Monthly Archives: January 2011

comfort

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In BSF this week, we moved from Woe to Comfort as we began chapter 40.  I have been so instructed by the first 39 chapters, I can’t imagine what is to come!

So, this chapter begins with Comfort!

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.  A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”    A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.    Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”  Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.  He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:1-11 ESV)


Principles from today’s lesson:

1.  God’s forgiveness strengthens his people to leave their past behind.

-the occasion for forgiveness is failure

-but we must remember that God has forgiven, we are covered, and he is now restoring us to himself.

-Romans 2:4  “…God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”

2. God’s presence strengthens His people to repent.  To turn from sin and turn to God.

-God is light.  He is pure and Holy.

-When he shines on us, we are exposed!

-Are we willing to let God cause huge upheaval in our lives? to ‘wreck’ everything?

-once we are exposed to our sin, we must not become bogged down by it.

-are we paralyzed to move out of that dark place? what are we holding on to?

3.  Repentance is comfort God’s presence gives to his people.

-this is where we stay in the light

-we understand how much God has forgiven us and we can forgive others.

4.  God’s unchanging word strengthens his people to live with an eternal perspective.

-we can trust God’s word, live by these truths today and forever.

5.  God himself is the greatest joy and comfort we have.

-He is all we need, our source of all comfort.

-He comforts us through his promises, presence and his provision.

I am still very much reflecting on all these principles .. thankfully, we will be spending 3 weeks on this chapter .. it is so rich.

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planting trees

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I’ve copied an excerpt here from one of my favorite blogs, ‘girltalk’. Nicole Whitcare shares an interview with Andrew Peterson as he talks about the story behind his song, “Planting Trees.” As we’ve been studying the Sermon on the Mount at church, I’ve been challenged to invest in things that matter and have a Kingdom perspective. His words here further challenge me in that regard, specifically in my role as a wife and mom …

Counting Stars (album title) by Andrew Peterson

“The song“Planting Trees” is about investing in the things that matter and kingdom work. I wrote it for my wife who is not a singer/song writer, is not a musician or an artist–she is a great mom and makes our home this beautiful, magical place. We were at a retreat together, and I think we were in a small group, like a little breakout group, and the question we were all answering was, ‘What is it that you’re doing to change the world?’

“My answer was easy because for the last 15 years or so, I have had a clear sense of my call, I’m called to write songs and to encourage people and to teach people and entertain them, too, while I’m doing it. So I have a clear vision for what it is that I do and it’s easy for me to see the fruit of that ministry because I’ll get a case of e-mails or I’ll get to talk to people at shows.

“Then the question came around to my wife and her answer to the question … was that she’s raising these three kids in the kingdom. She’s impressing the words of the Lord on these children and raising them up to change the world. It was just a beautiful thought to me. It’s too bad that moms out there don’t get e-mails from random people telling them what great mothers they are. So this song is kind of an e-mail thanks to her for that idea that the greatest work we can do on this earth is investing in other human beings for the sake of Christ. It’s hard to picture a more direct version of that than a mother blessing her children.”

She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

lesson learned

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Sometimes I have to learn lessons the hard way .. well, maybe more often than sometimes ..

So, today I decided to break my streak of not having run for about 3 weeks and go for a run.  I had about an hour to work with, so I set out for a 6 mile run .. completing about 5.2 miles.

The lesson learned . . . NOT a good idea to run 5+ miles when you haven’t run for a while.  I’m not sure what hurts more .. my knees, legs, back, or my pride!

hope

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A friend shared this passage with me this morning .. I just had to post it!

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:21-25 ESV)

What I have never noticed previously in this passage, verse 21, “I call this to mind,”.  Another great reminder of the benefits of right thinking .. the steadfast mind has HOPE .. “The Lord is my portion … I will HOPE in Him!”

Revisiting the Psalms

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125:1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the Lord will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel!


a few years back, I did a study on the psalms of ascent (Beth Moore’s Stepping Up bible study) .. I recently dusted it off and have been revisiting it.  As I’ve been thinking on the idea of Trust this week, this Psalm especially stood out to me.

I love the picture of God surrounding us as the mountains surround Jerusalem!

 

Psalm 34:17-19

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

but the Lord delivers him out of them all.


“God’s great deliverance in itself presupposes a trouble from which the person was delivered.  God’s closeness to the brokenhearted presupposes a difficulty that broke the heart.  … God never promised to remove us from the human experience, but for those of us who call Jesus Savior, the only difficulty we’ll ever experience will be right here.”

This psalm is illustrated in the New Testament with Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:22,

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.


I liken this to physical exercise .. something I can relate to.  It’s challenging, it can be painful, it leaves us out of breath, muscles must break down to build up, and it can be discouraging when we don’t see results right away.

“God’s delivering us from every ounce of trial will never develop the relationship that occurs when God shows Himself faithful in the midst of difficulty, delivering us through it.”

This is where we come to know Him and to depend solely on Him .. where our faith is strengthened .. where we are called to Trust!

cleaning

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I won’t limit my ‘lessons learned’ to just spiritual ones .. though if anyone can make a spiritual application of this one, I’d love to hear it 🙂

So, it was finally time to clean the microwave .. I remember reading somewhere that if you boil some water in a glass dish in your microwave, leave it in there for a while without opening the door, the steam will loosen all the crud in there. So, I tried it .. and thought I needed something extra, so I added some soap to my water.

Worked like a charm, I highly recommend it!

Here’s to a clean microwave in which I can now warm my day-old coffee .. Happy!

safe

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To the one who’s dreams are falling all apart

And all you’re left with is a tired and broken heart

I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own

but you’re not all alone
Have you heard of the

One who can calm the raging seas

Give sight to the blind,

pull the lame up to their feet

With a love so strong he’ll never let you go

oh you’re not alone
Chorus:

You will be safe in His arms

You will be safe in His arms

‘Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart

This is the promise He made

He will be with You always

When everything is falling apart

You will be safe in His arms
Did you know that the voice that brings the dead to life

Is the very same voice that calls you to rise

So hear Him now He’s calling you home

You will never be alone

These are the hands that built the mountains

the hands that calm the seas

These are the arms that hold the heavens

they are holding you and me
These are hands that healed the leper

Pulled the lame up to their feet

These are the arms that were nailed to a cross

to break our chains and set us free!