Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

 

bird-1398362_960_720

 

My eyes scanned the short list of course-possibilities.  I needed three more science hours for my college degree. The one that best fit my schedule? Ornithology. I was not enthused.  Birds simply did not hold my interest.

I expected to just endure that class; instead I became enthralled, mainly because the professor was so enthusiastic. With humor and energy he shared his passion, and slowly his students became fascinated too. The more we learned, the more appreciative we became of the avian world.

To this day, I’m quick to grab my binoculars and study a pecking flicker or an upside down nuthatch dangling at the end of a branch. At least once a week my curiosity sends me to the bird guide so I can refresh my memory about habits (Should the robins still be here?) or exact names (Is that a downy woodpecker or a hairy?).

 

5553969263_0723c3b40e_b

(It’s a hairy!)

 

Delight has determined my direction toward bird enthusiast.

No doubt you’ve discovered delights that determined direction also–into hobbies, book genres, even careers.

Eons ago, an anonymous psalmist recommended a supreme delight that determines a positive, satisfying life-direction: taking pleasure in God’s Word (Psalm 1:2).

 

990f552f3bb0b1874f94e814f69f0942

 

“I don’t know about that,” someone might say. “I’ve tried reading the Bible. It simply does not hold my interest.”

After my transformation from bird-ignorer to bird enthusiast, I’d suggest that not only is interest possible, it is guaranteed if we:

  1. Attend class.

My professor, Dr. Burkholder, could not have changed my attitude if I had not been present. Neither can God perform his miracle of life-transformation if we don’t attend his class, in his Word. And our teacher is none other than the passionate Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). How glorious is that?

 

edb56a072ecde99e819c5666a6bd4c6f

 

  1. Stay focused.

Mindless listening to a lecture or distracted reading of a textbook results in little learning. That’s why we were taught to take notes in school. The same strategy works well while listening to Bible teaching or reading scripture for ourselves. I’ve been amazed by the discoveries and questions that come to mind when pen and paper are handy, compared to when they aren’t.

  1. Seek treasure.

Dr. Burkholder shared with us astounding trivia from the bird world. For example, did you know young hummingbirds that have never migrated before know when to leave their northern homes, how far to travel south, and when to stop—without benefit of other hummers? They fly solo too, even the first time.  (Yet another proof of the genius of Creator God.)

 

archilochus-alexandri-002-edit

 

God’s Word includes treasure far more valuable than intriguing trivia—such gems as: faith-building promises, wise guidance, worthy examples to follow (and some examples of what to avoid!), and uplifting encouragement–all ready to be discovered by those who seek.

  1. Pray 

Here’s where the analogy to my ornithology class breaks down. I can’t imagine one of us going to Dr. Burkholder and saying:    “Open my eyes so that I will observe amazing things from your instruction.”

Yet those words make perfect sense when addressed to God. In fact, an anonymous psalmist said exactly that (119:18, ISV).

 

a99cc0cb123d9efc9d13ee2f1d2b5efa

 

To read the whole Bible may seem overwhelming—it’s long and some parts are difficult to understand. But who says we have to start from the beginning and read straight through?

The internet offers numerous plans. One site that intrigued me:

http://journeynyc.com/spiritual-growth/bible-reading-plans/

They offer a number of different options, sure to meet the needs of just about anyone—from biblical novice to scholar.

When questions arise, help is available at any number of websites. Two that I like include: www.bible.org and www.gotquestions.org.

Perhaps growing in our delight of God’s Word this year would be more impactful than any other resolution.  After all, he made us.  Developing delight in his Instruction Manual can’t help but lead us in a positive direction.

 

man-1225488_960_720

 

What delights in the Bible have helped determine positive direction in your life?  Share an example in the Comments section below.

 

* “Delight determines direction”— a quote from Ray Pritchard, author and president of Keep Believing Ministries.

 

P.S.  For 2017 I’ll be posting just once a week in order to allow time for other projects and for assisting our son and daughter-in-law when Baby Girl #2 arrives (sometime mid-January).  I do hope you’ll still return each Thursday for a new post.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.pixabay.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2); http://www.wikipedia.org; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.pixabay.com.)

 

Read Full Post »

 

trick-or-treat-kids

 

Most of the children who come trick-or-treating at our doors tonight will be dressed as princesses and super heroes. According to statistics, those are the most popular costumes.

