“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”
Hebrews 10:24 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope all is well. Have you ever been so inspired by someone doing good things, that you wanted to do good things as well? That is the point of Hebrews 10:24.
There are things, people, and events that happen which help shape who we are and who we become as we grow. Some of these things aren’t so good and some are truly inspirational.
Sadly, I think we tend to remember the bad things that shape us more than we remember the good things that shape us. It is easier to name or blame things or people that may lead to us being grumpy, rude, or downright violent. Sometimes, we are the ones who provoke bad behavior and sin in others.
Yet, instead of bad behavior, we are called to provoke love and good works. So, how do we do this? Well, just like in provoking bad behavior, one of the best ways to provoke good behavior is by role modeling. For example, if you call someone a name, more than likely he or she will call you a name. If you hit someone, more than likely he or she will hit you back. This is role modeling and provoking bad behavior. Alternatively, if you smile at someone, more than likely he or she will smile back. If you are kind to someone, more than likely he or she will be nice to you. This is role modeling and provoking good behavior.
Simple role modeling of love and kindness is a wonderful way to provoke others to act in a similar manner. However, sometimes, we are blessed enough to have someone inspire us in a deeper way to do something loving, kind, and good. I have been blessed in this way before. It is how I chose one of my church families.
I had been looking for a church family and had gone to a couple of churches in the area. Yet, I came across someone who was sewing dresses for children in Uganda. (She does other ministries as well.) I had never known anyone who did anything so special, especially in my local area. The sewing ministry and heart of this person inspired me to go to the same church as she. She is truly a role model that inspires me. And through her work, God is nudging me to do even more. I feel blessed to have this person as a friend. I am thankful that God brought this person into my life.
So, do you role model love and good works and encourage or inspire others to do the same? Let us pray that we all can meet this kind of role model and we all can be this kind of role model.
Thank you for sending your only begotten Son, Jesus to be our ultimate role model in life to show us love and good works. Thank you for also sending family members, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to role model love, kindness, and good works for us as well. Help us to be such a role model for others. Help us to inspire and encourage others to love, to give, and to do good works. I ask you this, through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Hebrews 10:24 (KJV):
*What does Hebrews 10:24 mean to me?
*Have I ever had people in my life who has inspired me to love and kindness?
*Have I ever inspired others to love and kindness?
*What can I do to better live out the words of Hebrews 10:24?
Now, it is your turn.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive the Faith Blog in your inbox or would like to get the FREE download, sign up below.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting for nothing.”
James 1:2-4 (KJV)
How are you today? Have you ever been going through a difficult time and cried out to God and not felt you have gotten an answer right away or in the way you would like? Have you ever felt like God must not be listening to you, because you are praying and He hasn’t come through with an answer yet? It can feel discouraging or even depressing when God doesn’t answer us quickly or in the way we would like. Some times we may even wonder if He is still hearing us or even still with us.
However, we are not called to be down, discouraged, upset, or depressed when God doesn’t answer us right away. James writes that we are called to consider these times joyful times. We should be happy about going through tough times.
Yes, I know, that sounds a little strange. Yet, if we can do this, it will help us in ways that we can’t even imagine. We all must go through difficult times. They can, if we let them, have many good results for us in the end. We have a choice. We can let the tough times turn us into mean, hard-hearted people who begrudge everyone and everything. We can allow the difficult times to carry us farther and farther from God. Or, we can choose to learn and grow from these difficult times.
It may not be just that we should consider the rough times joyful, but maybe more correctly that we should consider that we were chosen to go through the rough times as a joyful event. Often times, we have tests in life to move up to the next level. We have kindergarten readiness tests, placement tests, college entry exams, etc. We have interviews and sometimes exams we need to take in order to get a job. Sometimes once we have a job, we need to take an exam in order to move up to the next job level within the company. These exams help test our readiness for something. In some instances, every one gets tested and in some instances only the best get tested. After all, not everyone can move up to the next job level, because there aren’t enough jobs to move everyone up. So, the employee who gets picked can feel happy that he or she was chosen as the best person for the job. We can see, through this example, that being tested isn’t always a bad thing. It can be considered a good thing.
