Category Archives: Daily Bible Reading Thoughts

Surviving the Terrible Toos

Romans two verse one has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  By passing judgment on another, I condemn myself.  Ok, Ok, I get the point: Don’t judge, lest you also be judged.  I try hard not to judge others; I try to put myself in their shoes and fight the temptation to place myself higher than they may be.  Then, as I look at myself in the mirror at times, I begin to judge myself.  I get caught up in the terrible toos.  “My hair is too frizzy.” “My face is too broke out.”  “My pants have gotten too tight.”  I catch myself saying, “I’m just too clumsy.”  “She’s too good at that stuff; I am not.”  “I’m too much of a scatterbrain to be able to pull that one off…”  “Im not too good at speaking and teaching.”   I get wrapped up in judging myself and putting myself lower than I ought  because of things within me I label as weak.  These terrible toos plague each and every one of us at some time or another.  When you get caught up in this, have you ever stopped to realize you are passing a negative judgment upon yourself?

When you pass negative judgment upon yourself, you in a sense, become negative.  You hold back from things you could be doing because you lack the self-confidence needed to do those things.  I love the illustration of the members working together as a body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.  This group of believers were caught up in the terrible toos as well.  They judged themselves by the talents held by another, and began to grumble because they felt as if they were not good enough.  Paul reminded them that as a body, each member had a different role to play so the body would work perfectly.

Have you ever replaced the word “another” with the word “yourself” in Romans two verse one? “In passing judgment upon yourself, you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same thing.”  This means that if I judge myself by the works of others, I am selling myself short and condemning myself because if I believe it, I become it.  We must not look at ourselves and judge negatively when it comes to the things we have been given.  We can judge the sin in our lives, and correct those sins, but when it comes to our appearances, our gifts, and our talents, we have got to get out of ourselves, and use what we have been given to serve.  Psalms 139:13-14 states “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  When you read this, how can you look at yourself, or any other being for that matter, and pass negative judgment?  David was not being arrogant, or self serving when he praised God for making him the way he was, and so, we too can praise God for making us the way we are and believe that He thinks we are wonderful.  When we possess this confidence, we will not longer get caught up in the terrible toos, and use the talents and abilities we know we have to further God’s kingdom.  May we all stop passing negative judgment on ourselves as we strive to cultivate and stretch the abilities we have been given as a thanks and a praise for our Almighty Creator.

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Sharing Love, Affirming Faith

One of the things I love most about being around my brothers and sisters in Christ is the example they set for me.  Without being aware, they tend to amaze me with their love for Christ and for others.  I got to see this faith in action in a seemingly small act that still has me smiling.  Last weekend, I went over to a friend’s house so we could deliver some things to Tushka.  Before heading out, I called a friend there to see if we could gather anything else up before we headed out.  She had said that her mother had lost her house in the tornado, and had nothing but the clothes on her back.  I told her we could go find her a few changes of clothes and some toiletries, and bring them with us.  After hanging up the phone, I told my friends about the woman and told them her sizes.  It just so happened that the wonderful woman I was with was that exact same size!  She and her husband immediately went into action, and began to pack a bag full of things for the stranger they never met.  My friend came out of her bedroom with a brand new navy blue wind suit set complete with a jacket, pants, and a navy and white striped shirt.  She said she had just bought it, and it would be a good outfit for the lady in need.  Without hesitation, she threw it in the bag, along with a few other outfits, and we headed out the door.  Most of us would grab something that we had worn time and time again, and toss it in the bag and forget it.  This woman gave something that she bought just for herself to wear, and without even getting a chance to sport the cute outfit, she gave it to someone in need.  Because of her deep love for her Father, she gave what most would not be willing to give up, she died to self, and lived for that moment to serve.

In Mathew chapter twenty-two starting with verse 37, Jesus states, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  I have been so blessed to see this commandment in action, and hope that I have shown others this in action as well.  Without knowing it, my friend re-affirmed my faith in Christ, and this happens each and every time I see others serve Him.  I believe this is why these two commandments are so important, they show love and respect to our Creator, love and respect to our neighbors, and it fills our hearts with a new and fresh perspective on what it means to love God and our neighbors, and encourages us to do more.  It shines a light to those who are lost in darkness, and this simple act begs them to come to the light and share in its warmth.

