Posts Tagged “Deuteronomy”

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful.
2 Corinthians 13:11a (NLT)

As I put the finishing touches on my last blog, I went to back to Scripture and looked up verses with the words “be joyful” in them. I found a lot of reasons for which we can be joyful. I didn’t think they belonged in the previous blog – that one seemed to be more restful than instructive. So let me follow it up with this list of reasons to be joyful.

Let me first say that there are many reasons people don’t allow themselves to experience joy. Guilt and fear are two of the most prominent.

  • Guilt that you are experiencing joy and others aren’t, guilt that you’re taking the time to experience joy when you should be doing any of a number of things, or guilt over anything the enemy can convince you to feel guilty about.
  • Fear that the joy will be taken away from you, fear that you have made a mistake (and therefore shouldn’t be relaxing in the joy), fear of living in general, or fear of anything the enemy can convince you to be afraid of.

My goal is to remind us that God wants us to be joyful and to identify some specific things that He’s told us to be joyful about. I want to open the door for the Holy Spirit to remove the guilt or fear that keeps you from experiencing joy, as well as open some new doors to rooms in which perhaps you’ve never experienced joy before.

Be Joyful for Holidays and Take Joy in Them

Be joyful at your Feast–you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.
Deuteronomy 16:14 (NIV)

It may seem that I’m stretching this a bit, and perhaps I am, but in the Old Testament God established and commanded a series of feasts throughout the year. They had different purposes, but many were simply celebrations of God’s goodness and provision. Most Christians do not celebrate the Old Testament feasts. (I do not but think it would be a fascinating year if I were to incorporate all the feasts – and I’m guessing I would greatly benefit from it. If this interests you, the best approach may be to find a Messianic congregation to become a part of. Don’t be shy – go for it!)

I think we can extend the spirit of the feasts to recognize that God has given us times of rest and rejoicing and that we should be joyful in those. As I read about the Old Testament feasts, they seem like holy vacations that the Israelites were commanded to take each year! Vacations! Holidays! And they were commanded to take them! And they were to rejoice in them.

Incorporating the Lord in your next vacation is another blog waiting to be written, but suffice it to say in this blog that you can enjoy your vacations! Take them responsibly (that is, don’t spend the money for your next mortgage payment on them), then enjoy them.

Be Joyful in Your Success

Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
Deuteronomy 16:115 (NIV)

You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Psalm 128:2 (NLT)

We’re not to be prideful when we’ve completed a job well and when we are successful, but we are to take joy in it. “God will bless…all the work of your hands so that you will be altogether joyful.” God blesses us for many reasons, but this verse tells us that one of those reasons is to increase our enjoyment of life – to increase our joy. So don’t feel guilty about your success. Enjoy it!

Experience the Joy of God’s Protection and His Refuge

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
Psalm 5:11 (NLT)

We can have joy because we know – we know – that God is our defender. When it seems like the world is against us, we can be joyful in God – in the One who knows us best and defends. In the one who says “that one is mine.”

We can look for the adventure because God will work it out. He will come riding in on a white horse and save us. What joy that will be! That’s the shouting kind of joy.

In the meantime, He gives us a place of refuge and we can rejoice in that. That’s the quiet, inner peace kind of joy.

Be Joyful in God’s Salvation

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
Psalm 35:9 (NKJV)

So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 51:11 (NASB)

God has saved you. Rejoice in His love and in your salvation. Don’t just celebrate, meditate on it so that you experience the joy of freedom that is possible through the salvation He has given you. We have been ransomed! We were slaves to sin. Christ paid the ransom to set us free. That’s how much He loves us. Rejoice! Be joyful!

Be Joyful in Knowing that God will Rescue You

25:10  [The Lord says:] “I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out.”

33:10“This is what the LORD says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 11the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD. They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD.
Jeremiah 25:10 , 33:10-11 (NLT)

No matter what you’ve done or where you have been exiled – God will rescue you because you are His. No matter how dark your situation seems today, God will turn it around. Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning – and there’s always a morning after every night.

