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Shaken to become a Principled Person

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Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’” Jeremiah 35:18-19 (NIV)

We are now in week three of our 2nd series of the Jeremiah study. As we began this week’s meeting, I prayed for God to use His Word to shake us to the core and bring a new light to the book of Jeremiah. I am not quite sure why these words came flowing out so quickly but…God…He answered!

Chapter 35 of Jeremiah is primarily about a group of people known as the Rekabites. This nomadic clan were faithful promise keepers who proved their allegiance over and over. When tempted or presented with a situation to fall back on their pledge, they were steadfast and unwavering. WOW!

We spent some time dissecting the major takeaways from this family. Let me share some of those with you:

  1. The Rekabites were tent dwellers and through this they displayed the understanding that this earth is not our destination in the end. We often get entangled by life and its “stuff”. It can bog us down and even overwhelm. Our material things are here today but gone tomorrow yet we can’t seem to do without, stop wanting more and more, and many times lack the ability to control it all. I am so guilty. I have WAY TOO MUCH and frequently forget that I am only passing through.
  2. This family had made an alliance to set rules and ways of living. They had determined what was best for them and they knew their why when it came to agreeing to these standards. They knew what they were pledging, the reason behind it, and how it was profitable for their living. When was the last time I thought about my values and absolutes?
  3. The Rekabites did not let culture, or the “modern” way of life sway their promises. While the world around them was falling apart and diving deeper and deeper into sin, this family stood firm against conforming to the “in thing to do”. They embraced their values and held tightly to this obedience regarding the established rules for their lives. I often make decisions based on “everyone else”. How am I different from the world in which I live?
  4. The Rekabites were steadfast. When they made their vows to abstain from things not productive for them, they knew how they would answer if temptation ever came. This family was prepared for situation where their faithfulness would be tested. They knew prior to any enticement what they would say and do. They were proactive in being successful when it came to their obedience. Am I steadfast or do I teeter and totter on average?

God honored the Rekabites for their obedience to their word. The Lord desires the same from each of us and craves to see us, His children, committed and unswerving. Our Father has proven His love and faithfulness to us over and over to the point of death. He is loyal, reliable, and constant. What a beautiful Father we have.

I challenge you to study this passage more and listen to a few sermons on the topic. Take some time this week and think about these “principled people”.

Then,

  1. Write down a couple of absolutes for your life. What is one value you have that you will not comprise no matter what?
  2. How is this profitable for God?
  3. What/Who might try to sway you from obedience?
  4. What will it take to be steadfast and faithful in the days ahead?

Once you have decided on a couple of absolutes, take some time to write them down and pray over them. Share them with a friend and ask them to pray for your devotion to be solid in the days ahead. Let God know the desire of your heart when it comes to these values and rules you have set for yourself.

May the witness of the Rekabites touch you in such a way that it also shakes you to the core and causes you to focus on what matters the most…

This is not your home…God’s ways are profitable…culture doesn’t dictate your values…and obedience is possible when you decide to be become a principled person.

Blessing and prayers for you in digesting Jeremiah 35. May you never be the same after reading it.  

Terminal Illness-We All Have It!

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com So you will be my people, and I will be your God. Jeremiah 30:22 (NIV)

Medically, no one wants to hear the word terminal-knowing it leads to death or the end. This word can turn our lives upside down and shake us to the core. It seems to change everything once the effects begin to unravel. Life is never the same.

In Jeremiah we find a portion of Scripture in chapter 30 referencing this very medical language. It clearly states, “Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing.” (verse 12b) What? Talk about getting straight to the point-there is no beating around the bush here. And to surprise you even more, let me share 12a, “This is what the Lord says:” Words uttered from God.

So, exactly what is this wound, incurable injury God is referencing? What is the disease within where the Lord clearly conveys a terminal effect? We all have it. There is no human cure and it has the power to spread and completely destroy life as we know it. Deadly.

This three-letter illness is SIN. There is no human remedy and the pain is overwhelming. The guilt and shame will devour. The sting of death is its friend and the disease can easily spiral out of control until we are consumed and unrecognizable. In medical terms some might even say, “They are too far gone! There is nothing more we can do.”

