Word of Peace

Like most anyone there are things I don’t “love” about myself. What I perhaps dislike the most about myself is my mind’s ability to believe or become confused by lies. thoughtsOften times my mind is my greatest enemy. For that reason the passage in Ephesians that speaks to this brings me great comfort:

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT)

God’s Word has become the greatest instrument in my life for the Holy Spirit to usher His peace into my life. And I am encouraged to know that my inner turmoil is the result of a greater war against the glory of God (Ephesians 6:12). Having a battle plan for those times gives me courage to trust and hope in the Lord’s victory and reminds me to bring my thoughts in line with His Word (2 Corinthians 10:5).

If the above words seem impractical or far-removed from your life, just pause with me to consider how many times a day you react in a less-than-desirable way to the circumstances around you or to the emotions stirring in you.  Any time another person is able to disturb my peace and joy, I have a choice to be influenced by my own or another’s faulty ideas.  Any time an unexpected circumstance stimulates a reaction of fear, frustration or disappoint; I have a choice to bring the beliefs that influence the power of my emotions into alignment with God’s Word.

This could be as simple as pausing to say a quick prayer for God’s wisdom and direction before feeling worried about the future, or as difficult as choosing to respond to criticism with gentleness instead of self-defense.  I remember when I was working through a confusing, complicated, emotional mess of divorce vs separation in an abusive relationship; the easiest thing for me to do would have been to run, hide, completely close my heart to any other resolutions, and not allow God to reveal His will in His timing.  Several times I almost did just that and would have been justified in many ways by the world’s standards for choosing to move on before God’s appointed time for me.  However, the Holy Spirit kept bringing me back to a place of doubt that my actions were completely submitted to His Word and high calling for my life.  Doing just that—waiting in reverence for His Word—guided me to resolutions that I wouldn’t have come to on my own.  His Word has been a peaceful, good path. The choice to wait till God’s Word can be upheld in all my actions is rarely easy, but always best.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ” (Psalm 119:105)

Thank you God that your Word revives the soul, makes wise the simple, brings joy to the heart, and insight to life!(Psalm 19:7-8)

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

 

 

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Word of God

When your life is filled with struggles and you need hope and encouragement; where do you turn?  Do you go to your family or a friend?  Do you post your struggles on social media?  Do you turn to self-help books?  Where do you look for answers to life’s greatest problems?

I have been on this earth for more years than I care to admit, and I have walked with the Lord for more than two thirds of those years. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that the Word of God is a place of refuge, a place of peace, a place to find answers, a place to be consoled during a time of loss, a place to be encouraged, a place to be challenged, a place to find love, a place to find forgiveness, a place to find instruction, a place of correction and a place of strength. I know that whatever I face, I can find the answer to all of life’s problems in God’s love letter to me.AnnaMay

As I have walked with the Lord and studied His Word to find answers I have also found that memorizing His Word is a practice that helps me through all that I face in life. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You”. (Psalm 119:11)

If I treasure His Word by studying and memorizing it, I can come to know Him more intimately.  When I know Him, I develop an unshakeable trust in Him that carries me through the struggles.  It helps me to know that His plans for my future are always the best plans, even when I cannot see what the future will bring.

When I wonder whether or not I am on the right path, I know that I can go to God’s Word and find answers.  I don’t have to wonder whether or not I am hearing what God wants for my life because I can check it against His Word.  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”(2 Timothy 3:16)

Take time to treasure God’s Word and hide it in your heart.  You might be surprised that when you face struggles those scriptures that are hidden in your heart will come to mind and bring you peace.

About the Writer:

Anna leads the W.E. C.A.R.E. team for the Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a widow, a mom, a grandmother and grateful to the Lord for giving her opportunities to share with other women in several ministries through First Baptist Dallas.

 

The Word of God–Fighting Sin

Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.(Psalm 119:11)

 As my Bible study reached Genesis 3 about the fall of man, my own sin became front and center. The study asked us to list three sins we struggle with the most and find verses that indicate why each sin was destructive and then other verses to help us guard against that sin.

CarolineMayI have made lists of Bible verses before about places to turn when you “struggled” with something: a list for finances, a list for worry – you get the idea. But to call my own sin out, to name it and confront it – was completely foreign and life changing.  When we specifically call out our sin and use the Word of God to confront it, with His help, we can destroy it.

One of my sins is anger and a quick tongue, particularly with my husband.  When I began to get angry with him and feel the urge to lash out, I pull out my list of verses.  I’m confronted with the truth of God’s Word.

First, I read the devastation of my own sin:  “A foolish woman tears down her house with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)  I am confronted that my cutting words tear down our house. I do that.

Then I turn to how to handle it: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from you mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)  It stops me in my tracks. I approach my husband with grace and humility.

There is power in God’s Word. When sin creeps in, I read the verses over and over. I am confronted that my desire is sin, but God has provided the way to escape the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). I fight sin with the power of God’s Word.