So even though Halloween is sometimes called Satan’s holiday, that bright red, fork-tailed, pointy-eared devil costume will not be a prevalent sight.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if the devil really did wear a bright red suit on his rounds. We might find it easier to spot him and put up our guard. In actuality, he’s quite the wily fellow.

For Eve, he took the form of a serpent (Genesis 3:4). An interesting choice. Serpents are noxious creatures that creep stealthily, hiss menacingly, and inject poison into their victims. Need we say more about the similarities between Satan and serpents?

He’s called the evil one in Matthew 13:19. Look up evil in the dictionary and his character is clearly described: morally reprehensible, wicked, offensive, causing harm, bringing sorrow, distress and calamity.

Satan is our enemy (1 Peter 5:8). He seeks to injure, overthrow, and confound us. He is a harmful and deadly opponent, hostile, and filled with ill will.

 

 

In the same verse above, Peter says, “The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The Living Application Bible reminds us lions attack sick, young, and straggling animals, and Satan does the same. When we are suffering, depressed, or being persecuted, that’s when he loves to move in for the kill. And he often chooses a time when we’re alone and more easily swayed.

The devil is our accuser (Revelation 12:10). First, he lies to us, trying to convince us that whatever he’s suggesting will make us happy. Then he turns around and uses our sins to accuse us of disobedience and unfaithfulness before God! In fact, Satan in Hebrew means accuser.

 

revelation_12_10_the_power_and_the_kingdom_powerpoint_church_sermon_slide03

 

You’d think that all these abhorrent traits would repel us from the devil and his cohorts. But his opposition against us isn’t always obvious. 1) We cannot see the spiritual forces of evil, and 2) Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

But! In spite of his power (although limited) and sophisticated trickery, the devil has already been defeated.

I love what author and Bible teacher, Ann White, said years ago:

“The devil may prowl around like a lion, but Christ removed his teeth at Calvary!”

Jesus is much greater than Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15). And Jesus is within us (1 John 4:4), empowering us to fight against him.

 

e0b14452efce4e4615970934a9b92b76

 

In fact, Jesus showed us how to fight him off. Remember the strong temptations he withstood in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)? Jesus used scripture to refute the devil’s lies and twists of truth.

We can do the same, starting with one of Jesus’ responses in the passage above:

“Away from me, Satan! It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” (v. 10).

And now that we know a bit more about the opposition, such resistance can be even more successful.

We can be ready–red suit or not.

 

(Reblogged from 10-31-13)

____________________

 

(Art & photo credits: http://www.haloweencostumes.com; http://www.buckshappeningmag.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.slideteam.net; http://www.interest.com.)

 

Read Full Post »

 

maxresdefault

 

Three-year old Elena (our granddaughter) had much to report about preschool last Thursday:

“Firemen came and they brought their fire truck! We got to hold the hose!”

Later Elena recited what to do if a fire occurred: 1) Don’t open a hot door, 2) To get out, crawl along the floor under the smoke, 3) Stop, drop, and roll if clothes catch fire, and 4)…

 

mutcd_d12-4

 

“…CALL 9-1-1!” she announced loudly and firmly.

Isn’t it a comfort to know that with three quick taps on our phones we have access to emergency help almost anywhere at any time?   The process to develop such a system, however, was not quick. It took forty-some years to fully install the Emergency Call Answering System, from its inception in the 1950s to almost complete coverage of 911 service across all America by the 1990s.

On the other hand, Pastor Arnold Prater pointed out years ago in one of his sermons that King David of Bible times called 9-1-1.

Did you know that?  I didn’t.

David recorded his call in Psalm 91, verse one – 911:

 

2887929_orig

 

(“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”)

 

Notice his call was not characterized by panicked fear. Instead his attitude is one of calm faith.  David affirmed several important truths about Who he was calling and what the Almighty had to offer to those who dwell in His shelter.

Wait a minute. DWELL? How do we dwell in the presence of an unseen God?

By bringing our thoughts back to him throughout the day with praise, worship, and gratitude. We can:

 

31498-god-is-almighty

 

  • Say his name to center our attention. He has dozens but to get us started, he is God Almighty, Maker of all things, The Lord Who Provides, and our Helper. Let who he is impact how we function.
  • Breathe out the stressful, worrisome thoughts; breathe in the Spirit, the breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4). Listen for his voice.
  • Pray, recite scripture, sing, even shout (Psalm 47:1-2)!