You may feel that it is unfair of God to have “good” people go through difficult times. Yet, even as humans, we tend to be hardest on those we love. And, often, we are hardest on ourselves. Why should God be any different?
So, why does God allow us to go through or give us all the tests? What are we being tested for? Well, the difficult times may test our faith. Again, that isn’t a bad thing. Scripture tells us that the testing of faith, if we let it, results in patience. Patience can help us live a more happy and healthy life. If we allow ourselves, we come to realize that God will help us through and we don’t need to worry. Can you imagine constantly realizing that God is with you and you don’t need to worry? Worry leads to all kinds of stress and illness. We would be in better health if we didn’t worry so much and we realized that God is with us and things will work out in His time.
When we are patient, we can relax and enjoy life more. We aren’t moved by circumstances into feeling stressed and anxious, questioning God and ourselves. We can live our life in a healthy way, knowing that God has things under control and will lead us out of the difficult times according to His timing and will. We know we can rely on Him. So, we set back and “go with the flow”.
Thank you for loving us so! Thank you for being our Creator and Heavenly Father. We may not like it or feel comfortable when we go through difficult times, but help us to count is as “joy” when we do so. Help us to have the faith and patience to set back and know that we are in your good and loving hands. Help us to know that you have this and will help us through it. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for James 1:2-4 (KJV)
*What does James 1:2-4 mean to me?
*Do I have true and enduring faith?
*Do I count difficult situations as joy?
*Do I have patience?
*What can I do to better follow God’s words in James 1:2-4?
Now, it is your turn.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive the Faith Blog posts in your inbox or you would like to get the FREE download, sign up below.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are well. In a busy and confusing world, it can be difficult to know and to do the correct thing all the time. Not only that, but we are all tempted from time to time. So, for us who want to do the right thing, what can we do to help us stay on the right track, especially when difficult times come?
We can, as we are called, put on the armor of God. I have read this and heard this many times. Most of the time, I wasn’t sure what it meant really. Yet, as I get older and closer to God, I am starting to get the true meaning of this statement.
You may be wondering, “So, what is the armor of God anyway? And, why out of all the words, the word ‘armor’ was chosen to describe these things?” In Ephesians 6, we see a great description of the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6:13-18 list things such as breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit to help us in any tangles with the devil.
Not all of us have been to war, so we may not really understand how crucial things like breastplates, shields, helmets, and swords are for protection. And, actually, even if we have been to war, most of these items aren’t really used today.
This idea of being is kind of new to me as well. It is something that I didn’t think much about before. Yet, again, as I grow older and as I get closer to God, I can understand and see just what this concept of “war” means. There is a “war” and there are two sides. We are either for God or for the devil. That is the tug of the society that we feel, the difference of opinions, the not knowing what is right, the temptations, the stress, the lost feeling, the violence, the depression, the hate. All of that is provoked by the devil. God’s ways are the way of truth, love, hope, and faith. I don’t know about you, but I am for God. Every moment of every day, we have a choice: do we do something for God or do we do something for the devil? Sadly, sometimes we sin and do something that brings us farther from God and closer to the devil. Thankfully, we all can ask for forgiveness, repent, and get closer to God again.
I guess we could think of life as one big game of tug-o-war, but it isn’t a game at all. There are high stakes at risk here. On one side there is our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit and on the other side there is the devil. As we read the Bible, pray, grow in faith, keep the commandments, treat others as we want to be treated, we tug the rope and move ourselves closer to God. As we give into temptation, treat others badly, break the commandments, and sin, we tug the rope and move ourselves closer to the devil. We have multiple choices every day in what we think, do, say, feel, and believe. These thoughts, actions, words, feelings, and beliefs all tug the rope in one direction or the other. It is a war.
In order to resist the tugs of the devil, we need armor to protect us. We get that protection through God. We need to know Him, to believe in Him, to trust Him, and to love Him. We stay close to Him by reading the Bible, praying for ourselves and others, as well as others praying for us, having faith, and through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Friends, I hope your day is going well. I hope your tugs have been towards God and not away. I pray that these thoughts have blessed someone. And, I pray that you are all cloaked with the full armor of God. God bless you.
