Week 3 of The Way Through The Darkness

I hope you had wonderful week reflecting on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection! Because He died in our place – as a substitute for us – we can look forward to His appearing when He comes and meets us in the clouds.

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  1 Thess 4:17

If you’re just joining us, I strongly recommend you start with Week 1 HERE.  I included some helpful study hints in the Week 1 post that I haven’t repeated since then in order to keep these posts very short.  I know your time is valuable and I don’t want to take more than necessary so you have more time to sit at Jesus’ feet.  (You may click the link HERE to go to my series of posts on discovering what it means to sit at His feet.)

Just like the previous weeks, I’ve created a printable for this week’s study.  As always, it’s free!  This week I’m trying a different way of sharing the printables with you (Oh, there’s so much this grandma still has to learn).  Please click the link to be taken to a Google Drive document containing all the printables for the weeks so far.

 

The Way Through The Darkness Week 3

Week 3: Hoping in Trustworthiness

Brief Thought for the Week:  The suggested scripture readings for each day are listed below in the same format as the previous weeks, but first just a few thoughts on the topic for this week.  

We all need hope, don’t we!  Despair seems to be the absence of hope, but what should we hope for?  I have placed my hope in people and been disappointed.  And wounded.  How about you?  I have placed my hope in and gambled my happiness on a future event, only to have that event be canceled, ruined, or otherwise lacking. You too?  

Sheep place all their hope (they trust) in their shepherd for their safety and for green pastures and still, clear water.  In “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23,” W. Phillip Keller, a man who has practical life experience as a shepherd, describes the relationship of immensely needy sheep to their incredibly hard-working shepherd:

Sheep do not “just take care of themselves” as some might suppose.  They require, more than any other class of livestock endless attention and meticulous care.

Based on our neediness as God’s sheep, we must know that the choice of our shepherd is critical to our care. God wouldn’t have assigned just anyone to the task, so it is comforting that Jesus himself says in John 10:14, 

“I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by My own.”

We know our shepherd and He is the Lord Jesus Christ!  And . . . He is worthy of our trust.  That gives me hope!

Previously we looked at God’s faithfulness and have seen that He understands our needs. That’s why the psalmist can say with absolute certainty in Psalm 23:4,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Notice that we walk through the valley and that we don’t walk alone.  No matter what circumstances have resulted in your dark valley, you can be assured that your Shepherd is walking through it with you.  Did you know that a shepherd’s rod is used to defend him and his sheep from attackers and the staff is used to guide the sheep in their way?  That explains why they comfort the psalmist!  God’s presence, protection, and guidance are ours as His sheep, especially when we walk through the dark valleys.  So we don’t have to stop in the middle of the valley.  We’ll just keep moving through it, within the protection and shelter of our Lord.  Yes, we can safely put our hope and trust in Him.  

I’d like to start you off this week with the following scripture.  I just love the way the psalmist cries out to God in Psalm 61:1-4:

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

 

Day 1: Shield of Trust

Reading: Psalm 18:29-30

For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 2: My Soul’s Refuge

Reading: Psalm 57:1

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 3: Trust & Abide Forever

Reading: Psalm 125:1

Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 4: Trust His Way

Reading: Psalm 143:8

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 5: Safe in God

Reading: Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 6: Nothing’s Too Hard

Reading: Jeremiah 32:27

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 7: Draw Near & Trust

Reading: Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Next week’s topic is “Casting Cares.”  Can’t wait to have you stop by again!

~ Just keep shining, Cindyeliora

“I pray thatthe eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power”. (Ephesians 1:18-19)

 

New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Week 2 of The Way Through The Darkness

I’m so glad you could stop by again!

Just like last week, I’ve created a printable for this week’s study.  It’s free!  You only need to click HERE to get it.  If you went here last week to get week 1 already, it’s the same process, but this week the PDF document contains both weeks.

Now, if you missed Week 1: Feeding on Faithfulness, I strongly recommend you start with Week 1 HERE.  I included some helpful study hints in the Week 1 post that I haven’t repeated this week.

