New Series 2017

To my faithful and loyal readers – after lots of contemplation I’ve made the decision to incorporate my 3 websites into one.  You will now find “Through the Bible Together”  as a category link on my main website “Purple Princess Reflections”.

I hope you will continue to follow me in 2017 and beyond at http://Purpleprincessreflections@wordpress.com

Thank you for being a loyal reader these past several years.  I’ve enjoyed sharing God’s Word with you.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a most excellent 2017 to come.

Joyfully yours,
Sandra
Here is a link to my one and only website beginning in 2017. http://purpleprincessreflections.wordpress.com

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Today’s Footprint

Reading in 1 Kings, 15 and 16, I noticed numerous references of leaders “doing evil in the eyes of the Lord”. Many of these actions were modeled by grandfathers and fathers, thereby handed down to their sons. What a legacy to leave one’s grandchildren, children and the nation at large.  What a witness to others. “To be remembered for doing evil” is not a legacy I would choose.

Through my writing I hope my words make a difference. If one person comes to know Jesus I’m forever blessed. Of course, I pray more than one life is touched along the way.  It breaks my heart, as I know it did God’s, to see, or in my case read the words, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord as so and so did before him”.

footprint-legacyI wonder if the kings who passed on their evil ways thought about what legacy they were leaving.  Did they care?  Doesn’t appear they did.  Truthfully, I didn’t put much stock in what others would remember until about a decade ago.  Perhaps, that’s the downside of youth.  “Youngens” tend to think life goes on forever; even though we know it doesn’t.  And maybe the devil has a hand in it too. If I’m not intentional in my actions and the life I model for others, Satan might get the upper hand.

You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “There are 2 guarantees in life; death and taxes.”  I would like to add a third. You will leave a legacy, no matter what. The question “What kind of legacy? If the answer’s not one for which you jump for joy, it’s not too late to change the course. As long as you have breath, there’s time to choose for what you’ll be remembered; to some extent. Obviously some things are simply not in our control.

It’s not possible for me to undo those things for which I’m a wee bit regretful.  We all have those memories. From this day forward I can be more intentional in my actions. I can give more thought into what I do, say and take in with my eyes and ears. I can listen more to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  He never pushes nor demands.  He’s always gentle, ever prodding me onward to accomplishing good. I can choose to have a heart for God and others while living my life for God. Let’s be honest – I won’t be perfect! But then it’s not about perfection, it’s about heart.

I hope to be remembered for a life which reflected the love of Jesus in action word and deed. And at the top of my legacy list is to hear another utter the words, “I came to know Jesus Christ because Sandra lived”. 

leaving-a-legacy-handsOnly time will tell if I succeed. One thing I do know, those who know me now, know with all my warts and shortcomings, I, like the Apostle Paul of the Bible, am pressing on towards the goal until the Lord calls me home.

 

Until next time
Joyfully,
Sandra

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

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Ambassador for Christ

A group of dynamic Christian Sisters requested I share a devotional I’ve written.  It’s a wee bit longer than my usual blogs; I hope you, my readers, enjoy.

As a child of God, one who has committed her life to being a follower of Jesus Christ my citizenship is no longer earth but heaven, (Philippians 3:20). I’m now a foreigner in an alien land. In John, chapter 17, Jesus prays for his disciples and believers, (“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I’m not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”)

Scripture shows clearly I’m called to be set apart; to be “uniquely” different than the world, of that there’s no doubt. But, not so different, so set apart, that people avoid me. Looking ambassadors-2at this passage closely, what I see is Jesus sending his disciples, and similarly me, you, us, into the world. Did you catch this…? He’s sending them into the world. Jesus launched them into a purpose… a mission.  Jesus isn’t calling them out of the world, but, into the world. He’s calling them to be Ambassadors.

By definition, an Ambassador is an accredited implement, sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, I read “so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer”. I need to see others through the eyes of heaven. (“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”) I have a new citizenship. (“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us”.)  And it goes on to say, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

In the United States, Ambassadors are appointed by the President of the United States. Their basic and most important duty is to represent the interests of the United States to foreign governments. My role as an Ambassador is similar. I’m called/appointed to be an Ambassador for Jesus Christ. My basic and most important duty is to represent the interest of the Lord I serve. If I’m called to be an Ambassador it might behoove me to understand the role.