Thank you for this day. Thank you for creating us, for being with us, and for giving us the tools we need to navigate through life and to ward off the devil so that we may be on your side of this war. Thank you for sending us your only begotten Son, Jesus, as a role model and savior for us, and your Holy Spirit as our guide and comforter. Thank you for allowing us and encouraging us to come to you in prayer. Help us to grow in faith with each step towards you we take. We thank you and praise you through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for Ephesians 6:11 (KJV):
*What does Ephesians 6:11 mean to me?
*How do I feel about the concept of life being one big tug-o-war?
*On which side of the tug-o-war am I? On which side do I want to be? Do
my actions reflect this?
*Am I wearing the full armor of God?
*What can I do better in order to be fully protected with God’s armor?
Now, it is your turn. What are your thoughts?
Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive the Faith Blog posts in your inbox or would like to have questions to reflect upon as you read the Bible, sign up and take advantage of the FREE download below.
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV)
I have read this passage over and over again and it still intrigues me that an ant is the one God has chosen to hold up as a good example here. I am sure that out of all the creatures God has created there is any number of creatures that could have been used as an example, but the ant was chosen. That still tickles me, especially since I am always trying to get rid of ants, which invade my home and seem to want to take over.
So let’s take a look at ants as our example. Ants are small creatures, yet they are great little workers. As a matter of fact, according to Pest World for Kids, ants can lift 20 times their body weight. Wow! They are definitely strong for their size. However, they probably don’t get that strong by being lazy and complaining that they are too small to lift such a heavy load. They are probably that strong, because they work at it.
Yet, it isn’t their strength that is considered here, but their work ethic. They dutifully gather food without being told that they must do it. Nobody is forcing them to do what they know needs to be done. They just go out and look for food and gather it in. Ants seem to “know” that if they don’t work together and gather the food, then they will not last. The work has to be done whether they want to do it or not or they won’t survive. Not only do ants gather food for their own survival, but also they do it for the survival of others in their colony.
Sadly, people are not always like that. Some of us do have a great work ethic. We do what we need to do whether we feel up to it or not, because we know that it is the right thing to do and that our survival and life style may depend on it.
It seems that the work ethic of our society in general is diminishing generation by generation. As time goes by and technology gets greater, we feel that the need to work hard gets less and less. As a matter of fact, it seems that the reason for technology is to create less of a need to work and enables us to be lazy. Don’t get me wrong; technology can be useful and helpful in many things. It can help save lives and can bring us closer to friends and loved ones all over the world. Yet, when it is used to ease our workload, is it really helping us?
I even wonder if our welfare programs aren’t doing more harm for our society than good. Not that I think that it is bad to help those in need. I think it is great to be able to help those who are going through difficult times. Yet, I also wonder that besides sometimes enabling some of those on the system to work less than in reality they may be able to work, it also takes away from those in society who loving want to help.
We are taxed more in order for the welfare programs to work. However, a good part of that tax also goes towards the running of the programs. And, sometimes we as individuals feel resentful, because we are being made to give and are not giving willfully from our hearts. Yet, since being taxed, we might not feel the same ability and desire to help others in the same way as if we weren’t taxed for that purpose. Not only that, but if we had the chance to give from the heart with that money instead of being taxed, we may be able to find more effective ways to put that money to use for our neighbors in need. It seems like it would be more of a win/win situation.
If we look back at Proverbs 6:6, the ant is even called wise, because of it’s good work ethic. This is something to really ponder. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be considered less wise than an ant. Do you?
So, in considering our society and our own personal work ethic, let’s ponder and pray about the words of Solomon in this passage. Let us think about God’s Word and follow His infinite wisdom for our life instead of the societal norms and our individual eases.
Thank you for loving us and caring for us enough to share your infinite wisdom with us. Thank you for showing us that a good work ethic is important and valued in your sight. Help us to work faithfully to do your will, no matter how difficult it may seem. Help us to follow your will for us, despite societal norms. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 6:6-8 mean to me?
*What is God trying to show me with this verse?
*What can I learn from the ants?
*Do have a good work ethic?
*What do I feel about technology and its role as it pertains to work ethics?
*What do I feel about social programs and their role as it pertains to work
Now, it is your turn.
I would like to hear your thoughts? Comment below. Also, I created some questions to ask yourself while reading your Bible to further your understanding. If you are interested, sign up and download your copy below. It is free!
