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Summer Psalms

The Shepherd Who Protects {Summer Psalms ’17}

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep  (John 10:14-15)

We are reminded in Psalm 23, that the Lord is our Shepherd. More than told, we are given specific ways God reveals Himself as our very good Shepherd.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless (Ps. 84:11).

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we are protected and have every need met. He is the One who faithfully cares for us no matter what is going on in our lives.

He gives us everything we need (vv. 1). I heart the “God verbs” as I call them, where we are able to see how God, our Shepherd, moves for our benefit.

He gives us rest (vv. 2). Not only does He provide physical rest for us, He gives us all the rest we need. He rejuvenates and offers peaceful rest we need to thrive. He is our God and makes sure we lack no good thing (see Ps. 84:11).

He leads us (vv. 2). God makes sure we get to the right place. He is the One who goes before us. He isn’t going to abandon us, half way through His leading us. Our great God leads us the whole way!

He gives us new strength (vv. 3). God is faithful to supply us with strength. Remember Isaiah 40:30-31, where we are taught that God renews our strength. Let’s pray for God to do this for us.

He guides us along the right path (vv. 3). He will lead us on the right path, where we are exactly where we need to be. One way He guides us, is through the Bible. As we seek Him, He will show us which way to go.

He is with us (vv. 4). Take heart in this promise that we find throughout the Bible. When we choose to follow Jesus Christ and diligently seek to obey His commands, He promises to be with us (see Mt. 28:18-20).

He prepares a feast for us in front of our enemies (vv. 5). We aren’t given mere leftovers, but God has thoroughly prepared a table for us. Knowing God’s protection and provision, we can sit down and enjoy our great God – even in the midst of the battle.

He pours oil on our head, giving us an abundance – which includes His favor and rejoicing (vv. 5). We see this lived throughout the New Testament. Despite all we have done, Jesus Christ came, has saved us and restored our relationship with God. In this new life, we are given much favor poured into our lives.

His goodness and love follow us (vv. 6). In whatever we are facing, God’s goodness and love is following those who are genuinely seeking Jesus Christ. Let’s put away the sin, seek His forgiveness, and allow Him to be the One whose love and goodness we are chasing.

Featured image by Patrick Schneider.

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Inspiring Women (05/17)

God-Given Assignments {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan.

Friends, it’s far too easy to give up. For a lot of us, we can spend our whole lives running from one thing to the next. But, there is also another way. God is working greatly in ours and others’ lives, and He is inviting us to join Him.

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith (Galatians 6:8-10, MSG).

Let’s think about where we are in our lives, and see how to stay encouraged in our God-given assignments. In these assignments, we are given the opportunity to obey God and bring the hope found in Jesus Christ to many in need of His love and grace.

God has big things in mind for us. He wants to take our personality, spiritual gifts, talents, heart, and lead us into telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ – where the sinner finds peace with God and a brand new life. This is where lives are forever changed!

What does a God-given assignment look like? It is anything we are asked to do by our Most High God. From obeying His Word, to going where He is leading us.

Joshua’s Work

I have been reading a bit of Joshua lately, and am reminded of God’s urging Joshua to “be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people“. Joshua needed to be brave and trust God, in order to do this big thing. It was a big thing, but would be taken one step at a time.

God has assignments for us, too. Sometimes they either seem too big or too small. Each assignment requires us to trust our Lord Jesus to strengthen us and do His good work behind the scenes.

Our Assignment

What is God calling you to do? We have many things that could be labeled an assignment. Here is a small list –

  • Help {or sit with} someone in need.
  • Serve in your church.
  • Talk with someone about Jesus Christ and His saving power.
  • Continue a specific ministry (perhaps even, a blog).
  • Lastly, perhaps your assignment right now is to rest.

We don’t choose our assignments. God chooses them, but we must choose to trust and obey. As the song says, there is no other way to happy in Jesus.

Remember This –

May we remember that we are doing something of significance. This is important work we are doing. While it may be easy to trade where we are for somewhere a bit more fun or less labor intensive, this is where God has placed us and He will strengthen our hearts and hands.

Trust His heart, when you cannot see where He is taking you.

Feature image by Arek Adeoye.

In Christ,

Signature

 

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Inspiring Women (05/17)

Be Bold in Christ {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the month of May, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

With today’s verse, we could go ten million different ways. It is a Scripture we all know and love (granted, it is a bit scary too!). But, how do we become strong and courageous? And honestly, depending on our circumstances, how big of a difference does some courage make?

Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9, TLB).

In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, a new leader is in town. Joshua, the assistant to Moses, stepped up and began to lead the people. In this chapter along with the following commentary, we learn that the way we lead our lives – really does make a difference.

Asbury Commentary reminds us of the context of this passage.

God commanded Joshua three times (vv. 6, 7, 9) to be strong and very courageous. Then, for good measure, the people said they would follow Joshua if he would be strong and courageous. . .

Pondering –

We might be bold enough to bring up the obvious. We aren’t Israel’s leader. We aren’t tasked with the enormous mission to lead millions of stubborn people, so they make it to the land God was promising them.

Their faith was dependent on how Joshua led. Likewise, how we live will either draw us near to God or away from Him.

Even though we are not Joshua, we still need to listen to the truth of Joshua 1:5-9.

Clinging Truth –

In Joshua 1:9, we are urged and reminded that we can be strong and courageous because God is going with us. This is perhaps the greatest reason to take this verse and apply it to every area possible in our lives. We need to pray this verse of our lives, and that of those around us.

