patty drove up to Trout Lake yesterday to visit my Mom, and while she was there the front tire on the car she was driving came off, and she went down the road with the brake rotor as the new front tire. Fortunately it happened on a straight stretch of road, and no one was hurt. In the picture you can see the 4 studs broken off. The tow truck operator that brought the car home today said it was the fifth time this summer that he has been called to pick up vehicles that had wheels come off.
Psalms 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.
My guess is that Patty had an angel or two watching out for her today. Many people claim that guardian angels are watching over them, but it is important to note that Psalms 34:7 is not a blanket promise to everyone, there is a very clear condition attached to the promise. The condition is “those who fear the Lord”, and for those who do, this promise is for them. There are many commands in the Bible to fear the Lord, but most just blow it off as old fashioned. There are several aspects to fearing God, the first is that we acknowledge and believe that God made the rules for life, not us, we, ourselves. The second aspect to the fear of God is believing without a doubt that God sees everything we do, clearly and in detail, we don’t get lost in the crowd. The third aspect is that God is not mocked or ignored, when we violate God’s rules there is a consequence. God is merciful and does forgive, but only if we acknowledge that what we did was wrong, and commit to making the effort to not do that again, asking for God to give us His strength and power to keep the commitment always pleases Him.
I often hear people taunt God by saying, “a loving God doesn’t punish people”, God’s response in Revelation 3:19 is “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” But the real question is, “do we love God”? In John 14:15 Jesus has this to say, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
I write and speak a lot on the Blessings of God. God promises blessings for reading His Word, He promises blessings to those who pray, there is at least a dozen blessings listed very specifically for fearing Him, there are some very cool blessings for those who give their hard earned money away to God’s work, and there are blessings promised for kids who honor their parents.
In our American culture most have given the word blessing a very secular meaning. If someone walks into a room which you are in with others, and this person announces loudly that God has blessed him, what comes to your mind? Most will think that the person got a raise, a promotion, a new car, or an unexpected vacation to Hawaii. We like easy, more, and better, so we equate that with blessing. God’s blessings have to do with growth, character development, and fruit bearing that glorifies and pleases God. Remember, in God’s plan hard is good, and easy is bad. The devil has reversed that so now instead of pursuing lasting fruit we pursue comfort and security. Motive is important.
I haven’t felt good today. I get sick about once every 5 years so I have been spoiled in that regard. I try and ignore it and just do my normal routine, but I slip into short bouts of self-pity periodically, and then lapse into “nothingness”. I try and use the time sitting in my recliner to read, write, and pray, but I am struggling to focus and have to keep going back to reread what I just read, or rewrite what I just wrote because when I go back and reread it, it seems so stupid.
Good health is such a blessing, and should never be taken for granted. As I sit here feeling awful I have written a new goal, “I will end every day thanking the Lord for my health, even when I don’t feel well I will thank him for the good days in the past, and declare to Him that I am looking forward to when He comes and delivers us from this world and this body, and we get our new, glorified body that will be super strong and never get sick or tired.
Going to bed early tonight and seeing if 8 hours of sleep will make a difference tomorrow.
1. Wisdom is knowing what to and what to say in any situation we find ourself in. Wisdom is solving problems and overcoming obstacles in our life. The more wisdom we have the more we will understand God. Psalms 119:97-98 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine.
2. Success is accomplishing the goals that God prompted me to write down and pursue. 2 Chronicles 31:21 Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered. Psalms 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
3. I hunger and thirst to be more and more righteous. 2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, Psalms 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
4. Inner strength gives me the ability to manage great loads of responsibility without burning out or getting weary. Psalms 119:28 My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.
5. If I seek the Lord, I will find Him, if I draw near to God He will draw near to me. I can know the Lord intimately, and the more I read His Word the closer my walk with Him will become.
6. Joy does not come from good times or good things, joy comes from the Lord. Psalms 119:111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.
7. The devil wants to devour me, cause me to sin , and steal all of my joy. 1 John 2:14 I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
8. The greatest fear of almost every person is to be shamed. God protects us from shame as we honor Him by honoring His Word. Psalms 119:22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies.
9. The motivation to pray grows stronger as I faithfully read the Bible. My faith that God will indeed answer my prayers grows ever stronger as I read the Bible. My influence with God and my power in prayer continually increases as I faithfully read His Word.
10. God has a plan for my life, and that plan is great, but I must seek for it diligently. Those who faithfully read His Word know what the will of God is for their life.
11. Every believer ought to be teacher in some way. Some make the Word come alive when they teach it, and others bore those they teach. Those who faithfully read the Bible will be used by God to teach others.
