Posted by: Maggie | March 17, 2008

Update

Today, I need to find a sense of direction.  I need to establish new goals, address old ones, and see myself move forward.

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Posted by: Maggie | March 12, 2008

My Bible Memory Note Card Binder and Cover

card-folder.jpg

Okay, so I promised a photo.  Here is my little cloth book binder.  The brand on it is Larenda.  In tiny print, I think it says below that Vacavilla, California.

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These two ring binders I bought at Wal*Mart in the school supply-office section fit in it just right.  They hold a lot of two-hole punch cards.  I have a couple of binders I keep and rotate cards between the two for “current” and “storage”.  Wal*Mart carries them.  They sold pre-punched cards for them as well.  I punched my old ones and bought some pre-punched new ones as well for ease of use.  I prefer buying then already done so that I don’t poke a hole through my reference trying to get them ready for binding, which seems to happen a lot.

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I often include the same verse in more than one version for meditating, though I tend to memorize in NIV.  I find that I often have to go  Bible Gateway to look for something I read and remembered floating in my mind from the Amplified version–I usually remember enough of a phrase to go look up the whole thing.

It’s been one of the best thing from my 20s I’ll keep forever.  I need to get back in the habit of using it.  I seem to revert back to the practice in the hardest times…good medicine.

Posted by: Maggie | March 12, 2008

It’s Rather Simple, the Choice

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
       “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
       in quietness and trust is your strength,
       but you would have none of it.

 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’  [self plans to stay in control]

       Therefore you will flee!  [and He will let you try]
       You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’  [believing in the ability of our fix even more]
       Therefore your pursuers will be swift!  [but, the enemy can be given more permission to humble us]

 17 A thousand will flee
       at the threat of one;  [God can humble us greatly]

       at the threat of five
       you will all flee away, [And we will all fall in our self effort]
       till you are left
       like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, [standing by yourself]
       like a banner on a hill.” [exposed]

 18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; [or here might be a better alternative] 
       he rises to show you compassion. [Love, care, mercy, comfort]
       For the LORD is a God of justice. [taking care of all your enemies for you]
       Blessed are all who wait for him! [lean on, trust in, rely on, put their hope in, be patience for]

Lord, thank you for the reminder that there is the world’s way (man’s typical response of self effort and power and strength), and there is Your way.

I can flounder around in my own strength and power and try to fight things on my own, or I can lean on you and watch you take care of the rest. 

“But you would have none of it”.  I remembered that part from my memory card. 

Thank you for filling in the rest for me later this morning, reminding me that no matter how loving and kind and gentle you are…I can choose to refuse all that and just make life hard on myself…or I can lean hard into You and know peace, rest, joy, and salvation only you can give. 

The choice is simple.  Truly.  Not simple, but hard…but SIMPLE.

Posted by: Maggie | March 11, 2008

Return

“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.”  Ps. 37:11

Just this one simple verse.  One line. 

Peace.  Meekness. 

I must repent, for my lack of meekness is keeping me from joyfully receiving what you call “best”.  My lack of meekness is keeping me from peace.  My lack of meekness is keeping me from “inheriting” all the territory you have for us.  Because…I think there must be a better way.  There must have been.  Perhaps we missed it.  Someone had to.  Yet…here we are.  And in meekness, in quietness, in trust, I can say, “Okay.”  

I can’t yet, but I know that meekness will take me there.  Lord, I give you myself and I pray for your meek and humble and mild spirit to permeate my bones, seep into my spirit, and bleed out my emotions.  Let trust in You, who can give nothing but good, make me as steel. 

Or, as a tree, planted by streams of water, whose roots branch out, whose leaves do not wither in times of drought, and it does not cease to bear fruit when the heat comes.  (Proverbs 1)  You deserve that kind of glory in my life.  You’ve earned that kind of trust.  It hurts.  Life hurts.  It is too much for me.  But, not for you.  Grace is not there today, because the need is not year here, but it will be tomorrow, or whenever I truly need it.  The grace will be there.  The provision will be there.   You will be enough. 

