Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Birthright or Beans: A New Way to Make Decisions

29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)
31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”
32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”
33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn. Genesis 25: 29-34 NLT

Shane Willard's 2nd message on Saturday night was just as good as his first.
This one is about how to make decisions.
First of all, Shane said to stop looking at decisions as if it's right or wrong.
What we should do, is think of, "Is this WISE to do?"
For example, is it wrong to eat 3 pieces of cake in one sitting? Nope.
Is it wise? Nope. I think this is a great way to look at life decisions.
In the Scripture I posted above, we see Esau selling is birthright to Jacob for what he thought was hardy beef stew. When Jacob gave it to him, after, he'd agreed, it was only beans.
Esau did something profane in the eyes of the Jews. Your birthright was one of the most special things about you. The writer of Hebrews even calls him "godless" Chapter 12, verses 16-17, "16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears."
Esau was treating his birthright as though it was a common thing.... when in reality it was not.
Birthright for them meant:
  1. Carrying on the family name for survival.
  2. Image for everything your family stands for.
  3. Entitled a person to an inheritance.
  4. Essentially, a summary statement of your destiny. 
Esau traded everything he could be for a momentary urge.
Shane asked these questions:
  1. Do we live as though there is no higher purpose which profanes our destiny? This pattern leads us to simply go from urge to urge. What seems so great (the red stuff) ends up being a cup of beans.
  2. Is the story of your life going to be a pursuit of the birthright or a summation of living from urge to urge?
Luke 9: 23 23 Then He (Jesus)said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me."
Live for your birthright with everyday decisions to destroy the bowl. Don't choose beans over your birthright!
God bless you today and always!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

This Is For Your Delieverance

For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. Paul, in Philippians 1:19

Shane Willard was at my church over the weekend. This was his 7th year joining us. I absolutely LOVE his teachings. He learned under someone with Rabbi training. So, he knows a lot about the Jewish culture, history, and Hebrew. 
Saturday night we had 2 sessions. This post is about the first one.
Paul, who used to be Saul, was in prison during most of the letters we read in the Bible. When someone was in prison back then, if people who loved them did not bring them food, they died.
The church at Philippi decided to care for Paul while he was in prison.
Spoiler alert! Paul dies. So, when he wrote here in Philippians 1:19 about his deliverance, he was referencing Old Testament Scriptures. Job was one of them. King David the other. The truth here is that God will deliver you through whatever you are struggling with. 
Job 3: 15-16 says, "15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
    I will surely[a] defend my ways to his face.
16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
    for no godless person would dare come before him!
These two men are going through a loss, but how they respond is inspirational!
In Psalm 34, David had just pretended to be insane to protect himself from someone. In verse 8 he says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."
We can take these examples and say this...
When life is hard, and there will be hard times, say, "This will be for my deliverance."
Shane said, "Struggle doesn't mean your faith is weak. In the middle of whatever is happening, no matter how it turns out, always have clean hands, pure hearts, and taste that's good." 
Life your life in a way that others see clean hands, a pure heart, and taste that's good.
No matter how big the stress gets, stay focused on God and keep saying, "This will be for my deliverance." 
No matter what, praise God.
No matter how it turns out, keep your ways clean before God.
When you struggle, if you share your life with clean hands, pure hearts, and tastes that's good, you will be an inspiration to many!
God bless you today and always!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

NLT vs Jewish Bible Scriptures

I can't explain enough about my excitement over this Jewish Bible!
I keep coming across Scriptures that we all know and love, and seeing how it's actually written in the Jewish Bible.
Today, I thought I would share a few with you all.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14 NLT 
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 Jewish Bible
11 For I am mindful of the plans I have made concerning you - declares the LORD - plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you give you a hopeful future. 
12 When you call Me, and come and pray to Me, I will give heed to you.
13 You will search for Me and find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Jewish Bible
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths smooth.
Proverbs 13:12 NLT 
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 Jewish Bible
Hope deferred sickens the heart, But desire realized is a tree of life.
Genesis 1:1-2 NLT
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.[a] The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:1-2 Jewish Bible
1 When God began to create heaven and earth- the earth being unformed and voice, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water -
Isaiah 41:10 NLT 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 Jewish Bible
Fear not, for I am with you, be not frightened, for I am your God; I strengthen you and I help you, I uphold you with My victorious right hand.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 NLT
A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
    And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 Jewish Bible
A good name is better than fragrant oil, and the day of death than the day of birth.
These are just a few of the ones I thought of. It's cool to see how they are some times so much alike, and other times so much different.
Is there one you'd like me to look up? Get in touch with me and I would be happy to type up the Jewish one for you.
God bless you today and always!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Glory - my word for 2018

"So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the GLORY of the LORD. And the LORD-who is the Spirit- makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image." 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

It's the time of year again, when I ask God for a word for the year. Last year was diligent, and that turned out to be significant in my life.
This year, I felt GLORY. At first, I thought maybe that was just me, because Glory is not one of your typical yearly words. Some people have "brave", "write", or "trust". These words are usually about God or something He wants us to concentrate on this new year.
Glory didn't fit to me, at first at least.
Then, I looked up the definition: "adoring praise", "resplendent beauty", "a state of great splendor", "magnificence" or "prosperity", "a state of absolute happiness, gratification, contentment."
Giving God my glory, my adoring praise on a daily basis, is something I strive to do.
Some of the other definitions, I believe, are things He wants to do for me. He wants me to prosper this year. He wants me to live in a state of absolute happiness, by being gratified and content. That can only happen with me staying connected to Him.
In my devotional reading, I came across Philippians 4:19, which says, "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His GLORIOUS  riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."
Glory and glorious are written throughout the Bible. I am going to enjoy finding them and studying this word this year.
I am also going to be watchful and mindful of how God uses this word and it's meaning in my life over 2018.
I'm excited about this year! I believe something amazing is going to happen.
Do you have a word? I would love to hear it!
God bless you today and always!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Psalm 23

