Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'd Rather Be a Stomach

I Corinthians 12:12-27

I've considered this passage many times.  In fact, it is a standard to come back to when talking about people working together in the church.  I think it has gotten so familiar, I've stopped really looking at what it means.  Of course, it always helps when you read a passage in several different translations.  You can't just zone our while you're reading a familiar passage when the words are so different.  It does help you catch the meaning differently when you read with different words.

In the VOICE, there was use of the words whine and pout.  This time, as I read this passage, I realized we tend to react sinfully in two polar opposite ways when we are not reacting appropriately in the body of Christ.  We are either self-critical and whiny and pouty OR we are prideful and act superior.  Which do you tend to do?  I find that people think they are being humble and obeying God if they do not act prideful.  I think this passage would say whining and being self-critical is not true humility either.  It is also a sin.  True humility and working well in the body of Christ is accepting where God has placed us and acting to the best of our ability in that roll--not trying to take anyone else's and not saying "we're not worthy."

Every time I've read this, I skim over I Corinthians 12:22  "On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,"   (NIV)  What are the weaker parts of the body?  I've never really stopped to think it through.    Well, the MESSAGE gives me a different way to think about it:  "As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way--the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary.  You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. . . If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?"  There is no part of the body more valuable than others.  I have had difficulties with various parts of my body and am so thankful when they work like they should.  Any body, including the body of Christ works best when all parts are working like they should and not just taking up space or trying unsuccessfully to take over the job of another part.

Verse 25-26 really struck me this time.  You don't think about all parts of your body being mutually dependent on one another while they are all working smoothly and doing their job.  My physical body is a testimony to the truth of these verses:  "That way there should be no division in the body; instead, all the parts mutually depend on and care for each other.  If one part is suffering, then all the members suffer alongside it.  If one member is honored, then all members celebrate alongside it."  (VOICE)  How true this is and how little thought we put into it.  The left side of my body functions like it should, but since the right side "suffers" it effects my whole body.  I am in a wheelchair, my balance is terrible, my temperature control is off, my vision is double, just to name a few.  "When one member is suffering, then all members suffer alongside it."  This is true in your physical body and true in the body of Christ.  When one member suffers, we are all impacted and should work together to help restore them to health.  When one member is honored, we should celebrate, not try to cut them down and harm them which will in turn harm the whole body.  

I looked at this passage in a whole new way.  What about you?  What are your thoughts?

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Thanksgiving for today
547.  Balance
548.  Cooking Smells
549.  Leftovers requested for school lunches
550.  Apologies with suggestions for improvement

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Humility Part 2

Luke 18:10-14

This is a parable I've heard or read multiple times in my life.  You'd think I couldn't possibly learn anything new.  Well, that is not how the Bible works.  And, especially now that I'm studying humility, it spoke volumes.  I'm sure the Pharisee thought he was doing his religious duty and doing what God wanted him to do.  I'm sure he never considered himself having a problem with humility.  After all, he was focused on religion and following God's laws, right?  He was only stating the truth that everyone there already knew.  He was prideful and self-righteous and really not praying to God.  He was verbally listing what was so great about him for the benefit of anyone close enough to hear.  He was not humbling himself before God and asking what God wanted him to do.

How many times do we get like that?  Romans 3:23 says, " for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (NIV)  All means all.  There is nothing we can do that keeps us out of that ALL.  Fortunately, God will forgive us and give us grace if we but ask.  But, that is God doing the work.  God is Holy and Just and Perfect.  We are not.  Our focus needs to be on Him and His plan, not on ourselves and our plan.  Let God be the driver, not merely a passenger as we carry out our own plans.  Let God make the plans.  You will never be disappointed.

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Thanksgiving for today
540.  Willingness to change plans
541.  Getting responsibilities done early
542.  Dog hair getting soft again
543.  Break time
544.  Knowing limits
545.  Women's ministry opportunities
546.  Finding resources I need

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


James 4:6-12

The LeadHer theme for March is humility and I have begun working on that.  Imagine my surprise to read all about humility in today's reading.  Of course, we all know God was not surprised.  This led me into some research on what humility really is.  Wikipedia defines it as "the quality of being modest and respectful."    Another definition is "modesty, lacking pretence, not believing that you are superior to others"   I have always thought of humility as being the opposite of pride. What this passage suggests we need to do to be humble is: 1.  Submit yourself to God  2.  Fight against the devil.  3.  Come near to God  4.  Wash your hands and Cleanse your heart (purify yourself) 5.  Lament, grieve, cry, lay face down before God.  My interpretation is that humbling yourself before God means ridding yourself of pride and admitting that God, not YOU, is in  charge.    It means giving God credit not taking it for yourself.  It means realizing that He is ultimately in charge and what we are able to do is because of Him.  To me it means getting your selfish ambition out of the way.  To me it means letting God in the driver's seat, not as a passenger as you determine your own direction.  It is not easy and a daily decision.  