I challenge you to do the same. Pray and ask God to reveal sin in your life.  When He has spoken clearly to you, list those sins. Then search the Bible for answers – verses that warn about the destructiveness of that sin and verses that instruct you on how to fight it.  Treasure God’s Word in your heart that you may not sin against him.

About the Writer:
Caroline Moore is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.

 

Why Read the Word of God?

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

The ‘Word’ is used in the Bible to refer to Jesus, but, we also use it to describe the Bible; His holy Word, the revelation of God, and His truth given to us through scriptures inspired by Him.   “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, Word of Godfor correction, for training in righteousness.”  (2 Tim. 3:16)  When all is said and done, we all need to be taught, corrected, and trained in righteousness, don’t we?  Or at least I do.

God’s Holy word is invaluable, blessing us in numerous ways as we read:

  • By revealing the knowledge of sin; (Ps. 119:11)
  • By offering guidance in our daily walk;  (Ps. 119:105)
  • By judging our motives, revealing our hearts, and growing us up in Him; (Hebrews 4:12)
  • By revealing who God is, and His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ;
  • By providing hope for the future as well as joy for today through His sovereign will. (Jeremiah 29:11)

What does abide mean?  According to Oxford Dictionaries, abide means to accept or act in accordance with; and its synonyms are obey, observe, and follow.  In the Old Testament Joshua was instructed just before going into the promised land not only to be strong and courageous, but also to obey or observe all the law which Moses gave them from God. (Joshua 1:7-8)  Further, Joshua is instructed to meditate, or read God’s Word day and night.  In other words, he was to abide.  Why?  So God could instruct them, guide them, protect, and bless them.

So how can we abide?   Discipline is key, along with a commitment to abide or read His word daily.  Plan a time, a place, and what you will use – a daily reading guide or resource.  One of my favorite resources is The Daily Bible, in Chronological Order 365 Daily Readings.  If we never create a plan, we will never “accidentally” read God’s Word.  If we never create a plan, we will never grow in Christ, make unnecessary mistakes, and will never reap all the numerous blessings and benefits promised in His word.  Most importantly, we will never really know Him.

If we trip and fall, and we will; or when we get entangled in the busyness of this world, get back on track and keep on trying!  It is well worth the effort!  Never surrender, never give up.

About the writer:
Beverly has been an educator, administrator, educational sales representative, Sunday school teacher, and mentor; assisting in First Dallas Women’s ministry, but most importantly is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing Christ.

Pick It Up and Read It

I recently read that the God of the Bible – also known as Yahweh, the Creator of the World, and The Holy Trinity –  is a very “talkative” God. This is the One who first spoke “Then God said, ‘Let there be  Light; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) Try to imagine it. Listen to the words echo through the vastness of space – the richest, more resonant baritone-bass ever.  Like wondrous, rumbling thunder! (Job 37) So powerful and majestic, His voice breaks cedars, shakes the wilderness, strips the forests bare, and makes the deer to calve! (Psalm 29)

No wonder the children of Israel were shaking in their sandals when they arrived at the foot of a smoking, quaking, thundering Mt. Sinai! Terrified, they begged Moses, “. . . . Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” (Exodus 20:19)

Other times God spoke in “. . .a sound of a gentle blowing”. (1 Kings 19:12b)   Loud or soft, He communicated His words of love through certain people, “He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets. . . .” . (Hebrews 1:1a)Bible on bench

Then God sent His Son to more vividly communicate His message of love and redemption.  John 1 calls Jesus the actual Word of God, the Word that became Flesh, and the One who explained God. Of himself, Jesus said, “. . . The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (John 14:10b)

Today people can read (or listen to) the written Word of God in hundreds of languages. Through websites such as www.Biblegateway.com and www.Biblehub.com and apps such as YouVersion, people can read the Bible at no cost, plus gain understanding through the free Bible commentaries, maps, and other Bible study helps.

“Although it is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 or more different men over a period of 2,000 years, it is clearly one Book, with perfect unity and consistency throughout… The one consistent theme of the Bible… is God’s great work in the creation and redemption of all things, through His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t003.html

The Word of God is alive and active and able to penetrate into the deepest parts of your soul. (Hebrews 4:12) There are millions of stories about lives that have been rescued, redeemed, and restored through the reading of God’s Word. One young man, Augustine, bereft in the misery he had made of his life, was sitting in his garden weeping. He overheard a child at play in a nearby yard, “Take it up and read. Take it up and read.” Taking it as a message from God, he picked up a Bible and read the first verse he saw.   Immediately he knew,  that God was speaking directly to him. His thrilling story is one click away –  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/augustine/confess.ix.xii.html

God’s Word is “. . . a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105b). Just pick it up and read it.

About the Writer:
Ruthe Turner serves as the Director of Truett Memorial Library at First Baptist Dallas, where you can find much more information pertaining to the Love of God, as well as stories behind the songs we sing in church. Please visit us, or see our website at http://www.firstdallas.org/library.