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
John 15:5 (KJV)
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Can you imagine this image? It is such a beautiful image to think about. Let’s kind of evaluate this thought for a minute. Maybe it will help to realize how beautiful this image really is for us.
First of all, it is interesting that the word Jesus chose here was “vine” and not “tree” or “plant”. A vine moves, wanders, and climbs. It doesn’t stand still as a tree or a plant does. So, to think of Jesus as our vine and us being his branches is like saying that Jesus moves us and helps us climb and reach places that we can’t get without him. He isn’t stagnant in our lives. He wanders and climbs with us and gave his life for us, so that we didn’t have to climb and wander in some ways.
We are his branches! Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus could have said that we were the soil or we were the pollen or whatever. After all, we don’t really deserve to be part his same plant. Yet, he did include us in that same plant. We are his branches. I wonder how many of us stop and think of how much of an honor it is to be included in the same plant as Jesus.
Including us as his branches, Jesus gave us a huge gift as well as a responsibility. If the branches don’t grow, the vine can’t bare any fruit. So, we have to take care of ourselves and do what we need to do to bear fruit. Yet, we can’t do anything at all without the vine. It really is a beautiful image.
So, what does that mean? What are we to do? How do we bear fruit? What kind of fruit are we to bear? These questions can be answered in a few different ways. In the physical sense, we are to take care of ourselves so we are better able to do the things that God calls us to do. If we let ourselves get run down, we won’t be fully capable of everything God asks us to do in life. Also in the physical sense, the fruit we bear may be children whom we teach to be God fearing and fruitful in their own right.
It can also mean the godly desires of our hearts. The Bible also tells us that if our thoughts are in alignment with God, He will give us what we want. So, we can be fruitful in our work, relationships, faith, or whatever we are doing.
Yes, once we are born, we can merely exist. We can do little, mooch off others, or do cruel things. We can refuse to put much into our lives or not be appreciative of anybody or anything. We can neglect others and God. That would be considered fruitless or bad fruit. Yet, we are called to be fruitful and have good fruit.
We are called to help God grow His kingdom, to be God fearing people who follow God’s word and love God with our whole beings. We are called to love our neighbors and be kind and helpful to those around us. We are called to realize that we can’t do any of this without God’s help. We wouldn’t even be alive without God.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for being our “gardener.” Thank you for giving us Jesus, “our vine”. Thank you for making us the “branches” to the vine. Help us to see and appreciate just how wonderful a gift and responsibility that we have in life. Help us to see and appreciate You, Jesus, and your Holy Spirit. Help us to do our part in bearing fruit in life, not only for ourselves, but also especially for you. Thank you for life itself. I thank you and praise you, through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for John 15:5 KJV:
*What does John 15:5 mean to me?
*What kind of fruit am I producing?
*Do I appreciate the gift and responsibility of life that God gave to me?
*How do I feel about the vision of John 15:5?
*What can I do to produce better fruit in the future?
Now, it is your turn.
I would like to hear your thoughts. Please, comment below. Also, if you would like to get "5 Reflective Questions to Help You Delve Deeper into God's Word", sign up below. It is free!
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
John 7:24 (KJV)
How are you all today? There seems to be quite a bit of judgment in the world. If someone looks different, acts different, or thinks different, often times they are judged without really knowing anything about them. Have you ever been judged because of a difference? If so, how did it feel?
I have been judged, too, for many things. I have been judged because of my gender, because of my clothes, because of my beliefs, because of my lack of strength, etc. I was picked on in school, ridiculed, discriminated against, and let go, just to name a few things. It isn’t fun.
It kind of reminds me of a dandelion. Do you feel like a dandelion? LOL! Yes, I know that is a strange question. I think dandelions are often misunderstood. Dandelions are often killed or dismissed as worthless and troublesome weeds. I have felt like that during some of the dark times of my life. I have felt like nobody understood me and just dismissed me as worthless or troublesome.
Yet, dandelions have many benefits and can be used for food, medicine, gardening, dye, latex, and even rubber. They have quite a bit of nutritious value. I am not saying that if not kept in check, they can’t get out of control and become detrimental. Yet, we humans can do the same if we are not kept in check. If you are interested in learning more about dandelions, Wikipedia has a great overview of them.
