Light from the Law of the Lord

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.

When reading scripture, it’s helpful to picture a flashlight or a light coming out from the pages and highlighting the words you’re reading. As we read over the words, as we see them and take them in, they are literally lighting our path. Our path might be dark and unknown but these words light it up!

Not enough people use the Bible as a guide for their lives, perhaps because they are not sure how to use it. One of the best ways someone conveyed this message to me referred to the Bible as:

Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.

The book of Psalms is especially helpful for this. Choose any chapter and chances are it has some very good information that can be applied to your life right now. The book of Proverbs is great for this as well. The gospels are a staple of course. You can find so many of Jesus’ parables full of advice and guidance. What is really beneficial for us is to get an actual study bible. This bible comes chock full of references and explanations which are needed for some of those difficult and lengthy passages that might leave us confused and baffled. A study bible explains it much more clearly for us.

Fit in Your Faith Today: Open the bible and find a passage that speaks to you. Picture that light coming from the pages, lighting up the way. Highlight your favorite verses so you can come back to them later. Purchase a Study Bible if you can to delve even deeper into your reading. It can change your life!

 

Will You Pray for Me?

James 5:16

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

“I’ll pray for you.”

Do you think this or say this often to your friends or family members who are in need of help? And if you do, do you mean it?

It’s good practice to pray for people and for things that don’t directly benefit you. Often, it’s those that are near and dear to us who need prayer, too. Sure, it’s easy to assume that they’ll just pray for themselves but wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are earnestly praying for them as well?

Not only is prayer the best way to communicate with God but confession as this passage from James reminds us is also a huge part of our faith. Discussing our faults, our problems and our troubles with a spiritual adviser, priest, minister or even a friend can help us become closer to God and become better Christians overall. By discussing and praying and confessing, we build that relationship with God that we need, even though we might not think this to be true sometimes.

Too many times we might think, “I’ll solve this problem on my own,” or “I can do this myself, I don’t need anyone’s help.”

Think of prayer and confession as the telephone line linked directly to God. He is the first one you should call upon when you need help, not the last resort.

Fit In Your Faith Today: Who will you pray for today that needs help? Even if they didn’t come out and directly as you to pray for them, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you are praying for someone else other than yourself?

 

Making a Path Through the Wilderness

Isaiah 43:18-19

“But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Good News Translation

But the Lord says, “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already – you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.”

These scripture verses give us hope. We are told to forget the past and all that has already taken place. That’s old news. He is already working toward a new plan for us!

Do you rehash and constantly replay past events in your mind? Things that may have hurt you or caused you sadness or anger? We tend to do this when we’ve had an argument or disagreement with someone:

“I can’t believe the way that Bob embarrassed me at the meeting! I’m never going to let him live that down.”

“Mary didn’t me to invite me to her daughters birthday┬áparty last week. And she had such a lame excuse when I asked her about it! I’m so hurt by this. Why do friends act this way?”

“I don’t like the way Suzanne looked at me when I saw her at the PTA meeting. What’s her problem? I’ll remember this the next time she asks a favor from me.”

We can’t hold a grudge forever, we have to move on. If someone hurts us, they should apologize. But what if we never get that apology? We have to figure out a way to move on and move past the hurt and the pain. It’s time to get on a new plan that God has set for us.

Appreciate the last sentence: “I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.”

You can visualize the struggles, the arguments and the pain as the wilderness. You’re making your way through it now with no end in sight. But you can relax as the Lord says that He will provide us with streams of water, relief is in sight! He tells us He has already started to help us, we just have to have faith He will lead us out of this “wilderness,” this dark time in our life.

Fit In You Faith Today: If you’re dwelling on the past, living in the past, and can’t seem to find your way out of the past, pray for the strength to move forward. If someone never apologized for hurting you, forgive them anyways. Even if you don’t tell them out loud that you forgive them, forgive them in your mind. You can then find your way out of the “wilderness” to the “streams of water” that God has waiting for you.

 

 

You have a Purpose

Jeremiah 1:5

“I knew before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

From New Life Study Bible: God knew you, as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. He thought about you and planned for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and that he has a purpose in mind for you.