Be Joyful Knowing that You Are Loved

The LORD your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NCV)

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

Not only can we take joy in God’s salvation – or rather, the salvation He has given us – we can be joyful knowing the joy He takes in us. We sing in worship to the Lord. We sing for joy when life is good. God sings for joy about us! Wow! The Creator of the Universe rejoices over me. I am blown away by that.

Be Joyful Because You Have Hope

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.
Romans 12:12 (NCV)

There is no such thing as hopeless for the one who Trusts in Christ. We always have hope. Always. And that’s reason enough to rejoice. As I said earlier, we can experience life as an adventure, watching with anticipation to see how God is going to come through in the current challenge…and the next one and the next one.

Friends joy need not be an elusive thing for the believer. When our hearts, minds and spirits are focused on these things, we can have joy – abundant joy. It’s part of the “abundant life” package God has given us.

Enjoy it!

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Living God's HeartLiving Gods Heart
In our last blog in the Living God’s Heart series, we looked at how very generous God is to us while we are here on earth. We focused on 2 Peter 1:3 –

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. (NLT)

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. (NLT)
2 Peter 1:3a (NLT)

There’s more to that verse and we’ll look at it in a future blog, but today I want to look more at the generous nature of our God.

He has given us everything we need to live lives that honor and glorify Him while we are here on this earth. What a gift!

But He didn’t stop giving there. His giving is not just for this life, but for all eternity.

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
Romans 5:2 (NLT)

Literally, God has brought us to “where we now stand” – He has given us the undeserved privilege of living in His presence, of receiving everything we need to live godly lives, of receiving His kingdom here on earth. “And” we will one day share in God’s glory.

There is not a word or series of words large and grand enough to convey the depths, the heights and the breadths of God’s giving. He will share His glory with us for all eternity. And we’ve done nothing to earn or deserve. It is an undeserved privilege for those who love the Lord.

God doesn’t hoard anything – not His love, not His Kingdom, and not His glory.

When we’re living God’s heart, our lives reflect His generous nature. When we’re living God’s heart we’re:

  • Giving to those that don’t deserve it.
  • Giving above and beyond.
  • Taking pleasure or joy in giving.

The Sacrifice of Giving
It would seem that there is no question that giving is a sacrifice. When I give, I must give up something. Even so, it is a sacrifice that reflects God’s heart. Hebrews tells us that it is a sacrifice that pleases Him:

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:16 (NLT)

Giving is a joyful sacrifice – one that brings joy to the Father, joy to the giver and joy to the one who receives.

In this way, giving is truly not a sacrifice – it brings us joy. It might be seen more appropriately as a trade – I will trade this thing that I am giving away for the joy I will receive! How wonderful for God to consider that a sacrifice! How wonderful that He rewards that sacrifice:

Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.
Deuteronomy 15:10 (NLT)

The Old Testament teaches that when we give generously and God will bless everything you do.

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
Luke 6:38 (NLT)

Jesus taught us that when we give generously, we will receive generously.

God’s very nature is to give generously. He gives for this life and for the life to come, going so far as to giving us the privilege of sharing in His glory! Whew! Honestly, I can’t imagine that.

I can’t imagine it, but I trust it! So I choose to give generously in this life. Sacrificially…because I know that any sacrificial giving – no, all sacrificial giving – is simply a downpayment on the joy I will bring to the Father, the recipient of my gifts, my family and myself.

Give and it will be given to you.

Give and you will receive.

Live God’s heart in your world today.

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Living God's HeartLiving Gods Heart

Being conformed to the image of Christ means thinking as He thinks and acting as He acts. In the previous blog, we learned that it God “has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32, NIV) In the New Living Translation, it’s worded just a little differently:

“…it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”
Luke 12:32 (NLT)

It brings God joy to give. And I’m thinking the more He gives, the more joy it brings. After all, He’s not just giving us an enjoyable evening or basic provisions. He gives abundantly. He gives us the kingdom. He gives us salvation. He gives us “everything we need for living a Godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT) That’s over-the-top giving.

