I’m nearly finished reading through the Bible again, but I have to admit it – I had been very hesitant about reading through the Bible chronologically! I have read through the Bible many other times using a plan that had a little in the Old Testament, some in the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb. It was so comfortable! When I considered the chronological plan, all I could think of was DAYS ON END of reading the hard passages in the Old Testament with no breaks in-between the long lists of names or tribes or kings or cities. I am embarrassed to tell you the real reason I didn’t want to do it.Continue reading “Read the Bible With me in 2023”
The fires that burned their way through the Great Smoky Mountains several years ago destroyed acre after acre of forestry, leaving only charred stumps where mighty oaks and evergreens had stood. In an effort to restore the mountains to their beauty, forest rangers have placed small trees and plantings with hopes of restoring the color, blooms and life that had once been flourishing.
In our spiritual life, we must also have a time of planting. We need times of digging our roots deep down so that we will not faint when the heat of life, trials and hardships come.
In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George tells about a time of planting Fig trees. Thirteen were planted, and twelve did well, but one withered up and died. When her husband went out with a shovel to dig up the dead plant, he found that He didn’t need the shovel. The plant died because it had no roots, so it came easily out of the ground. That plant portrays an important spiritual truth – for us to have a heart of faith, we must be devoted to nurturing a root system deep in God’s Word! What’s going on in the root system becomes known to everyone! If the plant is flourishing, it’s because the roots are deep and strong. If the root dies, it’s because the roots are weak. So it is for us!
If you and I are going to be women devoted to God, we must have a root system anchored deep in Christ.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Our life must be hidden in Christ.
What will that look like?
- Roots are tucked away (unseen). We must spend time unseen by others, and seen only by God. Elizabeth explained that an iceberg is hidden under that water where 6/7 of the ice is hidden from view. Even though a sailor can only see 1/7, the iceberg was something to be in awe of because of the part that was hidden away! When you and I are in the public eye, they should be witnessing strength that comes out of our time that is out of sight from others – the time we spend alone with God.
“The greater proportion of your day and life spent hidden in quiet, in reflection, in prayer, in scheduling, in preparation, the greater will be the effectiveness, the impact, the power, of the part of our life that shows.” Ray and Anne Ortland
The impact of your ministry to people will be in direct proportion to the time you spend away from people with God. That will only happen by making wise choices. “We must say no not only to things which are wrong and sinful, but to things pleasant, profitable and good which would hinder and clog our grand duties and our chief work.”
How do we know what to say no to? It comes from that time in prayer as we give ourselves to God and ask Him to direct our paths – Prov 3:6
Henry Drommond said, “Talent develops itself in solitude.” Let’s think about a talent like piano playing. When my girls were students, they didn’t learn by going around to all the recitals and hammering out their pieces. It came from hours of practice alone on the piano bench. If we’re going to learn the gift of prayer, of Bible study, memorization, or meditating on Scripture, it will only happen in solitude. Those roots are growing while no one else sees.
- Roots are for taking in. Elizabeth says that when we take in God’s Word, there’s an exchange that takes place.
Weariness is replaced by strength
Weakness is replaced by power
Burdens is replaced by freedom
Frustrations is replaced by peace
Turmoil is replaced by calm
What do you need to give to the Lord in time alone with Him so He can give you His great exchange in its place? Your roots need to take in His Word in order to receive it.
- Roots are for tanking up – Roots are a reservoir – Jeremiah 17:7-8 The person who trusts in the Lord shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river. If we are tanking up on the life-giving water of God’s Word, we will…
- Not be afraid of the heat. The reservoir we have stored up from the Word of God will sustain us through the fiery trials
- Bear fruit faithfully. Even when our situation is rough, we won’t wither up and die because we have the reservoir of God’s Word deep in our heart that will sustain us. Psalm 84:7, 11
At times when perhaps we can’t even reach for our Bible, the well of water of God’s Word will feed us and sustain us during those difficult days.
D. Roots are for toughness – Without a network of roots, a plant will become top-heavy because it has no support. Without a root system of God’s Word in our spiritual life, we will fall over and need to be supported when hard things come.
Elizabeth shared about how shipbuilders select a tree located on the top of a high hill as a potential and future mast for their ships. They cut away all of the surrounding trees from that chosen tree. They take away the trees that would shield it from the harsh forceful winds. As time passes, the winds would blow fiercely on that tree and it grows stronger and stronger until it was finally strong enough to be the foremost mast on the ship. When we have a strong roots system, we will gain the strength we need to stand against the trials of our life.
Yes, but how?
- Develop the habit of drawing near to God. Recognize that without this time, you are powerless!
- Design a personal time for drawing near to God –
- What aids?
- Dream of being a woman after God’s Own heart
Write down the growth you’d like to accomplish in one year –
Read through the Bible,
Read 12 books
Memorize 12 verses – chapters
Be mentored for 12 months
Mentor a younger woman
Attend a Bible study
How old will you be in 10 years? What do you want to be like at that age?
Write it down. Pray about becoming that woman for God’s glory.
What kind of plant will you be in a year? In ten years? What kind of root system will you have? It’s your decision. Make today count.
Highlights are defined as “An outstanding part of an event or time.” A look at my photos from this past week are full of sweet blessings – highlights. I’m sharing them, not to pretend there weren’t also low times, but to thank and acknowledge the Lord for His goodness and mercies! He is a loving God! Here are a handful.