BUT GOD…”But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds”, declares the Lord, …” Jeremiah 30:17a. Only God has the antidote-the true cure-Jesus Christ, the Savior! AMEN!

ALL-yes, all have sinned. The very thing that brings pain and suffering. The wounds are deep from it and it can spread like wildfire within a short period of time. It has a major way of destroying lives and those around it.

Many times, we try to find a cure on our own. We attempt to heal the pain and/or find a remedy without the help of the Lord. We enlist in ways to “humanly” become healthy or even find an “earthly” cure, but nothing can restore and heal us from sin except Christ Himself.

Jesus was sent as the new covenant. A chance for healing, restoration, and life eternal. Our antidote so to speak. He made the sacrifice for the ultimate cure! Through His death and pain, we are offered grace in exchange for our terminal illness-sin.

When was the last time you read the plan of salvation?

How have you been able to share this with the world recently?

What could you do to ensure others know of this miraculous healing?

May you be encouraged to stop and give thanks for what God has done for you.

God’s Word says:

ADMIT we have sinned: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) Sin separates us from the LORD and its outcome is death.

BELIEVE in Christ’s sacrifice: Jesus paid the price for all sins. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf…” (2 Corinthians 5:21a)

ASK for forgiveness & for Christ to enter your life: “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved:” (Romans 10:9) The gift of the LORD is eternal life and it is only by grace you can be set free from the terminal effects of sin. (Ephesians 2:8)

Now, go beyond and find a way to share it with the world. Remember, the antidote is for ALL!

For I Know the Plans

Photo by Maria Gulyaeva on Pexels.com Article from the thoughts of: Robin Gonzales

As we continue our study of Jeremiah, we come to chapter 29-that most famous verse which catches most people’s attention: Jeremiah 29:11 (AMPC) For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

It is a verse we have heard often and maybe even relied upon. But what was the context in which it was written? Think about what was actually happening when God makes this statement. The Israelites had been captured by the Babylonians and sent into exile for 70 years. Ouch! However, these Israelites escaped death under God’s wrath and were possibly still receptive to the Lord.

In their exile period they needed God assurances that He had not forgotten them, abandoned them, given up on them, and there was still hope for a better outcome than under the Babylonian’s reign.

Can you relate? Think about low periods of your life regardless of the reason. Life captured and imprisoned by circumstances and strife. You crave just a glimmer of better days ahead.

Isn’t it nice to be assured God provides great hope? Yes, His name is Jesus-the Savior who is the final outcome and our true intercessor. He gives us a brighter outlook despite the difficulties we may experience. 

But let me take you beyond this verse to the primary purpose of this article. You see, for me, this was not the verse seizing my attention. It was Jeremiah’s instructions in verse 7. Let’s take a look: 

Jeremiah 29:7 (AMPC)

And seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, for in the welfare of [the city in which you live] you will have welfare.

Jeremiah had just finished telling the Israelites they would be in exile for 7 decades so they needed to go forward, build houses, marry, and raise families. In other words, you are not going anywhere anytime soon–so settle in. He continues telling them to help their city to be at peace and prosperous so that they too would be peaceful and prosperous.

What did that mean for them? Live and work as if it was for the Lord. Submit to the authority God had place over them. In doing these things, all would be well. Yes, even humbling themselves under the Babylonian reign. Jeremiah might have even reminded the captives to display Godly behavior such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding, etc. towards the Babylonians!  

Let’s take this a step farther. What does this mean for our daily living? Well, if we think about it-we have all been placed in a city by God himself. You are where you are for a reason. The same can be said about your country, place of employment, school, church, etc. The Father places us in specific areas and wants us to carry out our lives with the same principle He instructed the Israelites thousands of years ago.

We find these same sentiments in the New Testament as a reminder to live in peace, govern ourselves with humility, and work as if it were for the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (AMPC)

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:23 (AMPC)

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.

Romans 13:1 (AMPC)

Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction}, and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (AMPC)

First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior.

Let’s reflect:

How often do we pray for our elected leaders to have wisdom, good counsel, good health, strength, rest, peace, protection, help? I know I am lacking in this area. What about you?