The Way Through The Darkness Week 2

Week 2: Seeking the Light

Brief Thought for the Week:  The suggested scripture readings for each day are listed below in the same format as the first week, but first just a few thoughts on the topic for this second week.  

Since Jesus is the light of the world, we will be seeking Him this week as that light that shines in the darkness.  We will also see some of the ways we are viewed and cared for as we seek Him.  

John 8:12

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The best way I know of to seek the Light of God is in His Word:

Psalm 119:105

         Your word is a lamp to my feet

        And a light to my path.

I would like to pray Ephesians 1:18-19 over you before you even begin this week’s studies.  You are precious in His sight!

I pray thatthe eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power”.

 

Day 1: God is Light

Reading: Psalm 27:1, 4

The LORD is my light and salvation;

Whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the strength of my life;

Of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing I have desired of the LORD

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the LORD

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the LORD,

And to inquire in His temple.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 2: Seekers Not Forsaken

Reading: Psalm 9:9-10

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed,

A refuge in times of trouble.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;

For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 3: Seekers Find

Reading: Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 4: Seekers Are Heard

Reading: Psalm 34:4-6

I sought the LORD and He heard me,

And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant

And their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him,

And saved him out of all his troubles.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 5: Seekers Are Supplied

Reading: Psalm 34:8-10

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!

There is no want to those who fear Him.

The young lions lack and suffer hunger;

But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 6: God is Near

Reading: Acts 17:24-28

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

“Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

“for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 7: Light Found

Reading: Psalm 18:28

For You will light my lamp;

The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Next week’s topic is “Hoping in Trustworthiness.”  I hope to see you soon!  😉

~ Just keep shining, Cindyeliora

“I pray thatthe eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power”. (Ephesians 1:18-19)

 

New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Week 1 of The Way Through The Darkness

Week 1 of The Way Through The Darkness

So glad to see you today!  To make it easier to follow along with this week’s study, I created a printable list.  So, not only is it colorful (fitting for the season), but it’s free!  Just click HERE to get it.  Then come on back and start the study.

 

Week 1: Feeding on Faithfulness

Brief Thought for the Week:  The suggested scripture readings for each day are listed below, but first just a few thoughts on this week’s topic.  

Taken literally, faithful means to be full of faith of course, but can God be full of faith? What would He be full of faith in? This by itself is a difficult concept for our limited human minds to comprehend, so let’s look at Webster’s definition. Webster’s defines faithful as being steadfast in affection or allegiance and includes in its list of synonyms: loyal, conscientious, binding, constant. This helps because we can more easily understand God as being affectionate, conscientious, and constant rather than full of faith. What examples of God’s faithfulness might help us with this concept? Psalm 89 is a wonderful example of God’s faithfulness; verses 33 and 34 say,

Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.My covenant I will not break,Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.

Not only does this verse illustrate God’s faithfulness beautifully, but it establishes that His word can also be trusted! God’s word is binding and constant. Psalm 119:89 and 90 add to this:

Forever, O LORD,

Your word is settled in heaven.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations;

You established the earth, and it abides.

His faithfulness endures to your generation! Pause and think about that!

Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. (1 Kings 8:56)

This moment, right now, would be a good time to pause again and feed on God’s love and faithfulness. It’s warm, sweet and filling.  Ultimately satisfying.  I truly hope you enjoy feeding this week on God’s faithfulness!

 

Day 1: God is Faithful

Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

After reading each day’s scripture, I would like to suggest you ask yourself just two quick questions and contemplate your answers. Some people like to keep a journal so they can write these down and review later.  

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?  (Example: What does it mean to me to be faithful?

How does this verse from scripture help me? (Example: How does having an escape help me to face temptation?)

Next, you might want to use the prompts below to meditate on today’s verse for a few more moments.

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 2: Faithful to Forgive

Reading: 1 John 1:8-10

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?  (Example: Describe how God has been faithful to you.)

How does this verse from scripture help me? (Example: What do I learn about my responsibility in receiving the forgiveness of God?)

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 3: Pillar and Cloud

Reading: Nehemiah 9:19

Yet in Your manifold mercies

You did not forsake them in the wilderness.

