Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is the Word in you?

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:8-9).

Does that passage excite you? We hear the second verse quite frequently, but what about the first verse–have you ever thought twice about it?

The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. That’s the reason we are doing Bible Bee! Why else bother memorizing hundreds of verses? If we simply wanted to exercise our brains over the summer, we could put together a challenging book list or take an extra course for school. The Bible would still be very accessible to us. All we have to do is enter a key word on and come up with 273 answers, some of which are more relevant than others. As helpful as it is to have every verse reference of the word “love” come up with one click (there are 494 in the NKJV), I would rather have just one of those written in my heart.

In this is love, not that we 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. 1 John 4:10-11

Skimming over that verse and copying here didn’t change me. I want to have that verse near me; I want it in my heart! That verse is life-changing! God loves me, and He sent His Son to save me! Because of His love to me, I need to love others. I want to be able to answer yes to Paul–to say “Yes! The word is near me, it is in my mouth and in my heart!”

We are now officially past the 1/4 point in our Bible Bee studies. It’s about the time when that little voice in you head starts saying, “What?! Still 75% to go? Maybe next summer I’ll take a break from Bible memory and actually get my life back!” Please remember why we are studying! God’s Word has the power to change lives, but you must have it near you–in your heart–before it will change your life!

If you are getting discouraged and feel like you’re wasting time memorizing Bible verses, may I ask you a question? If Jesus died for you, don’t you think you ought to live every minute of your life to Him?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Christ's blood has cleansed us from our sin, and we are in awe still. How, at any moment in time, do we know we are walking in step with the Spirit? Because we have the Spirit. How do we know we are honoring the man whose blood was shed for us? Because he has given us a conscience with which to think and to know and to love him.
Jeremiah 10:11-16 says, 11 "Tell them this: 'These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.'" 12 But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. 13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. 14 Everone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. 15 They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. 16 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including Israel, the tribe of his inheritance-the LORD Almighty is his name."
He is God Almighty, and to him our lives flow in worship, adoration, praise, holy living, and love to others!
Let us view ourselves as more of flowers belonging to the gardener, rather than someone unconnected with eternity and important to other humans. When we keep silent, maybe our inward selves are groaning! We need to speak! When we let others down, we need to go back and lift them up again! We are conquerors by his blood, pursuing goodness and life!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happily ever after

My family has a tradition of setting aside Friday evening as family night. We research the latest BBC adaptions of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and all our other favorite authors, and then count the days till we get to watch the movie. When the day finally comes, we leave 21st century America and travel to old England. We become so engrossed in the movie that someone listening to our conversations would think that Lizzie Bennet, Horatio Hornblower, Molly Gibson, and Arthur Clennam were our best friends.

This last Friday, after finishing Our Mutual Friend, I was thinking about how nice happy endings are. All the good people end up happily married, and all the bad guys end up either dead or unhappy bachelors (since of course in English drama the married state represents ultimate bliss). With Dickens, it feels a lot more complex, but it generally boils down to that=) Something in us longs for a happy ending. When a bad guy gets what’s good and a good guy gets what’s bad, our sense of justice starts yelling at the author. We want a good ending. God made us that way. He, the Author of life, promises us that He has already written a happy ending for us.

Revelation 21:4-5--And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

In Bible Bee the past few weeks, we’ve been studying about inheritance, salvation, and suffering. In a good story, the good people end with some sort of inheritance or treasure that usually comes about through a redemptive process. Normally, the redemptive process involves suffering. Why do we enjoy watching good characters suffer? Through the suffering, they grow up into stronger characters. They become deserving of the happy ending–the inheritance–that we sincerely hope will happen.

In real life, we don’t usually go through a challenging year and then find ourselves possessors of large fortunes. The inheritance that we’ve been promised isn’t an earthly inheritance; we will only find it in heaven. Oftentimes, we hear Romans 8:28 quoted to us when we’re struggling. 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. Why do good people suffer? What about the trial that never results in any good? God doesn’t promise us that He will make all things work together for good in our lifetime; He promises is that He will make all things work together for good in His plan. Sometimes the good doesn't come till after our lifetime; we see the good when we are in heaven. Maybe Dickens wrote a good chapter-long ending at the end of 600 pages, but God promises a good ending for all of eternity! Praise God for His promises!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Only One Life...

I have been blessed and challenged by this hymn lately; Only One Life. Here are the words of it:

Only one life to offer
Jesus, my Lord and King;
Only one tongue to praise Thee
And of Thy mercy sing
Only one heart's devotion
Savior, O may it be
Consecrated alone to Thy matchless glory
Yielded fully to Thee.

Only this hour is mine, Lord
May it be used for Thee;
May ev'ry passing moment
Count for eternity
Souls all about are dying,
Dying in sin and shame;
Help me bring them
The message of Calv'ry's redemption
In Thy glorious name.

Only one life to offer
Take it, dear Lord, I pray;
Nothing from Thee withholding,
Thy will I now obey;
Thou who hast freely given
Thine all in all for me,
Claim this life
For Thine own to be used, my Savior,
Ev'ry moment for Thee.

We only have one life....we'll only live today once....let's make it count for eternity!