I may remember the president or governor or law enforcement or first responders occasionally, but I don’t often think about state representatives, mayors, school board officials, etc. Our entire governing body needs prayer no matter our country, city, workplace, …

I urge you, including myself, as we approach this election in a few days to pray for the candidates, winning or losing, and take a different perspective toward those who are elected-weather or not we chose them. Also, continue to pray for all the leaders in our country all the way down to bosses, pastors, teachers, and parents.

Let’s remember each one of us is responsible for peace and prosperity where we have been placed. (Side note: most of us are responsible for someone else) So with Jeremiah 29:7 in mind, I think we all could use as much prayer and intercession we can get.

Only God can truly say, “For I Know the Plans!” But, it doesn’t let us off the hook to do our part.

Can Growth Happen on the Dark Side?

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Hello friends. Can you believe it is almost November? The winter months are upon us and the smell of pumpkin is in the air.

My husband and I have been busy gathering the last of the harvest the past couple of weeks. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, dill, green beans, parsley, pumpkins, cilantro, etc. All the goodies we have watched grow day after day in broad daylight.

As I wash, chop, freeze, cook, etc. I am reminded of God’s pure light producing healthy fruit in my own life. I love the spiritual growth that comes as I stay under His authority and humbly surrender to His plans. He has a way of stretching me and directing my maturity in ways I have never even dreamed- much like the pumpkin that grew larger than the rest of the crop.

But today I want to truly chat about the dark side. The crop underground and never seen day in and day out. Yep, the carrots! It is always a mystery of the growth until the day of harvest. Year after year, we never know the yield we will receive nor the size of each, yet there is always growth happening below the surface.

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Life has often been like this for me. The dark side of life-death, change, health issues, daily struggles, loss, deception, and the list continues-all the things hidden away in my heart which the world sees as agents of destruction while outwardly (on the surface) all seems fine and well. (The tops of the carrots are so pretty and green)

Like our prized carrots, I have learned the secret to growing in the darkness. (Yes, by trial & error)

  1. In the darkness, God is in control. My reliance and focus are on Him because I must rely on faith and His will. He directs my path-growth-size, etc.
  2. My inner transparency is protected from the surface elements the world offers. Yes, this earth has a million and one solutions to our problems, but only the Lord can provide true safety and shelter.
  3. God’s maturity in His children is not always seen as appealing like those red, ripe tomatoes or those luscious squash. What He is doing inside of our hearts is much like the transformation of that small, small seed. Our struggles become a testimony-just like that beautiful carrot-a demonstration of growth in the darkness.  
  4. Only God can produce an abundance of goodness from the dark side of life but it is dependent upon our reliance on Him through the trials.  

Just food for thought as I process the carrots.

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What type of veggie can you identify with when reflecting on your growth with God?

3 Reasons to Share Your Emotional Exploits with God

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Have you ever had a day where one minute you are praising the Lord and the next minute you find yourself frail and experiencing a moment of despair? Emotions-they can take us on adventures of extreme highs and lows within seconds. We can go from a mountain top to a pit of self-criticism. They can truly manipulate our thinking if we allow it.

Jeremiah knew about this all too well. In Jeremiah 20, he quickly goes from worshiping the Father as a mighty rescuer to blatantly showing major insecurity within himself. He even states, “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!” (Jeremiah 20:14 NIV).  Wow, definitely a stark contrast in thoughts and emotions.

Emotions can even be mixed. I have often found myself in sorrow and despair yet praising the Lord. In times of deep grief and major heartbreak, I have found crazy joy which makes absolutely no sense in human terms. There have been times when my heart and mind have been so peaceful when my world was absolutely falling apart.

Feelings are feelings! It is part of how God constructed each of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves, so our emotional displays and expressions do not catch Him off guard. Much like Jeremiah, God wants us to voice the despair and insecurity. He truly wants us to have 100% confidence in Him to be transparent and raw.  