The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day,

To lead them on the road;

Nor the pillar of fire by night,

To show them light,

And the way they should go.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?  (Example: How did God show His faithfulness in the wilderness?)

How does this verse from scripture help me? (Example: Does this scripture build my faith for God’s faithfulness in my own life?)

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 4: Shepherd Through Valley

Reading: Psalm 23:1-4

The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to like down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads 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 You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?  (Example: How did God show His faithfulness in the wilderness?)

How does this verse from scripture help me? (Example: Does this scripture build my faith for God’s faithfulness in my own life?)

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 5: Near to Broken Hearts

Readings: Psalm 34:18 Psalm 51:10-12, 17

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Psalm 51:10-13, 17

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

And uphold me with Your generous Spirit.

 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and contrite heart –

These, O God, You will not despise.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 6: Orders Steps

Readings: Psalm 37:23-24 & Proverbs 3:5-6

Psalm 37:23-24

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,

And He delights in his way.

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;

For the LORD upholds him with His hand.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Day 7: Faithful to Stay

Reading: Hebrews 13:5-6

Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So we boldly say:

The LORD is my helper;

I will not fear.

What can man do to me?”

Reflection:

What does today’s subtopic mean to me?

How does this verse from scripture help me?

Response:

What is my first thought in response to this?

What is God saying?

What action should I take?

I want to remember ____________________ .

My response to God ____________________ .

 

Next week’s topic is “Seeking the Light.”  See you soon!

If you liked this post, please share it on social media!  If you didn’t already get the free printable list just click HERE to get it.  🙂

 

New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Faithful.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed April 9, 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faithful.

The Way Through the Darkness

The Way Through the Darkness

She cautiously opened the envelope while pondering, why not an email?  With great hesitancy, she drew a deep breath, sighed and began to read.  And then she knew. This was not just any letter.  Through the tears caused by the bitter words she still knew this was a desperate cry for love, but how could she get past the pain they were stirring up?  Again!  The words on the page shot like arrows through her heart just like the words spoken and written multiple times before.  As though warning of an approaching storm, the fog of despair began rolling in.  The letter writer had repeatedly committed storm-inducing acts that caused great turmoil and left a wake of emotional pain during her childhood.  And now this letter!  “Why?” her mind screamed within her.  Then, becoming acutely aware of the fog, “Why do I have to keep fighting off this darkness?”

How to Find The Way Through The DarknessPhoto credit: “The Fog Autumn Park Dark Tree Way”(https://pixabay.com/en/the-fog-autumn-park-dark-tree-way-1578408/) by 2737316 (https://pixabay.com/en/users/2737316-2737316/) is licensed under CC0 (https://www.tldrlegal.com/l/cc0-1.0).

Have you found yourself in a fog?  Are you or someone you love looking for a way out of the darkness you find yourselves in? Perhaps you’re depressed, have lost direction in life, the enjoyment of life has faded, you were just diagnosed with cancer, or have lost a loved one. Any of these circumstances, and many others not listed, can bring you to a place where life seems devoid of color, where emotions seem flat and dull and your body feels heavily burdened.

Today we’re starting out on a detour from the previous series of posts because recently I’ve come under spiritual attack and I believe this is an experience God wants me to share with you. Now trust me, I’m not going to get into the specifics of the who and what!  What I would like to do is give you just a tiny bit of generalized background.  

Click here to come along with us!

When I’m attacked emotionally, the weapons the enemy uses on me most often are anger and despair.  

I have had several bouts with major depression throughout my nearly 60 years in this life and have endured the agony of hopeless despair.  I’ve personally experienced the dark pit, that miry clay, and I’ve found the best way to fight back is with the sword of the Spirit.  In fact, it’s the only way I’ve found to be victorious over the darkness.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17, NASB).

The best Biblical illustration I have found is Jesus using scripture against the enemy when he was tempted in the desert.  I’d like to highlight that He said, “It is written” three different times in Matthew chapter 4, verses 4, 7 and 10.  Since we know Jesus didn’t succumb to the tempter, He set the example of using it as a successful weapon!