He’s given us the Holy Spirit. He’s given us gifts to use in fulfilling the calling that He’s given us – the purpose He’s given us for our lives.

All this and heaven, too.

He’s given us a family (Psalm 68:6). He’s given us freedom from condemnation (Romans 8:1). He gives us the power to be transformed (Romans 12:1). He’s given us His love. Whew! That’s the most precious gift. That the God who created the universe has given me His love, His heart.

All this and heaven, too.

Why? Because “it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”

Does giving bring you joy? It will if you allow it, because you are made in the image of God. You carry His DNA, and His DNA derives joy from giving.

But sometimes it’s a joy that you have to learn because in our sinful nature, it is counter-intuitive to us. In our sinful nature, I think I will have more joy if I get more stuff. But God has never hoarded His stuff. He lavishes it upon us. In our sinful nature, I think I will have more joy if I am more powerful. But God has never hoarded His power – He gives us free will – the absolute antithesis of hoarding power. He also has given us power and authority beyond our ability to comprehend and often beyond our ability to use wisely. Still, He trusts us with it.

So we have to learn to give. We have to write that first check or give away that favorite possession. We learn to experience joy through the joy of the recipient. And when that isn’t expressed, we learn that God is smiling at our generosity. Scripture says that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) and “will bless you in everything you do” when you give generously to the poor (Deuteronomy 15:1).

God gives to us when we give to others. Let’s look at the 2 Corinthians passage:

7You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NLT)

God will generously provide all our needs – so much that we will have plenty left over to share with others. Which sounds to me like viciously wonderful cycle – we give generously which pleases God and he then generously provides for our needs so that we have plenty left over so we can give generously so He can bless generously so we can…

But check out the verse in the NIV:

7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NIV)

I LOVE verse 8. It’s actually our company’s verse. “And God is ABLE to make ALL GRACE abound to you, so that in ALL things, at ALL times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (Emphasis mine, of course.)

God gives all we need – not just physically, but also emotionally, relationally, and spiritually – He is able to make ALL GRACE ABOUND to you so that you have ALL that you need. And when will he do it? ALL the time. Why? So that we can be successful – abounding in every good work.

God’s heart is to give.

When we live from God’s heart, we also give. We give our time, our talent, our money and possessions and our heart.

Who are you giving to today? My new sister-in-law told me that she doesn’t ever go to bed without doing something nice for someone. If she hasn’t done something nice by bedtime, she goes to the local store to find someone in need. Perhaps it’s just helping someone reach something. Perhaps it’s helping someone pay their bill. Perhaps it’s providing an encouragement to someone who just needs to know that someone cares. There are lots of ways to give.

Do you think she always feels like it? I doubt that she does. But she’s learned the joy of giving. She’s learned that it changes who we are from the inside out. And it brings God joy.

Who are you giving to today? Challenge yourself to give above and beyond joyfully.

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Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013

God’s Word allows us to see God at work throughout history…and that allows us to get to know Him in a greater way. Through reading His Word regularly we learn who God is, how God thinks and how He wants us to live.

Resting at the River’s Edge provides a schedule that enables you to read through the entire Bible over a two-year period. During those two years we read through the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once. Our schedule includes “Additional Readings.” If you read through both the scheduled and additional readings, you will read through the entire Bible in 2013.

Join us! Let’s read through the Bible together this year. God will speak to you personally as you read. Since God usually speaks to me as I am reading His Word, you’ll find that many of the blogs I write relate directly to the Resting at the River’s Edge readings for that week.

Click on one of the following buttons to open a PDF file of the March-April bookmark or all bookmarks. After the file has opened, you can print it or save it to your hard drive from your browser’s file menu.

 

Click here for the March/April 2013 recommended reading bookmark. Click here to download all bookmarks for 2013.

Join us as we read, then e-mail me, leave a message on my Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog. Tell me about the treasures you’re finding in His Word. I look forward to hearing from you.

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for March is below.