 

7b845733fb0d8cab146a600a7aaa3150

 

David says we dwell in the SHELTER of God. Bible writers used the word, shelter, or synonyms like refuge and sanctuary, more than 40 times. In Psalm 91, David alludes to several details of God’s sheltering protection. He is trustworthy (v. 2), faithful (v. 4), watchful (v. 11), attentive (v. 15), thoughtful and compassionate (vs. 15-16).

These traits are just a few examples of our Heavenly Father’s character—which he brings to bear in our lives. He never responds out of character; he is always motivated by love and goodness. Take shelter in such glorious thoughts!

In addition to those mentioned above, the MOST HIGH is another meaningful name of God. One of the ancient creeds described him as “a Spirit infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.” No one can claim to be of higher capacity or higher worth.

 

142bc769336ae962d6d969299ab8d82a

 

And in him we can REST. How? I like Spurgeon’s advice: “Use the Lord’s words as your pillows. Lie down and [rest] in Him.” We can collect pillow after pillow as we prayerfully read our Bibles, asking God to speak comfort and strength into our weary souls.

And in the SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY we find:

  • Security (Psalm 17:8),
  • Love and Kindness (Psalm 36:7),
  • Refuge (Psalm 57:1),
  • Satisfaction and Joy (Psalm 63:7).

 

ccf88a0f00dc4247ec9a0bdbbce5efed

 

Now some readers of Psalm 9-1-1 might assume David was promising a delightful, problem-free life of ease. But his own life proved otherwise as he ran from murderous King Saul, lived as a fugitive in enemy territory, fought numerous battles, dealt with problem sons, and more.

No, David would be among the first to tell us that God doesn’t rescue us from all difficulty; he uses difficulties to nudge us closer to him.

In the shelter of the Most High.

In the shadow of the Almighty.

 

18c22855ad3b3711af86475363993b92

 

What better place to be?

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.youtube.com; http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.thefellowshipsite.org; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.quotes.gram.com; http://www.pinterest (4).

 

Read Full Post »

blessings-rock-design

 

Say the word, blessings, and our minds turn to the many ways God continually bestows good things. The more attentive we are, the more blessings we notice.

But in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described eight blessings that sound quite bizarre at first hearing. For example:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.” (Matthew 5:3a, MSG).

 

rope-end_blkgrad

 

Surely his listeners blinked in astonishment and thought, There’s no happiness at the end of that rope!

Jesus continued. “With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (v. 3b, MSG). Some may have nodded in agreement at this statement, having experienced profoundly God’s help in time of trouble.

Others may have wondered, More of God sounds good, but if I’m still at the end of my rope, where’s the blessing?

At least a few probably misunderstood the word, blessed. It’s more than happiness; it’s deep down, untouchable contentment. No matter what might happen, the blessed person remains confident in his God, hopeful in his outlook, and peaceful in his spirit—despite the turmoil of circumstances.

 

8931990d53ead93cbc1d019b29df9c34

 

In the ancient Greek of New Testament times, blessed was not a word spoken in sedate, pious tones. It was a shout of overflowing joy. And in the Be-Attitudes of Matthew 5:3-12, Jesus announced shout-worthy blessings—satisfying consequences of embracing God’s way of thinking and living.

“You ARE blessed,” Jesus taught (emphasis added). Notice he used present tense verbs. These statements were not hope-filled platitudes for the future; they expressed conditions for the present, available immediately.

Notice, too, that such overflowing joy is not procured through the acquisition of material goods or the experience of pleasure. King Solomon found that out long ago. He had it all, only to discover that everything was meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Countless others have tried the same route; each one has failed.

In the face of so much evidence, why do we expect self-indulgence to provide deep satisfaction?

On the other hand, Matthew 5:3-12 is just the beginning of blessing-instruction, presenting God’s guarantees for soul-happiness. If Jesus had preached another sermon of Be-Attitudes (Maybe he did!), our wise Savior/Teacher might have included these:

 

Blessed are the stretched and overwhelmed,

for they shall discover strength (Isaiah 41:10).

 

8e19aab3f607964fe4cc36e982e53f2d

 

You probably know heroes of the faith who have proven: “God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come” (Charles Spurgeon). That strength isn’t just for heroes; it’s available to us all.

 

Blessed are the disappointed,

for they shall be transformed (Romans 12:2, NLT).

