Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

 

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Week Five

 

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Devotional Study in 3 parts:

 

History Behind These verses

Key Word

Connection to Us Today

 

_______________________________________________________________________

History Behind These Verses

 

These verses are found in the book of Proverbs. The Hebrew word for proverb means “comparison, similar, or parallel. The ideas found in Proverbs relate directly to this definition by comparing the ways of wisdom to the ways of foolishness. Throughout Proverbs, we are told that the way of wisdom will lead to life and the way of foolishness will lead to destruction and death.

The key word in the Book of Proverbs is wisdom.  Wisdom means having the ability to live life successfully. This requires to live a life following God’s direction. To live a godly life in an ungodly world, is rather difficult sometimes. Solomon, the author of many of the proverbs, knew how difficult life could be.  As a way to help guide other believers, he documented his wisdom. During his lifetime it is said that he authored over 3,000 wisdom statements.  Some of Solomon’s God-given wisdom statements were placed in the Bible by the Holy Spirit Himself. The Holy Spirit wants these proverbs to help guide each one of us even today. This wisdom does not expire.

If you spend time reading and studying the book of Proverbs as a whole, you will find that Solomon provides us with knowledge and Godly instruction for every area of our lives: our children, our parents, our work, our money, our free time, etc. Basically any advice we need is found in this very important book of the Bible.

Our scripture for this week, Proverbs 3: 5-6, encourages us to follow the way of wisdom. In other words, we should be familiar with what God would want us to do in any situation that we may encounter. One of the best ways to actually walk in wisdom is to actually study the book of Proverbs and apply what we learn to our everyday lives.

There are necessary steps that one must follow to gain Godly wisdom. First a person must acquire KNOWLEDGE by studying God’s Word. Second, that person must apply that acquired knowledge to fitting situations in their lives. There is a process to gain wisdom. One must actually DO what they have learned. It does no good to read and study God’s Word if we are not going to apply what we learn to our lives!

Knowing the Bible but not APPLYING its wisdom to our lives would be just plain silly. It would be like studying for years to become a master chef, then choose to serve your dinner guests spam sandwiches!!! Unless a master chef puts his/her culinary knowledge to use, it is simply wasted knowledge!

 

 

Monday

Key Words Trust in God

 

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

 

To trust –  to place a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. (to lean our whole weight upon)

In these verses we are told to place our whole weight upon God.

___________________________________________________________________________

Connection to Our Lives

 

Have you ever noticed how infants are born with a fear of falling?  I have seen many newborn babies jerk their arms out as a response whenever they do not feel secure. As I was thinking about this, I began to wonder why God would give ALL of us this instinct. I soon realized that He gave it to us OUT OF LOVE!

Where else but from God would this fear come from? As babies, we spend nine months floating around in our mother’s womb having no idea what “falling” even feels like. Then, as soon as we enter this world we have a “natural born” fear of falling. We have never even fallen yet, but we are born with this fear!

In our infancy, we learn to trust in our parents to hold us securely.  We find that the moments when we are in their arms are the moments that we feel the safest. We soon realize that the feel of our guardian’s arms around us gives us peace in all unsure times, so we begin to run and reach out to our parents even more frequently.

 

We then grow and begin placing more faith in ourselves and our own abilities. We slowly stop reaching for our parents as much. This is a healthy response in the physical world, BUT not so in the spiritual world! As I ponder this fear even more I begin to come to the realization that GOD Himself must GIVE us this natural born “fear of falling” out of LOVE!  I think GOD wants us to ALWAYS feel the need to REACH for HIM.  Reaching for HIM actually helps us to build our TRUST in HIM. We were not created to ever OUTGROW the need to reach for our HEAVENLY FATHER!

Why is it so hard for us to reach for God?

Let’s read this verse again and visualize being held (swaddled) in our Heavenly Father’s ENORMOUS and EVER LOVING ARMS. Let’s visualize Him rocking us.  Let’s visualize Him singing to us.

Our Heavenly Father LOVES US SO VERY MUCH!

We were not created to OUTGROW our need for GOD.  Let yourself TRUST in Him today. He really does want you to lean your whole weight on Him – GOD TRULY WILL HOLD YOU!

 

 

 

Tuesday

 

Key Words: Your Own Understanding

 

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

 

Understanding:  the original Hebrew word used in the verse was binah which comes from the word between. The word binah is used to mean the ability to know the difference between the real and the unreal and the true from the false.

In other words, we are not to rely on our own ability to determine what our true reality is. Our limited brains and ungodly outside influences oftentimes warp our sense of reality.  Genuine understanding comes from God.  He already knows our past, present, and future, and HE knows how to get us to exactly where we need to be. We must trust in Him.  We must never think that we can accomplish reaching our ultimate goals in life WITHOUT first relying on God to guide us!

___________________________________________________________________________

Connection to Us

Lie: a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

 

Sadly, we have all been told a lie in our lifetime.  The danger comes when because of our limited understanding, we believe the lie.  As soon as the belief sets in, we set the wheels in motion to react to the lie.  This is what this verse is guiding us against.