The apostle John tells us about the Word in his gospel, beginning in the first verse:

In the beginning the Word already existed.

   The Word was with God,

   and the Word was God.

He existed in the beginning with God.

God created everything through him,

   and nothing was created except through him.

The Word gave life to everything that was created,

   and his life brought light to everyone.

The light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness can never extinguish it.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.  (John 1:1-5 & 14, NLT)

The passage above shows us that Jesus is the Word.  We could write this using the mathematical formula:

Jesus = Word.  

Now I know math might not be your thing, but I find it interesting God has had us learning in the last few posts about sitting at Jesus’ feet and spending time in the Word!

In the passage above (specifically verse 5) we are also given a wonderful promise that darkness will never extinguish light!

Then, a little later in John’s gospel, we are told by Jesus Himself that He is the light of the world.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12, NLT)

To write this using another mathematical equation would look like this:

Jesus = Light.

The Bible also tells us in John 14:6,

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (NLT)

In other words, Jesus is the way to God and eternal life. A third mathematical formula is:

Jesus = Way.

Putting all these equations together we get:

Way = Light = Word = Jesus.

Since Way = Light = Word = Jesus, we can see that the way through the darkness into the light is Jesus, the Word of God.

Sometimes God will remove us from dark circumstances, but more often than not, He leads us “through the valley of the shadow of death” (from Psalm 23:4, NKJV, emphasis mine).

I’d like to pause just a moment to say that if you haven’t told Jesus you need Him and His forgiveness and that you want Him to be Lord over your life, I urge you to do that now. He’s been lovingly waiting for you.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20, NASB)

Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), the Son of God, is our way out of the darkness.  I believe that God intends for us to take a journey in the light of His Word through these stages:

Week 1 – Feeding on Faithfulness

Week 2 – Seeking the Light

Week 3 – Hoping in Trustworthiness

Week 4 – Casting Cares

Week 5 – Waiting in the Word

Week 6 – Delighting Daily

Week 7 – Serving Unselfishly

If you know anyone who is walking in a fog, fighting off the darkness or if God places someone on your heart to share this with, please share!  And then join me as we head out of the darkness and into His marvelous light in my upcoming 49-day devotional series, “The Way Through The Darkness!”

Click here to come along with us!

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV)

Until next time,

~ Just keep shining, Cindyeliora

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Eph. 1:18-19, NASB)

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

New Living Translation (NLT) Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet: 3 Keys to Understanding

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet: 3 Keys to Understanding

Good to see you again!  How did your week go? Were you able to spend some quiet time with Jesus at His feet in His Word?

If not, please don’t put guilt on yourself because of it. Just resolve to pick up again tomorrow!

 

The Bible records a time when even Jesus’ disciples missed their quiet time. Why? The needs of the people. You also have people in your life that need you!  Some of you have little ones and it can be so hard to make time with Jesus a priority when they are counting on you to take care of their needs!

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and it is already quite late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But He answered them, “You give them something to eat!” (Mark 6:31-45, NASB)

What followed was the event we refer to as the feeding of the five thousand.

I don’t know about you, but I confess that sometimes I struggle with doubts about whether I’m understanding Scripture.  I know that getting understanding (meaning as well as truth) from God’s Word can be challenging at times. Proverbs 16:16 tells us it’s more valuable than expensive things here on earth!  Well then, I’d have to say the effort will definitely be worth the value. Wouldn’t you agree?

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!

And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.

Pr_ 16-16_clouds-1724445_1280_from_Pixabay_an_orderly_household

Based on Proverbs 3:5-6, we can have faith that there must be understanding that comes from God because we are instructed to not trust our own understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.

During my study time preparing to write this post, I found three keys to understanding that I believe will help us to better understand what we are reading in God’s Word.  First, we are right to expect that God will give us understanding. Second, we can have faith that the Holy Spirit is present with us and guides us and the third key is our need to evaluate our hearts.

 

God Gives Understanding

The Bible informs us that God does indeed give us understanding through the reading of His Word.  Psalm 119:130 is one instance.