The greatest motive is knowing we will never be alone. This life can be awfully lonely, at times. In our circumstances, we can find ourselves experiencing even more loneliness. But, God is arming His following daughters – with strength, grace, and boldness.

As women, we don’t have to passive. We can be strong and impactful too, because we are created by the Most High God! This means something big for us, ladies.

This is a tremendous truth that would radically change our lives. It would just change everything about us and our lives. Our relationships would even be different, because we are going to be the strong daughters our great God is calling us to be!

It is only because of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we can live boldly! We have to decide if we want to accept the boldness the Holy Spirit equips us with. Choose today who you will be and who will guide your life.

Featured image by Amber Turner.

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Characteristics of God Godly Living

To My Weary Friend [[The Shepherd]]

Weary one,

Have you found the words of Psalm 28:9 yet?

Where the psalmist unleashes a barrel of truth… That changes everything.

Where Jesus meets you right where you are, no matter how messy or out-of-sorts your life seems.

He promises to meet us, lead us on, to carry us (if we will let Him), and be our everything.

… Only it isn’t a limited time offer…

It’s for all eternity. But, don’t delay! You are missing sooo much…

See, Jesus is the real deal!

And, He meets us.

Savior this truth, friends!

 

“Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever (Psalms 28:9).”

 

This message, designed for Israel, God’s treasure, is extended to us as well.

… Because Jesus came…

… Because Jesus broke down the barrier from us to Him and us to them…

He wants to save us!

He wants to call us His treasure.

He wants to lead us.

He wants to be our lifelong Shepherd.

He wants to carry us forever.

We don’t have to do life all on our own. We may feel like that is our only option, but I am telling you right now friend that we have another option. A much better option.

Jesus Christ.

He came for YOU! That’s the amazing depth of God’s love for you, that He would leave Heaven’s glory, splendor, and good things… That He would come. There is ONE thing He is missing and longing for..  And, it’s you. It’s me. He wants a love relationship with us. He wants THIS to become our reality.

He wants to be our Good Shepherd, as our reality to live by. Will you allow Him to? He is far more willing than you could ever imagine. Allow Him to step into your mess, your brokenness, and all that consumes your life. He just wants you to let Him in. What is stopping you from inviting Jesus into your heart and life?

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Seeking Holiness: A Study on 1 Thessalonians 4 Single Living

Seeking Holiness: The Holy Spirit’s Involvement

Seeking Holiness - A Study on 1 Thess 4

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1, NIV)

We left off with an acknowledgment worthy of its own blog post.

“With Christ as our foundation, everything changes… God will use these relationships and moments of truth-telling in these trusted relationships,  to change our lives (and others) – for the better. We never have to go back to the before.”

God will use these relationships in which we have been placed, to speak His words of life.

Question to consider –

How many times have we gone to a brother or sister in Christ, and received a word from God?

If you have gone to them, especially while in a rough spot, you will hear words that will resound with what God teaches us through the pages of Scripture.

God wants to use those relationships.
But, we have to give God room to work!

Here’s the Thing…

In order to allow God access to these relationships, we need to remember a few things. Or perhaps, learn these things for the first time. We know God can work so mysteriously, and use relationships within the church to such a strong degree.

Before we can get there and experience those blessed transformative moments with our brethren, we have to know how God works, see people through His lens, and give them to God.

The Holy Spirit

… is what makes the difference between our relationships within the family of God and others. The Holy Spirit is how God will work and use His people to speak His truths when we need to hear it. The Holy Spirit is influential and the reason for the transformation taking place inside of us. He wants to use us, as He continues to work in others’ lives too (see Phil. 1:6).

Let me say that again:

The Holy Spirit is what makes the difference, and leads His Church into transformation – through heart-piercing-truths we need to hear! Without those relationships in place, how will we ever grow in Christ?

Growth

Through the Holy Spirit, we can see our relationships and friends (brethren in Christ) grow more fruitfully. It may mean rough conversations like these men would of had, with those they cared about. But, we are called to “spur one another one toward love and good deeds”.

Accountability

Those who have trusted Christ as their Savior, are our brothers and sisters. We have a responsibility to share the truth with them. We harm them, by not speaking the truth when the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. But, we need to cultivate more of these kind of relationships where we are being sharped and transformed by God through His Holy Spirt, the Word, and the Church!

New Perspective

This means, we need to have our perspective of relationships… refined. How is God wanting to use your relationships for His glory? Do you realize how He wants to use those people in your life, and vice versa? We need to remember that once we come to Christ, we are forever changed. We don’t operate on an old perspective. Instead, we need to see others the way Christ sees them. The way Christ loves them. We have been given the opportunity to be used by God and gain His heavenly perspective on His creations.

“From this time on we don’t think of anyone as the world thinks of people. It is true that in the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks. But we don’t think that way now.  When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world…” (see 2 Cor. 5:16-19)

Surrendering to God

We know the importance of giving everything we have to God. That is where the beauty is, in seeing what God will do with what we have lovingly entrusted back to Him. After all, they were His first! This is where the two greatest commandments step in. Loving God and others, through how we view these relationships and love our friends. What kind of love do we want to show those we care for – the deepest? The deepest-level of love, is to give them to Jesus. Not just for today, but for a lifetime!

We need to trust that God can and will do what His Word promises to do. We need to trust God to care infinitely more for our loved ones, and to use us to reach them, showing them who He is and how He loves.