When a person believes in a false reality, many times they do crazy things to try to change that reality. Unfortunately, they usually get hurt in this process and many times they also hurt others around.  Much of the pain in our lives could be avoided if we would just learn to lean on God for our reality.

As adults, I believe that most of our false realities stem from feeling unloved. Some of us accept that lie and then begin living as if we are truly unloved. We begin to believe that we will only feel happy and fulfilled if we have just the right spouse or partner.  When in reality we are completely LOVED whether we are single, happily married, or in a troubled marriage. We are able to truly feel happy and genuinely loved no matter our marital status once we realize that we were not created to be “filled” by another human’s love.  We need to understand and believe that the only love that will completely FILL us is God’s LOVE!  The love of our partners and spouses is wonderful, it is a true gift from God, but it is only a gift. It is not meant to complete us in any way, shape, or form.  We are complete whether we have the perfect spouse or not (If we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s LOVE)

For anyone considering an affair:  An affair is NEVER the answer! Do not believe the lie that the devil is feeding you.  That other person is NOT the answer to your happiness.  You both are being used by Satan at this very moment.  These false feelings are temporary.  The more you act on them the more these false feelings will grow, BUT THEY WILL END.  If you choose to not act on them, this lie will end with no damage done, BUT as soon as you decide to act on this lie, THE FEELINGS WILL STILL END but with a trail of destruction left behind.

DON’T BELIEVE THE LIES!

 

Wednesday

Key Words: Acknowledge Him

 

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

 

 

 

 

Acknowledge- to admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of.

 

The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” (yada) means to get to know someone by observing, reflecting and experiencing that person.

In order to truly acknowledge God, we must know Him. To truly KNOW Him we must spend time with Him each and every day. This Bible Stories from the Heart Bible Study is a perfect way to help with this. Spending time each day closely observing scripture and reflecting upon key words is helping us to learn so much more about the character of God. We are not rushing through our daily reading. Instead, we are allowing the Word of God to soak into our hearts.   As this continues to happen, our relationship with Our Heavenly Father will deepen. As our relationship grows, it will become even easier to truly acknowledge Him.

The more we acknowledge Him the more we will truly believe that HE really does know best!

________________________________________________________________________

Connection to Us

When we acknowledge someone we are in essence letting them know how important they are to us.  We are showing them that we value and respect their opinion, and that we deeply appreciate all that they do for us.

I am sure many of us know how terrible it feels to be overlooked or even ignored by the people we care about.  As bad as this makes us feel, imagine how it must hurt God when we do the same towards Him.

No one on this earth has or will ever love you us much as God does!  He is so devoted to us. He cares so deeply for each one of us.  He loves us so much that He had is only begotten Son die for us!

I bet none of the people we normally turn to for advice has done that for us!

So, why in the world is it so easy for us to follow the advice of other people instead our Heavenly Father?

Why are we so quick to ignore God’s wisdom and guidance?

Let’s make this our prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father, I know deep in my heart that you love me more than I will ever be able to fathom. Please help me to trust you more.  Please forgive me for not always acknowledging Your love and direction for my life.  Please forgive me for following advice in my past that has led me away from you. I have learned that if I want to stay close to you I need to follow the path you have for me. Please help me learn to be more dependent on you.  Help me learn to be more obedient to your voice. Thank you for always wanting what’s best for me.  I LOVE and NEED you desperately!

 

Thursday

Key Words:  Direct Your Paths

 

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

 

Direct–  aim (something) in a particular direction or at a particular person

Paths– routes, courses, or tracks along which something moves

______________________________________________________________________________

As we focus on these key words, let’s look closely at the word paths really stood out to me. It is a plural word, meaning there is more than one path. This means that there are different paths for each of us. Reflecting on this made me realize something very important. I realized that we were not created to walk down the same tracks. Each one of us has our own God inspired destiny. Seeing this helped me understand just how vital it is for each one of us to head down our own route. To accomplish this, we must ask for individual instructions from our Heavenly Father.  We cannot simply live on auto-pilot by following the way of the people around us. God has a special and unique plan for each one of us.  He created each of us for a divine purpose.  He is trying to guide each one of us toward our own specific path. We must EACH acknowledge Him and seek His voice. God is waiting to direct each one of us PERSONALLY!

 

 

 

 

 

Friday

 

Soap Reflection

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

______________________________________________________________________________

It is now time for each of us to personally interact with this scripture. We will gain so much insight into God’s love for us as we reflect on His words.  As you read and pray, sit quietly and be aware of God’s presence with you. What is He wanting to reveal to you?  The Bible is HIS LIVING WORD!  Let Him speak to you through these verses!  Take time today to interact with God!  Document your thoughts and feelings on paper.  One way to do this is through SOAP journaling.

You will find a SOAP page directly following this lesson.

Here is a poem to help you reflect

 

 

 

I Put God Before Me ~

By deborah ann

 

I put my God before me,
I let Him lead my way
I know that I can trust Him
to guide me every day.

I hold on to His right hand,
He takes from me my left one
I know that He will direct me
to where I will find His Son.

My soul finds refreshment,
my body rests in His hope
for He will never leave me
His goodness helps me to cope.

