Praising like Daniel

I just began week 3 of the Beth Moore Daniel study and God has been giving me a Word through this study, that’s for sure!  It has been oh so good to spend time in God’s word every day and to join up with wonderful women every Monday night to discuss our study.  God has been teaching me so much and my heart has been so blessed (yet again) by a Beth Moore study.  If you’ve never done one, I would highly recommend it!

Toward the end of week 2 of the Daniel study, Beth Moore challenged us girls to take the remaining weeks of our study and memorize a passage of scripture from the book of Daniel  – a powerful passage, at that.

The setting: Daniel had just gone to the king and asked him for some time, so that Daniel might be able to interpret the king’s dream for him.  Daniel and his friends prayed fervently for God’s mercy and revelation, so that they might not lose their lives over the king’s anger and frustration (see Daniel chapter 2 for a more thorough explanation.)  That night, God revealed the king’s dream to Daniel in a vision.  And praise Jesus for that, because now Daniel and his friends’ lives would be spared! So Daniel praised God for His provision and revelation:

“Praise be to the name of God forever and ever;

wisdom and power are His.

He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

He knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with Him.

I thank and praise You, God of my ancestors:

You have given me wisdom and power,

You have made known to me what we asked of You,

You have made known to us the dream of the king.”

– Daniel 2:20-23

Amen to that, right?  This passage of scripture is an awesome prayer and a wonderful praise to the faithful Father.  If you’re looking to memorize scripture, why not memorize these three verses with me?  I’ve written them on note-cards and have been taking them with me everywhere, slowly repeating the verses to myself.

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I want to praise God’s faithfulness like Daniel did that night.

What about you? Is there other scripture that you have set on your heart to memorize?

Thanks for stopping by!

I hope you have had the most blessed Wednesday.

Linking up today at…

Old Self vs. New Self

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24
 

This scripture rocked me to the core this morning.  I needed it this morning. Not two mornings ago when it had been emailed to me on Saturday. (I’m subscribed to a great blog called The Heartbeat of the Home and the scripture came from this lovely posting.) But this morning, when I finally got around to going through my email.  God has impeccable timing like that.

I don’t have many words for this scripture…it speaks for itself.  I do have lots of feelings and thoughts, though, which I’ll try to express briefly.  Since accepting Christ as my Savior, one of my continuing struggles has been walking the line between my “old self” and my “new self.”  I’m realizing more and more that accepting Christ as my Savior may be a one time thing that I did in ninth grade, but choosing to “be made new in the attitude of my mind” is a daily choice that I must make.  My “new self” is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” but I must daily pray that God would give me the strength to “put off my old self.”  No, I can’t do it alone, but it is my choice to make.  And each morning, whether consciously or not, I am choosing the person I am going to be that day – I am choosing to be my “old self” or my “new self.”

I know I can’t be alone in this struggle, so I’m expressing what I’m able to in hopes that someone out there can resonate with my struggle.  My hope and prayer for myself, and for you reading this, is that we would daily pray for God to help us put on our new selves, and that we would have the courage to ask for prayer in community when we are struggling with putting off our old selves.  It’s hard to be honest with our struggles, but God has gifted us as Christians with community to do just that – to be honest in communication about our joys, pains, praises, laughs, and yes, even our struggles.

Father God, I pray thanks to you for opening my heart and my mind with this scripture this morning.  Thank you for fellow bloggers whose postings have spoken to my soul.  Lord, I pray that today, and everyday, you would help me to put on my “new self” in you, the self that was “created to be like You in true righteousness and holiness.”  In Jesus’ name, amen.
 

Today I’m linking up to…

GraceLaced Mondays

“the beatitudes”

It’s Friday…which means this morning I had Bible study!  Wow can I just say that it is so wonderful to dig deep into Scripture with other women who are in a similar “life boat” as I am?  It’s truly wonderful… and if you’re reading this, and not currently involved in a Bible study – this is my one-time plug to encourage you to get involved with one!  I’m personally biased to same sex Bible studies, but that’s just me 🙂  There are so many wonderful opportunities to plug into the Word with other people – so that’s my plug.  The end. 🙂

This morning we began our reading of Matthew chapter 5 – which famously begins with “The Beatitudes.”  The Beatitudes aren’t new to me but I’ve never intentionally studied them, so in a way they kind of are new in that sense.