At times, many of us must wonder what our purpose in life is and how can we figure it out? How do we discern what that purpose is?

We’re all called to something, some kind of role in life. Many people feel a pull, or even a PUSH! from God in a certain direction. More often, I think we know when we are NOT meant to be in a certain role (like a job, or living in a certain city, or in a relationship). Sometimes you can feel that it’s wrong, or just not meant to be.

We should be careful not to obsess over this. Pray about it, of course. But a better way to go about finding our purpose might be to choose to become the best version of ourselves in every action we make. If you wake up everyday attempting to live your life in a godly way – choosing good over evil, choosing hard work over laziness, choosing smiles over sadness, how can you not say you’re not living your purpose?

Fit in your Faith Today: Are you constantly searching and discerning what God’s purpose is for you? Recognize that this is something we all wonder about. But spend more time in prayer asking God to open your eyes to your purpose so as not to close your eyes to other things around you that require your attention.

A Little Help: Listen to this Podcast from Busted Halo as they discuss this exact same question.

Your Body is a Temple

1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

This scripture passage is my screensaver on my iPad and laptop. Why? I found it one day while searching for some sort of guidance while dieting and trying to stick to my meal plan.

I refer to it when I’m feeling like having a huge binge or having some food that I know will not be healthy for me. So I would read this sentence over and over until it sunk in. I also remembered other passages that remind us that our bodies are our temples and you shouldn’t trash the temple (by eating junk food).

But you can also reflect on this passage a little differently and think that whatever task you do, as mundane as it may be, do it for the glory of God. Does the food you eat and the drinks you consume glorify God? Do they honor your body and your health?

Fit In Your Faith Today: Do your actions throughout the day glorify God, or do they dishonor God and yourself? Are you giving in to tempting foods and drink that you know don’t do honor to God or to your body? Treat your body and your mind as a holy temple. Visualize yourself as this temple the next time you are tempted to engage in behavior or habits that don’t glorify God.

Wisdom, not Pride.

Proverbs 3:7-8

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

Good News Translation:

Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.

The book of Proverbs always has interesting insights. Especially the direct nature of the wording.

This one basically says – Don’t be a know-it-all. You aren’t all that smart.

This isn’t meant to make us feel inferior or unintelligent. I believe it’s just meant to take the ego down a notch. Don’t let yourself become inflated with thinking you are superior to others.

On the contrary, obey the Lord and turn away from evil and wrongdoing. By doing so, it acts like medicine for our broken bodies. It eases the pain in our hearts. I appreciate that this passage compares obeying God as a way to stay healthy in mind, body and soul. You can think of sin or doing not-so-great things as causing a wound in our body to be opened. Or pain in our soul taking place. What’s the cure? Good works. Good words. Good actions. Obeying the Lord and treating others as equals.

Fit in Your Faith Today: Do you talk down or act differently around people who you think are inferior to you? Do you think yourself as being a know-it-all sometimes? Try to look at others as equals, no matter what their job or their education level or social status says about them. Treat them well, obey the Lord as He commands us, and our minds and bodies and souls will be healed from the pain of mistreatment, anger, and pride.

Who do you love?

1 John 4:7

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

From The New Life Study Bible:

Everyone believes that love is important, but love is usually thought of as a feeling. In reality, love is a choice and an action as 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 shows. God is the source of our love. He loved us enough to sacrifice his Son for us. Jesus is our example of what it means to love; everything he did in life and death was supremely loving. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to love; he lives in our heart and makes us more and more like Christ. God’s love always involves a choice and an action, and our love should be like his. How well do you display your love for God in the choices you make and the actions you take?

What stood out for me in this particular passage was just the overall theme of love of course. Especially with the latest news of terrorist attacks in Paris and the civil unrest that seems to be happening everywhere in the world and just overall bad and terrible news everywhere you turn. It can really make you ask the question: “Where is the love?”