My way is full of His mercy,
joy follows me wherever I go
my pleasures are His forever
for His presence I shall know!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Psalm 16:11
King James Version

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Copyright 2013
Deborah Ann Belka

Romans 8:28

 

Romans8-28

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_______________________________________

I normally choose to use the NKJV of the Bible for our weekly devotions, but this week I am choosing to use the NIV. The reasons behind this are stated later in this devotion.

NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

_________________________________________________________________________

History Behind This Verse

Romans 8:28 was written by Paul to the church of Rome.  Paul was an apostle who spent the second half of his life traveling and spreading the good news of Jesus. He also wrote several letters to many of the early churches during this time.  The letters he wrote are called epistles.  There are 13 of Paul’s epistles found in the New Testament. Paul’s letters were written for multiple reasons.  Some were written for encouragement.  At this time Christians were often tortured and killed for their faith.  Paul understood the fear and difficulties that came to many believers during these early years.  And some of these epistles were written for redirection. Now days  many religious denominations have “boards” of people or “governing manuscripts” available to direct and guide their churches.  In the early days these “boards” did not exist. The early churches did not have manuals to follow or church heads to guide them in their daily decision making, so God called certain apostles to act as church governors. Paul was one of these appointed apostles.

When this verse was written, the church of Rome was just being established.  Members of this early church were being tortured and killed for their faith, Paul wanted to reassure these believers of God’s LOVE for them! Verse 28 is part of this reassurance. This verse is still very much relevant to us today.  It is easy to question and doubt God’s love when trouble befalls us, but we must remain strong in our faith.  Just as God only caused GOOD in the lives of these Christians of Rome, He ONLY causes GOOD in our “current day”  lives as well.  

We know that in all things that God works are for the good of those who love him.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________

Why I chose the NIV translation for this week’s devotion

Great thoughts to ponder on this verse by :

http://lhim.org/blog/2011/10/09/a-complex-verse-romans-828/

 

Let’s look at this verse using two different translations:

 

Romans 8:28New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

According to Brian Keeting:

Translation 1: God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.

Translation 2: In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.

 

“Translation 1″ appears to state the following about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then every single thing that happens to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, no matter what events happen to that person, all of those events are actually good things for him. This is because God, Himself, is explicitly controlling every single event that happens to that person.

 

“Translation 2″, on the other hand, has this to say about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then everything that God does to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, all of the events that God causes to happen to that person are for his own good. However, this does not mean that every single event that happens to that person is necessarily good – because many of those events are not caused by God at all.

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

My Thoughts:

 

We live in a fallen world.  Bad things happen on a daily basis, but God does not cause these things to happen. God is not a dictator.  He rules out of love not out of ego-seeking power. God LOVES us. When God does step in to help, He only causes GOOD!!!!

Our Heavenly Father has given each person free will to make their own choices.  Sometimes our own poor choices cause bad things to happen to us and sometimes other people’s poor choices cause us to suffer, but these events are caused by us (humans), not by God.  Our God is not going to cause evil to come upon anyone.  He will sometimes allow it, but He will not cause it!

Our LOVING Lord will often step in to help us if we ask, but we are not His puppets.  Our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to surround and fill us with His extreme LOVE, but He is not power hungry. He is not sitting on His Heavenly throne and controlling every event here on earth.

 

I know that sometimes even when we ask, it seems that God chooses to not step in at all. Sometimes a tragedy may lie ahead in our future and when we ask our Heavenly Father to use His power and wisdom to stop the tragedy, He does not. This is extremely difficult for our limited minds to understand, but one day we will understand all.  For now we must simply keep turning to HIM!

 

On a happy note:

 Even when terrible things take place, God CAN make something GOOD come out of those tragedies!

__________________________________________________________________________

Key Words

God

Works

God– the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.

Works– be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result.

________________________________________________________________________

Connection To Us

If we involve God in our daily lives, He is willing to be ENGAGED with us:  both mentally, by sharing His wisdom and physically by sharing His power.  With our Heavenly Father guiding us, we WILL achieve a specific result: that result will ALWAYS be GOOD!!!   The SUPREME BEING, CREATOR, and RULER of the universe wants to help us.   He is waiting for us to invite Him into our decisions.  He LOVES us.  He wants only GOOD for us!!!  We must both trust and turn to Him always!!!

LEAN NOT On Your Own Understanding

doodle 6

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Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

_______________________________________________________________________

History Behind These Verses

These verses are found in the book of Proverbs. The Hebrew word for proverb means “comparison, similar, or parallel.   The ideas found in Proverbs relate directly to this definition by comparing the ways of wisdom to the ways of foolishness. Throughout Proverbs, we are told that the way of wisdom will lead to life and the way of foolishness will lead to destruction and death.

The key word in the Book of Proverbs is “wisdom,” meaning: the ability to live life skillfully.  To live a godly life in an ungodly world, is rather difficult sometimes. Solomon, the author of many of the Proverbs,  knew how difficult life could be.  As a way to help guide other believers,  he documented his wisdom. During his lifetime it is said that he authored over 3,000 wisdom statements.  Some of Solomon’s  God-given wisdom statements were placed in the Bible by the Holy Spirit Himself.  The Holy Spirit wants these proverbs to help guide each one of us even today. This wisdom do not expire!