Of course, being a cat lover, I have many photos of Liza Jane. She’s the sweetest kitty. I’m enjoying her older years. She’s lovable, cuddly and loves her cozy napping spots!
I had the blessing of spending a few days with my parents in Kentucky.
We celebrated our Christmas together, complete with gifts AND even a delicious Christmas dinner. Is there anything like eating at your mom’s table?! Sunday evening we ended the day with “Christmas Tea.” So yummy and so delicious!
My daughter Alli and I got to go to lunch – just the two of us! We went to the downtown of the city where I live and enjoyed lunch, heart to heart conversation and then some fun shopping! I treasure those times!
I’ve started another read through the Bible in 2022. I’m using the chronological plan, and also The Bible Recap with Tara Leigh Cobble. Her recap is like a mini commentary on each day’s reading. It’s been so helpful!
It’s been a blessed first week of 2022! How has your year started? What are some of your highlights? Also, I’m curious, have you begun a Bible reading plan?
Enjoy and bless God for His good gifts,
Enraptured. Listening to every word spoken from His lips.
That’s the way the crowd at the temple listened to Jesus speak. He had just cleared out the money changers. They were the ones who had turned the temple of prayer into a place where robbers lurked. The Scribes and Pharisees hated him and only desired to kill Him, and what do we find Jesus doing? Teaching there in that temple. He spoke with such authority in simple words they could understand with Truth they had never heard before.
Luke 19:48 says…
All the people were very attentive to hear him.
In the Greek it says that they were “hanging on to His lips.” We have a saying that is similar. We would say, “they were hanging onto every word.”
What a contrast His words were to the formal, boring, dry, powerless and over-their-heads teaching from the scribes! Jesus’ words were life-giving and life-changing!
They still are.
Is your ear bent down close to your Bible so you can hear Him speak to you each day? Oh that we would say with the psalmist in Psalm 119 ~
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
When you get in your car and “tune in” to a radio station, you can only listen to one station at a time. When you open your Bible to read, or when you are sitting in church listening to God’s Word being taught, are you “tuned in” to only one station – that of hearing from God? Or are you trying to tune in to several stations at one time – your text messages, your email alerts, your Facebook notifications or other distractions?
Oh that we would love God’s Words so much that we would “hang on to every word” so we won’t miss a single thing He wants to say to us!
Refresh the way you listen to the Word today. Stay tuned in to only One voice. What precious words did He speak to you today?
When our daughter and son-in-law brought their precious twin boys home from the hospital, I watched with intensity as they got the babies ready to go to sleep in their bassinets. They would lay down a blanket on the changing table, set the baby at an angle in the middle, and then bring each side in very tightly. Finally the bottom part of the blanket came up and was tucked in securely. it was like they were ready for shipping by UPS! There was not chance for flailing arms or legs – every part of the boys was tucked safely and securely inside.
This was a whole new approach to me, since my last baby came more than 25 years before. I felt concerned.
“Won’t the boys need to stretch?” I asked.
“This swaddle will keep them from jumping and alarming themselves while they sleep” my daughter explained.
True to its word, that tight little swaddle kept them snug and sleeping soundly until their tummies woke them up with hunger.
Little babies have it made, don’t they?! To be wrapped so safely and snuggly and allowed to rest like that would be like….well, it would be just like what Christ does for us as His children. As a matter of a fact, there’s even a reference in Scripture to the Lord doing that very thing for David.
We’ve been taking a look at the story of Nabal the fool and how he angered David by refusing to feed him and his men after they had treated Nabal’s sheep shearers kindly. David decided this man and all his household would die as a result! A wise servant of Nabal’s hurries to Nabal’s wife, Abigail to tell her what has taken place and also of the sure destruction that was coming soon unless someone stopped David.
Wise and beautiful Abigail stepped in by sending a huge gift of food to David and his men. (Wisdom fed the men before talking!) It was sheep shearing time, and there had been lots of preparations, so she was well able to load the donkeys with the best of food to fill the appetites of these hungry soldiers.
But now David needed to be addressed and Abigail had the godly character and wisdom to know just how to speak the truth into his heart. You can read exactly what she said here. She simply reminded David that if he killed these innocent men, he would have a blight on his name, but if he would trust the Lord, God would take care of wicked Nabal.
As I imagine this scene in my mind, I see David’s hand drop from his sword and hang down at his side. His shoulders relax and his head drops as he realizes the foolish decision he had been spared.
Abigail reminded David of a truth that is especially beautiful for each one of us who know Christ and could feel like some threat or danger is before us ~
But the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God;
She was saying that David was safe in God’s hands, that God would watch over and protect him, just like a traveler who carries their precious possessions bundled up underneath their robes.
Friends, that is our position in Christ! We are bound up in His bundle! It’s like He has us wrapped up in a swaddling blanket and carries us close to His heart.
When I was a girl we would sing the song, Safe am I, safe am I, in the hollow of His hand. There’s no better place to be than safe in Christ!
(Here’s a recording of the song made by The Dayspring Quartet.)
Whatever trouble may be around you today, stop and realize that if Christ is your Savior, you are safe and secure in Him…all day and all night, too. Like those little baby boys wrapped so tightly, there’s no need for us to jump or be alarmed!
Now rest peacefully.