Let me just tell you guys, I LOVE this Jewish Bible. I think it's probably closer to the original, since it is translated from Hebrew. It's so cool to me.
Most Christians know Psalm 23. We tend to use it in times of distress, in order to encourage ourselves. We see where King David was having a tough time, and we can relate.
I do not want to start a debate here, but I want to point something out. A lot of people will only read the King James Version, because they have been told it is closest to the original Hebrew. The problem is, we can't read Hebrew OR Greek and we are just taking someone else's word for it.
I don't care for the KJV because of the "thee's" and "thous". It's not easy to read. It is how they talked in the time period they translated the Bible. Therefore, I don't understand how it can be the best version.
Here is Psalm 23 in the KJV:
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
NOW... Here is is in the Jewish Bible:
The LORD is my shepherd; I lack nothing.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads to to water in places of repose;
3. He guides me in right paths as befits His name.
4. Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness, I fear no harm, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff - they comfort me.
5. You spread a table for me in full view of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant;
6. Only goodness and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for many long years.
My favorite part of this is "Only goodness and steadfast love shall PURSUE me all the days of my life."
God pursues us. He wants a relationship with us. He has put people in our paths to point us to Him. 
Pursue just means something different to me than "follow". What do you think?
Anyway, I think this is pretty awesome, and I am so excited to have the chance to share what I'm learning.
God bless you today and always!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Who's Load Are You Carrying?

"2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." Galatians 6:2-3 NLT

My Pastor did a two part message in Drama. It was so good! Here is a link if you'd like to listen to the podcast!
As Christians, we have read Scriptures like the one I posted above and thought that we are called to help everyone, that it's wrong if we decide not to help someone... we even feel guilty at times for not helping people.
Let me tell you, if you continue to help people who aren't helping themselves you are being  a fool.
"A fool is someone who continually behaves in a way that hurts others and themselves." That's the definition Josh gave us for a fool. I believe it is true for both sides, the people who are not doing right, and some of the people who think they are.
We are called to carry each others burdens... BUT we are responsible for carrying our own load. There is a difference.
"The most loving thing you can do for someone is let them experience the consequences of their pain." 
THAT is hard to do. Especially when you love someone. We only want the best for our loved ones. However, if we continue to bail them out, we aren't helping them at all.
"The greatest motivator for change is pain."
OUCH! That's hard to hear too. I look back on my life though, and it's correct. I have changed and grown through the different painful experiences. 
Boundaries are a good thing. It is ok to have boundaries up to protect yourself from people who need to start helping themselves.
Here are 3 ways to see if it's time to give assistance:
  1. Is this something they can provide for themselves? Are they unable to or unwilling?
  2. Am I feeling cheerful? God loves a cheerful giver. Check yourself.
  3. What is the outcome of my giving? Am I hoping to change someone else?
Stop carrying other people's loads. That's their job. You can pray for them, and carry their burdens, but not their load.
God bless you today and always!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Psalm 91 vs Psalm 91

Friday was an adventure! We were headed to Atlanta for our high school state championship football game, we were almost there, when we found out the game had been cancelled. It snowed in Atlanta. Like for real legit snowed several inches. Georgia is not equipped for that, so the town pretty much shut down, and we couldn't risk being stuck up there.
SO... we headed home and made some stops along the way.
One of those stops was a used book store. We got there 10 minutes before they closed. I found the Bible section right away. There is a Bible I have been wanting for over a year, and I was hoping to find it, even used, it would have been cool. They didn't have it.
What I did find is pretty awesome.
It is a Jewish Bible. It's translated according to the traditional Hebrew text.
Of course, being the Jewish Bible, it's only the Old Testament. But, that's totally fine with me.
One of my favorite Scriptures, and one I read every day out loud is Psalm 91. I want to share the difference in the NLT and The Jewish Bible today.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”
NOW.. here is the Jewish Bible:
1 O you who dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the protection of Shaddai -
2 I say of the LORD, my refuge and stronghold, my God in whom I trust,
3 that He will save you from the fowler's trap, from the destructive plague.
4 He will cover you with His pinions; you will find refuge under His wings; His fidelity is an encircling shield.
5  You need not fear the terror by night, or the arrow that flies by day,
6 the plague that stalks in the darkness, or the scourge that ravages at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your left side, ten thousand at your right, but it shall not reach  you.
8 You will see it with your eyes, you will witness the punishment of the wicked.
9 Because you took the LORD - my refuge, the Most High- as your haven,
10 no harm will befall you, no disease touch your tent.
11 For He will order His angels to guard you wherever you go.
12 They will carry you in their hands lest you hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will tread on cubs and vipers; you will trample lions and asps.
14 Because he is devoted to Me I will deliver him, I will keep him safe, for he knows My name,
15 When he calls on Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in distress; I will rescue him and make him honored;
16 I will let him live to a ripe old age; and show him My salvation.
How cool is this??? I love it!
Psalm 23 is different too. I might share it next.
God bless you today and always!