If you spend time reading and studying the book of Proverbs as a whole, you will find that Solomon provides us with knowledge and Godly instruction for every area of our lives:  our children, our parents, our work, our money, our free time, etc.   Basically any advice we need is found in this very important book of the Bible.

Our scripture for this week, Proverbs 3: 5-6, encourages us to follow the way of wisdom. In other words, we should be familiar with what God would want us to do in any situation that we may encounter.  One of the best ways to actually walk in wisdom is to actually study the book of Proverbs and apply what we learn to our everyday lives.

There are necessary steps that one must follow to gain Godly wisdom.  First a person must acquire KNOWLEDGE by studying God’s Word.  Second, that person must apply that acquired knowledge to fitting situations in their lives. There is a process to gain wisdom. One must actually DO what they have learned!  It does no good to read and study God’s Word  if we are not going to apply what we learn to our lives!

Knowing the Bible but not APPLYING its wisdom to our lives would be just plain silly! It would be like studying for years to become a master chef, then choose to serve your dinner guests spam sandwiches!!! Unless a master chef puts his/her culinary knowledge to use, it is simply wasted knowledge!

_______________________________________________________________________________

Key Words

Your

Own

Understanding

Understanding:  the original Hebrew word used in the verse was binah which comes from the word between. The word binah is used to mean the ability to know the difference between the real and the unreal and the true from the false.

In other words, we are not to rely on our own ability to determine what our true reality is. Our limited brains and ungodly outside influences oftentimes warp our sense of reality.  Genuine understanding comes from God.  He already knows our past, present, and future, and HE knows how to get us to exactly where we need to be! We must trust in Him!  We must never think that we can accomplish reaching our ultimate goals in life WITHOUT first relying on God to guide us!

___________________________________________________________________________

Connection To Us

Lie:  a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

Sadly, we have all been told a lie in our lifetime.  The danger comes when because of our limited understanding, we believe the lie.  As soon as the belief sets in, we set the wheels in motion to react to the lie!  This is what this verse is guiding us against.

When a person believes in a false reality, many times they do crazy things to try to change that reality. Unfortunately they usually get hurt in this process and many times they also hurt others around.  Much of the pain in our lives could be avoided if we would just learn to lean on God for our reality!

As adults, I believe that most of our false realities stem from feeling unloved. Some of us accept that lie and then begin living as if we are truly unloved. We begin to believe that we will only feel happy and fulfilled if we have just the right spouse or partner.  When in reality we are completely LOVED whether we are single, happily married, or in a troubled marriage. We are able to truly feel happy and genuinely loved no matter our marital status once we realize that we were not created to be “filled” by another human’s love!!!  We need to understand and believe that the only love that will completely FILL us is God’s LOVE!  The love of our partners and spouses is wonderful, it is a true gift from God, but it is only a gift!  It is not meant to complete us in any way, shape, or form!!  We are complete whether we have the perfect spouse or not (If we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s LOVE)

For any one considering an affair:  An affair is NEVER the answer! Do not believe the lie that the devil is feeding you!  That other person is NOT the answer to your happiness!  You both are being used by Satan at this very moment.  These false feelings are temporary!!!!!  The more you act on them the more these false feelings will grow, BUT THEY WILL END!!!!!  If you choose to not act on them, this lie will end with no damage done, BUT as soon as you decide to act on this lie, THE FEELINGS WILL STILL END but with a trail of destruction left behind!

DON’T BELIEVE THE LIES!!!!!

Trust in the LORD

Trust (1)

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Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

_______________________________________________________________________

History Behind These Verses

These verses are found in the book of Proverbs. The Hebrew word for proverb means “comparison, similar, or parallel.   The ideas found in Proverbs relate directly to this definition by comparing the ways of wisdom to the ways of foolishness. Throughout Proverbs, we are told that the way of wisdom will lead to life and the way of foolishness will lead to destruction and death.

The key word in the Book of Proverbs is “wisdom,” meaning: the ability to live life skillfully.  To live a godly life in an ungodly world, is rather difficult sometimes. Solomon, the author of many of the proverbs,  knew how difficult life could be.  As a way to help guide other believers,  he documented his wisdom. During his lifetime it is said that he authored over 3,000 wisdom statements.  Some of Solomon’s  God-given wisdom statements were placed in the Bible by the Holy Spirit Himself.  The Holy Spirit wants these proverbs to help guide each one of us even today. This wisdom does not expire!

If you spend time reading and studying the book of Proverbs as a whole, you will find that Solomon provides us with knowledge and Godly instruction for every area of our lives:  our children, our parents, our work, our money, our free time, etc.   Basically any advice we need is found in this very important book of the Bible.

Our scripture for this week, Proverbs 3: 5-6, encourages us to follow the way of wisdom. In other words, we should be familiar with what God would want us to do in any situation that we may encounter.  One of the best ways to actually walk in wisdom is to actually study the book of Proverbs and apply what we learn to our everyday lives.