My point isn’t to go into all of the science behind dandelions, yet to consider how we view them and use them as an example of how we view people or any of God’s gifts.
I grew up thinking of dandelions as weeds, just like so many people I know. However, at some point, I started looking into the uses of dandelions. I am rather new to dandelion use. Although, I have had dandelion greens in salad instead of lettuce and I have also made some dandelion tea. I hope to get more experienced with the many productive uses of dandelions. I am guessing that the more I get use dandelions in a productive way, the more I will value them.
It is the same with people. Many times the key to not judging someone is to get to know them better. People are not to be judged by other people. God is the true judge. And, once we get to know people, if we meet them with an open mind, often we don’t feel a need to judge them anyway.
Prejudice is like a terrible disease. It affects not only the one who is judged, but the one who is does the judging. Each time we are judged or judge others, it changes us in some way. Bit by bit, it tears us down and brings us farther and farther from God. We miss out on so much by judging or being judged. God is the only one true judge. It is better to leave the judgments up to Him.
One can instead think of it this way; despite the plethora of outward appearances of people all over the world, there are only two kinds of people; people who are for God and people who are against God. The rest doesn’t matter. Race, emotional status, physical stature, financial status, gender, etc. doesn’t matter. God made us all good and in His image. Some, however, may fall away from God. They may turn against Him. We can lean towards the ways of the people who are for God and away from the ways of the people who are against God. There is a difference between leaning away from the ways of ungodly people and being prejudice because someone is a different color, gender, status, or age without knowing whether they are for or against God.
Thank you for being our Almighty Creator and Heavenly Father. In your infinite wisdom, you created people all differently with an array of looks, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and misgivings. We are all different. Help us to remember that you are our Almighty Creator and our Heavenly Father. Remind us that it is not up to us to be prejudice or judgmental, because that is up to you. Help us, though, to lean towards the ways of the people who are for you and away from the ways of the people who are against you.
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Reflective Questions for John 7:24 (KJV):
*What does John 7:24 mean to me?
*Have I ever been judged? If so, how did it feel?
*Have I ever judged others?
*Have I judged someone without really getting to know him or her?
*What can I do to lessen the sting of prejudice in the world?
*What can I do so that I remember not to be prejudice?
Note: If you would like more reflective questions to help you to understand the message in the Bible better, sign up and download the "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations below. It is FREE!
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Colossians 2:8 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope you are doing well. It seems like we are getting information and messages from all over that contradict each other and it is easy to feel confused, discouraged, and overwhelmed. However, God warns us about believing false information. I wrestle with that a bit myself, knowing who or what to believe. And, as you read this, you might be questioning as to whether you should believe my words. I am not asking you to believe my words, just to consider them. They are food for thought. Pray about them. Ask God what is right and what is wrong.
I think about culture, tradition, religion, and how much we do without even questioning. We are molded by beliefs, tradition, and culture. Some things in our culture, tradition, and religions may be good. Yet, not everything we have been taught or molded to be by the world is good. Now is a good time to look at what we are taught and what we teach others to see if it aligns with God’s will for us.
Sometimes it feels like we just go through our day like a zombie, without looking at whether what we are doing is right or wrong. Or, we may accept what we are told or do as tradition without wondering whether that tradition is right or wrong? We might think, “Oh, it has always been that way” and just do it.
Often, our society doesn’t encourage us or teach us to question what we are taught, our cultural ways, or our religious beliefs. As children, we are sometimes punished if we question our parents, teachers, or ministers. We are taught to not “rock the boat” and to not go against the norm. So, we get relaxed in what we think or do. It is almost like we do things with numbness and not realize the full effects of our actions.
I think when we are not taught to question things correctly; we are apt to do it in a way that is argumentative, demeaning, or violent. We have rebellions and uprising, violence, and crime. That is not the purpose of questioning things and shouldn’t be the result. We see violence more and more, it seems. Could it be that it is because we are not encouraged to weigh things we are taught with what the Word of God says?
It isn’t just violence that we want to avoid by weighing what we learn and knowing the correct way to question. It is also that if we don’t question a source or a message, that we can easily be deceived. Through ignorance, anxiety, charm, or manipulation, it is quite easy to get caught up in a moment and believe something that is not true or only half true.
