Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I woke up yesterday with a lot on my mind.  A ton of things that needed my attention, things weighing on my heart, and I really wasn't sure where to begin.  I had fixed my coffee and was standing in the middle of my kitchen, contemplating what to do first.  I breathed a prayer and said "Lord, what do I do first?!"  At that moment, my eyes fell on my Bible lying on the kitchen table.  It was almost as if God shined a spotlight on it.  I sort of laughed, and said "Ok...I hear you."  Although I would be leading a Bible study in a few hours in my home and I did need to look over my notes, I sensed that I just needed to open it up and let God speak.

I did and He did.

After flipping through several passages, I landed where I almost always do...Psalms.  My eyes fell on the verses 9-10 of Psalm 119, "I have sought you with my whole heart.  Do not let me wander from your commands."  I felt that voiced the desire of my heart.  I continued reading and then came to verses 15, 16

"I will meditate on your precepts
I will think on your ways
I will delight in your statutes
I will not forget your word."

Those words just jumped off the page at me!  Two reasons.  One, I am the world's worst at rehearsing my woes over and over and over in my mind.  What I should have done or said, what can I do or say, how can I fix this, what if....., etc."  I talk to the Lord constantly about them (not a bad thing, but I have a feeling even HE sometimes wishes I'd give it a rest!).  I know better.  I know not to dwell on those things, not to worry, but I still do.

So when I read those words, it was as if God was reminding me GET YOUR MIND ON THE RIGHT THINGS !!

The second reason was that the Bible study I've been leading has been about God's Story.  We have been doing a chronological study of the Word of God and the one thread we have seen throughout the Bible has been the thread of Bible literacy and how important it is to the survival of a nation and of a life on a personal level.  These verses speak directly to that!

So I have challenged those in my Bible study to memorize these 2 verses for next week.

The first line says "I will meditate on your precepts."  

What does it mean to "meditate"?  Webster defines meditate: "to focus one's thoughts on, to ponder, to chew over, to study, to question, to 'kick around', to wrestle with."

What are precepts?  "A command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action".  

So, if we are to "mediate on your precepts", we will ponder, chew on, wrestle with and question a command or principle put forth in the Word of God.  That will require more than a mere glance at this principle or verse.  It will require that we take it with us, either by memory or in written form.  We will think on it again and again throughout our day.  We will contemplate what it means for us specifically.  We will ask the Lord to open the eyes of our understanding to His meaning for us and for our lives.  Once we begin to do that, we will begin to "own" that verse.  It will no longer just be words on a page.  It will be personal to us, to our situation, and that is when, I believe, that God will begin to change us and maybe even our circumstances.

"I will think about your ways."  God's ways are not our ways.  He is our role model.  When we begin to think about and read about His ways, we will learn to follow after Him.  We will begin to see how He wants us to live.  That, too, will change our lives.  We are to be image bearers to the world, witnesses to the world of the life that resides within us as believers.  If we never give any thought to God's ways, we will never be like Him.

"I will delight in your statutes."  A statute is defined as "an ordinance or a law."   God gave a number of laws and ordinances for us to live by.  Do we "delight" in them?  We should.  They are for our good and for our protection.  It is important for us to know what they are so that we can live within their boundaries.  We can feel secure and cared for when we know the laws that God has instituted for our good and when we obey them.  God never enacted any rule or law to harm us.  Just like we, as parents, make rules for the good of our children, so God has made rules for the good of us, His children.  It just shows He loves us and wants what is best for us.  For that reason, we CAN delight in His laws.

"I will not forget your Word."  If we are meditating on His Word, thinking on His ways, and delighting ourselves in His laws, we will NOT forget His Word.  It will become a part of us.  If we allow God's Word to fill our minds rather than our problems, agendas, and concerns, we will find those things somehow becoming "strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace". 

I challenge you to memorize those verses with us this week and free your mind from "stinkin' thinkin'"!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


 After the children of Israel (the Israelites) went into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, which God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they were to possess the land, removing the people from each of the territories and removing ALL vestiges of their religious practices.  The Israelites were to be a 'set-apart' people, God's peculiar treasure.  They were to demonstrate to the world what it would look like to live in obedience to the one true God.  They were given strict laws and statutes to follow so that they would not in any way resemble these pagan nations.  God promised manifold blessings for their obedience, BUT....He also warned them if they did not obey, there would be severe consequences.  They were a wicked, obstinate, stiff-necked people and they continually strayed from His paths.   Time after time He showed them mercy.  He pursued them.  He sent prophets to warn them they were going to face dire consequences if they did not repent and turn back to Him.  They refused.  So, He took His hand off of them and allowed foreign nations to take them into exile for 70 years.  II Kings 17: 7-20 explains:

 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the Lord’s anger. 12 They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”[a] 13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”
14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”
16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.
18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.

Fast forward to 2012:

America left the God of her founding fathers and chose to worship what man could create.  Man's inventions and creations became the gods of America.  They sought money more than God.  Bigger houses, cars, vacation homes, and all kinds of technology soon consumed them.  The Word of God was removed from the schools and evolution and the Big Bang Theory was taught in their place.  The Ten Commandments were ripped from schools and courthouses and situational ethics became the by-word.  Children were murdered in the womb and old people were tossed aside as worthless.   Hollywood became their god, parading sexual immorality before their eyes and perversion of every sort, til their minds and hearts were corrupted.  What God called an abomination was legalized and uplifted, being taught as an alternate lifestyle in the schools and accepted in the pulpits.  The Word of the Lord was watered down and re-translated to suit the people.  False prophets proclaimed a false gospel but the people were too blind to see.  America has been led astray and no longer worships God, but does what is right in their own eyes and one day God's judgment will fall as surely as it did on the house of Israel!