Daily Living

Christlike Love

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Just a verse I’ve been meditating on for the past few days. It popped up in two different studies over the course of two hours, so I took that as a hint.

#SheReadsTruth – Songs of Ascent

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.Psalm 125: 1-2

I am so very lucky to have found #SheReadsTruth – and done a few of the studies with the community there. While I am pretty shy and I rarely comment on the readings of the day, I’ve found that the readings are always spot on and exactly what I need at that particular moment. They’re generally written by a team of women, so they always seem so much more relevant to me and my circumstances. I know that one of the first studies I did in the Fall of 2012, is what led me to make such a large commitment to studying God’s Word in 2013. God placed #SheReadsTruth in my life for a purpose and I am ever so thankful.

Today was Day 1 of a new plan – Songs of Ascent. This is an area of the Bible I have never really studied in depth (Psalms 120-134), but after reading a brief description of this section of the Psalms, I can’t wait to learn more about each individually. In addition to studying the Songs of Ascent, the readings will look at passages from the New Testament in preparation for Easter (I can’t believe it’s so close).

So from what I’ve researched, the Songs of Ascent were sung as our people traveled to Jerusalem each year. Jerusalem was set high up on a hill, hence the phrase “going up to Jerusalem” and “Songs of Ascent“. After I discovered that fact, it was so much easier to picture myself as a pilgrim, traveling towards Jerusalem, and to understand the long journey that it was.

I can only imagine the feelings of those making the pilgrimage, as they rounded the corner and saw the mountains around Jerusalem in the distance (Psalm 121). And then the overwhelming feeling of finally stepping foot inside Jerusalem and raising eyes and hearts in prayer and praise to God for His mercy (Psalm 123). How amazing it would be!

At this point in my life, Psalm 125 really spoke to me. After the events of yesterday, to know that God surrounds me and protects me in times of fearful danger (just as He surrounds Jerusalem) is amazing. Is it so overwhelming (in a good way) to know that our God and His love are stronger and more enduring than mountains. He will protect me, with His mountains of love and power.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.
Lord, do good to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
But those who turn to crooked ways
the Lord will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be on Israel.
Psalm 125

And what really amazes me, is that “those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion”. Our trust in Him makes us just as strong and steadfast as the mountains, ever-enduring and ever-strong. With our trust placed, correctly, in the Lord, we can withstand the rain, withstand the thunder, the lighting and the wind. We cannot be shaken or moved. We endure forever, through Him, and with His mighty arms around us.

Keep Your Appointment

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13

The first thing you have to know about me is that I am all about routine. It’s just part of who I am. My morning routine is by far the most important part of my day, because it includes my “appointment” with God, if that’s what you wish to call it.

My days usually start at 6am. On the weekdays, I wake up to my husband’s first alarm, say a quick prayer of thanksgiving to God for giving me another day to live and to glorify His name. I thank Him for giving me such a great husband and a wonderful, healthy son. When the second alarm goes off 5 minutes later, I wait for Eric to get into the shower and then I jump up and head downstairs. I open the dog’s kennel, grab whatever I made for Eric’s lunch and drop it into his lunchbox. I pour our coffee, pour some OJ for Eric, run outside with the dog and then feed him. Then I grab my coffee and curl up on the couch with the iPad. Eventually Decker (the pup), joins me on the couch and falls back asleep with his head on my feet.

I use the iPad for all of my reading and bible studies. It just seems to work better for me at this point than a notebook and my printed Bible. Right now I’m using the YouVersion Bible app, Pages for iPad and a devotional on iBooks. My current devotional is “Hearing from God Each Morning” by Joyce Meyer. I bought the entire devotional after trying out the 14 day version on YouVersion. It was amazing and completely changed my relationship with God, so I knew I needed to do a whole year’s worth of reading (and it’s been a blessing so far).

Well anyways – after I curl up, I say a quick prayer asking God to open my ears and my heart, reveal His truth and teach me through His Word. I read through my yearly reading plan and then I start my daily devotional reading from Hearing From God Each Morning. I take notes in Pages, noting the verse of the day and then bits and pieces of the reading that really stuck out to me. This specific devotional ends with God’s Word for You Today, which I add into my notes.

Then I pray. And I try to pray for at least 10-15 minutes. Sometimes it’s shorter, sometimes longer, depending on the depth of the reading and how it’s affected me. Because I wasn’t raised in a Christian household, prayer is still relatively new to me. At this point in my life it’s more of a conversation, in which I express my current feelings (requests, thanksgivings, praise and worship) and then I just sit and meditate, while enjoying God’s presence. Sometimes He speaks to me, other times, I just enjoy being with Him. I know He’s there with me, wrapping me in His warm embrace and I enjoy it as much as I can. I savor the moment. Most often, I can picture Him sitting there, facing me, with His forehead pressed against mine and His eyes closed. Enjoying the time with me, just as much as I enjoy the time with Him.

Well this morning, for the first time in a LONG time, I did my yearly readings, but decided to go back to sleep (curled up on the couch with the dog, mind you). And when I woke up an hour later, I turned on the iPad and opened my reading for the day, from Hearing From God Each Morning… And lo and behold, today’s devotional reading was titled “Keeping Your Appointment”!

Really? I mean, I know God has a sense of humor, but this was just TOO perfect for the circumstances to be coincidental. For the first time in months, I missed my standard time with God and the reading of the day just happened to be about that exact subject. I had to stop and say a bit of a humorous prayer about this, of course.

And then I read the devotional for the day and I realized just how important it really is to make an appointment with God and to KEEP that appointment. So often, we neglect our time with God, because we know that He is always available. In my reading, Joyce points out that if we made an appointment for kidney dialysis every week, we would never miss it. Our time with God should be as serious of an appointment for our spiritual health as dialysis would be for our physical health. The quality of our lives (both spiritually and physically) is greatly affected by the time we spend with Him, so we should always strive to make that a priority.

So moving forward, I’ve made it a goal to complete my readings at close to the same time every day. It’s just a personal goal and something I can only strive for, but I think it will be helpful. In the past few months, I’ve been doing my readings every day and I’ve gotten to the point where I actually look forward to the mornings, because I know what to expect – time with God.

And spending that time with God, even if we don’t hear from Him, still helps us to sow good seeds, which will eventually lead to a good harvest in our own lives.

Joyce Meyer says:

With persisitence, you will reach the point where you understand more of God’s Word, where you are enjoying fellowship with Him, and where you are talking to God and hearing His voice.

Isn’t this what we are striving for after all – understanding, fellowship and hearing from Him?

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