1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

HOSEA - The LORD is A Tree

Lately I've had a *guidance* theme going on my blog, huh?!

So, I thought I would do another re-post...(no, not lazy - busy, yes!)

I re-read this post myself, and I just love how God *re-speaks* a good word to me. I was once again comforted by the nurturing and warm character of our Heavenly Father. He is so very good to us!

Please enjoy this post originally posted on September 26, 2010:


Years ago on a family vacation, as we were driving on the highway, we saw a sign:


One quick look at each other, one fast U-turn… and we were off into parts unknown.

It was a quaint country road – mostly dirt and gravel – bumpy, twisty – the four miles took about 40 minutes to navigate!

Around one more bend, and there was an adorable little farmhouse, nestled next to a fruit tree orchard!

The people were the nicest people ever…and the pie???

The MOST DELICIOUS I have ever tasted! YUM, YUM…

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" reminded me of that little orchard:

"[The LORD says] 'I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.' Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them." (Hosea 14:8-9)

What a lovely picture!

God demonstrates His loving careHe listens to our prayers, and He answers them.

He is the source of our nourishment! He is a tree that never dies – His fruit is all we need!

I have this picture in my mind of myself sitting under a giant tree, relaxing in the shade - and then when I'm hungry, I just reach up and pick a piece of fruit to eat.

It's kinda like what I do with "Bible Pick 'Ems" -

God is the Tree, and His Word is the Fruit.

Each time I go to Scripture, there is something *good to eat.* Something that nourishes my soul. Something that is pure, and good, and satisfying!

Hosea reminds us that we need to listen, learn, and benefit from God's Word.

We need God's wisdom – "Lord, help us to understand."

We need discernment – "Lord, help us to listen carefully."

We need guidance"Lord, show us the way to go."

It is only by walking in God's ways that we can live in His power and hear His voice.

Without God's guidance we are lost –

He is the difference between life and death…

"Those who are wise will take all this to heart…" (Psalm 107:43)

"But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them."
(Isaiah 26:7)

We must always remember that God cares for us continually – His love knows no bounds!

What a wonderful promise...

...what a wonderful comfort!

We rest in the hands of the Almighty!!

How does God nourish you?

Linked today with Peggy at SOAKING ON SONDAY

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DEUTERONOMY - The Checklist

I've been with out-of-town guests this weekend.

My cousins!

It's been great fun. We've talked, we've eaten, we've laughed, we've hugged...

But I've been super-busy.

So, will you allow me to do another re-post? (I didn't hear anything, so I'm going with YES!!)

This was originally posted on July 26, 2010:

It’s a competitive world, isn’t it?!

It seems like everyone is caught up in the "rat race" – always trying to get ahead, make more money, be more popular, look younger, beat the other guy – WIN, WIN, WIN!

There's a lot of pressure to succeed.

I once saw a license plate frame on a fancy sports car – "He who dies with the most toys, wins!"

Can you imagine a more futile life purpose?

Unfortunately, that's how most of the world operates. Thinking they're in control, people only look to fulfill their selfish desires. It's all about "me" – and being better than "you."

As Christians, we're supposed to be different…right?!

But are you like me?

Sometimes I get caught up in my own form of spiritual "rat race." I put a lot of pressure on myself to DO more for God – and then I chastise myself when I fall short and fail.

Am I dotting all those saintly *i's* and crossing all those godly *t's*?

Sometimes I run through a "checklist" – Bible Study, check…prayer, check…go to church, check…tithe, check…oops, could do a little more serving – oh man, I'm such a failure as a Christian.

Just the other day, I was feeling a little frustrated. Couldn't escape the feeling that I wasn't doing everything God wanted me to do. As a matter of fact, what DID He want me to do? So, I turned to His Word – "Lord, speak to me…"

And He did!

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" comes from Deuteronomy. And these verses told me exactly what God wants from me:

"…what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul…Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the LORD…And he chose you…You must fear the LORD your God and worship him and cling to him…He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise…Show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him."
(Deuteronomy 10:12, 14-15, 20a, 21a / 11:22b)

The checklist just became really easy…

Fear the Lord.
Live in a way that pleases Him.
Love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul.
Worship Him.
Praise Him.
Cling to Him.
Walk in His ways.
Hold tightly to Him.

Lord, I can do that!!!Check!

Are you *measuring* yourself by the right yardstick?

Linked today with Peggy at SOAKING ON SONDAY

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

JOSHUA - God's Victory!

I've been feeling sick this past week, and am still feeling quite tired. (Not to be confused with being sick and tired!)

So, today I'm re-publishing a post from July 12, 2010.

It's all about God's victory!

He is the One who carries us when we are too weary to take another step. I know, because He is upholding me right this very minute. His victory is something we can count on, rely on, and trust in forever.

I hope you enjoy today's selection:

JOSHUA - Victory!

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" comes from the book of Joshua.

Moses, the great leader of the Israelites, handpicked Joshua to be his assistant. God later confirmed his choice when He instructed Moses to commission Joshua as his successor (Numbers 27:15-23).