The problem is that it isn’t always the “evil criminal” that deceives us. It may also be our neighbors, coworkers, our loved ones, our teachers, and our churches. We may accept information as true from sources, because we may think they are good sources and wouldn’t try to hurt us in anyway. And, while their motives may not be evil, it doesn’t always mean that the information is true or complete. We all tend to put our own spin on things, even if we don’t really know we are doing it. And, it is so easy to get taken in and get caught up in things that we are told. Words can be powerful things. That is why it is so important that we are aware and seek truth, God’s truth, and not worldly messages.
The message that I am pointing out is that God calls us to be aware, to question, and not to fall for deceit. We are called to seek God and ask Him directly whether something is right or wrong. We are called to read the Bible and to follow the example given by Jesus. God is truth. God is the answer. He will show us the truth, if we seek Him.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for being our Compass and always telling us and showing us truth. You are truth and the only true guide. Please, put a hedge of protection around us from the deceit of the world. Help us to seek you always, to follow the example of Jesus, and to listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Give us the courage to stand up for truth and the clarity to know when to question, when to pray, when to speak out, and when to keep quiet. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Colossians 2:8 (KJV):
*What does Colossians 2:8 mean to me?
*Do I easily believe what I want to hear?
*Am I easily charmed?
*Do I do things that are tradition, culturally acceptable, and within the
church without questioning whether or not it is God’s will?
*Do I seek the truth through reading the Bible, fasting, and praying to God?
*What could I do to further God’s truth instead of getting caught up in the
deceit of the world?
Now, your thoughts:
I am interested in your thoughts and comments. What message of the world confuses you? What answers do you seek? Let me know in the comments or contact me.
Would you like to have questions to help you reflect on God's Word? I have a free download for you.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)
How are you today? I have been writing about the Bible and how we can use it in our lives. One of the ways is to look at some of the prayers that were prayed by other people and hold them close to our hearts. Of course we have the Lord’s Prayer taught by Jesus. However, we also have prayers by King David and others in the Book of Psalms.
The words in Psalms 19:14 sound like a beautiful prayer to me that can be helpful and prayed in various situations. I am not sure why King David wrote it or what he was going through at the time. (Was it after his acts of murder and adultery? I don’t know.) Yet, I think it was a verse that was part of a song just after he had asked forgiveness for hidden thoughts and he was asking help to keep his thoughts pure.
I like that he called God “his strength” and “his redeemer” in this verse. To me, it sounds like King David was struggling with bad thoughts and words and he knew that God would give him strength and that God can redeem any sinner. He was crying out for help. I think it helps us in such times to remember that God can give us strength, can redeem us, and can direct our hearts and mind.
We all have thoughts that might not be so good. It is only human. Hopefully, they are just fleeting thoughts that don’t last. Although, sometimes they linger and can turn into something more harmful. That fleeting thought might turn into an attitude, a word, or an action. Instead of a fleeting thought, it could be a negative outlook on life. It changes us. So, we are called to ask God to save us from ourselves. Isn’t it wonderful that we have such a God in which to turn?
Our thoughts and words often lead to actions. If they are bad, negative, or sinful, they will lead to bad, negative, or sinful actions. Saying something mean or hurtful, for example, in a moment of weakness can cause irreparable damage at times. We don’t want to say something in anger that will cause us regret later on. That is the way we lose friends and loved ones. It is how we tear down love instead of build up love. It is how we sin and drift away from God.
Our negative thoughts and feelings may not always hurt others, but may hurt us as well. Suicide, for example, doesn’t just happen. A series of negative thoughts and feelings lead up to the choice of suicide. The act of dwelling on something negative doesn’t help us at all. Like David, we are called to look to God to move on to thoughts that are more in accordance to God’s will for us. While we are depressed, we can pray something like this, so that instead of dwelling on what ever depresses us, God can direct our thoughts to something more productive.
Sometimes, we may pray these words before having the negative thoughts. When I write devotions, I pray something similar. I ask God to guide my thoughts and words. I don’t want to misguide anyone or give a message that is different than God’s intentions in anyway. I want the words and message to be His and not mine.