What does humbling yourself before God mean to you?

The good news is verse 8  "Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you." (VOICE)   That is what I want most of all.

Keep watching the comments on this.  I will be doing more study on humility this month and may be adding more thoughts.  Plus, there is another whole section from today's reading that I didn't address.

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Thanksgiving for today
536.  Cleaned Driveways and Sidewalks
537.  Laptop
538.  Weather warm enough to play outside
539.  NuWave Oven

Monday, February 25, 2013

True Wisdom

James 3:13-18

I think I must need to be continually reminded that true wisdom is not about head knowledge.  It's not about listening or learning or hearing or reading.  It's about acting on what you learn.   The Message starts this passage this way: " Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts."  It doesn't matter what you know or how much you study the word.  It doesn't matter if you search for truth and even find it.  What matters is what you do with it.  It is how you act. 

The Message ends this passage with:  "You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor."  Yet once again we are reminded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV).  Easier said than done, I know.  Maybe that's why I keep revisiting it over and over again. 

Verse 17 says "Heavenly wisdom centers on purity, peace, gentleness, deference, mercy, and other good fruits untainted by hypocrisy."  (VOICE)   This is what I strive for.  This is what I try to show my friends, family, neighbors, everyone.  This is why I am continually searching for Heavenly wisdom and spending time with God in prayer and in His Word. 

How do you find Heavenly wisdom?
How do you find peace?

"The seed that flowers into righteousness will always be planted in peace by those who embrace peace."  (James 3:18 VOICE)  Listen to this song about Perfect Peace.

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Thanksgiving for today
532.  City bus
533.  Support in town
534.  Confirmation that I'm on the right track
535.  Snow fun

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Faith and Works

James 2:14-20

Yet another great reminder today from James that true faith will be seen through our actions.  It's not enough to listen or even talk the talk, we must act.  Does this means our actions can save us?  NO!!!  Salvation is a gift from God, not something we can earn with our works.  ""We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared offering the gift of salvation to all people."  (Titus 2:11 VOICE)  Salvation is a gift of God.  When we accept this gift of God we naturally want to act and follow God's Word.  I think this is what James means when he talks about "Without actions, faith is useless.  By itself, it's as good as dead."  (James 2:17 VOICE)  If we say we have faith, but don't do anything different, has our heart truly been changed?  Have we truly accepted the gift of salvation?  We all know hypocrites who act one way at church on Sunday and are totally different during the week.  Our actions should be the same every day.  Our focus on God should remain the same no matter the day of the week or the time of the year.

The Lent devotion from the Church of God from yesterday talks about this better than I can.
I John 4:19 says "We love because He first loved us." (NIV)  If we truly accept His love for us, we can't help but have it spill out of us onto those around us.

What do you think?  I know this is a hard passage to digest and I'd love to get a conversation going.  We can all learn from each other as we struggle through these passages.

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Thanksgiving for today
527.  Frost covered trees
528.  Online radar
529.  Planning ahead
530.  Hubby grilling steak for dinner.
531.  Storm taking longer than predicted


James 1:19-27

"Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don't get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters."  (James 1:19 VOICE)

Why is that so hard for us?  Why do we feel the need to talk so much and express our opinions (even if they are the truth) and not listen?  My Dad gave me some great advice about having a discussion with someone with differing opinions.  Ask questions, and they will eventually figure out the truth on their own.  People are more likely to discover and listen to the truth when they are treated respectfully and with love.  When we become angry, they become angry in return and stop listening.  Then, no one is listening and nothing constructive gets accomplished.  

Why is it that we have such a hard time learning this?  Why is it that even when we "know" it, we still don't do it?  I think this is a common problem and why James continued by saying, "Put the word into action." (James 1:22 VOICE)  It will do me no good if I search for the truth, but then don't apply it to my life.  So, as I search for truth this year, hold me accountable to be applying it to my life.  I think I will try to memorize James 1:19 and remind myself every time I begin to talk too much or get any in conversation to stop and listen.  As I continue on my search for truth, I will find more ways to respond respectfully with others, especially those with whom I disagree.  In the meantime, I will stop and listen.  Really listen.  Not just stop speaking while I form rebuttals in my head.  But, really listen and respond respectfully to what the other person has to say.  