Okay, so I have not yet taken up my last 45 days of my 90 Day reading plan yet, mainly because it seemed there were some jealousy issues over the devotion I had to it the first time around.  I almost enjoyed it TOO much if that is possible.  I’m not sure how to reconcile this issue, except that perhaps that is why God tells us to do our praying in a closet and keep it there.  I was a little annoyed at this aspect of the program, but that’s sometimes why small steps are better than “pushing hard” marathon projects.  In any case, I’d like to finish if I can justify the time somewhere. 

However, I need to be in the word right now, so I’m going to pick up and work on my meditation cards.  I’ll try to post a picture of how I’ve been doing that for about 15 years and how it works best for me and why, but for tonight, I’m just going to type out some responses to the scriptures I’m reading and see how that goes.

Posted by: Maggie | November 30, 2007

Lamentations-Daniel

This week has been a tough week.  A week of transitions and transitioning. 

Lamentations did not strike me as the abrupt change in reading I dreaded.  It was, instead, a continuum from Jeremiah.  The people would read the Lamentations each year, to remind them of the time of the Lord’s disciplines. 

Ezekial proved a hard read for me…it is the longest book in the Bible, a surprise to me.  It was, again, like listening to a parent trying to speak to a rebellious, hard-hearted teen.  The same message, over and over and over, the same visions…and no response. 

God made it clear that their troubles were a result of their own choices, and he said, “and after I do ______, then you will know that I am the Lord.”  I don’t think that we often thing of the disciplines of life as coming from the Lord wanting to make his Lordship known to us, but humility oven does have that end result.

Daniel, I studied not long ago with Beth Moore, but reading it right after reading of God’s intense anger during that time put the high favor and attention to individual persons God still had for some.  Yes, he was humbling the country of Israel, but to the faithful few, he still proved himself not only faithful, but able to bring new nations to him through those select few like Daniel and friends.

Today, I finish Daniel (8 to end) and read Hosea.  I hope to catch up today after having needed seasonal holiday time a few days this week, having dealt with the chaos at the schools, and my MILs surgery.  I hid out in a quiet room at the hospital for a while today during the surgery and got one day caught up…I’m still one behind.  I keep the perspective of college classes I used to have…the “test is coming, I MUST get caught up or I will not make it”.  If it worked then, for information I often detested…how much more committed should I be to something I love, love, LOVE!  Thank you, Lord for this time to find all the fun things.

Last night’s “delight” was the God decorated the “new tabernacle” with cherubs and palm trees in Ezekiel’s visions, both inside and outside the temple.  Seems I recall with the first temple, he was all about the linen ephod embroidery and tulips on the candlesticks.  So, his fashion trends changed a bit!  I’m sure that was more to it than that, but I loved it.  Cubit this and cubit that…on and on and on with the cubits, and then, all of a sudden, we hit, something like: “and there were cherubs and palm trees carbed into the woodwork, both inside on the walls and outside”.  It just cracked me up.

Posted by: Maggie | November 22, 2007

Proverbs – Jeremiah

The holidays and other things have made it very difficult to keep journaling as I’ve read, but the impact on me stays strong.

Proverbs…every adult needs to re-read those to know how to walk in wisdom.  A straight read-through is so compelling to walk in wisdom, choose only paths that are firm.  Do we really give thought to what God calls “firm paths”?  Watching our finances, debt, agreements, and living a life of submissive obedience to the voice of wisdom?  So many people say, “But I didn’t even know!”  But, Proverbs said that wisdom, while hidden, and precious as a jewel we search long and hard for…she also “does not hide herself, she shouts from the street corners” but few listen.  Something hidden, and revealed…such a mystery.

Song of Solomon:  talk about enriching your thoughts toward your spouse.  That’s on my recommended list.  Such passion and realness.