There are necessary steps that one must follow to gain Godly wisdom.  First a person must acquire KNOWLEDGE by studying God’s Word.  Second, that person must apply that acquired knowledge to fitting situations in their lives. There is a process to gain wisdom. One must actually DO what they have learned!  It does no good to read and study God’s Word  if we are not going to apply what we learn to our lives!

Knowing the Bible but not APPLYING its wisdom to our lives would be just plain silly! It would be like studying for years to become a master chef, then choose to serve your dinner guests spam sandwiches!!! Unless a master chef puts his/her culinary knowledge to use, it is simply wasted knowledge!

_______________________________________________________________________________

Key Words

Trust

In

God

 To trust–  firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

(to lean our whole weight  upon)

In these verses we are told to place our whole weight upon God.

___________________________________________________________________________

Connection to Our Lives

Have you ever noticed how infants are born with a fear of falling?   I have seen many newborn babies jerk their arms out as a response whenever they do not feel secure.  As I was thinking about this, I began to wonder why God would give ALL of us this instinct.  I soon realized that He gave it to us OUT OF LOVE!

Where else but from God would this fear come from? As babies, we spend nine months floating around in our mother’s womb having no idea what “falling” even feels like.  Then, as soon as we enter this world we have a “natural born” fear of falling!  We have never even fallen yet, but we are born with this fear!

In our infancy, we learn to trust in our parents to hold us securely.  We find that the moments when we are in their arms are the moments that we feel the safest. We soon realize that the feel of our guardian’s arms around us gives us peace in all unsure times, so we begin to run and reach out to our parents even more frequently.

We then grow and begin placing more faith in ourselves and our own abilities.  We slowly stop reaching for our parents as much.  This is a healthy response in the physical world, BUT not so in the spiritual world! As I ponder this fear even more I begin to come to the realization that GOD Himself must GIVE us this natural born “fear of falling”  out of LOVE!  I think GOD wants us to ALWAYS feel the need to REACH for HIM.  Reaching for HIM actually helps us to build our TRUST in HIM!!!  We were not created to ever OUTGROW the need to reach for our HEAVENLY FATHER!

Why is it so hard for us to reach for God???

I am going to read this verse again and visualize myself being held (swaddled) in my Heavenly Father’s ENORMOUS and EVER LOVING ARMS!!!!  I am going to visualize Him rocking me.  I am going to visualize Him singing to me!!!

I challenge YOU to do the same!  Reread Proverbs 3:5-6 and visualize God HOLDING YOU!!!

Our Heavenly Father LOVES US SO VERY MUCH!!!!

We were not created to OUTGROW our need for GOD!!!!  Let yourself TRUST in Him today!!!  He really does want you to lean your whole weight on Him– GOD WILL HOLD YOU!!!

Beyond Awesome

Original Post Here

Here is another bit from Rhino:

I love him and his confidence!  Anytime the kids watch this movie we tell each other that we are be-awesome for days.  I want to instill that kind of confidence in my kids–that they aren’t just good, or awesome, but beyond awesome.  Because that is how God created them.

I am feeling pretty awesome these days.  I didn’t always.  That crazy/perfectionist/depressed side of me never thought anything was good enough.  But I am changing my ways.  And ya’ll are helping me by just being here.

You ask,” How do you keep up?  Get all that painting and writing done?” (Which in Rhino’s world would translate, “How are you so awesome?”  Well, let me show you…found this on Pinterest and had to paint it:

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Art before Housework by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

That is how!  Totally true.  But the best part, is now I can say it is for “business”.  HA! Beyond awesome.  (See?  Answering the knock to use my gifts is paying off!) Honestly, I could be doing dishes right this moment or organizing my mail.  But, I would rather paint.  I would.  So, I do.  The dishes will get done at some point, we haven’t run out for a meal yet.

And then when I let myself paint, I have a tendency to “get in the zone” or let my “mojo” take over, I lose consciousness of time and space.  I know where my kids are, but two hours feels like five minutes when I am doing this:

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More wise words from another favorite artist.  When I am answering the knock, letting God work through me, the art just pours out, all His awesome.  The words are just…there.  When I push, or I try and make it about me, I end up completely annoyed (this is when the perfectionist/depressed/crazy has a tendency to show up) and ruin everything on the paper and around me.

But you know what the real answer is?  I answered the knock and LET GOD IN.  I trusted Him to let His awesome flow through me.  I let go and let Him.  I trusted that Jesus is beyond awesome, that He created me to share in that, and that he expects it of me.

Of each of us.  He expects us all to be beyond awesome when we walk with Him.  Because we ARE.

A Series of Small Stuff

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Great Through Series of Small by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Holy moly.  It always surprises me when I come across a piece I haven’t shared that I painted almost a year ago.  Sometimes I wonder if I paint too much.  Then I am like, “NAHHH!!! I can’t paint enough!”  Christ is so good that He is giving me all of these ideas!  I am trying to catch up with HIM.  He really has been working on me to paint words for Him for a long time.

But He needed to strengthen me.