The unfolding of Your words gives light;

It gives understanding to the simple. (NASB)

The fact that Paul prayed for understanding for Jesus’ followers in Ephesians 1:15-19, gives us another reason we should expect that we can gain understanding.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (NKJV).

 

Holy Spirit Guides Us into Understanding

In John 14:16, Jesus is speaking and says,

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” (NASB).

And in John 14:26 Jesus also says,

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (NASB)

Later in John’s gospel, Jesus continues:

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. (John 16:13, NASB)

The Holy Spirit guides us and God the Father gives understanding to us, but we have a role in gaining understanding as well.

 

Evaluate Our Hearts

To get understanding, we need to look at our hearts and determine if they are ready to receive.  Psalm 111:10 says, 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

In Proverbs 2:2 we read,

Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;

Do our hearts truly desire God’s truth — are they “inclined” to understanding? Are we in awe of Him and who He is?  Are we in a relationship with Him?  If there is anything in your heart that you think might be hindering your understanding, please pray and talk to God about it right now. Don’t wait another minute! (I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here when you’re ready to continue.)

 

A Valuable Blessing

I know there have been (or will be) times you want to throw your hands up in total frustration.  Whether that’s because you’re struggling with making the time or understanding what you’re reading, but let me encourage you that you will receive a blessing that is far beyond earthly value.  We need to: just – keep – reading. (Did you just see a little blue fish swimming by just now?)

Proverbs 23:23 (NASB)

Buy truth, and do not sell it,

Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Proverbs 3:13

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom

And the man who gains understanding.

 

Without a relationship with Jesus, we will have a longing we do not understand; an emptiness inside of us that nothing in this world will ever be able to fill.  To be in a relationship with Him means we need to get to know Him, to choose to and actually spend time with Him and continue to work at understanding what He has to say.  Thousands of years after He walked the earth, we can still spend time at His feet by studying the Bible.  We are so blessed to have His Word preserved for us in our time!

~ Just keep shining, Cindyeliora

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Eph. 1:18-19, NASB)

 

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet:  The First 7 Days

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet: The First 7 Days

Welcome back, sweet friend!  

I’d love to hear what part of “R-SHIP” (Resolve Start Habit Importance Plan) may have helped you the most since your last visit.

To start off today I invite you to picture in your mind a first-century fishing vessel at dawn near the shore on the Sea of Galilee. You’re not sure what one would have looked like? Well … I found a great photo online to help with that!  What would this boat have to do with our quiet time, you ask?  We’ll get into that in a minute.

1st century Galilee fishing boat.  Used during the time of Jesus.

Photo credit: Gem Fadling at unhurriedliving.com

This amazing photo is of an actual boat found at the Sea of Galilee! It is on display in a museum in Israel.  For being 2,000 or so years old it’s remarkably intact, don’t you think?

Here’s a link to the Galilee Boat Museum’s website if you’d like more information about this awe-inspiring archeological discovery. 

One more thing before we get started, I’m excited to tell you that I have a free printable for you to use with your first seven days of sitting at Jesus’ feet!  I’ll give you the link when we wrap up today.

Our topic today is going to get us ready for our first seven days of spending time alone with Jesus.  We’re going to talk about preparing, praying, reading and writing and their purpose.

 

Preparing Physically

In the previous post, “5 Steps to Finding Time” in the “Sitting at Jesus’ Feet” series, I suggested we select a few things to use in setting up our special place so that we look forward to spending time there.  If you’re concerned about pets or young children getting into them, you could use a tote bag and stash it out of reach until your planned quiet time.

In case you missed either of the previous posts in this series, you can find them here and here.

 

Preparing Mentally

So back to the boat.  It actually does indirectly relate to today’s topic.  A little while ago I asked you to use a mental picture to help prepare you to continue our learning voyage toward sitting at Jesus’ feet.  Being mentally prepared is a significant part of spending time with Him, so we need to set aside our own priorities and the busyness of our lives for a short time so that our thoughts will be focused on Him!

