What’s In It For Me?

One of my colleagues and I had breakfast this morning as a sort of “last meeting,” and, somehow, I don’t remember how, our conversation led to how people treat each other in relationships—romantic or otherwise. We agreed that, in some cases, it seemed that people are only in things for themselves anymore, that it’s no longer about give and take but what someone can do for “me.” This leads perfectly into today’s Scripture.

While I didn’t post yesterday, the Scriptures from yesterday and today are directly connected. In fact, today’s directly follows yesterday’s. Interestingly enough, they connect to how we should treat others.

 

Romans 12: 1-8

“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what it is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he out to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Here, we are told that, like parts of our body, we are all important, but we all play different roles. The hand cannot do the same as the foot. (It’s “be the hands and feet of God” not “the hands or feet,” right?) Our service to God is to sacrifice ourselves to Him, whatever our gifts may be, so He can use them by His grace and for His good.

 

Romans 12:9-16

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

This passage is, in essence, teaching us how to follow Christ, how to be Christians. We are to love, we are to have hope, be patient, pray. We are to be hospitable, we are to celebrate but also grieve with others. We are not to think so highly of ourselves that we become all we see and not God.

 

The take away is…

These two Scriptures seem to say the same thing at least once. Look at Romans 12:3: “…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” Now, look at Romans 12:16: “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” The message here is simple: Do not think too highly of yourself; do not glorify yourself and your own mind and deeds; surround yourself with others who can help you stay humble.

I said my conversation with my colleague leads into these Scriptures, and it does. Here’s how.

Romans 12:1-8 tells us we all have a role to play in life and to submit to that role (“living sacrifice”). Romans 12:9-16 tells us we need to have compassion, be humble, be kind, and show brotherly (i.e. friendly) love to one another. As Christians, we cannot constantly go around asking “what’s in it for me?” when we bless someone else, or when we make a new connection, or when we partake in fellowship. Our actions have to be selfless, for the good of others, but, most importantly, for the glory of God.

Maybe some people have lost this concept and need to regain it. You totally can! It takes patience, practice, and, yes, prayer. But we must stop thinking we are the end-all-be-all of the world, that the world revolves around us. Because it doesn’t. There are much bigger things.

The part that speaks to me most here is Romans 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.” I mean…wow. I think this sticks out the most because of what my husband and I are going through right now. I can’t say that I love him, and that I am doing this for us, if that isn’t true. (It is! Believe me. But you see my point?) Because that’s not love, it’s selfishness. But when I let the truth reign, wonderful things can happen.

Maybe you just need reminding that God has a role for every one of us and that your role is wonderful too. Maybe you need to find your God-given gift. Maybe you even need a little reminder on how to act during those days when you just can’t possibly love that annoying person. That’s okay. Don’t get caught in your head. Turn to God. His opinion of you and His gift for you and His role for you are the only things that matter.

So, what’s in it for you? Nothing. Except knowing God has a purpose for your life and that every relationship you make can impact you in ways you can’t even imagine.

Strength Beyond Measure

A good friend of mine and I were discussing our financial situations. Although they are different in many ways, they also share similarities. The main similarity is simple, and you probably already guessed it: we need provision. She said something that stuck with me. She said she’s been asking God to provide, and she has a family member who would like to help, yet she feels bad for allowing this person to do so. In other words, she is seeking provision, but has her own idea of how she would like to accomplish that. What if this is God’s provision?

It’s similar to the joke she told me once about a man who is about to drown. He asks God to save him, and has faith He will, and each time a boat passes him and offers relief he responds, “God will save me.” After three rescue denials, the man dies. He asks God “Why didn’t you save me?” God responds, “I sent you three boats.”

Her and I have both been asking for provision in our lives, and we have been given the strength to hold on, but what if each of the scenarios we have encountered, her family offering help and my new job, are God’s way of saying “I am trying to provide for you.”

My point is God will wait for us to accept what He is giving. And this includes strength.

 

Isaiah 40:28-31

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Here’s the verse (verse 31) that is most powerful for me: “but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”

This Scripture is telling us that even though we, as humans, grow weary and are weak, God is never weary and he is always strong. In fact, this Scripture tells us that He will give us His strength.

 

Continuing to be Equipped

Today’s message in church continued our “Equipped” series, and our pastor talked through how God will not fail us, but we must allow Him to lead the way. The Scriptures used were Joshua 1:1-9, Romans 8:31-39, and 2 Peter 1: 5-9.