According to the Book of John, an Ambassador is sanctified by truth… the Word of God…. God’s Word is truth.  Being sanctified sets me apart for the task ahead and as a result I’m declared legitimately a citizen with all the privileges and responsibilities of the country/person I represent. As an Ambassador I need to have knowledge of the Country I represent.  Having knowledge of a country won’t automatically make me an Ambassador, as that’s simply head knowledge.  An Ambassador needs to experience the country, to fully understand the heart of the country he/she represents. Keeping in mind it’s not a Country for which I’m an Ambassador, but a person. How do I experience a person?

Remember when you first met the love of your life? I’ll bet you spent hours sharing, dreaming, chatting and sitting quietly, soaking the relationship all in.  Well we do the same in our relationship with God. We spend time in his word getting to know his character; all the little nuances which make him …..… Him.  As we spend time, trust is built; we learn his goals, his mission, and his thoughts.  We learn what makes his heart glad and what makes his heart break.  Sometimes our closeness can grow so intimate and deep we recognize his thoughts above all the others.  Experiencing God in such a fashion takes time and devotion beyond mere commitment.

I need to know God’s word fully and to experience Jesus to the full, in order to be the best Ambassador I can be for Jesus Christ. My character should be one of humility and grace. My life should project the fruits of the Holy Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

ambassadorFor fun I researched, just a smidge, the role and qualifications of an earthly Ambassador. I have taken a few and put them into a biblical perspective

  1. Ambassadors are to be Humble, Gracious in attitude and manner. I would add encouraging as an Ambassador for Christ. – An ambassador assumes the position of a humble servant or steward, looking to the interests of his country as well as serving and helping others to learn more about his country and its culture. It simply cannot be all about me. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others” Philippians 2:4) Keeping the admonition of Romans 12:3 to heart (“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought”) in other words esteeming, being respectful admiring others, and appreciating them more than self. (“Encourage one another daily as longs as it’s called today” Hebrews 3:13.)
  2. Ambassadors must exhibit Diplomacy – Effective yet sensitive to the culture around him. An ambassador is careful not to offend his hosts or bring disgrace upon the country he represents. My sharing Christ with others will be hindered if I’m judging their customs, their way of thinking and their actions. As if somehow my faith makes me better than they (“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33) Diplomacy requires an ambassador to be mindful of others; Careful not to injure feelings needlessly. Remember the children’s rhyme, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Well we know that is not true, words can hurt to the heart and linger for a lifetime. (“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6)
  3. An Ambassador must be Hospitable – I cannot help others to see the goodness of the Lord if I keep them at arm’s length, always guarded, never vulnerable, never allowing others to see Christ reflected though my less than stellar and perfect being. (Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for therebysome have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2)
  4. An Ambassador must be able to Teach others exhibiting Self-control, while teaching about the country he represents. (And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” 2 Timothy 2:24) As a child of God I’m called to teach not so much formally … but that’s part of it… but even more, to teach, model by example as I come alongside others in whatever stage or challenge of life they currently reside. This may mean I need to set aside personal feelings. To be available and not hoard my time. (“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love”.…  2 Peter 1:5-6)
  5. Wisdom – An ambassador must be wise in all aspects of carrying out his duties. (“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17)

Paul’s states in Colossians 2:2-3 “My purpose, is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” What a great mission statement. 

It’s important, for me, as Christ’s Ambassador to remember no man or woman is an island.  I must have the support and encouragement of others behind me just as I need to support and encourage others.

On a personal note:  I really struggled writing this devotion.  I mean struggled!!!  I headed in one direction and the words wouldn’t come.  I really wanted to explore the question, “Were compromises made by Joseph, Esther, and Daniel in order for survival?” ….. Nope wasn’t happening.  Okay then Lord, how about sharing how last spring you gave me a really neat way to bring new dimension to my prayer life? ….nada, zilch… nope.  Ambassador was the word, but… even knowing I was heading in the right direction, writing was arduous.

WHY?  I didn’t understand.  Finally the devotion was complete, but God was not finished with me.