No matter what your circumstance, may you find ways to incorporate this little prayer into your everyday life. It may just save your life some day. May you remember that God is the strength and redeemer of all of us who believe and call upon Him.
Thank you for being our Holy Creator, our Heavenly Father, our Strength, and our Redeemer. Help us to remember to call on you in times of need. Help us to keep our words, our thoughts, and our feelings according to your will for us. Prevent us from wrong words, wrong thoughts, and wrong feelings. Don’t let us drift away from you, even in thoughts. Let us always be close to you. When we do drift, help us to remember that if we come to you and repent, you can redeem us. We don’t need to continue to drift. Guide our words, thoughts, and feelings always. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for Psalms 14:19
*What does Psalms 14:19 mean to me?
*What are some circumstances when praying this verse would be helpful?
*Have I ever prayed a similar prayer?
*What do I think King David was going through when he said these words?
*Can I imagine how King David was feeling during this time?
*Was there a time when I didn’t pray such words and they would have been
*What can I do to remember to pray these words more often?
I would be interested in your thoughts.
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“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I wrote about reading the Bible and the importance of the God’s Word. And, how did I show the importance of God’s Word? I used God’s own words through St. Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV), which says, “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Today, I would like to delve deeper into one of the purposes of the Bible.
God, through St. Paul, tells us to “examine yourselves.” How are we to examine ourselves? We can take a moment to think about what we do, what we think, and what we feel, and we can measure them against the words in the Holy Bible. The Bible is a guide for us to follow to live correctly in God’s sight, so that we can spend eternal life with Him. We also have Jesus as an example and the Holy Spirit within us to help us reflect on whether what we are doing is right or wrong.
So, if we have an opinion that differs from someone else, how do we know what is true and right? We look to see what the Bible says, pray about it, and look at how Jesus lived. It is good to examine ourselves and make sure we are on the right path. God’s Word is available for our instruction and for us to “prove” that what is right or wrong. It is our compass. It shows us how to live correctly in God’s eyes.
I think most of us probably try to avoid the “big things” like, the commandment saying we should not kill. We might think, “Did I kill anyone today? Nope, so I am good.” Yet, it is often the “little things” that lead to us spiraling down into darkness away from God without us even knowing what happens. It might be a bad thought, a “little fib”, or maybe a word said in anger, that if left unchecked, can lead to us being far, far from God. We don’t notice it, because it is only tiny little steps away from God. Like in our thinking above, “I didn’t kill anyone today, so I must be good, right?” Well, even these “little things” are sin that bring us farther and farther from God. Our “little” actions, words, and feelings need to be in check every moment of every day as well.
Yes, yes, I know that this may seem a little extreme and that our society doesn’t necessarily agree with this statement as a whole. So, what should we do? Like the verse says, “Examine yourselves.” Check to see what God’s Word says, reflect upon Jesus’ example for us, and ask the Holy Spirit. The Bible doesn’t say, check to make sure you didn’t do any “big things” that are wrong. All sin, big or small, brings us farther from God. Not sure if you believe what I say. That is okay. What should you do? Read the Bible, reflect upon Jesus’ example, and pray for guidance. I don’t mind. I don’t want you to take my word for it. I want you to read the Bible, reflect upon Jesus’ example, and pray for guidance.
Why do we want to examine ourselves? We want to examine ourselves so that we don’t fall far from God. We want to stay on the right track that leads to everlasting life with God. We want to have God’s Holy Spirit within us. If we examine ourselves often, even if we stray, we can seek forgiveness and get back on the right path, before we go so far away from God that it is very hard to turn back to Him.
Thank you for providing your Word to guide us and show us the right way to go. Help us to heed your word and to examine ourselves often to make sure we are on the right path. Help us to know that we need to see if we measure up in the “little things” as well as the “big things”, because all sin whether big or small lead us farther from you. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for 2 Corinthians 13:5
*What does 2 Corinthians 13:5 mean to me?
*Do I consult God or read the Bible when I am not sure what is right and
*Do I examine my actions, thoughts, and feelings against what the Bible
says to see how I measure up? If so, why and how often? If not, why not?
*Do I feel I should be concerned about “little” sins?
*What does the Bible say about the “little” sins?
Now, friends, I would like to hear your thoughts.