Let me share 3 reasons I have found why to express all feelings (good, bad, or ugly) with God:

  1. It is a display of trust. Deuteronomy 7:9 states, “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 commandments.” When we share our crude feelings with God, it shows a level of faith and dependance. Regardless of how we feel, the Lord is more concerned with where we place our hope. Our transparency shows belief in God’s promise to not allow anything to separate us from His great love no matter the emotions and insecurity running through our veins.
  2. It demonstrates a relationship with the Lord. Deuteronomy 3:24 states, “O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there is heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours?” Think about where you run first with good or bad news. Are there emotions that come with the news? Sharing information with someone builds a relationship. We go to them because we know they care and the news is just as important to them as it is to us. When we go to God it builds a relationship. He delights in our vote of confidence. He cares deeply about our everyday news, feelings, success, failures, highlights, etc. Let Jeremiah be our example to share ALL that is within us to the one who is in charge of all things-GOD.
  3. It illustrates humility. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” We are often too prideful to admit our emotions due to the conditioning of society. The book of Jeremiah expresses how pride destroyed Judah to the point of no return. They refused to listen to reproof or the sting of truth because they only wanted to experience “good feelings” regardless if they were attached to sinful acts. When we lay ALL emotions before the Lord, we display a heart under God’s authority. We demonstrate a belief in Him as steadfast and master of all our thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It is an opportunity to allow God to sort through them and guide us in dealing with them appropriately.

Remember my friend, God remains your all in all. Trust Him with everything-yes, even with those crazy emotional exploits that seem to come out of the blue. He is the one person who can handle the transparency and give you the discernment with each emotion-good, bad, or ugly. Let this be a pathway to build a relationship with Him. Make a point to chat with Him often and share honest moments.

Who else truly has your back, fights for you on all realms, and never grows tired of loving you?

Can a Leopard change his spots?

Written by Robin Gonzales
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If you are like me, you grew up hearing the phrase “Can a leopard change his spots?”

This is something I have even used myself when describing someone who was cheating or being deceitful in some way.

It was not until recently when we were studying Jeremiah that I discovered the phrase actually came from God’s word. Jeremiah 13:23 (NIV).

Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

What was God trying to say? Is he saying if you are a sinner, you will always be a sinner–there is no hope for you? NO!

We are sinners and will continue to make wrong decisions until the day we leave these fleshly bodies, but Jesus is our source of hope. He paid the price and took on ALL of our sins so we could have a relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

God is trying to make a point. As humans, because God gave us intelligence and the freedom of choice, we think we have the power and ability to govern our own lives and we are self-sufficient apart from God. When in fact, we are reliant on God for everything. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the sun that rises and sets each day.

Reflect on this quote from A. W. Towzer’s book, The Knowledge of The Holy, “Probably the hardest thought of all of our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. Commonly, we represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world, but the God who worketh all things needs no help and no helpers.”

Without God we cannot even produce the desire to change our character let alone do anything good for anyone else as Philippians 2:13 (AMPC) tells us.

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Paul puts it like this in Romans 7:15-18 (AMPC)

For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]

My intention in this writing is to give you hope. For me, it gives me confidence in knowing God himself is working in me to create the desires. It is God producing the power and making a way for me to live out His plan for my life. Knowing He takes an interest in me at all is pretty amazing! 

I am forever grateful He did not leave me where he found me, He sees my heart and knows me better than I know myself.  God is not limited by time or space.  I love that He can see the finished product of me!

God has provided all that is needed, but the choice is still yours and mine. God can change anything!

EXCITING NEWS!

Excellent resource to document your personal Bible journey after a sermon, small group, devotional, etc.

Several have requested a Bible study journal to assist them in their independent study through books of the Bible. We have heard your need and have been diligently working on providing this for you. Exciting news–this is now available AND you have two selections!

Here is the primary information about each option:

Beautiful lined notebook supporting deeper understanding of Scripture when studying the Bible independently. The journals will introduce readers to a simple Bible study method entitled A.M.P.S.

A- Attention                  Allowing God to focus your attention
M- Meaning                   Studying Scripture for full contextual understanding
P- Perspective of God   Pausing to hear and consider the LORD’s point of view

S- Saturation                 Applying Scripture into your current circumstances and daily living

100 pages

2 pages explaining the AMPS format

6 x 9 with soft cover and good quality white paper contents

Fits easily in tote, purse, backpack, etc.

