

When we choose to live according to what we think is right instead of closely following what God has shown us to be right, we make ourselves vulnerable to consequences we often don’t even see. Our lives, like those of Israel, exist in a state of constant flux without the calming, constant influence of a loving God.

I am convinced that we live without a king most days without even realizing that’s what we are doing. If you asked us point blank, I am sure we would tell you that God is sovereign in our lives. But our actions, which are much more concrete than our thoughts, prove otherwise.

Here is a case in point to consider. Apparently, one of the latest fads (perhaps fueled by social media) is to do a photo shoot after the wedding day in which the bride “trashes” her dress. This practice is so popular that is has its own hashtag #trashthedress. Search the term on Facebook, and you’ll be bombarded with photos and videos with smiling brides ruining a symbol that has obviously lost all meaning.

A wedding dress should symbolize part of a sacred contract between several parties, parties which include God. Standing in a sacred space, a man and a woman make a covenant with God to form a bond that puts God in the center of a relationship that not only binds the man and woman together, but also creates a union between two different families. The woman’s dress, white to signify her purity, also signifies the sacredness of the vow the man and woman are making with their Holy God, their forever King.

The happy brides following a trend and trashing their wedding dresses aren’t thinking about the message that sends to the world concerning the symbol of this sacred vow. But, they are letting their own sense of right guide them instead of God’s sense of right. Would you post pictures of yourself trashing your baptism clothes? What’s the difference?

No wonder we live in a world where marriages splinter regularly. By forgetting God is our King, we’ve also forgotten that marriage vows are meant to last a lifetime, as sacred as the covenant we have with God and Jesus, the covenant that allows the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as long as we believe.

So, how do we make God our King each and every day? It begins by humbling ourselves daily, acknowledging that we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to make the right choices each day. We need to know His Word so that we understand God’s standards for right and wrong.

If we find ourselves doing things the way the rest of the world does them, we should step back and consider our path, for God’s ways are not like man’s. Jesus tells us that the path to His Kingdom is narrow, not wide. If your choices are generally easy, almost no choices as all, then chances are you have strayed from that narrow path in which God is King.

We live in a busy world, but don’t let busy-ness get in the way of making choices influenced by God as your King. Taking the time to humble yourself and your mind before God is time worth taking. Most importantly, it is time God will reward with the peace of mind God alone can provide.

In Christ,
Ramona

 

 

Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Be Courageous

verses I am glad I have read

Even if the world around us claims differently, often at the top of its lungs, God’s Word contains a wealth of information pertinent to a modern life, to your life. No matter that sometimes my head may spin with the names of rulers and countries I can’t pronounce or that I become uncomfortable with the knowledge of my own sin by reading about the stumbles others have made, reading the Bible ultimately offers me the skills I need to survive in a fallen world. Within God’s Word, I find the verses that keep me hoping, that help me strengthen my faith, when I would otherwise fall into darkness.

To begin this 2019, I’d like to share some of the many verses I’m glad I have read. Whether they help me when I am afraid, are vital to my understanding of my relationship with God, or just plain make me feel good, these verses give me some of the best reasons I could offer for investing time in reading God’s Word.

The first verse I want to share comes from the Old Testament. (Yes, there’s plenty in that book, the Bible Jesus read, that we can apply to our New Testament lives.) In Joshua, God brings to completion the promise He made to Abraham so many generations before, culminating his initial covenant with the Israelites by finally allowing them to enter the Promised Land. Joshua, who replaces Moses as leader of the people, guides Israel in its quest to defeat the native peoples of Canaan and to help the nation disperse the newly conquered land between the tribes of Israel.

But Joshua knows better than anyone that he does not lead alone. In handing Moses’ reign over to the younger man, God tells Joshua,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

Joshua will need to hold these words close through the years, for, on paper at least, Canaan possesses superior forces and arms. Indeed, time and time again as the story of Joshua unfolds, perhaps in order to prove His power, God’s presence on the side of Israel is the only reason Canaan falls.

But that’s just the  bare context of this verse I’m glad I’ve read. This is one of those verses I can lean on whenever I am afraid or tempted to give up. I may not have God with me in a literal tower of fire and light as the tribes of Israel knew Him, dwelling in the tabernacle and leading them through the desert, but what I have I think is even more dear because it came at the ultimate price. The Holy Spirit, the promised gift from Christ that comes to those who repent and believe, dwells in me. The Spirit is always present to guide me, as long as I do my part to be still and listen.

One of the easiest ways to call the power of the Spirit into any given moment is just to call out to Him. Jesus, help me, is such a simple phrase. But when it is spoken in earnestness, you can depend on feeling His immediate presence, helping you to find the peace you need to make it through your current troubles.

Don’t believe me? I don’t expect you to. Test this practice yourself the next time you are feeling particularly low or stressed. Ask Jesus to help you. And in the meantime, stay focused on His Word as much as possible. The more quiet time you spend with God, the more weapons you have when you really need the armor only God’s love can provide.

I hope you already have your own plethora of verses you’re glad you’ve read. Maybe we can share them this 2019 and grow our faith together.

In Christ,
Ramona