 

Preparing Spiritually

John tells us in his gospel that,

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24, NASB)

Since God is spirit, we also need to be prepared spiritually for our time with Jesus. We could start with a short, simple prayer similar to this:

Heavenly Father, please open my heart to hear from You as I read Your Word. I thank you that I’m able to come into Your presence because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. It’s in His name I pray.

My suggestion for what we do during our special time with Jesus, now that we have prepared ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, boils down to this: read, pray, write, repeat.  

 

Read Scripture

A good way to start out is to read a short passage in Scripture.  After reading, sit quietly and ask Jesus (silently if you like) what He wants you to know from the passage. Does anything seem to jump out at you or maybe even “sting” a little?  Did you have an “aha” moment – did the light just go on for you about something?  Is there a little stirring in your spirit deep inside of you and you’re not yet really sure what it is?

 

Pray for Understanding

This is a great time to pray again and this time ask God to show you clearly what He wants you to hear Him saying to you specifically through what you just read in His Word.

Father, Your Word says _______________________.  I want to be sure I understand You, so please give me understanding of this. I pray in Jesus’ name.

 

Write it Down

You may want to write down any truth, correction, promise, or clarification you have been given. A notebook of some kind can be helpful for recording these.  Life happens, we get busy and it’s easy to forget what you received in the quiet presence of God once the “loudness” of life sets in again. (I’m getting to know forgetfulness far too intimately as I prepare to turn 60!)

 

Read it Again

If you have the time, reread the passage.  God has filled His Word richly with depth of meaning and you may find that you gain even more understanding with a second reading!

 

Pray for Strength

It is very important to ask God to help you follow the guidance you just received. Here is a suggestion:

Father in Heaven, I can’t do what You have asked under my own strength.  I need Your strength to do ____________________ because You want me to and to stop doing ____________________ because You’ve asked me to stop doing it.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  

 

Write Again

You might want to write your prayer down now too. It will help you track your progress in applying what you learn to your life.

 

Friend, I want to encourage you today that you can do this!  

Jesus’ disciples were not all highly educated.  Several were fishermen.  Though they may not have understood right away some of the things Jesus taught them, they did gain understanding through continuing to sit at His feet.  So let’s focus on continuing to get to know Jesus and trust that understanding will come.  More on understanding next time you stop by!

Here’s a list of seven selected readings. I love these because it’s so easy to forget who we are in Christ.  I hope you find it helpful in case you don’t know what to read during our first week of sitting together at Jesus’ feet.  I look forward to seeing you here next week and hearing about your time with Him!

Okay, so earlier I promised you a freebie to download and print and here it is!

Sitting_at_Jesus_Feet_7_Days_An_Orderly_Household

Download this free printable here.

 

I certainly understand if you prefer not to download files from the internet, so there’s also a simple list at the bottom of the page for you to copy and paste.

Until next time!

~ Keep shining, Cindyeliora

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Eph. 1:18-19, NASB)

 

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet: The First 7 Days

Day 1:

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.  

You are a new creature, a new creation.  

Day 2:

Read John 1:1-14.  

You are a child of God.

Day 3:

Read John 15:1-17.  

You are a friend of God.

Day 4:

Read 1 John 1:1-10.  

You are forgiven.

Day 5:

Read Ephesians 2:1-13.  

You have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ.

Day 6:

Read John 3:1-17.  

You have eternal life.

Day 7:

Read Philippians 3:20.

You are a citizen of heaven.

 

 

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet: 5 Steps to Finding Time

For many of us, for many different reasons, it is a struggle just to crawl out of bed each morning and face another day.  So how are we supposed to find time to get to know Jesus?  Here are five steps I’m using to find it. Each step is represented below by one word and if you take the first letter of each word it creates an acronym that might make the steps easier to remember:

R-Ship – Resolve, Start, Habit, Importance, Plan

 

 

Resolve

This is simple (uncomplicated), although it may not be easy.  Resolving to do something means making a personal choice.  Our first step to finding time is to choose with resolve (firm determination) to make it a priority in our lives.

Start

I suggest we start simple and keep it short!  Allowing 10-15 minutes is a good start, so you’ll probably want to choose short passages, not whole chapters to study.  Our goal is to make this enjoyable, not a chore!  So, the second step to finding time is to just start doing it!

