Breath deep the Wonders of the Lord

coffee beans

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Most of my mornings feel busy.  This morning as the pungent aroma of coffee beans escaped the bag I was reminded to slow down,

to take more time to breath deeper.  All I could think as I inhaled the aroma of coffee beans was breath deep the Wonders of the Lord.  

Coffee is a true wonder..its process, it’s aroma, its flavor, it’s energy-boosting ability.  It was refreshing to breath deeply of those coffee beans,

one of the many many countless wonders of God.  All through scripture we see the amazing hand of God; His wonders and miracles are on display from book one. 

I encourage you to slow down, even stop, and breath deeply.  Nothing is so refreshing! 

Here are a few verses that mention the wonders of the Lord:

Psalm 77:11

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Psalm 136:4 (Pretty much ALL of Psalm 136)

to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by by understanding made the heavens…who spread out the earth above the waters…

to him who made great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Joel 2:30, Acts 2:19

And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below…

Hebrews 2:4

…God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Isaiah 9:6

…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!

Exposure to Light

Sunrise

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First thing in the mornings, I try to make a habit of praising God, for different aspects of his character, for things he’s made for us, for what he’s done.

It doesn’t always come naturally.  Sometimes we don’t always wake up with sunshine diffusing from our very beings, sometimes we get busy and forget

priorities.

Taking one glance at the sunrise, I thanked him this morning for being the creator of beauty.  And it dawned on me (NO pun intended), that

as humans, we do a very poor job of maintaining the inner beauty he made to radiate in us.  Often enough, we don’t preserve and work to enhance that beauty.

In Ephesians 5* Paul says, “..be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” (vs. 1-2).  He goes on to encourage

believers in purity and speaks of light and its crucial importance in our lives, reminding us that, “at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (vs 8-10).

The way Paul says to do all that is to “take no part” in darkness, but expose it.  Because “when is anything is exposed to the light it becomes visible,” and

“anything that becomes visible is light” (vs. 13-14).

I love this next part.  It’s relevant to us all, especially for those who feel like zombies in the muddle this life can often become.  If you feel like you’re sleeping through life,

or need answers about life, we have a promise from our Creator:  “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (v. 14).  Seek HIM, and he will

shine on you!  We need his light.

*Chapter 5 of Ephesians is filled with so many golden nuggets I’d have to copy and paste the entire chapter for you to see them all.  If you have a bible

I encourage you to read it yourself.  Here is an online link from Biblegatway.com Ephesians 5.  🙂

 

Joy

Joy

 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Joy as “A feeling, source or cause of great happiness.” As Christians, we know exactly the source of our joy: Jesus! Our joy comes from listening to him & abiding in his love. Here is some of what the word says about joy:

 In John 15:10-12, Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” If we obey and live in his love, he will fill us with joy.

 In Isaiah 9:3 joy is listed as a precious commodity, when Isaiah praises God saying, “You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy…”

 Joy is used in descriptions as the fullest extent of excitement or pleasure. When the wisemen saw the star in the sky, Matthew 2:10 says “they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.” They had joy because of their hope in the Lord; because “hope does not disappoint” Romans 5:5.

 In 1 Peter 1:7-9 Peter speaks of the proof of our faith being more precious than gold, resulting in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus; and though we have not seen him, we love and believe in him, greatly rejoicing with inexpressible joy.

 In Psalm 30:5, though weeping may last through the night, joy comes with the morning,” putting a graceful end to sorrow.

 At times, in this world, we may experience our feelings of joy being swept away, stolen by our enemy, but Nehemiah 8:9-11 is a great reminder that “The joy of the Lord is [our] strength.” And “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. What a beautiful thing it is to know that if we simply obey, we will abide in the love of a savior who longs to bring us his joy.

Learning the Books of the Bible {for kids…and song-happy adults}

Learning the books of the Bible in order can be difficult, but if you’re on a mission to put them in mental order, try this amazing song by Reedeaz.  My kids love it, I love it, we go around the house singing it.  This song actually taught ME the order of some of the tinier books in the Bible.  It’s great and I just wanted to share because I think you’ll like it too!  🙂  (Click the link below pic).  

 

books of the bible song pic

The Books of the Bible Song

Being Intentional

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Philippians 3 nlt

Paul is very honest in Philippians about the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  A relationship with Jesus requires priority, a deep intentionality: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (v8).  He had every human reason to have confidence in himself: he was purely Jewish, of the tribe of Benjamin, and a member of the Pharisees, who, “demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law” (v5). His zeal & love for his job (which included “harshly persecuting the church”) was what he lived for, before Jesus. He says of himself, “I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault” (v6).  He didn’t play around on the job.  He was perfect in his role, faultless…but in need of a savior, as we all are.  He goes on to say, “I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done” (v7).

Paul’s words are an encouragement to be obedient and intentional.  He says, “But we must be sure to obey the truth we have already learned” (16). He urges us to pattern our lives after his and to learn from each other (v17).  He reminds us that there are many who don’t live godly lives, who only “think about this life here on earth” (v19).  “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.  And we are eagerly awaiting for him to return as our Savior” (v20).  Even through his descriptive words, and for our sake, Paul is straining toward the goal. Starting in verse 8 Paul lists his intentional process of pursuing Jesus:

1. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage so that I may have Christ and become one with him.

2. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead (v9-11).   

3. I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven (v13-14).

I’m so thankful that Paul’s example of intentionality has been shared with the world.  Like Paul, may we keep working toward that day when we will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved us for and wants us to be (v12).    

 

 

 

Easy TAP Bible Study

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This summer, I have a break from my normal Bible study. It’s 30 weeks long each year and amazing, really keeping me in God’s word.  I will miss even these 3 short months off.  Breaks away from structured studies are good, though.  They teach us to seek God’s word on our own.  During this break, my kids and I are implementing a simple Bible study method known as TAP (Truth, Application, Prayer).  I really think this format is awesome; it can be used anyplace, anytime, no major Bible study needed. It’s really just the most simple of Bible studies, formatted to help you pull the most out of your time in the Word.

The idea is to start with 15 minutes a day.  Find a quiet time and place for your study, gather your resources (Bible, pen & notebook or two), and focus.  The lady who introduced me to TAP emphasized the need for that second notebook, so that when we’re distracted by various ideas and to-do’s, we can jot them down on notebook #2 and get back to business.  The mind is amazing in that once we write an idea down, it’s suddenly released onto paper and out of our minds, giving us a “break” from that idea.

If this study is for kids, help them navigate though a few samples of what their study might look like on paper.  We divide ours into three sections: the first is a 1-3 sentence synopsis of what we read (possible character traits of an individual, theme, etc).  Next, we write down an application based on the Truth we read.  Lastly, we jot down a prayer to God.  If you have teeny tiny people at your house, old enough to think for themselves and write a little, you can simplify even more by combining the application and prayer step.  Believe me, the written prayers of your children will blow you away!

So, even though we adore our yearly Bible study (CBS), I appreciate this method because it encourages us to be diligent students of God’s word, to find, on our own, the Truths He has for us in His word….that He’s been waiting for us to find.  Remember, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hebrews 4:12 (esv).  Be encouraged to study God’s word!

(There are a few acronyms for good ways to study God’s word: TAP, as I’ve written about here and SOAP)