I thank God for the examples of love and service that He has placed around me, and I am thankful for the lessons in kindness that these acts bring.  We should all strive to give, serve, and love whenever we have the chance.  Opportunities like this are all around us.  Proverbs 3:27 states, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.”  Verse 28 goes on to say, “Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back later, and tomorrow I will give it.’ When you have it with you.”  Give when it is needed, and do not withhold what you have.  God has freely given us His son, eternal life with Him, and earthly blessings to accommodate us while we wait on the Lord.  Let us all strive to sacrifice in this same manner, today and everyday.

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Procrastinating Salvation

I hate to admit this, but most of you who know me can attest to the fact that I am a bit of a procrastinator.  I can almost say that most of us are in some aspects.  I pick and choose things to procrastinate on.  If I am working on a client’s photo-shoot,  I  get the pics whipped out in a few days, eager for them to behold my creation.  On the other hand, on days like today, all dark and dreary, I wait until the very moment I know that my kids may be late for school to get up from my cozy bed all snuggled next to my warm husband.

Contained in the book of Acts, we are introduced to a man named Felix in the 24th chapter beginning in verse 3.  In this account, a man named Tertullus is found accusing Paul of creating dissension among the Jews because he was speaking of Christ and his resurrection (5).  He and others brought Paul before the governor, Felix, to be examined, and they hoped for him to be imprisoned, or worse.  After Tertullus made his case, Paul made his, and Felix decided take a few days to make a decision regarding Paul, and in the meantime, allowed Paul to go back among his friends until Felix sent for him.

After a few days, Felix, with his Jewish wife, Drusilla, sent for Paul, and Paul began to speak of his faith in Christ, and in the resurrection.  Paul was sharing with this couple the gospel message that we are all to proclaim to all people as instructed in Matthew 28:19-20.  Felix was a man who had accurate knowledge of the Way (22) and as Paul told the exciting news, Felix reasoned about the Christian characteristics we as Christians are to have which were righteousness, self-control, and he even pondered upon the judgment to come for all when Christ returns.  Amidst all of the emotion, and the Truth being revealed to this man who was needing the Gospel message, we see in verse 25 that he tells Paul to “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”

This is where our story with Felix ends, he left Paul bound for 2 years, until someone else succeeded him.  He was given the most important, life-changing story of his life; he was given the Truth and the Way, and was instructed on how to obtain this hope of heaven for eternity, and he procrastinated.  He left his salvation in limbo, and as we are able to look into his brief account, we are left wondering if he ever made the decision to become a part of Christ and his Church by putting him on in baptism (1 Peter 3:21).

This story applies to our lives in two ways; one, are we procrastinating our salvation because we are too stubborn as Felix to accept this new teaching and live a righteous life?  And two, are we procrastinating teaching others to take hold of their salvation and encourage them to live a righteous life?  Both of these statements are stumbling blocks to all who encounter them, but we can overcome them.  For those who have never accepted the message, the book of Acts is full of examples of people who did, and then took  steps to obtain their prize and live a life faithful to the Lord (Acts 2:37-38, 8:36-38, 9:18, 16 : 14-15, 30-33).  Change is hard, admitting we were wrong is even harder, especially when we think what we have been doing was right. Without  humility for our Savior, and for the way we are to become a part of him, we are in danger of never obtaining salvation.  For those of us who have humbled ourselves to His way and the Truth, are we procrastinating sharing this hope with others?  Do we tend to shy away from the message because of our own insecurities, or our lack of faith in the power of the Gospel message?   The Truth saves lives and softens hearts (Acts 2:37) all we have to do is share it and live it as a testimony to others (Romans 12:1-2).

Procrastination is always going to be a battle for us, and we must try each time we are tempted with it to overcome the urge and be fruitful.  Our salvation and the salvation of others should never be spun within the web of procrastinating, for if we do this, salvation may never get a chance to make it into our hearts, or into the hearts of those in whom we love.

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A Second Look

I love no bake cookies.  I make them so much that I have the recipe down by heart and can mix up a batch as soon as the craving for one hits me.  They are a peanut buttery, chocolaty delight to my taste buds and the flavor of them sends me into a state of sheer joy.   One day, the urge for one hit me, so I went into the kitchen, gathered all the ingredients, and made my little delicacies.  Much to my surprise, they did not set right, and the batch was ruined.  I forgot to add an ingredient.  I got out my recipe card for the cookies that had been tucked away for years, and took a look.  I added 2 cups of oats instead of 3.  I couldn’t believe it, after making my special treats for so long how could I have forgotten the amount of oats to put into the batch?  I scavenged what I could and fixed my problem and enjoyed my batch of no bake cookies, I had to eat them with a spoon, but they were still just as delicious.