As I headed off to bed a voice… “Sandra, people are going to hell… pure plain and simple”. I recognized this voice; it’s one I’ve come to know as God’s Holy Spirit. “Sandra, If God thought it a high enough priority to send his son Jesus for the purpose of reconciliation so that none should perish, and, if Jesus thought it a high enough priority to die for the same cause…. A stillness filled the room and then these words……. ”Sandra, do you care enough? Are you willing to risk for the sake of another’s soul?” My heart broke; I wanted to say yes…. But, am I really willing? Sadly, not so sure.

everyday-ambassador-logo-3If I’m about the business of Christ then the answer must be yes, the reconciliation of others to Jesus must be a top priority.  I need to get over me and share fearlessly with humility, diplomacy, graciousness and with wisdom, the mystery of the gospel with others. Paul asks the church at Ephesus to pray specifically for him, “To pray, that whenever he opened his mouth, words would be given so he would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which he was an ambassador. (Ephesians 6:19)

As an ambassador of Christ and fellow sojourner I ask that you might pray this prayer for me, “Dear Lord, whenever Sandra writes I pray words would be given so she would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which she’s an ambassador.”

Until next time,
Sandra

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Stirring up – It’s a good thing!

While reading in Ezra, the words “stirred up” lit up bright grabbing my attention. No, not literally. I knew however this was the Holy Spirit getting my attention. In this passage God stirs up the spirit of King Cyrus, to fulfill his prophetic word spoken years earlier. The prophecy, “After 70 years of captivity Israel would be brought back to their land.”  The words, stirred up are often said or written with a negative connotation.  He stirred up trouble.  She stirred up a hornets nest, etc. Stirring up in this passage is a good thing.

Exploring the Scriptures further I read in 2 Timothy 1:6, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”   The original Greek word translated stir up is, anazopureo and it means to rekindle.  The prefix ana means repetition, intensity, reversal. The root or base of this word is similar to lightning – bright, intense, powerful and living, or active.  Depending on which Bible translation you’re reading you may find anazopureo translated as to fan into flame, to revive, or to kindle afresh. Paul is telling Timothy to share boldy his faith. To shore himself up so that when difficult times come, and they will, or others hurl insults, shame him for his belief – batter and abuse, and they will, he will have the strength to continue. Anazopureo is an ongoing, active, intentional stirring. It is stirring done with unwavering purpose. I knew the Lord was teaching me that my flame was diminishing

Why? Let’s be honest. Circumstances in my life this year have been challenging. roller coasterChallenging circumstances piling one on top of the other has been my ride thus far in 2016.  If I were riding a roller coaster I would be stuck in a hard pressed curve,  hanging upside down waiting for a rescue. There’s been moments where I’ve felt alone, abandoned and on my own; exhausted with nothing left to fight. The voice of Satan in my ear daily, “If God truly loved you, you wouldn’t be going through this.  He would take these challenges all away!” Sadly there have been times I wondered where is God in all this? The more I allowed discouragement to settle in, the more I withdrew.  I ignored the flame within, I ignored my research and my writing. I didn’t spend time in prayer and I didn’t read my Bible. It’s no wonder my flame was waning.

How do we keep the flame, the fire, burning?

  1. First one must know, recognize and acknowledge they have a gift.   What is the gift or gifts, (talents, skills, things you like to do) that make you smile.  What makes you want to get up each morning?  And from a Christian point of view – what spiritual gifts has the Holy Spirit placed within you. Throughout my lifetime I’ve been blessed with many gifts. Currently in this season of my life it’s writing and studying the Bible. I love to see the Scriptures come alive; up close and personal (sometimes maybe a wee bit too personal) 🙂 🙂 🙂 My writing is a joy and I am so glad the Holy Spirit allows me to minister to others through the written word.
  2. Spend time in the Word of God, daily. It is fuel for the fire! Don’t just read it …. study it! Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what he wants you to know for that day. Digest it, “chew” upon what you read throughout the day. Ask yourself how it applies to you, personally and in whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
  3. Admit your passion, your umph, is waning. Ask the Lord to reignite your desire. Ask him to reveal anything that needs to be changed or removed, which might be extinguishing the flame. Explore opportunities and activities which might boost and rekindle your desire. Perhaps attending a conference in your field or taking a class to boost your skills would be in order.
  4. Sometimes a temporary withdrawal is needed; a vacation or mini retreat.  I have a friend who every now and then simply takes a day off of work.  No, not due to illness put a day to be silly, spend time doing something out of the ordinary.  Be a kid again.
  5. Indulge in a day of fasting and prayer. Go to resort or a quiet spot at a lake or alongside a stream. If those are not options, try a cool bench in a park. The goal is to find a place where one can pull away from all the distractions of life, to invest in a time of refreshing for clarity and redirection.
  6. Seek wise council from a trusted friend. Sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes.  Chatting with a trusted friend often helps me sort out the cobwebs and breathe new life into my flickering flame.
  7. Recognize that gifts change. Passions can change as our seasons of life change. Is there something else that is calling you to action?  Explore the opportunities.