12. Rejoice always and grumble about nothing. Those who faithfully read the Bible grow to become more and more positive as a Christian who sees the good instead of all the problems.
13. Understanding what the Bible means is a challenge, but those who faithfully read it grow in their understanding of it, and every time through the word results in greater depth of understanding.
14. Self-control is a foundational character trait. The strength of our self-control is a key in defeating the devil’s temptation, the draw of the world, and conquering our own flesh. Making a commitment or goal to read the Word and faithfully pursuing that goal is a great exercise to grow strong in this key character trait.
15. Loving the world and the stuff in the world is a major obstacle in our loving God. Faithfully reading the Word truly helps us see things with their true value or more accurately lack of value.
16. Hebrews 5:13-14 says that those who faithfully partake of solid spiritual food, and are accustomed to the Word will be able to discern between good and evil, truth and lies, right and wrong.
17. Without faith it is impossible to please God. If we have faith even as small as a mustard seed nothing will be impossible for us. Abraham grew strong in faith. We grow our faith by reading the Word of God.
18. If we have no fear of death, all other fears will be conquered as well. As we faithfully read the living Word of God our fear of death is replaced by genuine anticipation of the glory of eternity.
19. We think about things other than what we see, and we think about things other than what we are doing at any given time. Colossians 3 says to “set your mind on the things above”. Every believer will stand before Jesus and give an accounting of his life and be rewarded for the work they have done for God. Our focus on the Word gets us focused on the finish line.
20. Paul told Timothy that all food is good if received with gratitude and that it is sanctified by means of the Word and prayer. There are a number of factors in having good health, and one of the most important is God’s blessing, which He gives to those who seek Him diligently by reading His Word.
21. We get callouses on our hands, and scares on our body, and we also get them on our soul from painful events. God’s Word restores or heals our soul.
22. If we abide in Jesus and His Word abides in us we will bear much fruit, accomplish much with our life that matters, that changes things, and that is eternal.
23. The hardest thing in life to do is to love unlovable people, but as I faithfully read the Word my love for every person God sovereignly brings into my life will grow and abound.
24. Always speaking wholesome words, and never words that hurt or tear down is also incredibly hard. As we faithfully read the Bible our speech becomes more and more grace filled.
25. Leadership is influence, and godly leaders influence others towards greater faith in, and love of God. This influence is an invisible force given to us by God as we honor Him by honoring His Word.
An illustration that I use with young people that I am teaching about leadership is a white piece of paper with iron filings on it, and a magnet. I move the magnet around under the paper resulting in the iron filings moving as well. Some people are like that magnet, they influence other people’s behavior, and they do it like the magnet’s influence over the iron filings. The magnet doesn’t touch the iron filings, it has this invisible force or attraction that influences. When people have this ability to influence others, to lead with seemingly an invisible force or attraction we usually say that they have charisma. Instead of charisma I use the word “sovereignty”. Charisma is usually understood as a gift that some have that they were born with, but sovereignty is given to us by God as we earn it. The Bible teaches that God is all sovereign, He controls everything, but He gives His sovereignty to people who have been faithful with responsibility that they have. In the parable Jesus teaches about the talents He says, “you have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things”. I would describe faithfulness as doing what you committed to doing even when you don’t feel like it, when it isn’t convenient, when you are tired etc. so many people’s Bible reading is irregular because they read when it works out, when they feel like it. Psalms 1 describes the faithful person as one who meditates on the Word day and night. Nobody just feels like doing that, they do it because they made the commitment to, and they keep their commitment. Faithfully reading the Bible every day is a value that we have established in our life, and we rarely miss, good days and bad days, because we are faithful. A major blessing they receive is power to influence others.
Ephesians 4:29 is one of my main life verses that I spend time meditating on most days, that is I have memorized it so I repeat it several times until I get it perfect, and then I think about it usually pondering each word and phrase, then I think about how I am doing living it.
Ephesians 4:29. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
James 3:5-6. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
I desire very much to speak only words that give grace to those who hear me, and never words that would hurt or offend. That is very hard to do, especially in light of our culture that has made speaking rude, insulting, critical words, that have as their purpose to hurt and wound the national sport.
I spend about 30 minutes every day memorizing Bible verses and reviewing the ones I have already memorized. I started this daily discipline when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and in my reading and studying about the disease discovered that most people with Parkinson’s begin to struggle with some level of senility and the ability to think clearly and concentrate. But I also discovered that working our mind hard will hold this consequence at bay for some time.