Looking back, I would love to have not gone through my bad bouts of depression. (I know Jeff would prefer not to have dealt with those episodes!)  But at the same time, I grew from those times, I am a much stronger woman, wife, mom, and Christian.  Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t moved so many times. (I mean really; 5 states in 5 years was kind of nuts.  Who does that but crazy people?)  But if we hadn’t, I wouldn’t have so many amazing experiences, friends, points of view on different ways to live and worship Jesus.  I wonder what would have happened if I had listened way back 20 years ago and made HIS art then, instead of scrapbooking, painting pictures of farmer’s markets, and making all of those collaged cards (I even went to New York City thinking I could sell them).  But if I hadn’t tried all of those different things, I wouldn’t appreciate what He is doing in me now.  I wouldn’t have that background of different styles and techniques that shapes my art now.

Lots and lots and lots of small things in a long series.  Bringing me to do His work NOW.  All in HIS time.  What would have happened if one of those other things had broken me?  What would have happened if they had been successful?  Would I be where I am now?

Would He have strengthened me to this point?

Would I be ready to do HIS will?

Because I know now, my way doesn’t work.  My ideas aren’t always the best.  I can trust that He is using this world to shape me.  I can trust that there is a lesson in everything–no matter how hard it is, no matter how much I don’t want it, or think it will break me.

And more importantly:  I know that the great is not me.  The GREAT is JESUS.  Him working in me.  Him leading me to glorify Him.  It is so easy in our culture to get caught up in how great we think we are.  And that is not the point.  That is not when or how or what is truly great.

The series of small things brought together leads us to a life with what is truly truly great.  Faith in Christ.

I can only pray that He will use a whole string of more small stuff the rest of my life until I get to join Him in what will be the greatest of all.

How about you?  Can you look at your series of small things?  Are they leading you to the great?  Is God strengthening you?  Getting you ready for the great stuff?  Are you in the great stuff now?  Do you realize it?  I hope so!

Lesson 5 SOAP Journaling Method

I know that in almost all my SOAP prompts I talk about my ups and downs with God.  This one is no different!  Many of us find that we question WHERE God is when we NEED Him MOST.  I don’t know about you but whenever I’m having  life changing event or just having a rough time with something in particular, I find myself asking WHY just as much, if not more than just WHERE.

This is what my SOAP will focus on this week.

Step 1:  Scripture

Exodus 17:3 But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”

Step 2:  Observation

When I read this week’s lesson, like Leslie, I wondered WHY God would lead His people to an area where He KNEW they would be attacked?  I often wonder WHY God puts us through some of the things He puts us through.  At the time, we don’t know that answer.  Sometimes, we never find the answer we’re looking for.

I’ve said this countless times, I DON’T LIKE THE UNKNOWN.  In fact, I hate it.  I find it very hard for me to not question God and try to find the WHYs to some of the life changing events I’ve been through.  It’s something I struggle with constantly.  I think that’s why I would deviate from God and just try to find my own answers (THAT didn’t go so well for me by the way lol).

I’m no longer afraid to admit that there were SO many times in the just the last four years that I’ve struggled, whether it was emotionally or financially.  I’ve been to where I’ve been so broke, I didn’t know how I was going to put food on the table for the girls.  I’ve been in an emotional relationship with a friend that I know will never amount to anything because he’s afraid of commitment and when I finally am OK with it, he comes back into my life.  I’ve wondered if I’ll ever find someone that would love my girls and me and then maybe I wouldn’t feel so lonely all the time.

Now, as I’m going through this bible study with all of you and see on Facebook all the uplifting comments and prayers that others offer, I am starting to understand some of the WHYs I’ve been so desperate to know.  As horrible as this may sound, if my husband hadn’t passed away, I wouldn’t have known how strong I really am or who I could count on when I needed it most.  I wouldn’t be working in a career I love orhave my business that helps other women feel good about themselves.  Most importantly, my girls and I wouldn’t be as close to my family as we are now and I certainly wouldn’t be apart of this amazing bible study or group of people 🙂

Step 3:  Application

I’m using this week’s lesson as a stepping stone to what I hope to do every single day.  I want to remember every day WHY I am here today and the events that led me here.  I need to have that constant reminder so that I KNOW that even thoug God puts us through some of the worst events we will ever face, it is for a higher purpose.  HE KNOWS WHY.  I don’t need to know WHY.  What I need is to let go of that NEED to KNOW WHY (if that makes sense lol).

Step 4:  Prayer

Lord, I ask you that you grant me peace and allow me to be ok with not knowing WHY.  Allow me to just trust in your doing and not question you so much.  Grant me peace to just accept what you bring into my life.  Amen.

Discussion Questions: Week 5

Directions:

Read this poem about friendship…

 Questions will follow

Our Bible Study  information can be found at:

 http://biblestoriesfromtheheart.com/category/amazing-bible-study/

It is ALWAYS the perfect time to join!!!

You Are A Blessing to Me ~

friendship-is-blessing~ CHRISTian poetrybydeborahann~used with permission IBible Verses

Have I told you lately,
you are a blessing to me
have I expressed how much
in you, God’s grace I can see.

Have I let you know recently,
how much I appreciate you
have I conveyed in actual words
my gratitude for all you do.

Have I voiced my pleasure,
of just having you around
have I said, you lift me up
whenever I’m feeling down.

Have I uttered my thanks,
for your kindness and love
have I spoken I believe . . .
you’re my angel from above.