We discussed how the main “negative” interpretation of the Beatitudes says that we must become like the blessed people in verses 3-10 in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven.  This list includes “the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the pure in heart,” to name a few.  I’ll admit that the few times I’ve read through Matthew 5 before, I interpreted in this way – that I must become these things in order to be blessed and inherit God’s Kingdom.

After reading through chapter 4 of “The Divine Conspiracy,” which unpacks the Beatitudes, and after discussion among the women of my Bible study this morning, I am happy to say that I’m looking at this particular passage with new eyes now.  First of all, nowhere does it say that this list of “the blessed” ones is exhaustive.  The Bible doesn’t say that you must have only these qualifications in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Second, it helps to know the context of Jesus’ sermon in this passage.  It is important to be informed about who Jesus’ audience was for this sermon.  It turns out, Jesus was addressing “the least of these” in a way – people who could most likely immediately identify with being “poor in spirit” or being “mournful.”  The point of this passage is not necessarily to encourage us to strive to become these things – the point was to address people who are these things and express the greatness of God’s love – that these people, too, will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

Which brings me to my last point, and my favorite.  After studying the Beatitudes passage more in depth than I ever have I’ve realized a way to look at this Scripture with new eyes, a new focus.  Instead of reading this passage and wondering what it says about ME and MY life – how I should act or what I should be or what I should do in order to be blessed – I’ve turned the focus and have reflected on what it says about GOD.  This passage is just one of many that demonstrates God’s great love – what He’s doing – and what His love means for “the poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the pure in heart,” or “the peacemakers.”  This passage is not about what we should strive to be – it’s about who God is and His great love.

I’m starting to realize that all Scripture should have this “lens” of “what is God doing in this passage?” – but I think it’ll take one deep study at a time to really identify this.  All I know is the Lord is really moving and pushing in my heart and I can feel the growth.

How are you feeling God move in Your heart?  I would love to hear!  Happy Friday!

digging into the Word

This morning was my first Bible study meeting for our campus-wide Bible study.  For all you non-Calvin goers, every Fall semester Campus Ministries decides on a campus-wide study that multiple groups all over campus and even the country will study together…but separately.  My freshman year the study was on Philippians, last year was the Psalms, and this year is the Sermon on the Mount.  Cool concept, huh?

The past two years I’ve attended my dorm Bible study by default of living there.  Now being an off-campus student, I knew I wanted to plug into a group on campus as a way to connect and meet new people.  I joined an all women’s study led by one of our associate chaplains at Calvin.  We’re meeting Fridays at 8am…which can be a struggle but oh how good it is to study the word in the morning as a way to start your day!

After introductions, we dug into the word.  We read Matthew chapters 5-7 straight through.  Take a look at those chapters for a second – what a chunk of scripture is what you’re probably thinking! It was so cool to just read an overview of the passages that we’ll be digging into these next 12 weeks or so.  As part of our study, we’re using the book “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard to help us walk alongside the scripture and hopefully dig in deeper.

I’m looking forward to blogging (hopefully every week!) about my Friday morning study.

Have a blessed weekend!

Kneeling at the Throne of Grace

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and grace in time of need” – Hebrews 4:16

I stumbled upon this verse this morning, and boy, did I need it!  I love how God uses His own word to constantly provide encouragement in my daily life, no matter what I’m going through.  There’s appropriate scripture for when I’m having a rough day, or for when life is going great, or for when I question and doubt, or for when I praise and worship.  We are so blessed that God understands our hearts and knows what we need.

So, back to the point… I need the Lord’s mercy and grace. Every. Single. Day.  But especially today.  When life is overwhelming and chaotic and stressful, turning my face to God is rarely my initial response.  My instinct is to hide from Him, as if not having it together won’t cut it.  But that doesn’t line up with who our God is.  Our God wants us to come boldly to the throne of grace when we are in need.  To acknowledge that we need grace is a blessing.  When we acknowledge our need, we are able to come boldly to God’s throne, where we will find His everlasting mercy and grace.  Amen anyone?

When I’m crabby or feeling lazy, God doesn’t want me to hide my imperfection from Him.  Rather, in these tough moments of life, I should be running to His throne to seek His constant mercy and grace.  Because I am in need.

So today, my challenge to myself, and to you, is to kneel at His throne, even when it’s the last thing you want to do…because that’s when we need it most.