In Romans 9, Paul starts the chapter by speaking on his great sorrow and continual grief for his fellow Jews. He wants them to experience and know the gospel of Jesus Christ. Romans chapters 5-8 are rife with the Good News of the gospel. In his reflecting on the awesome power, knowledge and saving works of Jesus Christ in these 3 chapters, he reflects on the fact that his own relatives do not know or accept the saving power of the truth. His heart GRIEVES for them. Lord, my prayer today is that you burden all of your faithful servants with this same burden Paul experienced. I pray that through the Holy Spirit our hearts are grieved for the lost and that You use this grief and burden in us to become more passionate evangelists to glorify the name of Jesus. Amen.
As a Christian, we are commanded to share the gospel. In Mark 16:15 Jesus was speaking to the 11 disciples; “And He said to them, “”Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.””
We, as followers of Christ, are called to the very same order still today. I was reflecting on that today and it hit me: Bringing others the “good news” is not the only reason God wants us to share. We are to share the gospel everywhere we go to remind ourselves of what our Savior did for us every single day! I share the gospel with others because I care about them and want them to experience the joy that I know can only be found in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Every time I share the gospel with others though, I am hearing it again as well! Reminding myself of the gospel in turn reminds me to show God’s love to others. It encourages me to forgive others and to be sacrificial for them because God forgave me and sent the ultimate sacrifice to pay my sin debt in full. What an amazing gift the Lord has given us in that simple and encouraging fact! He wants us to be reminded of what He sent His Perfect Son to do on the cross for us. There is no more beautiful story than this!
In His Love,
I’m no longer a slave,
I knew I had to become brave.
He broke the chains,
And took away my shame.
He brought me to the light ,
He knew I was loosing sight.
He was there all along,
Singing in my ear a sweet, sweet song.
He has become my all,
With Him I will never fall.
He has saved me from my past,
I’m free at last.
Addiction no longer has me in its hold,
From now on I will stand tall and bold.
Finally I see,
Addiction and I were just not meant to be.
He has shed his grace,
And I know now this is the right place.
I found my true King,
To him I will sing.
Addiction takes you when you least expect it,
It drags you to a bottomless pit.
It takes what you love the most,
Sometimes I think just to boast.
It brings guilt and shame,
It’s far from a game.
You loose people you love,
Just to feel above.
It feels as though you have chains,
And you can’t break through all your pain.
It becomes your master,
And I’m here to tell you it’s a disaster.
I became a slave,
Knowing that it could send me to my grave.
It’s like a thief in the night,
Robbing you of all your sight.
You feel lost,
and at what cost?
This past weekend I was blessed with the ability to attend the True Woman 2016 conference “Cry Out!” in Indy. The first session I attended at the conference was taught by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She spoke on the topic of brokenness—my favorite study topic I have gone through so far. Needless to say, I was very excited the moment she shared what she would be speaking on.
I studied her book “Brokenness: the Heart God Revives” early last year with the ladies in my church. It was a book that changed my walk and my life, one that I will not ever forget. As Nancy began sharing the importance of being broken, humble before the Lord and those around us, she said we would be looking at three different stories in the book of Luke that displayed the characteristics of brokenness. These three stories were mentioned in her book, so I already knew what we would be covering. What I did not know was how God would use one of these stories to open my eyes.
The second story we read was in Luke 15:11-32; the parable of the prodigal son. I had read this story many times before, but this time was different. As we went through this parable and looked at the attitude of the prodigal, I noticed how similar his story was to mine, just not in a way I would normally think of.
The prodigal took his inheritance and went out into the world seeking pleasure, running away from his home to find enjoyment in a life of rebellion. But the fun came to an end, the money ran out, and he found himself at rock bottom. The son decided to humble himself and return home to repent and ask to become a servant in his father’s house. On his way back, while he was still a good distance away, his father saw him coming and ran to embrace him. Before the son could even get the words out to apologize, his father’s response was: “22 (speaking to his servants), ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Wow.
Though I’d heard this many times before, the grace the father showed his rebellious son really hit me. I began to cry when I realized that I am a prodigal child. I can find myself relying on things in the world to satisfy my desires instead of running to my Heavenly Father who is the only One that can satisfy all of my needs. Yet when I humble myself and repent, my Father is faithful to extend His grace, love, and mercy on me, even though I do not deserve it. This is such an incredibly humbling blessing.
I am so thankful that God used this message to speak to my heart in this way. Through this story I saw just a glimpse of how truly loving and gracious my God is. No matter how I fail, my Father is faithful to forgive when I repent and embrace me as I run into His loving arms.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1
One of the biggest things I have battled with is thinking before I speak. I used to just say whatever popped into my head, no matter how rude or insensitive it was, without thinking of how my words could affect those around me.
Ephesians 4 verse 29 says; “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” When reading this verse it is hard not to feel convicted about how I use my words. I should be speaking in a way that is kind, encouraging, and ultimately glorifying to God.
In James chapter 3 we read of how powerful our tongue truly is. “7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” In the book of Proverbs the author tells us that words can speak life or death; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Prov. 18:21). These verses show us just how difficult it can be to watch what we say and “tame our tongue.”