Isaiah:  I’m amazed at a book I used to call one of my favorites, how hard it was this time for me to read the first half.  I love portions of Isaiah, but all the destruction prophecied for disobedience is hard to labor through.  I feel sorry for the weight the prophets carried for the people to try to get them to see the depth of their sin, sin they had grown blind toward.  Some beautiful lines and poetry are there for memorizing, but mark them well or you’ll never want to re-read to find them.  They follow thoughts of intense anger from God and destruction, yet his heart is still one of love and deep compassion for them.  I call it the book of “tough love”.

Jeremiah:  Jeremiah’s youth has touched me this time.  When God wanted him to do something, he pushed him so hard physically, mentally, and emotionally that he was nearly sick, so he had to do it.  Being saved at a young age, and having experienced some sense of that at times, I could understand Jeremiah’s frustrations dealing with things too deep for him.  Jeremiah had a very strong godly fear as a result.  

Having gotten a little bogged down in prophecy, I entertained myself reading some of the material in my NIV Study Bible on the literary elements of the book for a break.   It’s a shame we miss out on some of the cool rhyming structure in translation.  For example, assonance and alliteration found in Isa. 24:17 we read “terror and pit and snare”…they would have read, “pahad, pahat, pah”.  (Sounds like the makings of a rap song to me.)  Jeremiah 48:43 does a similar thing.  We read “terror and pit and snare”, while he wrote:  pahad wapahat wapah (he must have heard the same rap song and wanted to write something similar, but a but different). 😀

  

Posted by: Maggie | November 8, 2007

Love-And-Faithfulness

We are talking about “faithfulness” in the 10 weeks series this week (www.rayengland.wordpress.com) , so in my 90 Day readings, the word “faithfulness” has stuck out like a sore thumb as I’ve read the Psalms.  I’ve realized a few things…

  • Faithfulness is OFTEN mentioned in conjunction with the word LOVE.  In fact, seldom does the writer mention love without mentioning faithfulness.  I would imagine this correlation and coupling accounts for the reason we hear marriage counselors say that couples need security in marriage Ifaithfulness) to say that they experience “love”.  This correlation may also account for the reason unfaithfulness lends itself to lack of feelings of love in a marriage.  A person finds someone else, and all of a sudden “I just don’t love my spouse any more.  The feelings are not there.”  That is because “love and faithfulness meet/live together.” (Psalm 85:10).  Love needs the expressions of faithful loving-care to be realized.  The “fruit of the Spirit”– “one whole ball of wax”.  “Faith without works is dead”.  Love without works is also dead.  The expressions and faithful commitment make love the treasure that it is.
  • Faithful love is shown in times of tough love, discipline, and testing. 
  • Generational evidences of God’s faithfulness holds up our faith more than we know.  The Psalmist kept point to God’s faithfulness to deliver the Isrealites from the hands of the Egyptians through the Red Sea.  It didn’t even hold up the faith of the Israelites!  But, centuries later, it holds up the faith of the Psalmists in times of deepest depression and struggle.  It didn’t get their Israelites through some food cravings.  But, it carries the Psalmist in the darkest nights.  Generations…we need a legacy for faithfulness to be proven to us.  Oh, how dear the Bible is to us for this reason!

Last night, I glanced at the NIV Study Bible Commentary Notes briefly and I found such a treat.  It said: “literally rendered:  love-and-faithfulness”.  Those two words are sewn together at the hip!  It makes such sense!  I loved it! It’s like the word “lovingkindness”…the expression of love is so central to the love that they just made it one big happy word

Faithfulness is crucial.  It builds our faith.  It builds our trust.  In the darkest of nights.  We believe.  Why?  Because God is faithful.  Not because things look God.  Not because we perceive or understand God “The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile” (Psalm 94:11). 

God is faithful because he is faithful.  We may undergo discipline as the Psalmists did, for the sins of our country, for our own need for correction, to prove something in the heavenlies, as with Job.  Most of these seem to NOT understand the reason for it at the time.  They were just things that needed to be done.  While God loves us, but we cannot understand his purposes or plans.  But, we can trust his faithful-love.  I wonder how often my “understanding issues” have gotten in the way of his deep faithful-love for me?