Have I told you lately,
what a blessing you are to me
have I expressed just how much
of Jesus ~ in you, I do see!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Colossians 3:10
King James Version

“And have put on the new man,
which is renewed in knowledge
after the image of him that created him:”

Copyright 2014
Deborah Ann Belk

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My thoughts:

This week we read about the battle between the Lord’s children and the Amalekites.  For the Israelites to win the battle, Moses had to keep his focus on the Lord.  He demonstated this by keeping his arms and rod lifted to the heavens. During the night Moses grew tired. He was unable to keep his arms lifted on his own.  Aaron and Hur saw his struggle.  These two friends chose to help. They stood on either side of Moses and lifted his arms for him!. They remained there all throughout the night.  With their help, Moses was able to keep the rod raised until the Israelites were victorious.

If it weren’t for these two friends, the story may have ended in a totally different way!

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My questions:

1.  What do you consider the main purpose of friendship?

2.  What qualities do you look for in a friend?

3.  How many of those qualities do you have?

4.  Could you be depended during a spiritual battle?

5. If you felt yourself heading into a spiritual battle, who could you depend on to keep focused?

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FRIENDSHIP HOMEWORK

 If you do not have  strong Christian friends- I challenge you to FIND some this week.

 If you are not a member of a church, join one.

 Look for a ladies small group to join- or start one yourself!!

 Be PROACTIVE!!!

The battles are REAL!!!

 You NEED REAL FRIENDS surrounding you!  🙂

Week 5 Lesson

This Week’s Focus:  Exodus 17.

The Children of God are continuing their journey to the Promised Land. Along the way they begin complaining to Moses once again because they are thirsty. Moses turns to God for guidance and is told to strike a rock with his rod.  Moses does so, and WATER FLOWS OUT OF THE ROCK!  As they are drinking the Israelites are attacked by their enemies.

 

 

week 5 art

 

 

Exodus 17: 5-6

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”

And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

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A few verses down the Israelites are attacked by the Amalekites.

Exodus 17:8

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.

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Remember God Himself is LEADING His children.

Exodus 17:1 states

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim but there was no water to drink. 

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My Thoughts

God KNEW that there was no water here- He knew that they would have to DEPEND on HIM to quench their thirst!  He also knew they would be attacked at Rephidim.  God was aware of  this even BEFORE He led them to this spot.

Reading this chapter, I was immediately filled with questions:

1.  Why God would lead His children to this area knowing what would happen?

2.  Didn’t God want to keep them safe and well provided for?

Through this week’s study we will discover the answers to my questions…….. we will come to realize that these events were SO MUCH MORE than just a drink of water and a battle-

These events once again were Lessons of LOVE!

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Lesson in 3 Parts

History of Amalekites

Symbolism Behind the Rod (Moses’ staff)

Connection to Us Today

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History of the Amalekites

The Amalekites in the Bible were enemies of God.  They were descendants of Esau, who chose earlier in the Bible NOT to follow God. Esau and Jacob (who was later named Israel) were twin brothers and the the grandsons of Abraham. We learned earlier in this LOVE QUEST series that God first gave His blessing and promise to Abraham in the book of Genesis.  God promised to bless Abraham and make his descendants a great nation. He then passed the blessing on to his son Isaac.  Isaac then passed the blessing to his son Jacob.  According to the custom of that day, Esau being the older twin was entitled to a special blessing. Jacob valued God and the blessings that He had promised His people, Esau did not.  Esau thought so little of God and valued this future blessing so little that he willingly gave it up for a bowl of soup! (Genesis 25: 19-34)

God did not want the Amalekites to be His enemies, but He does not force anyone to LOVE Him.  People are born with a choice to make.  They can either choose to Love God and in turn follow the Lord,  or they can choose to not love God and follow themselves instead. Jacob chose to LOVE God and as a result his children, the Israelites loved God.  Esau chose to only LOVE himself and hate God and as a result his children hated God.

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Symbolism Behind the Rod

God wanted His children to realize how vitally important it was for them to look to HIM for their strength and provision.  The Lord knew that Israelites would face both evil  and “droughts” in their lives. He needed them to learn how to handle both of these situations. God WOULD always be with them, BUT they had to CHOOSE whether or not to DEPEND on Him for their STRENGTH and PROVISION. Through these events, the Israelites would learn that in both their future battles and deserts they must rely on GOD’S MIGHT and RESOURCES to rescue them! They must learn to HOLD ONTO GOD’S STRENGTH- just as Moses HELD onto the rod!

The Battle Begins

As the Israelites were drinking their water, The Amalekites came up from behind and attacked them. Thus, the battle began. We see from these few verses in Exodus that not much was mentioned about the battle strategies or fight plans of the Israelites.  This was because those details were NOT important!  What was important was GOD’S POWER and PROTECTION over His children.  This is symbolized in this story through the rod.

The rod that Moses held during this battle was the same one he held out so many times before.  This rod had been involved in several of God’s miracles before.  It was used to part the Red Sea and again to close the Red Sea (Genesis 14), it was the rod that was JUST USED to cause water to flow out from a rock! This rod represented POWER!!!  More than that, it represented God’s POWER!!!!  When Moses held on to the rod and followed God’s commands, God’s power flowed through Moses!

