We are studying the book of Judges in our Women’s Bible Study at Compass Bible Church. I have always considered the Israelites to be so block-headed. I mean, were they really that stupid? It hit me this morning as I sat there on my high horse looking figuratively down on people who lived over 3,000 years ago that I am them. I struggle with the same things over and over and over again. OK let’s be real here, by “things” I mean sin. So, I decided to give myself a challenge based on a question in the study. The question asked me to read Luke 6:12-16 where it describes Jesus praying prior to him selecting his group of highly esteemed men to follow him, be his disciples, and ultimately represent him when he left. Did I say highly esteemed? We highly esteem them today, but at the time these men were a bunch of rag-tag misfits. They could not have been any more lame. They were dumb, arrogant, hot-headed, selfish, liars, swindlers, and thieves whom Jesus choose to glorify him! These men were radically changed. I couldn’t possibly be that bad… or could I? So, here is my challenge (and I encourage you to take the challenge too.)
1. Write down every weakness you can think of about yourself. Everything you think, everything you would say your spouse would say, everything you think your friends would say, and everything you think your siblings and yes, even your mom and dad would say is your weakness. Lay it all out there.
2. Do a word study Galatians 5:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. Write down all the words that you know should characterize you and your life. Highlight or mark the words or phrases that you think you need work on. Choose as many as apply.
3. Go back to your main list of weaknesses and write the word that would be the best opposite from your word study in 1 Corinthians and Galatians.
4. Add up which words got the most play and write a few sentences describing what you need from God. (See my example in the photo.)
5. Take some time today to pray thoughtfully about what you learned. Possibly even ask God to radically make some changes in your life so you do not keep the sin cycle up in those areas of your life. Allow God to work and SHINE through your weaknesses. Don’t hide them, use them to the glory of God!
You are love and I am not. I adore You for this. I praise You for your complete and utter ability to love and be fully love. I am sadly no where close, yet I know You want me to share this attribute in You. I feel like I get it some days and then am slammed with the realization that my love that I think is selfless is actually dipped in selfish ambition and vain conceit. It is horrifying really. I long for the day that I am able to truly, selflessly, love like You do. I know I never will to the extent of who You are but knowing that I must work toward this in a highly physically pressing world is something I need to get past and beyond moment by moment. I tell my mind, STOP IT, be loving. STOP IT, be humble. STOP IT, be kind. STOP IT, be patient. But then the tears well up again and some sort of unloving thought comes into my mind. Anger, Envy, Selfishness, Entitlement, Disappointment, a whole host of feelings contrary to LOVE. You are love. You are perfect in love in every way. Help me to be more like You today. Give me grace and mercy to honor your desire for me to be more and more like You. Forgive me for always asking for forgiveness over the same things. Forgive me again and help me to grow closer and sanctified in this area over and over and over and over again until I am home with You!
How can you obey God’s voice if you are not listening to Him? How can you hear Him? Should you be hearing Him audibly? No. Should you base all your decisions on how the spirit is leading you even if it might be contrary to Scripture? No. Is it the “still small voice” you hear sometimes that you should be listening to? No. God speaks to us through the Scriptures. So, if you are not reading the Bible every day, and embarking on some sort of daily Bible study (ie. TAN method, WBS, or some other form of study) how are you going to know what God wants you to obey? Our pastor, Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church very seldom doles out definitive directives from the pulpit where he uses his authority to ask firmly that his congregants do something specific. Now remember, if you have placed yourself under someones authority such as your husband, boss, and yes, your church, and that authority asks you to do something (that is not outside moral law) then you need to do it. They will be judged by God on how well they led, and you will be judged on how well you submitted to the authority you are placed under. Yes, man is fallible, but it is your responsibility to do as they ask even if you don’t fully agree with it, again, only if it is not outside God’s moral laws.