Amazing gift for friends and family

Floral option: http://bitly.ws/uKS8

Black botanical option: http://bitly.ws/uKSd

Something in the works…

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

Maybe the title should say…something in the words once you here what is coming!

Let me beginning by saying, this book illustrates an imperfect writer striving to point others to the one and only perfect author, God!

After writing Crown the Sword, I honestly never dreamed of writing another book. I know, I know the book ends with the words “until we meet again”. Maybe I thought God would have me writing short devotion books or something of that nature.

I have started this book several times and then stopped. It didn’t feel just right or the direction was off somehow. He kept drawing me to it though. I knew God wanted me to write about being intentional with Scripture and tips on increasing a relationship with Him and infusing of His Word. Are you kidding God? I am not an expert on anything, especially this!

All I can share is my experience and discovery. I can witness to my own journey in reading, studying, and applying the Bible. It turned my life upside down. I went from being a surface level believer to a God fearing, sold-out lover of Him and His Word. When I finally surrendered to His authority, the living resource I found through Biblical text changed everything. It even birthed the Refining ministry!

I have accepted the fact that God has called me out and asked me to step into a spiritual maturity ministry helping others go BEYOND, to the best of my imperfect ability. Look, I do not have all the answers, but I am willing to share my experiences and gained knowledge. The LORD has impressed upon me the importance of helping others discover effective ways to read, comprehend, pray, and infuse Scripture on an individual level. He wants every believer to be fully equipped, including YOU!

The book is in its rough draft form currently. I would ask you to pray for the days ahead and its revision. Pray that each word within this writing will encourage others to go BEYOND their current Scripture intake level whether it be an occasional visitor or daily reader. May it be an invitation to go BEYOND what people say about the Bible to letting GOD speak a personal message directly to readers through His Word.

If you on own a quest to find an individualized plan to in-depth Bible study and desire to sit at the feet of Jesus absorbing His perspective above and BEYOND all else, this might be the book for you.

May the journey from rough draft to full publication be directed by the hands of the Almighty Father only. Please pray for a hedge of protection in the process because this will impact someone’s life in the days ahead.

Until we meet again…

Noting the Promises of God

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 (NIV)

In all of your earthly relationships, who do you place the most trust in? Do the words loyal and faith describe their character? Do they primarily have remarkable follow through with their promises to you? Have they or will they let you down at some point?

I once was advised by a church leader to never have expectations of humans, then I would never be disappointed by them. Well, as much as this appears logical, how could one ever develop an intimacy and deep friendship with no expectations?

I am of the opinion most people choose their circle of friends, you know-those beyond acquaintances, based on trust and dependability. Why would you ever entertain a close association with someone if you didn’t have some type of faithful expectations? How could you truly believe what they said or promised if there wasn’t some level of trust?

Good news-you never have to question the promises of the LORD. He is forever constant in fulfilling and has proved this over and over. Just compare Old Testament prophecy to New Testament fulfillment.

His character is steadfast. God is the only relationship delivering constant, dependable trust. It is His character-loyal, faithful, devoted, and reliable. What a privilege to call Him friend.

When reading Scripture, search for those promises made directly by the father. These guarantees and assurances furnish hope on a big scale. Why? Because you can count on it, my friend! Believe it, trust it, and know it will happen. They are oaths made by the LORD himself.

These promises enter our minds as only information as we read and discover them. But, if we take the time to study each one intimately, God exposes His love for us and declares truth we can certainly hang our hat on. (Oops, that might have come from my Texas upbringing) It provides an insight of eternal hope and builds an even greater scale of confidence in the creator of our soul, Elohim.

As you find the promises of the LORD in your independent reading, decide what your plan will be.

  • Will you highlight them a different color than everything else in your Bible?
  • Will you write them in a special journal filled with nothing but God’s promises? (I call this God’s victory file. It comes in handy on those days the enemy is larking and working overtime. It helps call him out for who and what he is, a liar!)
  • Maybe you are a prayer journal lover. You can write the verse/s of promises directly in your prayer journal book with complete reference. Then pray out the promise/s into your life and those around you.