Resting at the River's Edge March 2013 Reading Schedule JPG

 

 

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Living God's HeartLiving Gods HeartLast spring I wrote a series of articles titled Live…Like Someone Left the Gate Open! It was a series that impacted me more than any other that God’s given me. A few months ago God began laying on my heart a focus for 2013 – essentially, a year-long series – about living from a heart that has been transformed by God – living from a heart that reflects His heart – living from God’s Heart! I am trusting that this series will take us more deeply into Christ-likeness than we’ve ever gone.

Each month we’ll focus on a different aspect of a healthy heart – healthy as God defines it, that is! We’ll start with a seeking heart and look at other conditions such as a faith-filled heart and a generous heart. We’ll also look at having a repentant heart and a joyful heart. (To name just a few.) For each condition of the heart, we’ll examine what that condition looks, how we develop it and how we live it.

Let me encourage you to take these messages into your heart and focus on developing them in your own heart, as I will be doing throughout each month. More than ever, I sense that it is time for us to go deeper into God – to allow Him to transform us into the image of Christ in a greater way. This world needs us.

I’ve not seen the movie Gladiator, but this morning as I was getting ready for work I had the television tuned to a Christian station. The preacher quoted the movie and it grabbed me: “What we do in life echoes through eternity.” (A subsequent search revealed that I’m probably the only preacher who hasn’t heard the quote. Oh well. Guess I lead a sheltered life when it comes to battle movies.)

What a great line, and what a biblical truism! What we do in this life – how we live, how we trust, how we hope – echoes in eternity. And how we live is largely determined by the condition of our heart.

The things we say are determined by the condition of our heart.

The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 (NRSV)

Do your words bring life to those around you or are they carrying a spirit of criticism and death?

The things we do are determined by the condition of our heart:

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 
Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NIV)

Are your actions consistent with holy living? Are you living as one who has been set apart for God?

How we love God is determined by the condition of our heart:

Moreover, the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.
Deuteronomy 30:6 (NRSV)

Our hearts must be circumcised – our desire for sin and our attachment to worldliness must be cut away – so that we can love God better, and in that loving receive life. Is your heart pining after the world or the Lord?

I expect to be challenged by this series – if I were to tell you the truth, I’d have to admit that I’m a bit afraid of it! Yes, I know, fear is of the enemy. I admit that I don’t have enough of God in me yet because I am afraid of the changes He’ll want me to make as I learn more about the heart He wants me to have.

But what I do here on earth does echo through eternity and I want those echoes to be good ones. I want them to touch people with life. I want to hear God’s heart beat and live it out.

So friends, I invite you to come along. And I encourage you to heed the words of the Psalmist:

6Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts…
Psalm 95:6-8a (NIV)

Let the adventure begin! Watch for the first blog in our Living God’s Heart series.

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I have a dear aunt who is dying. [Footnote: My aunt has died since I wrote this. Thank you for your prayers for her family.]

Death is such an affront to us. It’s a slap in the face even when it is expected. When unexpected it’s a punch in the gut. Actually, it’s a punch in the gut even when it’s expected.

God didn’t intend it to be this way. And He makes it possible for death to be only a temporary separation from our loved ones. For those who accept Christ as their Savior, death is simply an entry way into the full presence of God and His eternal Kingdom.

Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

When faced with death I am reminded that God uses all things – even death – for His purposes. Several things become clear to me when I meditate on the end of someone’s life.

Life and death are in the hands of the Lord. That is sometimes a harsh reality, but it is a reality. We are often tempted to ask God why a loved one is taken from us. Often too young. Always too soon. I can’t answer those questions, but I am convinced that life and death are in His hands (Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Corinthians 3:22). He determines the times and places we are to live (Acts 17:26) and He has our days numbered before we are born (Job 14:5).

God is present at every death. Whenever it occurs – or perhaps I should say each and every time it occurs – each and every time someone dies, God is there. I don’t have lots of answers but I know my God and I know His compassion and I know that the One who values life so much that He knows the number of hairs on each person’s head (Matthew 10:30) and the One who loved each one of us so much that He willingly died for us (Galatians 1:4, Titus 2:6, 1 John 3:16) – that God is present at the point of death. He grieves over sin if the death is untimely, but He is there for the dying. He is even there for the dying one who has spent a lifetime denying His existence. He gives them one last chance to recognize the reality of the One True God and submit their life into His hands.