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Thanksgiving for today
523.  Cleared roads
524.  Fresh air
525.  Saving almost 50%
526.  Growing excitement

Friday, February 22, 2013


James 1:13-18

'No one who is tempted should ever be confused and say that God is testing him."  There is a difference between tempting and testing.  God does test us, but He doesn't tempt us to sin.   That would be Satan's job and our own sinful nature.  God is Holy and free from evil, so He doesn't tempt us to sin.  That doesn't mean He doesn't allow it and it doesn't mean we aren't tempted.  But, He is there if we will turn to Him when we are tempted.  The Bible says, "Any temptation  you face will be nothing new.  But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle.  But He always provides a way of escape so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward."  (I Corinthians 10:13 VOICE)  It really comes down to our response to temptation.  God will provide a way out IF we turn to Him and ask for help.  He is faithful and will "provide a way of escape," but we have to turn to God.  If we allow temptation to allow us to sin, that is our responsibility.  We choose how we respond to temptation.  May I always turn to God.

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Thanksgiving for today
520.  Pinterest
521.  The Wii
522.  Electricity

Thursday, February 21, 2013

You Will Find Joy

James 1:1-12

How do you find joy in hardships and troubles?  How do you keep from drowning in your sorrows?  Maybe it's all about attitude and what I've been learning for the past several months.  Maybe it's all about giving thanks.  Even when faced with hardships and troubles, it's possible to change your focus and give thanks.  It's impossible to keep grumbling, complaining, and whining while you are being thankful.  It's all about your expectations out of life.  Notice the passage says "whenever you face troubles" (NIV).  Not IF, but WHEN.  There is no question of whether troubles will come.  The question is how we will manage them.  The Voice says, "As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them."   Notice it says ULTIMATELY.  

Maybe we should look at the difference between joy and happiness.  This is a concept that has been in my heart for awhile.  Check out my previous post about this very subject:

The good news is we don't go through these hardships alone.  God is always there with us.  "If you don't have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need.  He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking." (VOICE)  We don't have to go through anything alone.  All we have to do is ask and God will give us what we need.  That is reassuring to me, how about you?

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Thanksgiving for today
512.  My sous chef
513.  Finding fun other than TV or computer on a snow day
514.  Sleeping in
515.  Goals
516.  That shoveling snow is still exciting
517.  PJ Day
518.  Online Shopping
519.  KDOT and city workers who will clear my streets

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Every Minute

Here is my first day of my 40-Day Retreat with Jesus from the Voice Bible.
Romans 12:1-2

Reading this helped me remember reading it in the Message.  I really liked the way it is worded there, so I went and found it.  It reads, "So, here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.  Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings out the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

Offering your body as a living and holy sacrifice is not about a special event.  It's not about how you present yourself at church on Sundays and Wednesdays.  It's not about going to church at all.  It's about you making your everyday life a sacrifice.  Every minute of your life should be a sacrifice to God.  Every minute.  Not just when it is convenient.  Not just when your "church" friends are watching.  Every minute.

The part that most struck me today was "Be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.  As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete."  That is what I am trying to do through this blog and through my retreat with Jesus.

How do you renew your mind?
How do you make sure your life is a sacrifice every minute?

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Thanksgiving for today
507.  Finishing work before the snow
508.  Feeding my family myself
509.  Once Upon a Time
510.  Pearler Beads
511.  Help with dishes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

1 John 4 Application

Here we are yet once again and I find myself apologizing for not keeping up with this like I should.  Have I mentioned THIS IS HARD!!!  It's not that I don't have thoughts or things I could share here, it's that really searching for truth leads you to thoughts that challenge you.  Maybe I will discover changes in my line of thinking or challenges to what I believed was the truth.  It is way easier to just shove it aside and try to pretend nothing is different, than to really focus on what I am learning and continue stretching and challenging myself.

This chapter was chock full of information I was trying to digest.  Maybe I just need to focus on a verse or concept at a time to keep myself from getting so overwhelmed.  So, I decided to focus on verse 6.  "We come from God, and those who know God hear us.  Whoever is not from God will not listen to us.  This is the way we discern the differences between the spirit of truth and the spirit of deception."  That puts my heart at peace because I feel like God has something for me to share and whether they listen or not, understand or not, is not about me, but about their relationship with God.  It is my job to stay connected with God and share what He leads me to share.  And, that is how I will apply this chapter.  I will stay connected to God and share what He lays on my heart.  And, I will try not to take rejection personally.

For my next journey I will be going on a "40-Day Retreat With Jesus" from The Voice Bible.  Join me on this journey during Lent.  If you have a Voice Bible, you can follow along.  If not, you can just follow here and keep me accountable to post daily.

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Thanksgiving for today
499.  CrockPots (I know I've already used this one, but I'm just so thankful for it.)
500.  Weather forecasts
501.  Cozy blankets
502.  VocRehab
503.  When Google confirms my thoughts about something are correct
504.  Variety of colors
505.  Learning about Lent with my children
506.  Repaired generator