Joshua was a hero. He was smart, confident, brave, and faithful to God.

Today’s verses are inspiring. They talk about courage – courage that comes from complete trust in a powerful God, a God who assures us of victory.

"'Do not be afraid of them,' the LORD said to Joshua, 'for
I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.'

'Don't ever be afraid or discouraged,' Joshua told his men, 'for the LORD is going to do this to
all of your enemies.'

"…for the
LORDwas fighting for his people."

(Joshua 10:8, 25, 42)

Who are our enemies?

Temptations, struggles, failures, suffering – so many earthly circumstances threaten to steal away our peace. They can lead us into the dark valleys of discouragement, destruction, and despair.

And there is another enemy – a very real enemy – Satan. He is described in the Bible as a "devouring lion." He is constantly on the hunt, looking for ways to ruin us to steal away our trust in a good God. He has clever and effective weapons. He knows how to get to us at our weakest point. He delights in our vulnerability.

But, we too can claim the promise of God – "Not a SINGLE ONE OF THEM will be able to stand up to you."

The very same God who empowered Joshua, is the same God who will help us with ALL of our needs.

He ALONE gives us victory – He ALONE delivers us from our enemies.

"No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." (Romans 8:37)

"If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:31b)

Oh Lord, how we thank You for being our strength, our power, our courage. We could not do anything without You. Thank You for fighting our enemy, and for winning the victory we couldn't hope to win on our own. You alone, Lord - that's all we want, and all we need.

How goes your battle?!

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

HEBREWS - Something SUPER!

Today is Super Bowl Sunday.

Today the New York Giants will be pitted against the New England Patriots in an epic pigskin battle. I don't care so much who's going to win the game.

But yes, I will be watching the game. (After I go to church, of course!)

I am a football fan.

But I've got to tell you, all the *hoopla* that surrounds the game nowadays is crazy. There's so much pre-game hype that the game itself has almost become an afterthoughtanticlimactic in comparison to all the "festivities" of the week before.


The Super Bowl is bigger-than-life…or is it?

I can vividly remember an interview with Tom Brady (quarterback for the Patriots) that appeared on the TV show, "60 Minutes" – the link for that interview is here. At the time, he had just turned 30, was earning millions of dollars, and had already won three Super Bowl rings. And yet, something was still missing.

He seemed perplexed when asked what that "something" was.

He answered, "I wish I knew."

How sad.

I am reminded of this verse: "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

These are the thoughts rambling around in my head on this Super Bowl Sunday.

And it's rather wonder-full that today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" provides the perfect answer to Tom Brady's feeling that there has to something else – something more – to life:

"Now may the God of peace – who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood – may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)

These verses sum up the true meaning of life.

For one thing, they focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

THIS is the moment – the climax – the culmination of history!

And it occurred with no hype, no hoopla. The world wasn't watching, there weren't any commercials, and no one was handing out merchandise. No tickets were offered at exorbitant costs, and most people didn't stop their lives to sit and watch it take place.

But…it did happen.

And it DID change the world.

In these verses we can see three very significant results of God's work through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

One, God Himself begins a work within us. He starts an inner transformation that lasts our whole lives. We are turned into new creatures that become increasingly more and more like Jesus. God begins to change us into the kind of people who will please Him.

And second, God Himself equips us to do the kind of work that will please Him. I love that! God doesn't expect us to enter into the game of life without first being outfitted with what we need to play the game. To that end, we have been given the Holy Spirit to come alongside us, to empower and strengthen us, to give us both the desire and the will to obey.

Finally, God Himself begins to produce fruit in our lives. On our own, we can do nothing. But because of HIS work in and through us, GOD can accomplish big things. And He does. Look what He did with some of those otherwise *ordinary* people in the Bible! He takes our stories, and molds and shapes and weaves them for His glory.

He transforms – He equips – He produces.

It is all about Him, not us.

I would argue that the *something missing* from Mr. Brady's life – and from most people's lives – is actually Someone. The One and only, the Maker and Sustainer of Life, the Ultimate Reason behind everything – God.

And the *something more* that we all long for is a relationship with God. An intimate, personal, meaningful relationship.

God Himself made that possible through His Son – the Great Shepherd of the sheep (don't you just LOVE that title??)

Oh yes, I want to do every good thing that is pleasing to Him.

I want to bring Him glory forever and ever.

But, we all have to start at His feet those broken and bloodied feet at the cross. That's where life begins.

There must be something *more than this…*

Whatever that "THIS" is in a person's life – whether it's fame, fortune, or power – there IS something more. There is Someone bigger than life itself.

If Tom Brady wins his fourth Super Bowl today, then congratulations. But I have to wonder if he's feeling any more fulfilled than he did a few years ago. Or does he still feel empty inside?

I hope he finds an answer.

I pray he finds The Answer.

How has God fulfilled your innermost longings for *something more*?

Linked today with Peggy at SOAKING ON SONDAY

"When in doubt, search God out!"