wednesday february 18, 2009
Psalm 119 Together
Hey Sweet Friend!
If you are attending the Vintage Battle of the Sexes series at Vintage, are you reading Psalm 119 with me this week? And really thinking about TRUTH – verse by verse - the truth God has spoken to assure us of satisfaction – value – control – that is in our God. Our satisfaction is His love. Our value is measureless in Christ. Our control, precious heart, is in Him. He has given us His power – over our enemy – over ourselves…a perfect power to love – to live a holy life! I’m so excited to process this truth with you through Psalm 119. I know it is a large chapter, and we may not finish it all by next Tuesday when we meet again. Reading this Psalm is not about completing an assignment, but enjoying God’s Word -drinking in the living water it offers verse by verse – and letting that truth refresh us, cleanse us, and grow us. You with me? If you are new to reading the Bible, may I offer an easy way to read and think about it – using pen and paper?
Before I begin reading, I pray, and thank God for what He has for me to learn. I ask Him to help me really get it. He knows our heart. Like Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. He knew her heart was dry – and why it was. She was clueless to why she was so thirsty. He knew. He called it out, and it didn’t send her away from Him in shame. He actually drew her to Himself – true life in Him. So I ask God – teach my heart, because only you really know it. He is so faithful! Thank Him for His help as you read His Book, and ask for Him to open your mind and heart to understand it.
Verse 1 in Psalm 119 says, “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.”
Here’s what I ask myself, as I think about God’s Word:
1. What truth have I just learned – and
2. How will that truth come through my life?
As I consider this verse, and ask myself these questions, I write. Sometimes I write the whole verse – or part of it that has gripped me, and then I start to write about how this truth is impacting me. Sometimes this truth leads to other questions about God – His Word – people, places, events - and so I write those questions down, because I know I will need to look further into the Bible for the answers to those questions. Sometimes this truth identifies a quality about God that I am grateful for – amazed about, and I thank Him for who He is, and that I get to know Him – be loved by Him. That changes me, how I love Him, how I love others because I am secure in Him. Sometimes I realize, through God’s truth – just like the woman at the well – that I am going to a well for satisfaction – a well that offers nothing – a way of living that is actually hurting me in who I was created to be in Christ. When I realize this truth I ask God to help me to go to Him for satisfaction – to stop this behavior that is opposed to who I am in Him. The Bible offers so much to each of us who come seeking God from it. At times I read a verse that is pure joy – encouragement to my heart, and I am lifted above my circumstances to simply focus on God.
So, on your own - with God right there with you to help you - read each verse, and think through it as He leads you by His Spirit. Write your thoughts - your questions (use my questions as a guide if you like) - write as if you are writing to your very best and closest friend. Maybe you'll read and write for five minutes - maybe an hour - whatever your time you have to enjoy in God's Book - the amount of time isn't nearly as important as holding on to the truth that God has given you to drink in from His Word. Let the truth - His living Water - wash over your mind and heart - all day - and for the rest of your life.
Sweet heart, what a gift we share in this copy of God’s word that is ours to hold – to read – to know! We have a freedom that we don’t even realize. Ask God to help you embrace His Word – get it for His amazing purposes – His blessing over your life as you live it – this very day. Enjoy Psalm 119! Enjoy time with God. Know you are prayed for! Know you are loved! I can’t wait to see you Tuesday!
posted by laura lewis
tuesday february 3, 2009
If sex, as well as sexual acts, are supposed to be kept in the sanctity of marriage, then why does God allow for sexual abuse to happen?
Hi, my friend. Thank you for writing to me, and thank you for waiting for my reply. I’m wondering if what you are really asking is, why does God let bad things happen if He is a good God. Could that be the answer you are searching for? Perhaps you have been the victim of sexual abuse, and so you are wondering where God was in the midst of what happened to you. Or perhaps you are well acquainted with someone who is a victim of sexual abuse, and you struggle with them in their heartache. I would love to wrap my arms around you right now! Thank you for this opportunity to encourage you with His love and His Word. I want to encourage you to read your Bible on your own - daily - to find the TRUTH that you are seeking. Hope, healing, and peace is in our God. I pray that He will refresh you and wrap you up tight in the goodness and love that is His Word so that you can rest in truth and not be deceived by feelings. If you have your Bible, will you look with me at the the book of Romans?
God is not a super hero. He is God. We, in our limited perspective, think that a good God would be like Superman. In our super hero mentality vanquishing evil, like sexual abuse, would mean immediate destruction for the wicked and the sweeping rescue of the seemingly innocent. The super hero lens we hold is far too limited for envisioning our JUST and LOVING God. He loves all of us, and longs for all of us to fully know Him. For the victim, for the criminal, for the WORLD – there is justice and there is hope. Creator God – the All Powerful One – has intervened for us all in the most just, timely, and powerful rescue imaginable. Yesterday, today, now, and forever, He gives us Christ to realize what life really is - how much loves us, how just he is, how He will never leave us or forsake us. When I embrace that truth, I allow God to meet me in my memory where I was hurt yesterday, and He saves me there. I move forward into today, free of that bitterness, full of hope, and He saves me there. I look forward to tomorrow without fear, and He saves me there. There is no place in my life, my heart, my mind that He has not touched with His saving love. My sins - past, present and future are forgiven. And for the sins committed against me, - past, present, and future - my Savior is my help, my joy, my life.
God did not make the world evil. In the beginning it was good. Part of that goodness was the creation of man and woman – created in the image of God – created with free will. See, God is just. He cannot contradict Himself. AS MUCH as He loves us – He is also just with us. If he had made us with the inability to choose Him, how just would that be? We’d be forced into relationship with Him. Forced love is not love. I can’t force Kemper to love me every day. He chooses to. I can’t even force my kids to love me. I teach them what love looks like – and they have the choice to love me.
Check out what Romans 1 says in verses 18-25, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of human beings who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him; but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal human beings and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised.”
But there is good news. What was made perfect – and then marred by our sin – is perfected again– through Christ! I'm skipping forward to Romans 5:6-8:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The good news goes on! Please read the book of Romans. Start at chapter 1 and take your time with God reading the truth about His love, His rescue, and the life He wants for us to live with Him.
Sex was made good, sweet girl. The purpose of God’s creation of one man, one woman, two becoming one flesh in marriage – is perfect in design. God did nothing to distort what He made. In fact, because He is so good, we undeservedly have been rescued so we can experience the beauty of His intended life for us. We can now know – through Christ – the love, the purity, the joy, the peace and life that we were created to live with Him – with one another - from the very beginning. Everything broken can be mended because of Jesus.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to process with you how inexpressible is the love of God! If I have communicated a glimpse of such vastness clearly – to God be the glory!
I can’t wait for you to dive into the book of Romans! Please let me know what you are learning from our God! I would love to hear from you again.
posted by laura lewis