imageLast but not least, remember the Holy Spirit is the giver of the gift. He knows best how to keep the flame burning. We are not gifted and expected to do it on our own or in our own strength. We are to rely on the giver of the gift. “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Until next time,
Sandra

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God Did Not Abandon!!!

God revealed to me a truth recently through painful circumstances. My hubby’s back injury has flared up causing him moments of excruciating pain.  He’d been sleeping sitting upright in a chair for almost 2 weeks. On this night he attempted to lie in bed; ah success, or so we thought. From the other room, I heard a horrific cry of pain and screams of, “I can’t move!!!!”  Help, I can’t move!!! I was mid-stream (if you catch my drift). Rushing back into the bedroom, complete helplessness washed over me.  I’m sobbing, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.”  “Tell me what to do!” We decided I would simply yank him up and get him out of bed. Praying I would not cause more injury, I yanked. Hubby standing with walker in hand, still writhing in pain, I cried out to God to help him.  Let’s be honest, I YELLED, “Why aren’t you helping him?” Inside I’m thinking, “What good does it do to pray? So many are praying and here we are…” “My heart hurts deeply to see him in such agony” and more. I was not a happy follower of Jesus. In a few minutes the pain diminished to a less excruciating level for hubby and I stopped sobbing.  Waiting for hubby to regain movement, feelings of being abandoned by God washed over me; tears begin to quietly trickle down my face and a voice, “Sandra, I know what you are feeling and experiencing; I witnessed my son going through even more horrific pain and for much longer.”  A familiar voice… God’s voice.

I got hubby settled into his “sleeping chair” and crawled onto the couch, facing another night of little sleep. Hubby nodded off and I asked God to forgive my outburst; his words still resounding in my ears. I knew he wasn’t being cruel or trying to one-up. (You know when you share something good or bad and a person feels the need to share with you an even better or worse situation they experienced).  “Tomorrow God, we will speak more tomorrow, I’m too drained, forgive me”. I nodded off to sleep.

i commit 2The next day, Bible in hand, I re-read the account of Jesus last hours.  Mark, a Disciple of Jesus and an eye-witness to his death shares, that in the minutes before he died, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). From the beginning of my Christian walk, I’ve been taught, God holy and pure could not look upon sin.  In this moment, Jesus, bore the sins of the world, both past, present and future. Therefore, God in those last seconds, not being able to look upon sin, had to turn away, separating himself from Jesus.

Not so! Not true! What a revelation!

The idea that God cannot look upon sin likely comes out of the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk a prophet is asking God many questions beginning with the very first verse, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen. Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?” and the questions continued.  In verse 13 Habakkuk says, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”  This statement is not a declaration that God cannot look upon sin as is often taught. Habakkuk is questioning how a God so holy could look upon sin with such leniency.  God can look upon sin and has since Adam and Eve.

Let’s look at Jesus final hours.  Jesus is shamefully and unmercifully nailed to a cross. He’s mostly silent except for a small interaction with two thieves who hung on crosses beside him. He’s now endured approximately 6 hours of taunting and insults from the crowd; the physical pain growing with each breath. Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A man runs to fill a sponge with wine vinegar offering Jesus a drink. Moments later Jesus cries out again, “Father into your hands I commit my Spirit. It is finished”. His head falling forward, breathing his last breath, he gives up his Spirit.  God didn’t forsake him. Jesus’ own words confirm this…”Father into your hands…” words no sooner uttered and God received the Spirit of Jesus. God was there.

