Revelations in our Bible Study

I am guest posting on my friend, Liz Giertz’s blog, My Messy Desk, today for Word Nerd Wednesday.  When we open our Bible and study God’s word, he reveals to us more of who he is.  Don’t let yourself miss what he has to show you by purposefully avoiding books that intimidate you.

Head on over and read more about the meaning of Revelation.

http://www.creativeinspirationsatmymessydesk.com/word-nerd-wednesday-revelation/

Growing in Wisdom

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So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

(Psalm 90:12-17)

Today is my 32nd birthday.  I have chosen this scripture to pray over as my birthday prayer and I am choosing to share it with you. May we all grow in Wisdom and Fear of the Lord as we continue to ABIDE in Him.

Father,

I am fearfully and wonderfully made in your image.  I praise you this morning on my 11,688th day!  As I number these days and look forward to the ones to come, I pray to grow in wisdom. Give me wisdom each day, because I know you can and you will if I ask for it.  I will receive it in faith and obedience.

Father, satisfy me each morning with your steadfast love.  It is unchanging, it is ever present, it is undeserved, but I am oh so very thankful to have it!  Fill me up with it as I hunger and thirst for more of you.

Then I will rejoice and be glad.  For your love transcends all understanding. If you are for me than who can stand against?

Make my heart glad as I look back and recall all the afflictions of my life.  For it is in them that I most clearly see your love and faithfulness. It is through those trials that you have proven to me your power and strength and love.

Let your work continue to be shown before me, for I am your servant.  May all the words of my mouth, the desires of my heart and the work of my hands be in your service.

Father, show your glorious power to my children.  As they witness my own sin and repentance and forgiveness let them see the mighty work of your love in me.  Open their eyes to the power of my Savior and the joy that comes in taking up my cross and following him.   Show us your power as we walk together day in and day out.  May we wonder together at your majesty as we read, play, learn, eat, and sleep.  Show them how you hear and answer their sweet prayers.  Show them how willing you are to receive them in your arms with forgiveness.  And in those moments when it matters most, soften my heart to be an example of your love and forgiveness and mercy to them.  Show them that when they seek you, they will always find you…and remind me of this truth each day as well.

Let your favor be upon me, my marriage, and my family this year, Father.  Establish the work of my hands upon me.  Reveal your purpose for me, initiate it and set it firmly and permanently upon your solid foundations.  That way it cannot fail, but come to completion to the glory and praise of your precious Name.

YES, Establish the work of my hands!

For I am your humble servant, abiding in the vine. Here I am LORD, use me as you will.

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The Promises of God

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As this new year begins, I feel like it is Spring my heart. As I draw nearer to God in prayer and studies, all is warmer, brighter, more fragrant.  It is not all picking daisies and smelling roses though. In just a few short weeks I have sought fellowship with the Father more and in turn have been bombarded with confrontation from the enemy.  There is a process taking place resembling that of weeding the garden or cleaning out the closets.

Still, the new year brings a lot of excitement for me.  I love the feeling of a fresh start.  I am not so good at the disciplines of dieting or exercise so those kinds of resolutions have no appeal, but I rejoice at the chance to make new goals for my spiritual life and grow in godliness.  

Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10)

So I have three New Year’s Resolutions:

1. I resolve to “toil and strive” to “set my hope on the living God” this year. To do so, I have chosen to study the Promises of God.  I want to know more of them, know more about His character from them, and be able to apply them to my spiritual walk. I have chosen two scriptures as my theme.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

2. I resolve to read through the Bible at least once this year and study the Promises of God throughout.  I am using a reading plan on my You Version Bible App called, The Discipleship Journal Book-at-a-Time Reading Plan.  So far I have read through Genesis, most of Exodus, some of the Psalms and Proverbs. As I am reading I am marking God’s Promises and I have already lost count.  I cherish each one and love seeing the Redemptive History in the Old Testament.

3. I resolve to grow in the practice of the spiritual disciplines.  I am co-facilitating a class on fasting and prayer for my local PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) and a huge part of the class is looking at Fasting and Prayer as disciplines.  It is a spiritual exercise, if you will. We may not always have the great desire to do them, just like passing on that cupcake or going for a run, but when we do take that first step of obedience, we are carried into the path of God’s grace and we grow in godliness.

I plan to write much more this year on the Promises of God and the Spiritual Disciplines. I also plan to write more on fasting as the season of Lent draws near. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all and I hope to encourage you in your walk with God this year.  May we all grow in godliness and in doing so “be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).

Have you made any resolutions this year?  Have you already suffered confrontation and struggles?  If so, I encourage you to take that step of obedience again and see the rewards in store for you.  May God bless you and keep you.

Abiding in Him,

Melissa K.

