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Catching Up and Finishing Well: Into the Word Weeks 42-52

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Over the last few weeks, my voice has been silent in this space. I am stronger and surer now after walking through a dark valley with my Jesus.  I am so thankful for God’s healing and look toward 2013 with renewed hope.

Today, I wanted to close out the “Into the Word Study” by sharing my takeaways from the last 10 weeks of study:

Week 42:  One of my favorite songs by the Contemporary Christian group Third Day is “Show me Your Glory.”  This week’s lesson focused on a text in Isaiah 6 and challenged me to remember that during a crisis God will be clearly visible to me if only I first see my need for a redeemer and Savior.  The self-sufficient will never catch a glimpse of His majesty.

Week 43:  I love stories with a happy ending.  Don’t you?  The story of the healing of the blind man in John 9 highlights the importance of “letting your little light shine” when God’s touch has miraculously brought you new sight.  Sharing your story could lead to another person’s freedom in Christ.

Week 44:  In light of the school shooting in Connecticut, I was comforted with the thought that this world is ultimately not my home.   Matthew 24 warns us to be “on watch” as end times signs will continue to increase in alarming intensity.  I Peter 4:7 challenges us to be serious and watchful in our prayers as the final day approaches.

Week 45:  What impossible situation are you facing today?  Joshua 3 and 4 tells the amazing story of the Israelites miraculously crossing the Jordan.  Once they reached the Promised Land, each tribe grabbed a stone from the midst of the sea to place on shore as part of a memorial altar.  I was reminded that my life is to be a “living stone” to testify of God’s goodness.

Week 46: As we close the year out, there is a lot of talk on the television about who is #1 — #1 at the box office, #1 in the athletic arena, and #1 on the musical air waves.  Colossians 1 points out clearly that there is really only one person who is #1 — Jesus stands in history as supreme in creation and in authority.  How comforting it is to know that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)!  His power supersedes all.

Week 47:  Whenever I need to open up a stubborn jar, I call my husband as he is stronger than I will ever be.   Habakkuk 3 reminds us that during trials, God is present and aiding us in our weakness with His supernatural power.   As we rejoice in His help, others will take notice.

Week 48:  My hubby and I just spent a few days at the beach here in South Florida, and the sign of our sojourn is evident on his face as he has a nice tanned countenance.   In Exodus 34, when Moses spent time with God on the mountain, his face was alight with the glory of God.   This so reminds me of the importance of daily sitting at His feet so that my life reflects Him to all I encounter.

Week 49:  During this season of Christmas cartoon specials, I have revisited the story of Kris Kringle through the eyes of Hollywood.  This fictional character’s yearly visit is magical for youngsters, but his power is not divine.   Only Jesus has the power to transform a life.  John 1 tells us that He became flesh and dwelled among us — God with us, Emmanuel.  This is the greatest story of all.

Week 50:   News travels quickly in our modern world of Twitter and Facebook.   As I read the Christmas story in Luke 2, I realized that the shepherds would have been expert tweeters.  When these simple men came face to face with the Savior, their response was to “make haste,”  to “make Him widely known,” and to “glorify and praise God.”  How quick am I to make Jesus known to others?

Week 51:  Today, neon signs line the main thoroughfare of cities calling shoppers to follow the light with their shopping dollars.   As I read the Christmas story in Matthew 2, I see that the wise men of old followed a bright shining star to find the Christ child.  Daily, we each are called to shine brightly and point others to the Savior.  How else will they see Him if we don’t point them on their way?

Week 52:   For so many, Christmas is all about getting gifts.   We look with longing to the wrapped packages under the tree all December and our greedy hearts rejoice when we unwrap our prizes on the morning of the 25th.   As I read John 13, I realized that on His last day on earth, Jesus decided to give a gift to those closest to Him.   He didn’t choose riches or gifts pleasing to the eye.  His gift involved setting aside pride in order to selflessly aid those in his circle of influence.   What did Jesus do?  He washed the disciples’ feet.  He explained that He was giving each of us an example to follow — we, too, are called to grab a towel and get ready to serve.