These three ideas are only the beginning to honoring the promises of the father. Each promise is a revelation you can expect to happen. They embody a powerful force, capable of crushing the attempts of evil. (Think about Jesus’ responds when tempted by the enemy.)

I would encourage you to devise a promise plan right for you. Determine a method of noting these assurances. Highlight them, write them, pray them, use them to encourage others, and cling to them for a lifetime. You may already have a strategy working for you in this area. How could you possibly enhance it?

You can always trust God’s assurances to be prevailing, mighty, effective, impressive, and everlasting! Who else delivers such guarantees?

Oh yeah, one more thing-have expectations of the Father. They will always be fulfilled BEYOND human standards and in accordance with His immaculate plan. Pinkie promise! 

Exceeding Text Elevation: More Than Typography

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Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

Warning-moment of truth!

Looking back at the time in my life when a devotional Bible seemed ideal, I was cracking open God’s Word maybe once a week. I used God’s Word to find verses highlighted during a bible study, sermon, or devotional. Mainly, just to find Scripture presented in a different translation because I felt mine was easier to comprehend.  

Unfortunately, my craving and value for His Word had gradually faded outside of church and beyond the daily devotional conveniently appearing in my inbox each workday morning. It crushes me to tell you this. Nothing captivated my heart to dig deeper into the Bible at the time. The surface level reading seemed sufficient. I was satisfied with my limited exposure. I probably would have even justified my actions as proficient at the time. (If you are in the education world, remember proficient is good for an evaluation rating.)

Permit me to explain. See, my focus and a large portion of my energy was spent on a multitude of earthly loves. A period of time where I wanted to move up in my career, make an impact in the community, be the perfect wife, participate in a ton of events, and the list continues. BUSY-Being Under Satan’s Yoke! I had goals and ambitions. I had very little time to sleep let alone get past the mere printed text after I read it once. (Lesson learned, but that’s another book!)    

After going through a season of discipline, my love for God’s Word grew exponentially. It rebirthed the same hunger I exhibited as a child. I even wanted to revert to finding a closet, grabbing a flashlight, snagging the bed pillows, propping myself on top of a wooden toybox, and getting lost in God’s Word. Oh, the sweet craving of Scripture was back. This newfound reverence and desire finally outweighed everything in life.

Without a doubt, the Bible is more than text on a page yet, many copies of God’s Word are only consumed as print on a page. The potential elevation level of the text remains flat, especially when the Bible remains closed. Even when being read, God’s Word can often become a checkmark on a “To Do” list.

Unfortunately, I know this Scripture relationship all too well.

It is read, but not consumed.

It is treasured, but no life value displayed.

It is highlighted, but not truly understood.

It is set apart from any other writing, but so many other books are used.

It is God’s own voice, but everything else is heard above and beyond it.

It is paired with good intentions, but the follow through is overshadowed by “life”.

Yes—you could probably add more statements and I dare to say they too would probably be familiar to my past.

So, how do we break free from these chains? What can we do to ensure our relationship with God and His Word are more than lip service? Where can a person start? I am not sure I can answer these questions for each reader, but I can share my journey and the ways God captured my heart for Scripture.

It began with a simple prayer of asking the Lord for help to grow closer to Him and know Him more. The Holy Spirit reminded me if I truly wanted more of God and less of me, I had to love His Word as much as I loved Him. It required me putting skin on Timothy 2:15, which states, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (NIV).

From this humbly plea, my quest to investigate the importance of Scripture was birthed.

Since then, I can personally attest Scripture is the very words of God:

Living

Miraculous

Powerful

Set Apart

No matter the print arrangement, the Bible is filled with life instructions, promises from the LORD, filled with His attributes and characteristics, and many examples of what-to-do and what-not-to-do.

It is clearly a beautiful love story revealing a God who gave His blameless Son to die for our sins. Book after book of the Voice of God is printed for our engagement and supported by the Holy Spirit’s ability to convey its wisdom.

So much more than typography—an opportunity to go beyond text elevation!

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