Grace be with you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Answering the call

Ashley’s post about the call of Christ reminded me of one of Keith and Kristyn Getty’s songs titled “Hear the Call of the Kingdom.” Yohannan’s message was Christ's call; this song should be our answer!

Hear the call of the kingdom
Lift your eyes to the King
Let His song rise within you
As a fragrant offering
Of how God rich in mercy
Came in Christ to redeem
All who trust in His unfailing grace

King of Heaven we will answer the call
We will follow bringing hope to the world
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus' name

Hear the call of the Kingdom
To be children of light
With the mercy of heaven
The humility of Christ
Walking justly before Him
Loving all that is right
That the life of Christ may shine through us

King of Heaven we will answer the call
We will follow bringing hope to the world
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus' name

Hear the call of the Kingdom
To reach out to the lost
With the Father's compassion
In the wonder of the cross
Bringing peace and forgiveness
And a hope yet to come
Let the nations put their trust in Him

King of Heaven we will answer the call
We will follow bringing hope to the world
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus' name

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

I am a...

“I am a vile, polluted lump of earth.” I often wonder what Mrs. Watts must have thought when her young son showed her an acrostic of his name beginning with that line. Have you ever felt like that–vile and polluted? When you open your Bible and start memorizing verses, have you felt horrified at how dirty you are compared to how holy God is? The past few days, I have been convicted about what a sinner I am. All those verses we’re learning about our holy and righteous God, a God who cannot abide wickedness–and then here am I: A vile, polluted lump of earth. How can I–a sinner–commune with Him? He cannot look on wickedness (Habakkuk 1:13).

Yet His grace is sufficient. I am a great sinner, but Christ is a greater Saviour (John Newton). Christ’s blood washes away my dirty sin. Because of Him, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that we are forgiven! Knowing His forgiveness toward us changes our fear to love. Instead of fearing the God who destroys the wicked, I can love the Man who saved me.

As Ephesians 3:12 says, we have access with confidence through faith in Him. Having confidence in His love, we cannot help but seek Him. Aren’t you looking forward to a whole summer of intense study of the Bible?

Psalm 119:10–With my whole heart I have sought You...

For those who are is Isaac Watts' whole acrostic:
"I" - I am a vile, polluted lump of earth
"S" - So I've continued ever since my birth
"A" - Although Jehovah, grace doth daily give me
"A" - As sure this monster, Satan, will deceive me
"C" - Come therefore, Lord, from Satan's claws relieve me.
"W" - Wash me in Thy blood, O Christ
"A" - And grace divine impart
"T" - Then search and try the corners of my heart
"T" - That I in all things may be fit to do
"S" - Service to Thee, and Thy praise too.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

this is real.

Since November, this blog has been set up, ready for accountability and encouragement. Now it's here. We either have, or are EAGERLY waiting for our contest materials:) and the study is on!
Now is when the rubber hits the road, my friends! Now is when it matters WHY you are doing the Bible Bee. What is this really about for you?
Sometimes it is easy to get in the mode, and forget why we do what we do. Sometimes we get so caught up in the "Bee", we lose sight of the God of the Bible.
I encourage you, my friends, LOVE THE WORD! Don't let this summer just be about memorizing your verses for the day, and studying the Sword Study.  Make it a priority NOW, and set your focus on things above. The goal of this program is to develop in you a love and hunger for the Word of God, a desire you can never shake! Remember the motto from 2009? "Changing Bible verse at a time."
That is what this is all about! Don't let the studying just become a duty, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that you would glorify God through it all! SHARE what you are learning with your friends and family. Discipline yourself to study the WORDS OF GOD, and you will never be sorry you did:)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who am I?

This song by Casting Crowns has really ministered to me during these last few days and I wanted to share it with you:

Who am I?

That the Lord of all the earth,

Would care to know my name

Would care to feel my hurt?

Who am I?

That the Bright and Morning Star would choose to light the way

For my ever wandering heart?


Not because of who I am,

But because of what You’ve done,

Not because of what I’ve done,

But because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading,

Here today and gone tomorrow,

A wave tossed in the ocean,

A vapor in the wind.

Still you hear me when I’m calling,

Lord, You catch me when I’m falling,

And You told me who I am:

I am Yours.

I am Yours.

Who am I? That the eyes that see my sin,

Would look on my with love,

And watch me rise again?

Who am I?

That the voice that calm the sea,

Would call out through the rain,

And calm the storm in me?


Whom shall I fear?

Whom shall I fear.

‘Cuz I am Yours.

I am Yours.

Wow, I mean, isn't it just great that we can have a intimate relationship with the Lord of the universe?! That the God of all the earth would care for us and choose to make us His?! Amazing! Yet, so many times we forget. We get so caught up in the things of this life. We take it for granted that we are actually God's children. We just go about our daily lives and never let that fact impact the way we live. We don't take time to get to know our Father better, even though we've been given that AWESOME opportunity.

This summer, most of us will be intensely studying the Word of God. Did you catch that? The Word of God. Wow! Isn't it simply wonderful that we have a opportunity to study the very words of God? Don't let that fact loose its wonder. And as we study this summer, lets not take it for granted that we are able to get to know the Word of God and thus get to know God Himself. We need to treasure the opportunity that we have and allow what we learn to radically impact our lives.