In the psalms we read of David calling out to the Lord for help with this very thing; “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Ps. 141:3). It is so important that we ask for the Lord’s help with this in our own lives. On our own we cannot successfully conquer this struggle, yet by God’s grace through the righteousness of Christ we are able to overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
When we take time to think before we speak, we are able to consider how our words can affect others—whether that is in a positive or negative way. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Prov. 16:24), “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 16:1). One of the biggest blessings I have experienced through trying to choose my words carefully is seeing the way that I can encourage others through words of affirmation. It is so wonderful to be able to encourage others through the words we speak!
As believers, our goal in life should be to bring glory to God in everything that we do—including how we speak. Though this can be hard at times, through prayer, studying the Word, and leaning on Christ, we can use our words to speak life into others and glorify God’s name.
One verse that is great to use when we pray is Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” It is simple, yet powerful. We should take time each day to ask God for His help to guide our speech and shape our hearts and minds to reflect Him.
How will you use your words today?
Today was the LAST DAY of our 31 days through the book of Psalms! We of course finished out the book, reading chapters 148-150.
Psalm 148 is beautiful, as it calls for literally every single thing to praise the Lord. I especially liked how the author called for even the weather to praise Him. I just think that is such a neat picture to imagine!
In Psalm 149 I like the command to praise the Lord using various ways to do so. I personally love to dance and sing as ways of worshiping God, so reading the author speak of using those very means of worship is awesome. David is calling us to worship Him in song, in dance, with our words and hearts. By using our gifts that we have been given, we are praising Him with the very talents He has given us to use to bring Him glory.
Psalm 150 is really awesome in how it uses the phrase “Praise the Lord” 13 times in just 6 verses! What a great reminder as we close out this study in the Psalms that we are to use the breath given to us to praise the One who gave us life so abundantly.
Throughout this study in the book of Psalms I gained a new appreciation for praising the name of the Lord. I found so much encouragement in each and every chapter as I read multiple authors experience hardships, feel alone, cry out in distress, seek God, find hope, and ultimately put their trust in Him. Each chapter offered something I was able to relate to, as I experience many of the emotions the authors write about in my own life. The most encouraging thing I found was that even though they suffered, they still chose to rejoice in the hope of our Lord and trust that He would deliver them because of His steadfast love. The steadfast love of our God endures forever!
For day 30 of 31, we read Psalms 145-147.
In Psalm 145 we read “one generation shall commend Your works to another…” This is what we should be doing today—sharing the glorious works of God with the coming generations. My favorite verse in the chapter is 19; “He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them.” That has to be one of the most encouraging texts to read in all of the book of Psalms! God truly does fulfill the desires of our hearts when we earnestly seek Him above all else.
Psalm 146 is a wonderful reminder that God is in control. He alone created heaven and earth and everything in and above it. Why would we even want to put our trust in something that was created instead of trusting the Creator?
Psalm 147 shows David praising all of the works of the Lord. He describes creation and what it takes to uphold that creation. He discusses how God can change nature just by speaking it into existence. It truly is awe-inspiring to think about the greatness and power of our King.
We are so close to the end of our 31-day study! For day 29 we read chapters 141-144.
In Psalm 141 we read as David cries out to the Lord, pleading for Him to quickly come to his aid. In verse 3 we read of him asking God to guard his mouth. This is so important for us to understand that we too should be praying for God to guard our tongues. As mentioned before, our words can speak life into others, or tear them down. We should be proactive in praying for God to help our words speak truth and compassion.
I love how in chapter 142 we see David crying out to the Lord for help. He knows that though the people around him may not care, God loves and cares for him so deeply that He is all he will ever need.
Psalm 143 is yet another example of how David cries out to God in times of trouble. David is a man of God whom we can look to as a good example of someone who puts their trust in Him. In this song, David says he will look upon the works of the Lord of old and meditate on them. We should do this very same thing in trying times—remember and meditate on His word and take comfort in knowing He saves His people.
Psalm 144 is an awesome picture that tells us God will prepare us for battle. He will lead us into seasons of struggle, but give us His strength so that we can endure it. He is our strength and our deliverer. In Him we find all we need!
On day 28 of our 31 days through the Psalms, we read chapters 137-140.
In Psalm 137 we read that the author was captured by his enemies and tortured for his faith. He was asked to make music to the Lord, almost to be mocked for it. The author seemed upset by this, not wanting to forget who he was singing of (the Lord), and if he were to forget, he wished to lose his ability to play music all together. He knew that his gift was from God and God is the one who he should be using his talent for.
Psalm 138 is beautiful. The author begins this song by saying he will give thanks to the Lord with his whole heart. This has been mentioned in psalms past, but is once again a great reminder that we should be living in a way that we praise and give thanks to God with all of our heart and soul. Verse 6 of this chapter is one of my favorites; “For though the Lord is high, He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar.” This is a wonderful reminder that it is important for us to live a life of brokenness and humility, as God is near to those who are humble in spirit.
Psalm 139 is lovely in how it shows us that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is all powerful, in control of every living thing. He knows all, even before it happens. He is everywhere—He does not live inside of time, but instead is outside of time, which is something hard to even comprehend. I love the way David closes out this song by asking the Lord to search his heart and know his thoughts. We too should be praying for God to know our hearts.
In chapter 140 we see David crying out for deliverance from the wicked. I love what he says in the last part of verse 9; “let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!” this is so neat to me because it makes me think of praying for God to have those who speak lies and deceit be torn up by their wicked words. For the words they utter to come back and bite them, so they might learn that they cannot expect to get away with it without being affected. The words we speak have more power than we realize, so it is vital that we think before we speak.