 

77b169645087be1250c595d5fc42fcb1

 

As God leads us toward a new focus, a new perspective, we find our minds renewed and our spirits uplifted.

 

Blessed are the shaken,

for they shall experience the security

of the Lord, the Rock (Psalm 27:5).

 

3ff23d7ee160cb09f776e781d968c9af

 

Praise God he is reliable, immoveable, and firm! We can confidently depend upon him now and forever.

 

Blessed are the confused,

for they shall receive wisdom (James 1:5).

 

b9cb5351798d9d7fb54651eeaca285f4

 

God never turns away from a sincere heart seeking his guidance.

 

Blessed are those who celebrate God’s blessings–

even in the midst of difficulty–

for they shall find contentment in gratitude (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

14036821596_74ddb6f942_b

 

We can follow the example of Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) who said, “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

Know this, too: We can humbly and resolutely expect such blessings as these. God doesn’t make such promises lightly; He fulfills what he says:

 

5a1003098e1e0f9637ccecdc9a73b34b

 

“God is not a man, that he should lie,

nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Does he speak and then not act?

Does he promises and not fulfill?”

–Numbers 23:19 NIV

 

No indeed.

‘Care to give God a shout-out for joy (Psalm 95:1-3)?

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.askideas.com; http://www.lifemoreabundant.me; http://www.pinterest.com (5); http://www.flickr.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

Read Full Post »

The bright red ad demanded attention, its bold lettering enticing buyers with:

 

CoYCLL8WYAAGyuf

40% off entire store!

 

But then the small print at the bottom of the ad listed three top brands that were not included in the sale. (How do businesses get away with such blatant dishonesty?)

I can only imagine the frustration of an unsuspecting shopper, combing the racks of those “forbidden” brands, trying them all on to select those that fit best, only to take them to a counter (where she must wait in line with other bargain-hunters) and finally be told, “Oh, I’m sorry. Those brands are not included in the sale.”

 

fine-print-shadow

 

We have to read the fine print—of advertising, offers, and contracts.

And buyer beware:

 

quote-nothing-in-fine-print-is-ever-good-news-andy-rooney-157768

(“Nothing in fine print is ever good news.”

–Andy Rooney, radio and TV writer)

 

There is one exception however where the fine print does provide very good news. That’s because the word, fine, has many more definitions than small.

Among the eleven definitions in Webster’s Dictionary, fine can mean:

 

fine_gold_bullion_design_vector_set_584088

 

  1. Free from impurities, as in fine gold
  2. Very sharp, as in the fine edge of a knife or a fine intellect
  3. Exemplary of great skill, as in fine lace
  4. Capable of superior quality and craftsmanship, as in a fine carpenter
  5. Manifesting precision, as in a fine timepiece

 

breguet-ref.-1160-pocket-watch

 

With these definitions in mind, the finest print in the world is God’s Word, the Bible. It is:

 

  1. Free from the impurities of lies or even a stretching of the truth (Psalm 19:7a).

 

53a536fb81eb2d712845c314d8df272e

 

2. Very sharp, able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12, NLT).

 

hebrews4_12

 

  1. Exemplary of great skill—God’s skill.

He brought together more than forty men from diverse cultures and all classes of citizens – from kings to fishermen – to record His Word. God extended his work over 1500 years and three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe), three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), and nine different genres. Yet the diverse pieces fit together in one unified whole. What other book can compare?

 

  1. Superior in quality and craftsmanship.

 

007e7eed0d91527c56b9dc8f003be0a4

(“As for God, his way is perfect;

the word of the Lord is flawless.”

 –2 Samuel 22:31, NIV)

 

  1. A masterpiece of precision. Those who doubt the accuracy of the Bible would do well to learn about the:

a) hundreds of fulfilled prophecies contained within its pages,

b) scores of archaeological discoveries which verify people, places, and events mentioned in scripture,

c) thousands of manuscripts and fragments which validate the accuracy of the Bible, and

d) scientific and medical research affirming the truth of various passages – long before that truth could be verified.

 

Indeed, the fine print of scripture is of rare quality, demonstrating absolute purity and perfection. That’s because the Author is himself the epitome of purity, precision, and perfection.

So read the fine print of scripture . Marvel in its superior quality compared to others books.  Get to know the faithful and trustworthy Author through his Word.  And embrace its life-changing truth.

Also be mindful that:

 

3cd5612848334cec127daad7d5be1f15

(“A Bible that’s falling apart

usually belongs to someone who isn’t.