There is a spiritual realm. That might seem like a strange statement to follow the first two, but my experience and the experience of others who have lost loved ones attest to the reality of a spiritual realm. I wrote about it this way in a blog a few months after my dad died:

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is some kind of spiritual connection among the living and when someone dies that connection is broken. When Phil’s mom died, he came up with this analogy: when a computer network is turned on, the system is always sending out impulses to other computers, checking to see if they are still connected. This is called “pinging” and it’s a continuous process. Without us being aware of it, it seems that our spirits “ping” for the spirits of those we love constantly and we receive an unconscious knowing that they are there. When someone dies, that ping goes out from us but is not returned. At an unconscious level there is a brokenness, a void, a missing connection that pushes itself into our consciousness and alerts our brain that “something is very wrong here.” Our brain then transmits that information to our emotions.

Birth and death are “holy-days” in a very true sense – days to set aside for reflecting on their purposes. Of course the fact that God is present makes them holy-days, but there is more:

  • The wonder of a newborn. The awesome creative power of God given to humans enabling us to create life. The instant and intense love that binds the newborn to his parents.
  • The crash of death. Reminding us that life has its limits that we cannot outwit, outlast or outplay. Reminding us that life is for the living and we ought not to waste time on petty, insignificant differences – or even the big ones. Life is for loving and bring glory to God. That’s the earthly side. There is a heavenly side for believers making it the most holy of holy days. It is the day in which we meet our Savior face to face. It is the day in which we worship as we’ve never worshiped before. It is the day of our true and final birth.

Lord, death is hard. Help me to introduce others to you so that they may experience not only a second birth (John 3:3-7), but a final birth into Your heavenly kingdom.

LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is.
Psalm 39:4 (NLT)

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Revolution of the HeartWhen my husband and I started dating, I had a horrible self image. Yet (somehow – thank You, God!) Phil thought I was the most beautiful person in the world. He would tell me that I was beautiful and I would be embarrassed (because I certainly didn’t think it was true) and I figured it was just a line. He’s just a guy and it’s just a line he’s hoping will get him something.

But he kept saying it – every day…for years…and years…Even after we were married, he’d tell me how beautiful I was…until one day it dawned on me – this isn’t a line! Phil really thinks I’m beautiful!

And my self image began to change. And I began to become more confident because while I still didn’t think I was beautiful, there was someone who did. Someone important! Someone of value.

So I began to care not nearly as much what you think or what someone else thinks, because the most important person in the world thinks I’m beautiful. And you know what? Maybe, just maybe…it’s hard to admit it, but maybe it’s true…just maybe, I am beautiful!

And a revolution began in my heart and in my mind.

In my insecurities, I am that tall, gangly, dare I say ugly, teenager who didn’t know how to put on makeup or do anything with her hair, and I certainly didn’t know how to accessorize! I am the shy girl who has just moved to town and has no friends and doesn’t know how to make friends. I am the person who is afraid to talk to you because you might turn away from me and I’ll be humiliated. I’m the person who hates to make phone calls because I’ll be humiliated and won’t know what to say when you don’t remember who I am.

Let’s take feeling humiliated off the table! Let’s make it a non-issue! Let’s just decide “so what?” If I’m humiliated, I’m humiliated. God gives grace to the humble. Christ was humiliated. He understands. And He loves us. His opinion is the only one that matters.

Let the revolution begin in your heart! Meditate on these Scriptures – read them every day – over and over again! Listen for the voice of God saying them. Listen for the choir of angels providing background vocals as God sings them over you.

You are precious to me!

Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:4 (NRSV)

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight.
1 Peter 2:4 (NRSV)

You are my treasured possession!

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
Deuteronomy 7:6 (NRSV)

You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.
Deuteronomy 14:2 (NLT)

I created you when you were in your mother’s womb – carefully designed and made (hand-crafted), perfectly suited to the roles I’ve called you.