The last line – Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. I automatically consider the opposite of love which is hate obviously. People are full of hate. Full of evil. These extremists or terrorists or whatever category you want to put them in – their heart isn’t full of love. At least, not the kind of love that God represents. I’m not sure what or who they love, but I imagine it’s not our God. I believe it’s their choice to choose hate instead of love, for reasons I don’t begin to understand.

But perhaps the focus should be on ourselves when we reflect on passages like this one. So what can I do or how do I relate to this passage personally? I find it comforting. I find it to be absolutely spot on. I used to think of love as just a feeling. But it’s a relationship. It’s an action. But is it an action that I display every day?

Fit In Your Faith Today: Take the question the Study Bible asks – How well do you display our love for God in the choices and actions you make each day? Are you displaying a loving side of yourself to others or an angry, or disappointed, or prideful side? How can you change these actions and choices to be loving instead?

 

Don’t be a Jezebel

2 Kings 9:36

“But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands.”

Jezebel’s skull, feet and hands were all that remained of her evil life – no power, no money, no prestige, no royal finery, no family, no spiritual heritage.

In the end, her life of luxury and treachery amounted to nothing.

Power, health, and wealth may make you feel as if you can live forever. But death strips everyone of all external security. The time to set your life’s course is now, while you still have time and before you heart becomes hardened. The end will come soon enough.

-From The New Life Study Bible

 

Fit in You Faith Today: Do you appreciate life more than power and money and social status? If you stripped away every material thing in your life, would you still consider yourself to be “rich” in your life? As the study guide suggests, it’s never too late to set your life’s course. Our time on earth is never guaranteed.

Fix Your Thoughts on What is True

Philippians 4:8

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

What we put into our mind determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our mind with thoughts that are true, honorable, pure, lovely, right and admirable.

Do you have problems with focusing your mind on honorable and true things? Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, social media, books, music, movies, magazines, conversations, etc. What kind of information is being communicated to you?

Is this information harmful to you? Is it negative? Ask yourself if it’s even true? Is it even worthy of your time to think and daydream such things? Replace this input with better thoughts. Godly thoughts. Positive thoughts. Above all, read God’s Word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and praiseworthy.

This won’t happen overnight. This takes a long time to get this thought process down. But with prayer and practice, it can happen.

Fit In Your Faith Today: What harmful thoughts have entered your mind? Do you start your day with these thoughts? Get started on the right foot and read God’s words instead of words of the secular world. Read and think thoughts that are helpful, not harmful.

Stop circling this mountain…

Deuteronomy 2:3

Then at last the Lord said to me, “You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; now turn to the north.”

Different translations read: “You have circled this mountain long enough; now turn north.”

The point is clear either way you translate it – God doesn’t like us to play the victim. He’d like us to stop with the self-pity, the fear, the pride, the negativity that can paralyze us. He’d like us to stop circling whatever mountain it is we are on, and go in a different direction.

From the book “Made to Crave” by Lysa Terkeurst – the author quotes a friend named Ruth Graham who has this to say:

Either we ca be victimized and become victims, or we can be victimized and rise above it. Often it is easier to play the victim than take off our masks and ask for help. We get comfortable with our victim status. It becomes our identity and is hard to give up. The Israelites often played the the victim card, and I love what God finally tells them: Turn North! It’s time to move on! Taking off our masks takes courage, but if we don’t do it, we will remain in our victim status and end up stunted.

Do you find yourself claiming to be a victim of your circumstances?

Social Status: I’m too nice to people so I allow friends to take advantage of me. Why do they do this to me?

Health Status: I’m overweight because I have bad genetics. It’s not fair that other people can eat whatever they want and never gain a pound!

Financial Status: I have so much debt that I accumulated over the years. I don’t get paid enough by my job to pay it off!

Marriage/Single Status: I lost so much in the divorce, I have to start at square one! It’s not my fault that it happened! Or, I don’t understand why I’m still single when all my friends are married with kids. Why is it so for me to meet the right person?

Fit in your Faith Today: God is telling you to stop toiling the mountain that your on and start in a NEW direction. It’s a new year. The start of a new chapter in your book of 365 pages. Are you going to stay wandering in the desert of self pity and victimization? Or are you going to heed God’s word and start a new path?