The Psalmists commitment to joy and praise was ABOVE their understanding, not due to their understanding of what God was doing.  We read “Give me understanding, that I may obey your law”, but that was to help them obey, not to help them praise.  They praised because of what they knew of God already. 

From the conglomeration of all the Psalms I[‘m learning these things afresh:  Love from God is NOT a feeling of blessing all the time.  Love is NOT being away from trouble.  Love is NOT being on the mountain-top with God where you feel warm and bubbly.  Love is NOT always being in a position of favor with men.  God’s faithful-love-and-care doesn’t depend on our emotional state, understanding, or circumstances.  God’s heart for us is steadfast, even when we as a people (nation), or as individuals, are being disciplined…even if we don’t know why.  God’s love is the love of a parent, a tough-love, at times.  He loves us so much that it can hurt!  But, it hurts Him even more than it does us, I’ll just bet.   

A few places in scripture where love and faithfulness are seen hanging out together:

  1. Psalm 89:8
    O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
    Psalm 89:7-9 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Psalm 117:2
    For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
    Psalm 117:1-2 (in Context) Psalm 117 (Whole Chapter)
  3. Exodus 34:6
    And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
    Exodus 34:5-7 (in Context) Exodus 34 (Whole Chapter)
  4. Deuteronomy 7:9
    Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
  5. Psalm 119:75
    I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
    Psalm 119:74-76 (in Context) Psalm 119 (Whole Chapter)
  6. Proverbs 20:28
    Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.
    Proverbs 20:27-29 (in Context) Proverbs 20 (Whole Chapter)
  7. Psalm 85:10
    Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
    Psalm 85:9-11 (in Context) Psalm 85 (Whole Chapter)
  8. Psalm 89:14
    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
    Psalm 89:13-15 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
  9. Psalm 86:15
    But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
    Psalm 86:14-16 (in Context) Psalm 86 (Whole Chapter)
  10. Galatians 5:22
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    Galatians 5:21-23 (in Context) Galatians 5 (Whole Chapter)
  11. Psalm 61:7
    May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
    Psalm 61:6-8 (in Context) Psalm 61 (Whole Chapter)
  12. Psalm 36:5
    Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
    Psalm 36:4-6 (in Context) Psalm 36 (Whole Chapter)
  13. Psalm 88:11
    Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction ?
    Psalm 88:10-12 (in Context) Psalm 88 (Whole Chapter)
  14. Psalm 57:10
    For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
    Psalm 57:9-11 (in Context) Psalm 57 (Whole Chapter)
  15. Psalm 89:33
    but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.
    Psalm 89:32-34 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
  16. Psalm 108:4
    For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
    Psalm 108:3-5 (in Context) Psalm 108 (Whole Chapter)
  17. Psalm 117:2
    For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
    Psalm 117:1-2 (in Context) Psalm 117 (Whole Chapter)
  18. Psalm 92:2
    to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,
    Psalm 92:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 92 (Whole Chapter)
  19. Psalm 89:2
    I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
    Psalm 89:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
  20. Psalm 89:49
    O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
    Psalm 89:48-50 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
  21. Proverbs 16:6
    Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
    Proverbs 16:5-7 (in Context) Proverbs 16 (Whole Chapter)
  22. Psalm 100:5
    For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
    Psalm 100:4-5 (in Context) Psalm 100 (Whole Chapter)
  23. Psalm 98:3
    He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
    Psalm 98:2-4 (in Context) Psalm 98 (Whole Chapter)
  24. Isaiah 61:8
    “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.
    Isaiah 61:7-9 (in Context) Isaiah 61 (Whole Chapter)
  25. Psalm 89:1
    [ A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. ] I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
    Psalm 89:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
  26. Proverbs 3:3
    Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
    Proverbs 3:2-4 (in Context) Proverbs 3 (Whole Chapter)
  27. Proverbs 14:22
    Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
    Proverbs 14:21-23 (in Context) Proverbs 14 (Whole Chapter)
  28. Psalm 115:1
    Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
    Psalm 115:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 115 (Whole Chapter)
  29. Isaiah 16:5
    In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.
    Isaiah 16:4-6 (in Context) Isaiah 16 (Whole Chapter)
  30. Psalm 40:10
    I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.
    Psalm 40:9-11 (in Context) Psalm 40 (Whole Chapter)
  31. Psalm 57:3
    He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah God sends his love and his faithfulness.
    Psalm 57:2-4 (in Context) Psalm 57 (Whole Chapter)
  32. Psalm 138:2
    I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
    Psalm 138:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 138 (Whole Chapter)
  33. Hosea 4:1
    [ The Charge Against Israel ] Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.