As a daily Bible reader, I tend to overlook some of my favorite passages because I already have them memorized by heart. The other day, I found myself skimming through Deuteronomy 11 verses 18-21.  This familiar passage deals with how the word of God should always be in our hearts and in our minds as we teach them to our children.  It tells us how important His words are for each and every one of us.  I have heard that passage read and studied and preached so many times in so many different ways that I could quote it, so I skimmed over it.  As I did this, I remembered my cookie recipe and how I missed an important ingredient because I relied on my memory instead of the directions.  I went back and re-read the passage and was renewed again with its words.

The word of God is such a powerful source of strength and hope to everyone who reads of it.  We must allow ourselves to dig deep into the word and study its every passage, even though sometimes, most of them we know by heart.  A second look can make the passage come to life in a new way and bring us new insight into our walk with the Lord.  The next time you find yourself on familiar ground in your daily Bible reading plan, slow down, and read the words as if you have never read them before. Go deeper into the passage and break it down into smaller parts and study it critically.  Grab a good commentary or Bible dictionary, and really dig into the meaning of the passage.  In doing this, you will gain a renewed knowledge of the word and its powers will be made known to you again and again.

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Sleepless Nights

So many of us have had a run in with sleepless nights of worry and distress.  We could be worried about the outcome of a loved one, about a situation at work, or at school, we may be worried about our children, our health, a new move or a new job.  We worry about our marriages, our finances, our own spiritual needs, or the spiritual needs of others.  This worry often seems as if it were a childhood “boogeyman” who lives beneath our beds waiting to consume us in the darkness of the night.  When all is still and quiet, the worry settles in and begins to control our thoughts, and our sleep as it settles itself into our minds for the night.

David was a man who was consumed by a worry that chased him all over the map, seeking his life.  His life was at stake and wherever he roamed, he always felt as if the enemy was there, waiting to swallow him up at the hand of a sword.  He was a fugitive from the great King Saul who sought to take his life because of his overwhelming jealousy.  David had a lot on his mind, and yet, we see in Psalms 4:8 he was still able to lay  his head down, where ever that may have been at the time, and sleep in peace in the Lord.  Davis states, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

We too can be at peace in the LORD.  As the  evening breaks, take the time to pray to your Father about the issues waiting to consume you as you drift off to sleep.  The LORD provides for His children; He can provide a “peace which surpasses all understanding” for those who seek it.  Do not allow yourself to fall victim to those sleepless nights that await you.  David’s life was in danger every time he laid his head down, but yet, he found a way to allow himself to dwell in safety in his Father’s protective embrace.  We too can experience that safety, we just have to allow it to happen and trust that it will happen.  May the LORD bless you and keep you always, sweet dreams.

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I’m Going on a Treasure Hunt

I have been reading a piece of literature full of war, turmoil, love, fear, murder, suspense, hope, romance, jealousy, bitterness, victory, good, evil, and redemption.  Every night I find myself racing through each line of the story just waiting to turn the page to see what happens next.  It has been a thrill for me to see the characters come to life on the pages, and in my dreams, I find myself lost in a far away place right in the middle of a character’s story right beside him as he runs for his life from the king who wishes to destroy him.  The thing that intrigues me most is the fact that this story was written thousands of years ago to bring people like me to a realization of who we are, where we came from, and what had to happen for us to be set free.  Each night as I read my Bible I get lost in the amazing tales of the beloved characters that I value so much.

In Psalm 119 verse 162 the writer states, “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.”  The word is a treasure like any other; it reveals to us the great mystery of the gospel in 1 Timothy 3:16,  and it tells us how we are to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ in Acts 2:38.  The Bible tells us how we ought to pray in Matthew 6:9, and  love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  We see ordinary men and women leading extraordinary lives because of the hope that they have in their God, in each other, and in the promise of a Savior.  This amazing book resides in our homes, on our shelves, under newspapers, on kitchen counters, and beside our beds on nightstands, but is it residing in our hearts?  Are the words of this priceless book forever etched in our hearts and in our minds as we go about our day?  Are we “storing the word in our heart” as stated in Psalm 119 verse 11?