Leave me a comment. Also, if you like this post, feel free to share it or even sign up to hear from me in your inbox.
“All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
How are you today? I am not trying to get nosy or personal here, but do you read the Bible? You don’t have to answer. There is no quiz at the end of the post. It is just a question you can ask yourself. You may also ask yourself, if so, why do you read the Bible or if not, why not.
It might be the same for you, but I have gone through seasons of reading and not reading the Bible. Now, I am definitely in a season of reading the Bible. I enjoy reading the Bible, learning about God’s Word, about God himself, about Jesus, about God’s Holy Spirit, about God’s will for me, about the people in biblical times, and about the lessons God wants me to learn. I now read the Bible for many reasons.
I know that some people are intimidated by reading the Bible. They may have started reading a difficult translation, such as the King James Version, and couldn’t understand it through all the “thees” and “thous” in that particular version. Others may have started at the beginning and tried to read it like a book, which is difficult to do if you are new to reading the Bible, especially for the first time. For others, time or obedience, may be the issue.
Those have all been reasons I haven’t read the Bible at one time or another. So, on a logical level, I understand. Yet, today, I yearn to read the Bible. I want to read God’s Word! Reading the Bible, like prayer, is time I get to spend with God, to learn from God, to know God better, to see the path that God has set for me. It is personal and rewarding. It brings me joy. Each time I read the Bible I see something new, learn something new, and understand something new. That isn’t to say that the words are different, but as I mature and as my needs change, different things about God’s Word catch my eye and tug at my heart. Also, the more I read the Bible, the more I learn and the deeper my understanding goes.
During biblical times, St. Paul wrote a letter to Timothy telling him all about the bad and evil ways of people in “the last days”. (2 Timothy 3) Yet, St. Paul was trying to encourage Timothy by the words at the end of the chapter, saying pretty much that, “It is going to be okay for you. You have God’s Word, and that is all you need to show you the way.”
Just as St. Paul encouraged Timothy, it is one of my prayers and hopes through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations to encourage you to read, pray, and rely on scriptures for your compass in life. If you feel intimidated or have trouble reading the Bible, please feel free to comment or contact me. I will try to give you some ideas, prayers, and encouragement.
Why Read the Bible?
I go to church, so why do I need to read the Bible? I know for me, I wanted to know why my parents and my church were asking me to do this or that. I wanted to see what the Bible said about things that happened at church and at home. Maybe I was rebellious, but I wanted to know for myself what God said. It isn’t that I distrusted my parents or my minister. (Although, some people and even ministers don’t relay God’s words truthfully.) I just didn’t want to rely on them for the information.
That reason may not be your reason for wanting to read the Bible. Like reading the Bible and learning from the Bible, the reasons to read the Bible are personal. We each have our own set of reasons.
As St. Paul tells Timothy in 3 Timothy 2:16, there is more than one reason to read scriptures. The Bible can be used to teach, to learn, to correct, to discipline, to encourage, to understand, to pray, to talk, and to relate. Often, we will have different reasons to read or proclaim scriptures each time we do it.
Thank you for giving us your holy Word! Thank you for providing scripture for us to read and to use as a compass in our life to show us the path you have set for us. Help us to read and understand the Bible, so that we will know You better, know Jesus better, and know your Holy Spirit better, and know your will for us better. Show us through the Bible the lessons in life you want us to learn. Help us to be better people, better Christians, better neighbors, better friends, better stewards, better ministers, better parents, and better children through reading the Bible. Help us to be healthier and wiser through reading the Bible. Help us to seek you, to praise you, and to worship You more fully, by reading the Bible. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Reflective Questions to Ask Yourself:
*What does 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 mean to me?
*Do I read the Bible? If so, why? If not, why not?
*Do I want to read the Bible?
*How do I feel reading the Bible?
*What are my Bible reading goals?
*What would help me read the Bible?
What are your thoughts? I would like to read your comments!
I am always open to feedback, comments, and ideas. I would enjoy knowing your thoughts. I am happy to learn from you and encourage you.
Here is a Resource for YOU!
I have created a resource for you to get more out of your Bible reading. They are "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations. They are questions to ask yourself as you read and reflect on the verses you read to understand God's Word at a deeper level. Sign up and start using these reflective questions today!
This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.