Reading the Psalms this time, I’m struck this:  worship happens to those who are in the middle of something, going through something, or have been delivered from something.

Worship is a precious gift to God when our trust is tested.

Have you ever prayed to be a rich worshipper?

God tested his people in the wilderness to find out if they were true worshippers, scripture tells us.

That means that our weekly struggles/events have everything to do with Sunday morning worship.  We are not to put ourselves in a bubble and forget all but God when we enter that room.  Don’t get me wrong, we are to lay down worry and plans and distractions.  But, David praised and worshipped because of where he found himself…not because he chose to take a “movie break” and think about God for entertainment relief for a while.

Trust is built when we bring all of what is going on, our stuff, into our worship experience.

Worship then becomes fuel for our faith and trust as we walk into the same circumstances.  We view life with a fresh perspective and hope.  Try holding the stuff up to the lens of God’s faithfulness, support, help, direction, and strength.  Let God change your outlook, your week, and your agenda.

You can’t help but worship a God who changes your life, your heart, and your mind.  Only He can truly free you from the worry as you worship.

Is it then up to a praise and worship leader to compel us to worship?  They can.  It is up to us to respond to our challenges with praise, song, testimony, and trust.  WE are to worship.  Only we can.  If we do not, we have not yet become true worshippers.

True worshippers need to worship to bottle rocket their faith and hope and trust to handle the week.  True worshippers know they cannot live without whole-hearted worship taking place to get them through the storm.  True worshippers “force” worship, knowing it’s the bottom line.  It’s all the matters.  It is the main point.  It is the test.  It is the help.  It is the warfare.

Both Job and the Psalmist point to ungoldy or even evil people who seem to have it all.  Easy life.  Health.  Wealth.  In those times of our similar testing, we need to remember that some disciplines and hardship are PROOF of our being sons and daughters of God.  Disciplines.  God disciplines those he loves, scripture tells us.  Our going through stuff means something.

Did you know that God tested the Israelites to prove whether or not they really worshipped him as the one true God?  Can you imagine?  Even AFTER all the miracles, signs, helps, and provisions…the word tells us they forgot, they sinned, they didn’t teach their children, and they only worshipped by flattering tongues.

I’ve heard people say, “but if only I could see the miracles the Bible times people saw…oh!  THEN I could really get it.”

I’m not so sure about that.  We are all prone to forgetting our miracles and helps.  We are prone to selfishness, greed, envy, and lack of trust.

In any case, I am struck by this:  it is the disciplines and testings of God that keep us worshipping.  They prove whether or not we are true worshippers of God.  Psalms show worship wins battles won, solve problems, and remind us his faithfulness.

Want to be a “man after God’s own heart” like David was?

Get ready to use your yuck stuff. It is the stuff that proves both God and us as His worshippers.  It is the stuff that ignites our passion and praise.  It is the stuff, surrendered to God in worship, that purifies our hearts.

Posted by: Maggie | November 6, 2007

The Psalms…My Strength

One thought on Psalms before I retire.  David often refers to God as “My Strength”.  Oh!  How I LOVE that!  

After the 100th dinner warning to kids, I used it:  “Oh, My Strength!  I need strength. “ 

I felt stronger immediately.  How he IS our strength! 

How I need and rely on it!

Maggie

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