Related Post:

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/i-know-the-plans-i-have-for-you

Library Cart for 2014

I bought my husband a sander for Christmas. He has a great desire to find more time for woodworking. I wholeheartedly support this hobby, especially when there are so many wonderful projects I can send his way. My first for this year? A library cart shelf. Next to my favorite seat on our couch is a constant stack of books, journals, magazines and knitting paraphernalia. I got the great idea to have him build me a replica of a library cart to park right there for organization and easy access. Something like this:

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Or this:

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With maybe some shelves like this on the bottom for my yarn:

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So today I am sharing with you the books that will find their home on my library cart this year. I am very sure it is subject to change, but this is the short list of books I want to read this year.

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Some of them are oldies from my shelf that I haven’t read in a while, some were Christmas gifts.
The first is the Bible. I am trying a new reading plan this year. It is the Discipleship Journal’s Book-at-a-Time Reading Plan from the You Version Bible App. I am hoping it will bring more continuity to my daily readings as I search God’s word this year to study His Promises. I will go into more detail about that in another post coming soon.
Tempted and Tried by Russell D. Moore
I have had this one on my shelf for a couple years and still haven’t got the chance to read it. I am really looking forward to digging into it soon.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Just one of the classics that I haven’t had a chance to read in a while. I probably won’t be able to get to this one until our Homeschooling year is done and we are well into summer vacation.

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A Woman’s Guide to Fasting by Lisa E. Nelson
I am a Co-Facilitator for this book in my local P.W.O.C. (Protestant Women of the Chapel). I am very encouraged by the simple truths of this book and the loving guidance offered by the author. It is practical and still gets straight to the heart of this forgotten Christian discipline.

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A Hunger for God by John Piper
This is another great book on Fasting that I am reading as supplementary material for the PWOC class. It is also available as a free PDF here at DesiringGod.org.

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Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph
This is a fairly new book. I breezed through it quickly this fall, but plan to slow down and really soak it in again. Written by one of the founders of Goodmorninggirls.org.

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The Promises of God by R.C. Sproul
My prayerfully chosen theme for this year is the Promises of God. I will be writing a post about it later this week. This book looks like an amazing way for me to kick off the year studying and learning about God’s promises in his word.
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The Mission of Motherhood and The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Both of these have been recommended to me by several wise and loving mothers who give them rave reviews. I am already planning a simpler homeschool schedule for next year in the event that we will be moving again {love the military life}. I chose to read these two books first to get my thoughts back to the heart of it all; the hearts of my children.
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Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot
Discipline: I need it, lots of it. This book explores areas of discipline that I haven’t considered much before like honoring others, time and work.
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One Hundred and One Devotions for the Homeschool Mom and One Hundred and One More Devotions for the Homeschool Mom by Jackie Wellwood
These two devotionals are essential for me during the school year. The author has such a tender way of understanding the hearts of homeschool moms and encouraging her reader’s with God’s word and also asking great questions to get you praying and applying it to your day.
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Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
As I said before, I am already revamping our Homeschool for next year and I am hoping to start here with this book. We use the Charlotte Mason method so the thought of a simpler homeschool using real books and real life really appeals to me.
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So that is it. That is what I have filled my virtual library cart with for the year and hopefully soon they will fill a real handmade library cart by my chair as well.
What are you reading now? What do you plan to read this year? I would love to hear from you and maybe even grow my list with your ideas. Leave a comment and let us know. Many blessings for the New Year.

Abiding in Him,

Melissa

Abide in My Love- Series Introduction

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Welcome to Abiding Hearts at Home’s first series, Abide in My Love.   Over the next 9 weeks we will be looking into God’s word and what Jesus meant when he said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love”. (John 15:9)

As we have discussed before, abide means to continue or dwell.  If we are called and commanded to live out this love and continue in it, we must know it more fully.  We will look at Paul’s definition of love  in 1 Corinthians 13  and specific examples of how Jesus Christ shows us how to love through His life and ministry.  As it has been said, “The best interpreter of scripture is scripture itself”.  More than anything else, I am relying on the scriptures to help us define love and how to apply it to our lives.  I am always continually amazed how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through God’s word and moves us to reflection, repentance, and action.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

If we are abiding in his word, we are armed with everything we need to learn, reflect, correct, and discipline ourselves to be doing the work that Jesus calls us to do; love one another.  Let’s take a minute here to read some scripture about God’s love and the love we are commanded to give to others. I am assuming that you have read or heard these passages before and are familiar with them and the context they are written in.   More thoughts and truths on these verses will be discussed in this series, but for now I want to let God’s word speak directly to you.  I encourage you not to skim over them, but pray that the Holy Spirit will help you to see them as if for the first time. Let the words resonate in your heart and ponder the weight and significance of each truth.

