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As we celebrate Independence Day this week, let’s also be diligent to pray and seek God’s mercy and blessing for this great nation. My prayer for America is that we will return to our roots founded in the Bible. Daniel Webster, in his address delivered at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1843, said:
To the free and universal reading of the Bible… men are much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is a book… which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.
I believe America will return to strength, when it returns to believing, accepting and obeying the principles in God’s Word. The truths of the Bible are timeless.
- The Bible reminds us that God is our creator and that every human life is valuable.
- The Bible teaches us the attributes of God.
- The Bible teaches us how to live and how to interact with others.
- The Bible teaches us about our sin and about God’s mercy and redemption.
So here’s my prayer:
Father, we praise You because You are good, You are love and You are holy. Forgive us for we have strayed from Your Word and Your commands. Forgive us because we have placed our heart’s affection on the things of this world rather than the One who created it. We have forgotten your ways and replaced them with our own ways. We have lost our understanding of You because we have failed to read Your Word. Revive us Lord! Bring us back to You and draw us back to Your Word. Heal our land and have mercy on us. Restore us and bless us, so that we may once again be a nation shining brightly for You, one nation under God.
#ReturnToTheBible It begins with us. Take time to get to know the Bible. Don’t depend on someone else to tell you what it says – read it for yourself.
4 Tips for More Peace and Less Stress
Need a little calm in your life? Between the gazillion emails hanging over your head or the crazy amount of activities in your life or the unexpected daily challenges and distractions, perhaps a little peace sounds like a good thing. Although we may not be able to change our circumstances, we can learn to experience calm despite the chaos. Here are four ways to decrease the tension and increase the peace.
Walk and Talk: A simple walk can do wonders for your perspective. Not only does exercise increase the endorphins (one of the happy hormones in the brain), but you can also benefit from enjoying God’s great creation. Sunshine and nature have a calming effect on our emotions, and help us relax physically. As you walk, talk (not aloud of course) with the Lord and praise Him for His many attributes. In the Old Testament we read about Enoch who walked with God. When we praise the Creator of all things, a deep delight wells up in us and replaces the anxieties, worries or fears that may be rumbling around in our minds. Praising God is an exercise of rejoicing in who He is, and reminding ourselves that our great and loving Heavenly Father is bigger than our cares.
Guard your Mind: Often our thought-life robs us of experiencing peace. Despair, worry, bitterness and anger can plague our minds if we let them. But we don’t have to be a slave to our thoughts. We decide what we will dwell on, and we have the ability to change our focus. The Bible reminds us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Recognize when you are allowing negative thought patterns to creep in and make a decision that you are not going to continue to replay those tapes.
Fill Up with Truth: If we turn our minds away from hopelessness, then we need to fill our minds with something positive. Paul told the Philippians to think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable. Nothing brings more calm and peace to my mind than reading the Bible. Scripture reminds us of a powerful God who loves and cares for us. For me personally, there are certain passages that I have memorized (Psalm 23, 103, 121), and they have become a refreshment to my soul when I review them. Isaiah reminds us, “He will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are stayed on Him.” Open up your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to nourish your hungry soul. You will be amazed at the peace and strength you find in His living Word.
Surrender: What are you holding onto with clenched fists? Are you willing to pry your hands off of it and surrender your cares, your will or your attitude over to the Lord? You are not surrendering your heart and your cares into oblivion or nothingness, rather you are surrendering your cares to Almighty God whose unfailing love for you can never be quenched. Recently, I ran across an interesting term that seems to illustrate what I’m trying to say. It is an equestrian term – the German word, Losgelassenheit. This term is not easily translated into English, yet it is rich with meaning and motion. “When a horse is losgelassen, he is working but without tension, active without tightness, enthusiastic without evasiveness, he allows his energy to be shaped by his rider without offering resistance. He is lively, yet submissive.” (TrainingTree.net/Losgelassenheit)
Author Martha Beck calls this motion “a joyful and fluid dance” in which the horse is completely relaxed and trusts his rider. The rider (or master), on the other hand must be experienced, caring and observant. Isn’t this a beautiful picture of our relationship with our Father, who knows us, loves us and cares for us? We can work without tension, as we allow our lives to be shaped and directed by our Father. When we realize that we are not running the show, but that we can trust the one who is, there is a sense of peace and joy that consumes us as we move through the daily chaos. Take a moment right now to surrender your heart, your will and your cares to Him and invite Him to lead you, guide you and comfort you. Always remember the same Spirit that brought order from chaos in creation, is the Spirit who lives within you.
If you want to get to know your Bible better, read Becoming a Woman of the Word.
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The beauty of the Texas hill country never grows old to me. No matter how many times I enjoy this picturesque scene, the view always renews my spirit. Just as nature seems to refresh my spirit, so God’s Word refreshes my soul. I never grow tired of it! How about you? Are you finding daily refreshment for your soul as you read the Bible?
Remember you are not alone as you take in God’s Word. God has given us His Spirit to lead us into all truth, so begin reading the Bible by seeking His guidance. Invite His Spirit to be your teacher and open your eyes to new truths. Spiritual truth must be spiritually discerned, and we need God’s Spirit to lead us. I like how author Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote about the importance of encountering God’s Word with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit:
“We must refuse to deal with the written Word without the quickening Spirit. Let us never take Scripture into our hand, mind, or mouth without realizing the need and the promise of the Spirit. First in a quiet act of worship, look to God to give and renew the working of His Spirit within you. Then, in a quiet act of faith, yield yourself to the power that dwells in you. Then wait on Him so that not only the mind, but the life in you, may be opened to receive the Word. The words of Christ are indeed Spirit and life.”
Murray added this prayer:
“Lord God, I thank You again for the wonderful gift of the indwelling Spirit. Father, give me the Spirit of wisdom. May I know how deeply spiritual each word of Yours is, and may I know that spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned. Teach me in all my contact with Your Word to deny the flesh and the fleshly mind and to wait in deep humility and faith for the inward working of the Spirit to quicken the Word. May my meditation on Your Word, my keeping of it in faith and obedience, be in Spirit and in truth, in life and in power. Amen.[i]”
Join me in growing deeper and getting to know God’s Word. Becoming a Woman of the Word will be an encouragement and help. Click here for more info.
[i] Andrew Murray, The Spirit of Christ (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1984), pp. 78-80.