― Charles H. Spurgeon)

 

No other fine print can offer such stability.

 

Art & photo credits:  www.twitter.com; http://www.thedailysheeple.com; http://www.izquotes.com; http://www.all-free-download.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2), http://www.verseoftheday.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2).

 

Read Full Post »

 

07dc15999a0da94f13bff356c829f3e3

 

Three times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as Author. Peter called him the Author of life (Acts 3:15), and the writer of Hebrews referred to him as the Author of salvation (2:10) as well as the Author and Finisher of our faith (12:2).

As someone who enjoys writing, I’m intrigued by this title for Jesus. How is he like an author? And how should his role as Author impact my life?

Research and ponderings took me down these pathways:

 

colossians-116_5541_1024x768

 

Writers are creators.  Where a character, place, or idea did not exist before, an author brings them to life.  Without C.S. Lewis, for example, we would not know Aslan, the great and noble lion, the land of Narnia, or the concept of a New Narnia with its astounding dimensions: ” The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets.  The inside is larger than the outside” (The Last Battle, Book #7 of the Narnia series, p. 180).

Jesus, the Author of life, participated in the creation of the world, including us.  “By him all things were created in heaven and earth…all things were created by him and for him.”  (See also Note #1.)

Writers animate settings, characters, and ideas with the choicest words they can find. The sentence, “A bird sat on the gate looking over the snowy field,” becomes “A black and white magpie, sitting on the rail of a gate, reigned benevolently over the tranquility of a snowy field” (from Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland, p. 322). Jesus animates our lives with his choicest blessings: purpose, hope, contentment, and joy.

 

c55bcecf2b75dbddc64093d554ffd077

 

Writers cajole their ideas on the page, striving to form nebulous concepts into clear, solidly built statements. They organize their thoughts, structure sentences, and decide upon word selection. Jesus lovingly coaxes us along, slowly over time sharpening the fuzzy understandings of our faith into solidly built knowledge, wisdom, and conduct.

Writers peel away redundancies, wordiness, and boring details. Jesus peels away our sins, spiritually unhealthy habits, and weighty emotions like discouragement, anxiety, and fear—any excesses that keep us from being our best selves.

According to author, Joan Lowery, writing is “a complicated mixture of art, craft, structure, free-flowing ideas, unleashed imagination, soaring hopes, wondrous insights, giddy joy, deep satisfaction, strong persistence and solid determination” (from The Making of a Writer, pp. 1-2).

 

15195-ephesians-2-10

 

As we allow the Author of Life (2) to write upon our souls, he applies these same processes. Persistently and determinedly he:

  • crafts our spirits into works of poetry (Ephesians 2:10) (3),
  • offers us safe structure in which to function (Proverbs 2:6-8),
  • exposes us to ideas of freedom we never knew existed (John 8:31),
  • surprises us with more blessings than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20),
  • fills us to overflowing with hope (Romans 15:13),
  • imparts wondrous insights, especially through his Word (Psalm 119:130),
  • bestows his complete joy upon us (John 15:11), and
  • fills our hearts with deep satisfaction (Luke 6:21, John 10:10).

 

4f432dd9f0d297c6db04e6342ac30d58

 

Joan Lowery’s long list of writing components (above) appears daunting. It’s a wonder anyone puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

Yet there are many of us who actually enjoy the process—the discovery of new information and ideas as we research, the development of clearer understanding while wrestling with a concept; the puzzle-assembling of thoughts into organized paragraphs and words into precise sentences; the delight of creating a musical rhythm among the syllables.

In fact, Truman Capote asserted:

 

723b897eebef7b17d26576f4073d0477

(“The greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about,

but the inner music the words make”

–Truman Capote)

Surely Jesus feels the same. His purpose as Author is not to produce best sellers of our life stories. He’s interested in relationship. In collaboration with each of us, Jesus wants to write upon our souls and create inner music together: symphonies of joy, madrigals of peace, and songs of love.

Praise God, he takes great pleasure in the process (Psalm 149:4, Philippians 2:13).

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

NOTES:

  1. For the record, Genesis 1:2 and Psalm 104:30 give us glimpses of the Holy Spirit’s role as well.
  2. God the Father and the Holy Spirit are also involved in the process, of course, as three-in-one.
  3. Paul said, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10). That word, workmanship, is translated from the Greek word, poema, from which we derive our English word, poem. Our triune God is making us into heavenly pieces of poetry—“the highest, finest, most beautiful expressions of his thought and purpose!” (Herbert Lockyer, Seasons of the Lord, 330).

(Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest.com; http://www.wallpaper4god.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.crosscards.com; http://www.pinterest.com (2).

Read Full Post »

 

Joseph_and_the_Amazing_Technicolor_Dreamcoat_(3640665731)

 

We’ve all heard the story of Joseph (or seen the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat). You’ll remember he’s the one who endured years of slavery and prison before his dreams (of bowing wheat sheaves and stars paying homage) came true.

We also know about Moses, an adopted prince in Pharaoh’s household who ended up in the wilderness herding sheep.  Forty years later God called him to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.

And we’re familiar with Paul who spent years traveling from place to place and, yes, suffering all kinds of trials—beatings, imprisonment, dangers, shipwrecks—all for the privilege of serving God, introducing people to Jesus and establishing churches.

These Biblical stories and others teach us to never give up, because we never know when God will show up to turn a prisoner into a prime minister, a shepherd into a great leader, or a Pharisee tentmaker into a world evangelist.

Then there’s Jeremiah. His is a different kind of story altogether. He was called by God to warn the inhabitants of Judah that destruction would come if they did not return to God and follow his ways. It was not a one-time message. Over a period of forty years Jeremiah spoke many times of coming doom.

 

4ef160f6525a2c685725524e6193fbd9

 

Almost no one listened. (A brief revival took place under King Josiah, but when he died, the people returned to their complacency and evil ways.)

We love the stories of Joseph, Moses, Paul, and others, whose perseverance was rewarded with success. But what about Jeremiah?

He, too, persevered through trials–poverty and deprivation, imprisonment and ill-treatment, rejection and ridicule. For what? According to the evidence (minimal results for his efforts), Jeremiah was a wretched failure. Yet he had obeyed God faithfully, endured patiently, and preached courageously.

Perhaps visible evidence is not the best way to quantify success.

Instead, the true measure of success involves our characters, not our acquisitions (Joshua 1:8).

 

eac79fb6c5313818bb8b68fb51b50b24

 

The true measure of success may include the tenacity to get up every day and face the same tasks as yesterday, to persistently make choices that further God’s objectives for each of us, and to remain steadfast even when discouraged (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Last, a true measure of success is how our choices honor God (1 Kings 2:3). Jeremiah may not have turned thousands back to Yahweh, but that was not due to his lack of effort or disobedience to God. Jeremiah doggedly preached to the people of Judah—month after month, year after year.

So the true measure of success includes: 1) pursuing godly character, 2) persevering toward God-given purpose, and 3) making choices that honor him.

 

Zac-Poonen-Quote-Mans-Greatest-Honor1

 

Today, such successful people might look like:

  • The parent who has put his career on hold to invest time in his young children.
  • the business owner who drives a twelve-year old car so he can give generously to ministries.
  • The college student slowly working her way through school, anxious to return to her inner city neighborhood and teach school

For those of us looking for that kind of success, Jeremiah is our hero.

He lived out these precepts :

  • Do our prayerful best and leave the results with God.
  • Press on–day by day, month by month, year by year if necessary. Allow such perseverance to build our trust in God and strengthen our character.
  • Persist until God tells us to stop. (How do we know we’ve reached that moment? Peace, not uncertainty, will fill our spirits.)

We may not understand what God is doing, but we know him. And he is holy love and perfect wisdom.*

 

Pilgrims-Rock-gods-wisdom-is-faultless-application-of-his-perfect-knowledge-300w

 

*Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, p. 129.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.commons.wikimedia.org; http://www.pinterest.com (2); http://www.christianquotes.info; http://www.pilgrimsrock.com.)

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Our News from Italy

Notes to our Prayer Supporters

Laurie Klein, Scribe

immerse in God, emerge refreshed

Strength Renewed

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Colleen Scheid

Writing, Acting, Living the Grace of God

Walking Well With God

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Shelly Miller

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Faith Barista

Because some days you need a double-shot of faith.

Wings of the Dawn

even there Your hand will lead me ~ poems and reflections by Heidi Viars

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

Holley Gerth

Live fully * Love Bravely

Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Healthy Spirituality

Nurturing Hearts Closer to God

Just Wondering

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Jody Lee Collins

Impressions Becoming Expressions

(in)courage

Impressions Becoming Expressions