Understanding this, our pastor has asked us to read the DBR (Daily Bible Reading). He has specific reasons for this and it is important that you do as he asks. He desires first of all that all of the people at our church are in the Bible every day. Second, though, he is not asking that you haphazardly read whatever you wish. He wants you to read the WHOLE Bible every year so you can get the “Big Picture.” And third, he wants his congregation to actively read together and he has asked that we all post a comment on the DBR even if it is as simple as “I read it and it was good.” I am absolutely stunned at how many people DO NOT do as our pastor asks. So, I am encouraging each one of you to read the DBR every day AND post a quick comment that simply says “I read it and it was good.”
Let’s also consider how we are submitting to the other areas of our life with respect to the authorities we are under. God will bless you that it may be well with you!
“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’” ~ Jeremiah 7:23
Today my Dad taught me a lesson. One that he has taught me over and over again my whole life but for some reason today was a little different. We set out to go to dinner tonight with my husband and my son. We were leaving a little late and I had a schedule to keep, plans that my Type-A insidiousness would not want hindered. My husband needed to go to the bank before we went to dinner, and being the good dad that he is he let Jacob, our son dictate the restaurant. BJs it was. But my husband turned right, when BJs and the bank was left. I quickly corrected him and said he needed to go left. He said politely back that he wanted to go to the regular bank. But, here I was, in my own mind rightly correct, and on my own self-serving agenda. So, in true “Jenny” fashion (only my husband calls me Jenny so don’t get any ideas, because remember, I am Type-A) I snapped back that the bank was FULLY in the opposite direction and that there was a perfectly good ATM machine right next to the restaurant. And really, we were just going to use the ATM machine at the actual bank too so what is the difference? He shook his head, kept his cool, and instantly took the next U-turn he could and therefor I got my way. I instantly regretted the whole thing and wanted to stuff back all my disrespectful words. But I couldn’t. I messed up. I know my husband and he usually has good reason for why he does what he does and he definitely is not a time-waster or someone who allows inefficiency. I should have known better. Also, if you back up to every other time I insisted on my way and he caved over the past 10 years I was consistently wrong and he was consistently right. I don’t even mean by a percentage. I mean 100% he was right every time even though I thought, at the time I was 100% right.
God teaches me over and over again to SUBMIT to my husband. Even on the small decisions. But again, I sat in the car making things worse by apologizing and begging him to turn around and go to the actual bank. He did not. He continued in the direction I asked him to go. So, here is God’s (my Dad’s) lesson. We get to the ATM and there it is. A big red OUT OF ORDER sign. OF COURSE!! Thank you Jesus! I am WRONG once again and my husband is RIGHT. I should have just kept my mouth shut and trusted in my husband’s ability to lead our family. The reason today was a little different was not in the lesson itself, but in the surrounding circumstances. I kept going even after I was clearly hit over the head yet again with a lesson. Telling him this and that and chirping in his ear becoming that drip, drip, drip that every woman claims they are not but secretly hopes they are not but wonders if they are. What is wrong with me! I do the things I hate and the things I want to do I do not do (paraphrased from Paul’s writings). I was tried back-to-back-to-back tonight with my lack of self control, my lack of being able to keep my mouth shut, and ultimately my lack of humility. I considered a muzzle but in reality I needed to repent. Not only to God for breaking several of his laws but to my husband. I reaped some pretty hefty consequences tonight which I fear came in the form of blessings withheld which makes me sorrowful to no end. Only by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit can I be made perfect in this. Yet I still long for the day when the pain and frustration we go through on this earth will be but a small fragment of a distant, barely remembered memory like mentioned in our DBR today in Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”
Thank you, Dad that I am a work in progress and one of your attributes is patience, especially with a control freak Type-A like me. I know there is a perfect soul somewhere inside this massively corrupt body and I can’t wait to meet her some day soon!