Why then did Jesus utter the words, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” The pain of hanging on a cross for 6 hours is beyond comprehension. The sins of every human being that ever lived, or will ever live, fell on Jesus that day. In essence he suffered as if he were guilty of every disobedient action ever committed against God; past, present and future. Imagine the great pain we would endure if we hung on a cross for our sins alone; no one else’s, just ours. I couldn’t do it.  Could you? Jesus, completely human (something I tend to forget) beaten, battered, verbally abused, tired and in unfathomable agony, could not sense God’s presence.  God never turned his back on Jesus. He was right there with him.

Father holding handGod’s right there with me, and you, when we go through difficult and painful circumstances too. When I experience severe pain and face challenges that never seem to end, it’s easy to lose sight of God’s presence, to feel abandoned.  I did that night. Yet, God was right here with us. I know! I heard his voice. God, will never leave nor forsake us. Never! Circumstances may make us feel differently. It’s in those moments when our head must override those feelings. We must remember God’s promise.

Jesus holy and blameless before God didn’t need to suffer any consequence for disobedience.  Jesus had a job to do. God was with him every step of the way. To bring the job to complete fruition great pain and sacrifice had to be endured. I’m eternally grateful Jesus did not give up. I’m eternally grateful God did not intervene as he watched Jesus endure the cross. I’m eternally grateful they both saw it through to the finish.

“No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.” John 15:13

Until next time,
Sandra

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”  2 Corinthians 4:7-9

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

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a study of Psalm 119

I thought today I would share some tidbits on the Psalms with special attention to Psalm 119. The Book of Psalms is actually 5 books.  Book 1 – Psalms 1-41; Book 2 – Psalms 42-72; Book 3 – Psalms 73-89; Book 4 – Psalms 90-106; and the last book, Book 5 – Psalms 107-150.

Many believe King David wrote the Psalms.  He did write many but not all. Authorship breaks down as follows:

  • Sons of Korah wrote (10) Psalms 42, 44-49, 84-85, 87;
  • Asaph wrote (12) Psalms 50, 73-83;
  • Herman wrote (1) Psalm 88;
  • Ethan wrote (1) Psalm 89;
  • Hezekiah wrote (11) Psalms 120-123, 128-130, 132, 134-136;
  • Solomon wrote (2) Psalms 72, 127
  • David is credited with having written 73 of Psalms;
  • 40 Psalms have no authorship credited; although many scholars believe these Psalms have the style of David.
  • The acrostic psalms are 9&10 (taken together), 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145.

Psalm 119-89-90Psalm 119 – authorship is unknown. It reportedly has the most words of all the Psalms written and is found in the middle of the Bible.

*The psalm is written in an acrostic (alphabetical) arrangement. In each paragraph (strophe**) of 8 verses each line begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (The 22 strophes correspond to the 22 letters of the alphabet.) So verses 1-8 each begin with the first Hebrew letter, Aleph; verses 9-16 each begin with the second letter, and so on. 1-8 Aleph; 9-16 Beth; 17-24 Gimel; 25-32 Daleth; 33-40 He; 41-48 Vav; 49-56 Zayin; 57-64 Heth; 65-72 Teth; 73-80 Yodh; 81-88 Kaph; 89-96 Lamedh; 97-104 Mem; 105-112 Nun; 113-120 Samekh; 121-128 Ayin; 129-136 Pe; 137-144 Tsadhe; 145-152 Qoph; 153-160 Resh; 161-168 Shin; 169-176; Tav.

The psalm is largely a collection of prayers and meditations on the Word of God, referred to by 10 synonyms.