One of the other benefits that I have discovered from memorizing the Bible is that my speaking and communication skill seems to have increased fairly rapidly. By memorizing and meditating on God’s Word it makes my speaking automatically more in line with the Words I have memorized. It is like I have programmed my brain how to talk. Faithfully reading every day the living, supernatural Word of God will transform our thinking and the words that we automatically speak out in the real world.
Every morning I repeat my personal commitments and ask God to help me keep those commitments. There are about a dozen commitments that I make every morning, and one of them is, “I will love any and every person You sovereignly bring into my life no matter how difficult they may be to love”. I am not a people person, I am not an extrovert, I struggle trying to carry on a conversation with everyone except my closest friends. It is easy for me to ignore people. I have clearly defined for myself what it means to love people around me, what my commitment to love people in my life, looks like, especially the difficult to love ones.
As I faithfully read the Bible my awareness of God’s love for me grows, I begin to understand more and more all that God has done so that I can live with Him forever. He created me as an act of His will, He created a world and orchestrates the events of my life in this world to mold and shape my character to be like Jesus, Jesus left heaven and became like me, bridging the gap between us, He took all my sin upon Himself and received terrible punishment in my place as payment for my sin, He suffered in this life so that He could understand me, sympathize with me and help me.
John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
I read the Bible just about every day, and I am growing a little bit every day in my understanding of God’s amazing desire for my fellowship.
We are getting close to the end, 25 Blessings of Reading the Bible. When we get to the end take the 25 and rewrite them in your own words, but try and keep each one under 50 words, and then once every month read them. It is hard not to stay faithful when you motivate yourself with God’s blessings in your life, it works for me. Some occasionally respond to me by suggesting that being motivated by Blessings is less than noble. I would agree if we were talking about getting rich, being more comfortable, and having less trials. But we are talking about being able to teach the Bible better, having greater faith, growing wiser as a person, having inner strength to live life responsibly, I hardly see those as being selfish.
This #22 blessing is one of the most motivational for me. The result of God’s Word abiding in us is that we bear much fruit, we do things with our life that changes people for eternity. I want that more than anything, I want to bear fruit, I want to bear more and more and more. John 15:7-8 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” I am so discontent with what I have accomplished with my life, I want, I really want more.
No one does more with their life unless God gives them the opportunity, the open door. If God chooses to keep us on the bench that is where we stay. Revelation 3:7-8. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
I am going to be 70 in 2 more months, and that means I have a lot of history in my life. Some of that history is good, some of it is very good, and some is super. I remember those events with a smile on my face. But some of the history in my life is bad, very bad, and awful. The history that we have experienced leaves an impression on our soul, it programs us, creates scares, we develop fears, insecurities, weird ways of acting, and some of our history is so damaging that names have been given to it such as “post traumatic stress disorder”.
The fact that we all have a history, some of which has scared our soul is a given, the question is, can the damage done be healed so that we have a healthy soul?
Psalms 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The Word of God, the Bible is living, supernatural, the Sword of the Spirit, and faithfully reading it, memorizing and meditating on it has great power to heal our souls over time.
Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently,
We would proactively guard our own soul by choosing to discipline our life in such a way to make sure that we include time for the Word of God every day.
Good health is probably one of the greatest of all blessings. When we are sick and don’t feel well at all, life is pretty miserable. On the other hand when we feel healthy, full of energy, enthusiasm, and joy, life is good. Because of this we all tend to do things that proactively enhance our health to one degree or another. I ride my stationary bicycle an hour almost every evening because it seems to make a huge difference in staying on top of my Parkinson’s and not letting it get me down. I am highly motivated in this discipline because of the obvious difference it makes in my health. Today there is a huge emphasis on exercising and on diet because of the obvious difference it makes in our health. I have family who sell organic milk, eggs, and vegetables because of the number of people who want to eat organic as much as is possible to stay healthy. I am very faithful in my exercise, and I am becoming more and more careful about what I eat and how much in order to maintain my weight and health.
I believe very strongly in personal discipline and responsibility, but I also believe that apart from God’s Blessing we would just be a pile of dust on the floor. If God makes us healthy we will be healthy indeed. In 1 Timothy 4:3-5 God communicates some conditions in order for Him to make us healthy. “Men who advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
Interesting, the food we eat is “sanctified” by God. I would guess that means that it is made healthy. It is sanctified by “the Word of God and by prayer”. That could mean that reading some Bible passages and then praying, thanking God for our food as part of our dining routine would result in God sanctifying, cleansing, and making healthy the food we eat. I tend to believe that it has more to do with our lifestyle of daily reading, memorizing, and meditating on His Word, and then pressing on to live the principles we have learned. And also the second thing mentioned is prayer, and again I would think that the Lord is emphasizing a lifestyle of prayer as apposed to a short blessing given before we eat,