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 19:19)

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”(Matthew 22:36-40)

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:27-38)

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)

In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:20-21)

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (John 14:23-24)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9-10)

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:16-17)

Jesus’ love for us is to be the foundation of our love for others.  

Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:1,4-5)

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:7-9)

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12)

I look forward to this series and what God has to teach us through His word.  I am praying that hearts will be changed (including my own) and we will all learn a little bit more about God’s love for us and feel moved to love others in obedience and out of a heart of thankfulness.

Abide in His Love,

Melissa

Abiding in God’s Word

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A couple years ago I started a new annual tradition.  I asked my husband to make one of my Christmas presents a new journal for the upcoming year.  I prayerfully choose a verse or verses to be my theme for the year.  Before the New Year, I search and pray for a section of scripture to memorize and study to bring drastic change and growth in my life spiritually. For example one year I felt led to choose Colossians 3:12-17.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

As you can see these verses are jam-packed with instruction for a Christian seeking to live a godly life.  It is my take on the “New Year’s resolution”.  Last year was the year my husband was deployed to Afghanistan.  For that year my verses were 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I knew we had a tough year ahead of us.  I knew it had the potential to be a year full of calamity and hardships, so I chose these verses to help me to rest in the grace and power of my Jesus.  I chose to be weak from the get-go because then I would be strong from the get-go.  And I was, to glory and praise of God alone.  It was not my doing.  If God had not prepared me spiritually for that year, things would have been a lot harder, a lot lonelier and so much more hopeless than I could handle.

The lesson I am learning over these years is that by following his command to abide in his word, God can produce more fruit in my life.

This picture Jesus paints for us in John 15 with the vine and the branches is a beautiful union and relationship of complete dependence.  It is to be steadfast and permanent and only then can the nutrients flow to the branches to produce the fruit.

In verses 4 and 5 Jesus says,

 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 

We are continuing in him and he is living in us.  And any fruit produced is only because of the connection we have to him.

Then in verse 7 he says,

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

Jesus illustrates this even further and elaborates more on this connection.  First he said twice, “Abide in me and I in you“(vs. 4,5). Then he goes deeper to say, “If my words abide in you” (v.7).

Jesus is showing us how he will live in us and speak to us.  Through his word! There is no other way.  He speaks to us through his word and we speak to him in our prayer.  This is our fellowship. So yes I want to live in those pages.  I want to memorize it and have it in my heart always.  I want it to grow my faith. I need it to encourage others. I need it to recognize and fight off my own sin. Yes, even in this union of the vine and the branches, some pruning must be done.  It can be painful.  But take heart.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5) 

Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

God’s word is true; it is truth.  And in this truth we are sanctified. When we take root in the truth, the fruit springs forth abundantly. That means putting off the old self and putting on the new (Colossians 3:5-15). Continually renewing our minds (Ephesians 4:21-24).

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

It is not just in trials and tribulation that we need His truth.  We need it in every word we speak, in every thought we have, and in every action we take.  We need it in us so we may be able to obey Jesus’ command in John 15:12;

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love (John 15:8-11).

This fruit of obedience that is produced in our union with Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24).

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Back in December before I even thought of starting this blog, I prayerfully chose 1 Corinthians 13 as my theme verses for this year, 2013.  I wanted to learn more about God’s love (1 John 4:7-8).  I wanted to learn how to show more love to my husband and children (Titus 2:4). I wanted to learn more about brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22).

It has become glorious testimony for me, seeing the work of the Holy Spirit and His ability to use the Word of God for my sanctification.  As I read and memorize the verses, the sword of the spirit cuts through my sin and prunes the branch.  He is growing me to bear much fruit as I read and follow his commandment to love.

And even now as I am studying John 15 for this blog and Luke 17-24 (GoodMorningGirls.org) and skimming the Psalms in the mornings, and joining a class at PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) I am feeling the flow of the life giving, sanctifying truth as it pulses through the pages and into my heart. The more I take in the more I yearn for it.

So what are you yearning for? Is it the things of God or the things of this world?

By abiding in Jesus, we should have his word abiding in us. I challenge you to prayerfully choose a scripture to memorize.  It can be one verse or it can be one chapter.  You can memorize it in one day or one month. One time a friend of mine challenged me to memorize Psalm 16 with her over the course of 11 weeks.  It is 11 verses long so that was a verse a week.  I pray through this discipline, we will not only have God’s word hidden in our hearts, but will apply it to every moment of our days.  If you want to take this challenge, leave a comment about the scripture you plan to memorize and check in at Abiding Hearts at Home’s Facebook page to encourage each other and let us know how it is going. Have a blessed weekend!