  1. Law (torah) – occurring 25x – denotes direction or instruction. More often the word refers to a body of teaching, probably Deuteronomy and Leviticus, if not the whole Pentateuch..
  2. Testimony (edah) – occurring 22x in the plural and 1x in the singular – It is a solemn attestation, a declaration of the will of God.  It is a general word for ordinances that became God’s standard of conduct.  It’s usually rendered ‘statutes’ in the NIV.
  3. Precepts (piqqudim) – occurring 21x – It’s a poetical word for injunctions, found only in the Psalms (always in the plural).
  4. Statutes (huqqim) – occurring 21x – in the psalms it’s always in the plural. – Literally it means ‘things inscribed.’ So it refers to enacted Laws (and is translated ‘decrees’ in the NIV).
  5. Commandment (miswah) –  occurring 21x in the plural (usually translated ‘commands’ in the NIV) and once in the singular collectively. It signifies a definite, authoritative command. It is frequently joined with huqqim and mispot.
  6. Judgment (mispot) occurring 19x in the plural and occurring 4 times in the singular. -(often translated ‘laws ‘in the NIV) It represents a judicial decision that constitutes a precedence, a binding law. In the Pentateuch it referred to the laws after the 10 Commandments. The word can also mean God’s judgmental acts on the wicked.
  7. Word (dabar) – occurring 20x – a general term for God’s revelation, but the ’10 Commandments’ are called “Ten Words”(literal Hebrew… Deuteronomy 4:13).
  8. Saying (imrah) – occurring 19x – often translated ‘promise’ in the NIV and is often a poetical synonym for dabar.
  9. Way (derek) – occurring 5x in the plural and 6x in the singular – is a metaphorical term describing the pattern of life marked out by God’s Law.
  10. Path (orah) occurring 5x – is parallel to ‘way’.

One of my favorite passages from Psalm 119…Forever, O LordYour word is settled in heaven.  Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.  Psalm 119:89-90 (NKJV)

It would really encourage this gal’s heart, if you my readers would share your favorite verse from Psalm 119 in the comment section below.

More to come next week.
Until next time
Sandra

* An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty – Old Testament – Editors John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck
**stro·phe – noun – the first section of an ancient Greek choral ode or of one division of it. A structural division of a poem containing stanzas of varying line-length, especially an ode or free verse poem.
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A Heart for God

“For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life –except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” 1 Kings 15:5

It would be easy to read right over this verse. Previously, when I’ve read this passage, this sentence never caught my attention.  This time these words jumped right out at me, in bold black and white letters, “… except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” Rather nonchalant statement; certainly not a big red waving flag.  It’s almost as if David’s caught picking his nose.  Sort of like this… “David, my son, perfect in every way, except for that time he picked his nose”. Really? Come on.  David MURDERED Uriah…. Why?  David had slept with Uriah’s wife while Uriah’s out on the battlefield. David got Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, pregnant and then tried to cover the whole thing up by murdering her husband.  Yep, that’s the truth of the situation.  In this passage the writer simply states “… Except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”

That’s what’s so glorious about the God I serve. He sees the heart of the person, not just their actions. We all sin. We all have things in our past for which we’re not proud. I do!  It’s my heart attitude and actions which matter. Where does my heart lie? As I get to know the character of David, I can tell David’s heart was totally set on seeking God. That doesn’t mean David was perfect. It doesn’t mean David didn’t sin, or didn’t make mistakes – – – he most certainly did!

I love how this verse shows God’s heart towards David.  Did you notice I wrote the words murder in big caps?  Murder’s a big deal! Yet in light of eternity, in light of all that matters, this act appears to simply be a small blemish in the life of David. Almost an afterthought, as if to say, “Oh, yeah, except for ….” When our hearts are right, when our hearts seek that which matters, when our hearts are aligned with God, then forgiveness is the outcome! Not partial forgiveness, not selective memory forgiveness, not forgiveness because I have to forgive, but complete forgiveness.  When God forgives it is for eternity and our sins are removed as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12).

God's own heart“David was a man after God’s own heart”. (1 Samuel 13:14) David’s heart was set on seeking God and being obedient to God’s calling in his life. Due to God’s complete forgiveness, David’s sin of murder became nothing more than a hiccup along the road to eternity. Please, hear me, I am not making light of what David did, and neither did God. He experienced heavy consequences, life altering consequences for his sin. In light of eternity, in light of the life that David lived for God, in light of David’s heart, his sinful actions were all forgiven. Forgiven as if they never happened!

All I can say is, WOW!!!

I have miles to go in my walk with the Lord.  I love God – at least I think I do (a discussion for a future blog) my motives however, are often more about me then He. I cannot help but wonder what He would say.  Maybe something like, “She’s got spunk that girl, now if we could channel her in the proper direction…” God can do wonders with a surrendered life! As I surrender my life to His lead through obedience to His Word, perhaps I too will one day hear the words, “Sandra, a woman after God’s own heart”.

Until then, just call me “Spunky”.

 

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