~ Jen (HolyJustLove.com)
Are you the salt of the earth to others or just an irritation that your friends and family want to “wash off” as soon as possible? I fear too often I am the latter and I pray that the Holy Spirit would make me the former. Salt comes up several times in Scripture and is usually associated with three meanings: salt as seasoning, salt for cleansing, and salt as something that burns. (Examples Mark 9:49, Mark 9:50, Matthew 5:13, Ezekiel 16:4) What does this mean when we consider verse 6 in Colossians 4? We are to let our speech always be gracious. Yes, that makes sense. Seasoned with salt. Think about salt for a moment. We use it mainly to make things taste better. So we should choose our words wisely to make sure we are answering each person in an appropriate way that would “taste” good and leave them wanting to speak to you again. But we should also consider the other uses of salt. It is used to scrub and cleanse. That means sometimes our words should be graciously used to correct or lovingly reprove someone. And lastly we should consider that salt burns. It is said in Mark 9 “for everyone will be salted with fire.” Sometimes the things we say need to burn a bit. But again we need to be gracious in our speech even when we need to say something that may burn. On the flip side of that coin consider the next time you feel “salted” think about what God is trying to teach you. Be open to it. Be teachable. But above all be loving through all your answers.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6
Forgive me for sinning against your Spirit. Forgive me for always having such a lack of self-control. Help me and convict me, Holy Spirit to live in a manner worthy of you. Help me to walk by you and to put Jesus on, always. I am so sorry for making a spectacle of myself in what seems like every situation. Forgive me for always ALWAYS needing to say my thoughts. Forgive me for not being a good listener. Forgive me for having such a lack of patience. Forgive me for my pride. Please, Holy Spirit teach me to be patient like you. Teach me to be a great listener like you. Teach me to have self-control like you. Teach me to be modest like you. Teach me to be humble like you. Teach me to be holy like you. Teach me to bridle my tongue like you. Teach me to be of you and not of this world. You are who I need to walk by every second of every day. Please forgive my insatiable humanity that always wants its way, always wants things now, always needs to get the last word in, always bites at me moment by moment for attention. You are my strength. You are my hope. You are my deliverer. Thank you!
Consider the number of marketing messages each day you come in contact with through what you read, listen to, hear through conversations, see through advertisements in the grocery store, on the road, on labels and tags. They estimate the average person sees or hears anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 marketing messages per day. How well do you resist these influences or do you see yourself succumbing to these messages easily? At Compass Bible Church Women’s Bible Study we recently heard a great message from Pastor Lucas Pace’s wife, Heather Pace on the Book of Judges. She says “Actively resist worldly influence.” All of the things we are told to buy or be involved in, consider first if it promotes godliness. Always think through the foundation of every message you see. Ask yourself if it brings glory to God. Often the answer will be no, sometimes yes. Remember we are not meant for this world so don’t try to fit in all the time. So many things come at us that we become desensitized to the things of this world. It has seeped into who we are. How can you be holy and set apart? Heather says to “Be content to be set apart.”
Original post on Linked Cycling Women’s Edition
I fear too many of us live our lives just above what we consider the status quo. We just barely keep our heads above water some days while other days we find ourselves doing nothing at all. We live in a world of an “all or nothing” mentality. This is not what God intended for us. He built us with eternity in our hearts. He built us to long after Him! I encourage you to take a moment today. Not for yourself, as the world would tell you to do, but for your Maker. Take a moment. Take a breath. Take a long breath and realized the gravity of the simple fact that you are even aloud to take that breath. Consider who God is and place him in his rightful place. Consider who you are and put yourself in your rightful place. As my pastor, Dr. Mike Fabarez likes to say, You are not God’s partner, He is not your co-pilot. Jesus is not something to “try” as the popular bumper sticker says “Try Jesus.” He is the Almighty Sovereign God above all the universe and when you meet him you won’t jump up in his lap or give him a bear hug. No, your face will be firmly planted on the floor in humble profound adoration to your Maker and your God. The moment you begin to shift your perceptive on who God is and humble yourself to a much higher view of God than you already have is the moment you will begin to worship God they way he deserves to be worshiped.