So, 2012 has come to a close.   I am thankful for God’s grace, which has helped me meet each day.   May God richly bless each of you, my readers, in the coming year ahead.  My theme for 2013 will be “fruitfulness,” and I will be sharing weekly reflections from a devotional on prayer that I will be digging into daily.   Here’s to a “fruitilicious” 2013!

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Tap In: “Into the Word” Week 41

As a Floridian, I look forward to the end of November because it marks the end of hurricane season.  Over the last few months, we have waited and prayed — eyeing the weather forecasts with diligence.  Even if a hurricane does not directly hit our area, there is a chance that we could lose power during a tropical storm.  So, my husband bought a generator, which sits in our garage just in case.

This week as I was digging  “Into the Word” I was reminded that I need not fear the dark or looming storms ahead.  I have a power source that surpasses any danger:

I also pray that you will understand

the incredible greatness of God’s power

for us who believe him.

This is the same mighty power

 that raised Christ from the dead

and seated him in the place of honor

at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 1:190 & 20, NLT

When I tap in to Christ, His resurrection power will bring light and life to any situation.  Spiritual tempests fizzle fast in the light of His glorious presence.  With Christ in my corner, I know that sunny skies will lie ahead.

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week stud“Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Get Going: “Into the Word” Week 40

Two years ago, my mother in law went home to heaven after a year of slowly marching toward glory.  Grieving such a loss puts you in an odd place — you are standing still in one spot, while the rest of the world moves on unaware.  Loss, pain, and tribulation seek to swallow us up in the darkness, but as believers, we are children of light.  We must move forward through the obstacles and lay claim to the promises ahead.  

Recently, as I was digging  “Into the Word” I saw a living example of this principle through the life of Joshua:

After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:1-9, MSG)

After Moses death, God told Joshua to get going — to give it everything he had heart and soul.  If Joshua had allowed himself to get wrapped up in the pain and loss, he would have missed out on the Promised Land ahead.  So get going, there is greater glory in your future.

Q4U:  How have you plowed through valleys to get to the green grass of the mountain ahead?

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week stud“Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Continue: “Into the Word” Week 39

I love playing cards and board games.  My newest passion is Skip Bo.  My dear friend did her best to explain the rules to me, but it took a few rounds before I got the hang of it.  Not until I was immersed in the game did I truly understand how to play.  

This week as I was digging  “Into the Word” I thought about how this truth applies to the spiritual discipline of prayer.  The best way to learn to pray is to lift your heart and voice to God with regularity and sincerity.  In one of his epistles, Paul expounds on this principle:

 Devote yourselves to prayer

with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Colossians 4:2, NLT

   To “devote” implies consistency, steadfast attentiveness, perseverance, and a readiness of will.  God asks us to pray with a cautious spirit that is overflowing with gratitude.  This is a delicate balance gained through practice.

Q4U:  What do you think is the key to a solid prayer life?

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Waiting for the Harvest: “Into the Word” Week 38

I am a city girl.  I don’t like to get my fingers dirty.  I like being able to purchase what I need at a nice, big store.  But, I know that in God’s economy, sometimes He will require us to jump in and get dirty as we plant something that will take time to harvest.  This week, I was reminded of this fact as I was  digging  “Into the Word”:

Dear brothers and sisters,

be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return.

Consider the farmers who patiently wait

for the rains in the fall and in the spring.

They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

 You, too, must be patient.

Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

James 5:7-8, NLT

This passage outlines how we should behave while we are in God’s waiting room:  Be patient,  Consider others who have planted and are waiting.  Eagerly look for the harvest.  Take courage as you wait.    The harvest will come.  Keep marching forward.

Q4U:  What has God taught you about the harvest as you wait?

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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