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1 (NRSV)

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13 (NRSV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

You are beautiful, My lovely bride!

7Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. 8She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
Revelation 19:7-8 (NLT)

You are My delight!

No, the LORD’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11 (NLT)

You are the apple of My eye!

9the LORD’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share. 10He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye.
Deuteronomy 32:9-10 (NRSV)

You are My beloved child!

15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 8:15-16 (NRSV)

You are My friend!

13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
John 15:13-15 (NRSV)

I chose you! I chose you!

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
John 15:16 (NRSV)

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Track your reading along with us using the table below, the downloadable half-page PDF or the May/June bookmark.

Share what God is teaching you with otherse. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Enjoy God as you watch spring unfold!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the May/June 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the May Reading Plan Here

Here’s May’s reading plan:

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Join the conversation as we read together each month. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog. Let’s share the treasures God drops in our spirits as we read!

Also, NEW in 2012 are our RARE bookmarks. Click on the link below to download them.

Use the tracking method that works best for you – the schedule provided in this blog, the downloadable half-page PDF or bookmark. All provide the same schedule.

Above all, enjoy God as you read! Let Him speak to you!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the March/April 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the April Reading Plan Here

Here’s April’s reading plan:

April 2012 Resting at the River's Edge Reading Schedule JPG

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A couple of months ago I started signing my e-mails using the closing “Enjoy!” I probably meant it somewhat sarcastically the first few times I did it…as in “Here’s the 50 page draft for you to review. Enjoy! Sandy” But after doing it a few times I decided I liked it and I began to use it regularly. Somewhere along the line something changed! I realized that I wasn’t telling them to enjoy their document, I was telling them to enjoy life and I was telling myself to enjoy God. Now almost every time I close a business e-mail I sign off “Enjoy” and I think “Enjoy God, enjoy life!” It makes me smile even when I’ve been at my desk for ten hours and I’ve written twenty e-mails.

My e-mail sign-off is just one of the things I surround myself with that remind me of God. I have a plaque on my desk that says something like “Autograph your work with excellence.” Every time I read it I think “Autograph your work with excellence because you are a reflection of God to those around you.”

Life gets busy and it’s easy to lose our focus. Life gets harried and it’s easy to get frustrated or discouraged. Life gets challenging and it’s easy to become overwhelmed or defeated. Surrounding ourselves with things that help focus our attention on what’s truly important keep us grounded, faithful and joyful.

In Deuteronomy 6 Moses told the people to tie the commandments of the Lord “as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:8-9, NIV)

Wear the Lord’s commands as jewelry so that you are always reminded of what’s important and true and right. Put the Lord’s commands in places where you will see them often so that your focus is on Him, not on the chaos and busyness around you. It’s the same concept. The difference perhaps is that I’m not specifically encouraging you to surround you with Scripture because many of us life and/or work in environments where that’s not advisable. No matter what environment you live and work in, however, you can place things that turn your focus on Christ and what He’s done for you.

Here are just a couple of ideas:

  • Wear some piece of jewelry that reminds you of your covenant with the Lord. We wear wedding rings to remind us (and others) of our covenant with our spouse. Wear a ring, bracelet or necklace that says to you “I belong to Jesus.”
  • Many non-religious photos can turn our thoughts toward the Lord. It could be anything form a beautiful flower or waterfall to a geometric image that reminds you of infinity. The nature photo can remind of how awesome our Creator is. An infinity image can take your thought so the “foreverness” of God or remind you that you will spend eternity with Him.
  • Many motivation posters have biblical themes. We have three in our office that remind me that I my purpose is bigger than the work I do. (Be careful to avoid those that encourage doing it all on your own effort – it’s not about us, it’s about God.)
  • Scents are powerful memory joggers. If there is a scent that reminds you of an encounter with God, use that scent in your environment.

Use props to keep your focus on the Lord throughout the day. It will make a difference in your day. I promise!

What kind of props do you use? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Have a great week!

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