Speaking of starting, if you haven’t yet started a relationship with Jesus and want to know how I urge you to take just a few minutes right now to visit https://peacewithgod.net/.  I’ll wait right here!

So now, if you’ve just begun your new life in Jesus Christ, I would like to know about it and praise God with you!  Please leave a comment on this page (all your new sisters in Christ would be thrilled if you shared the news with them) or you can send me a personal email at cindyeliora@anorderlyhousehold.com.

Habit

Habits are really easy to do regularly, so why not make sitting at Jesus’ feet a habit?  I would first suggest creating a cozy place so this becomes a habit you look forward to developing. Select a comfy chair, pick out your favorite coffee mug, and maybe a soft cuddly blanket. Have fun with this!  Wherever your selected place is, you’ll want to keep some supplies within reach (a Bible, maybe a book of devotions, pen, and paper).  Make it a warm, inviting place.  A place you want to spend time.  This step is about encouraging ourselves to intentionally create a new habit.

Importance

Isn’t it easier to make something a priority when you know the importance of it?  Jesus said this about Mary:

“But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NASB)

Mary chose the important thing, the “good part.”  We know spending time learning about God’s word is important because Jesus said so! Also, our hearts have a desire for – and need – intimacy with God.  Sitting at His feet is important because we are enjoying that needed intimate fellowship.   

Focusing on the importance of this new habit we’re forming is another step in finding the time.

Plan

For me, it is critical that I plan ahead if I want to be successful at accomplishing something early in the day.  So, I put planning ahead as the next step in finding the time to sit at Jesus’ feet.  We need to actually schedule the time into our daily routine. I read recently that when we get control over our mornings, we tend to have more productive days.  I like that idea! You too? If first thing in the morning is not possible for you, experiment!  Try out different times of day to find the time that helps you feel most connected with God.  Here are some other times of day that might work better for you: after breakfast, at lunchtime, during kids’ nap time, after kids’ bedtime, right before your bedtime.  

Together let’s resolve to start creating a new habit, knowing the importance of it, and plan to sit at Jesus’ feet daily!  I know you might be thinking, “But I still really don’t know if I have time for this.”  

Okay, I get that.  So let me now confess that I have never been good about consistently giving God the first few minutes of each day (I’ve just not been a morning person most of my life), but I’ve recently felt a strong tug on my heart to seek Him first every day.  So this is what I have been doing for the past several days.  First, I prayed and asked God to help me to want to wake up to spend time with Him (so I don’t hit snooze and roll over and go back to sleep).  Then I added two additional alarms to my morning routine: one to start waking up, the second one to get out of bed for my time with Jesus.  Once my usual alarm goes off, I know it’s time to wrap up my study time and get ready for the rest of my day. That’s what’s been working for me and God has truly blessed me!  I’ve actually been waking up more easily and have been much better about spending time with Him daily for a couple of weeks now.  If I can do this with God’s help, I believe you can too!

If you are not already spending time with Jesus regularly, I urge you to set your alarm for just 15 minutes earlier along with me.  Let’s get up, splash our faces, grab a cup of coffee or tea and get into God’s Word.  If you’ve chosen a different time of day, that’s great, too! Let’s resolve to talk to Jesus daily in prayer, ask Him to speak to us through His Word, and finally, read for a few quiet minutes.  

It’s been said that if you repeat something for at least 21 days in a row it can become a habit.  Please join me as we make this a habit together!  If you’re already doing this, I would highly value your prayers for all of us trying to get more consistent and those just starting out, and please leave us an encouraging comment or suggestion!  

Next time you stop by we’ll talk about what we can do during our time at Jesus’ feet.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’re doing and if you’ve found R-Ship (Resolve, Start, Habit, Importance, Plan) to be helpful to you.  I thought up R-Ship with the help of the Holy Spirit and my hope is that God gets the glory for it.  Is there one thing you can do today to move toward finding the time to get to know Jesus better?  

~ Keep shining, Cindyeliora

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Eph. 1:18-19, NASB)