We must allow ourselves to take hold of the treasure that our Father has laid before us and dwell in it, live it, and spread it to others.  The Bible’s simple story rings true in each of its pages and anyone, young and old, can relate to the truths and be guided in them.  When is the last time you took a good, deep look into this amazing treasure that has been freely given to you?  I encourage you to take the time to reflect and meditate on this living, breathing text and re-discover this amazing love story between our God and His creation.

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Give Me a Firm Foundation

Our home buying process has been driving me batty.  Any day now, an inspector will come in and examine important things in the house to make sure it is safe for my family and I to live in.  As most of you know, if the foundation is bad, the whole house suffers it will be checked for cracks, and for shifting and sinking.  This is the most important part of any home, the foundation must be solid and secure, and be able to hold up to any pressure that the elements may throw at it.

This concept is so true when applied to our Christian foundations.  In my daily Bible reading, I came across a verse in Psalms that has been ringing in my heart now for days, it states, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (Psalms 11:3)  This verse made me realize yet again, how important it is to keep Christ, the chief cornerstone, alive and active in our lives.  If we do not have that foundation built on Christ, we crumble under the weight of the world, and ultimately, we fail and loose that precious security of being righteous in the sight of God.

To keep Christ as our cornerstone we must immerse ourselves daily in his truths and in prayer to the Father.  Our foundation is the word, which is Christ, and if we continue to seek truths and answers in the word, our foundation will remain solid and others around us will be able to stand on the firm foundation we have built through our love for Christ.  I pray that we all continue to take care of this fundamental part in our faith, the foundation on which our hope is built upon.

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Morning Meditations

As the morning breaks, the birds begin to sing  tunes to their Creator.  The sun cast its warmth on God’s creation, and the Earth shows its reverance.  It seems as if it whispers a song of sweet humbleness to the Lord through its blooms, harvest, wildlife, and its flowing streams.  The wind whirls through the mighty branches of the tallest trees, causing them to bring forth a joyful noise through the rusling of their newly formed leaves.  The warming tempatures are causing buds and blooms to peak out from the Earth after a long hard slumber.

As we reflect on the beauty of nature this morning, let us too start out our day in praise to our Father.  Just as spring brings newness and life back into the Earth, let our hearts be filled with meditations of what the Lord has done for us as we awake from our nights of rest.  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)

Pass It Down

Rylee has been coming home from school singing those long lost songs from my childhood.  She has sung classics like “Jingle bells, Batman smells” ,”Mrs Mary Mack”, and “Cinderella Dressed in Yella”.  I just laugh and tell her that I used to sing those songs when I was a little girl, and to her, she feels like that was forever ago.  I asked her where she got the songs from and she exclaimed from kids at school, or from the teachers.   Nursery rhymes, song parodies, and jump rope chants have seemed to stand the test of time, but even more important than these childhood things, is the word of God.  The word of God has stood the test of time, and will continue to do so.  Even in Christianity’s darkest hour, even through the burning of Bibles,  persecution of Christians, through natural disasters, and acts of vandals, His word still remains.  It is our job as Christians, and as parents, to keep that living, breathing, amazing text implanted in the hearts and in the minds of our children.

In the second book of Judges, chapter 10, there is a disastrous scene.  It proclaims  “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers.  And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that had been done for Israel.”  This generation was not taught the word.  They did not know of how they were delivered from the Egyptians, about the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, about how they wandered in the dessert for 40 years because of their forefathers sins.  They did not know about all of the signs and wonders of the Lord, and how bravely their forefathers fought for the Lord to gain their inheritance into the very land that they were living in.  Why did this happen?  They simply were not told of these things.  The generation before them did not instruct, correct, and rebuke them in the ways of the Lord.  The generation before them forgot how important it was to keep the things the Lord had done for them in their hearts and spilling out of their mouths constantly, as we see in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

The word of the Lord will always prevail, but we need mouths to speak of its truth.  We need parents and grandparents living holy lives as examples to their children and grandchildren.  If we do not do these things, the generation after us will not know God and His testimony, they will not hear of His grace, mercy, and love.  They will be lost, just as the people of Israel, because they were not instructed.  Please, keep the word of God in your hearts and minds so it may spill over into the hearts and minds of your children, grandchildren, the lost, and onto the saints.  We must keep His word alive in us and in the lives of others.  “May the word of God dwell in your richly.”

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