As this battle was fought, the Israelites noticed something huge about the rod and its connection to Moses. They noticed that  every time Moses lifted his arms (and rod) to the Heavens they would win that part of the battle. They also noticed that whenever Moses lowered his hands and the rod, they would begin to lose the battle. The Israelites recognized this early on and chose to KEEP THE ROD (God’s Power) lifted up!

When Moses’ arms got too tired to remain raised, two of Moses’ companions helped! Aaron and Hur held his arms up- one on one side-one on the other.  These two men continued raising Moses’ arms until sunset when the battle was over!

Exodus 17:  9-13

And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.”  10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.  11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.  12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.  13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

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What an AMAZING hands-on lesson given by God!  Through this visual God was showing His children that in order to be victorious, it was imperative for the Israelites to stay focused, obedient, and connected to Him! They MUST depend on His strength not their own!  They must keep God lifted up above EVERYTHING ELSE!  The Lord allowed this altercation with the Amalekites so that His children could learn this valuable lesson!

God knew that His children would encounter many enemies in their lives. He wanted them to know early on how they should handle future attacks. He needed them to understand that they would have a choice to make.  In future battles, they could either depend on God’s strength and instruction and be led to victory, or they could look to their own strength and plans and find defeat. The lands around them were filled with enemies of God.  The Lord wanted His children to be ready for any evil that they may encounter!

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Connections to Us Today

 FIRST

Our lives will not always be easy.  Just like the Israelites, we will be led into “deserts” at different points in our lives.  IF GOD IS THE ONE who leads us there we can be guaranteed that He is doing so OUT OF LOVE!  If we NEVER had to walk through a desert……  how could God possibly ever build our trust and faith in HIM??

**  We must also realize that sometimes Satan leads us into a deserts as well- THAT IS NOT OUT OF LOVE.  See my blog under “My Story”  …  The Devil’s Dominoes……

SECOND

We STILL have enemies of God today.  We may call them by different names other than Amalekites, BUT we are surrounded by people and groups of people who are EVIL.  We can not defeat evil by our own power. We can ONLY defeat the darkness when we are LOOKING to God and depending on His strength and direction. We MUST hold His rod in our hands and keep our focus on our Heavenly Father!

It is vital to be surrounded by strong Christian friends.  Moses had friends on either side of him to lift his arms when he was no longer able.  We NEED friends like that in our lives!  If we do not have anyone like that, we should intentionally LOOK and PRAY for God to bring us some!  The battles and deserts are REAL!  We do NOT need to enter them alone!

Week 4: SOAP Journaling Method

Week 4 is already among us and this week we are learning about the “deserts” that God sometimes puts us through.  I think back on all the events that have happened in my life and realize that many of them were “deserts” that He put me in.  I may not have seen it that way but I know NOW that those events were exactly that, DESERTS.

Step 1: Scripture  

Exodus 16:3 and said to them, “We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt.  There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted.  But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death.”

Step 2:  Observation

I could sit here and probably list out all the those events for you but I’ll stick to the ONE event that always seems to be my biggest life changing event: my husband’s suicide.  As the anniversary quickly approaches, I find myself doing the exact same thing I do at this time the last four years.  I think about those days events and everything that has changed since then.

When I think of deserts, I picture what they show on TV: the guy, who is ALONE, is struggling in the middle of nowhere, looking for water and seeing mirages of things that aren’t there.  That’s how I felt.  I don’t think I had ever felt so alone during that time, seeing things that weren’t there, searching for answers.  Something I won’t admit to anyone (until now) is that I STILL feel that way.  I still feel ALONE and am waiting for the day I don’t feel that way.

Before that moment, I would pray to God ONLY when I needed something, not when I just wanted to say thanks or wanted to have an authentic conversation.  I truly only seeked Him when I NEEDED something.  Looking back, that was HORRIBLE.  How can one only seek our God when only something is needed??!?

There were so many times that I could have just had conversations with God instead of only seeking Him when I needed something.  I’m learning that now. I’m learning that I need to TRUST that He has a handle on what’s going on in my life.  If I don’t trust in Him, how can I expect to have Him there to lead me along the way?  It just doesn’t work that way.

Step 3:  Application

I think the one thing that I keep seeing in my application section of my SOAP is that I need to TRUST God.  I need to learn to be PATIENT and just have FAITH that God is leading me and knows what He’s doing.  So my application will continue the same:  I will place my FAITH and TRUST in God TODAY and know that everything will be alright.  He will not abandon me as long as I continue to talk to Him and communicate my fears and worries.  He will PROVIDE.

Step 4:  Prayer

Lord, I ask that you continue to light the path that you have selected for me.  I am learning that everything you have put me through was to get me PAST my DESERT to a place where I know You will PROVIDE for me.  Continue to light the way for me and instill that TRUST and PATIENCE I so desperately need to have.  Amen.

I hope that you all know that you are not the only ones to go through a desert.  God has each and everyone of us go through them to instill that FAITH and TRUST in Him.  You are not alone!  🙂