Joshua 1:9 tells us: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Romans 8:31 states: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” and verse 37 explains that “yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

2 Peter 1:1-9 talks about growing your faith in all regards because “if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is short-sighted…and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”

 

The take away is…

No matter what, God will equip us as we need for the journey ahead. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will give us His strength when we are weak because He never fails and is never tired. Because of this strength, we can do more than just survive and win the battle we face; we can overcome and prosper.

When we ask for the Lord’s help, we have to be willing to wait, but He can give us the strength needed to wait.

My friend and I have been waiting and wondering about our financial situations for some time. We have asked god for guidance, for provision, for answers. We have asked for strength to keep going when we don’t know what is next or, quite frankly, if we are going to make it.

But the thing is God has equipped us for this. He has provided answers, even if they are not answers in the way we wanted them. And that’s the key: God provides in His way, not ours.

Our pastor also said today that “power sought after is destructive, but power given is empowerment.” We cannot seek out our answers (or power) apart from God; we have to allow God to grant us those answers (or power) in the way He sees fit for our lives.

When we are at breaking point, we only need to ask God for His strength. But we have to be prepared for what He gives us. If we continue to grow our faith, we are rewarded beyond measure. Because, truly, if we allow God to lead, He will protect us. If He is for us, no one and no thing can be against us.

So, I ask you today: what do you need strength for? Ask God, and I guarantee, if you allow Him to take the lead, He will provide and protect.

Give thanks to the Lord!

Today’s Scripture seems pretty straight forward. So let’s dive in together.

 

1 Chronicles 16:8-24

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, O seed of Israel His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.”

As I said, I think this is pretty straight forward. God wants His people to praise Him, to glory Him, to know of all He does for them.

 

The take away is…

As His children, we need to always remember the wonderful and amazing things God has done. We should remember the works He has done, not just in the Bible but also in our own lives.

Was there something that happened that you just can’t explain? Maybe a sudden job offer. Or a good prognosis. Or a healing that was so needed. Well, that’s all God. He has done those things for you. And He doesn’t want you to forget. Not in a “you better not forget it!” kind of way your parent yells at you when they’re upset. In a “I care about you and I want you to remember the good things I have done for you.”

So even when times aren’t that great, and you’re struggling and aren’t sure what’s going on, remember the things God has done for you and praise Him for those things. Tell people what He has done so they can see Him in you.

What has He done for you that you need help remembering?

God Promises Renewal

Today’s Scripture has taken some thinking, and I am still not sure what God is saying through these words. Yes, I understand it is Him speaking in the context of the Bible and the individual text. But what is He trying to tell me now? I guess we can find out together.

 

Ezekiel 36:24-28

“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.”

God is speaking to His people. Let’s examine context. This Scripture is part of a section, in my Bible, titled The Renewal of Israel. God is telling Ezekiel that He was upset with the Israelites for “defiling” their land. His punishment was to scatter them across many lands and nations where they would be judged according to Him for what they had done. Now, He is telling them He will gather them again, for they have been judged, and He will bring them back to their land and make them clean.

 

The take away is…

I think the lesson here is that, even when God has judged us, or when we have fallen outside of His Will, He still cares for us. I mean, the Israelites “profaned” the name of God! They “defiled” the land He had given them! And yet, God continued to love them, and he showed that love by promising to cleanse them and return them to the land He had promised them. He renewed them. And He renews us too.

God has amazing things planned for us and amazing places He plans to take us. Even if we get off track, He still loves us, and He will always bring us back to where we need to be.

What promise have you let go of? What renewal do you need?

The Greatest Commandment is Love

Yesterday was…chaotic, in a word. Our family is having some struggles with this move, and it has led to many tense conversations and emotional breakdowns. My soul feels tired. But yesterday’s and today’s Scriptures have helped replenish me a little, and I am leaning on my Scripture writing for guidance and comfort.

So here is another entry that will talk about two Scriptures. Bear with me.

 

1 Peter 1:3-9

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

This Scripture tells that that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to give us hope. Through Christ’s resurrection, we are offered “a living hope,” one that is pure and cannot be contaminated or corrupted by this world because it is in Heaven. In other words, our hope is Christ in Heaven. It also tells us that our faith is a precious thing and, though it may be tested, we should still glorify, honor, and praise God because He sent Jesus for us. Lastly, it says that we love Him even though we do not see Him.

This, perhaps, is the strongest verse.

We believe in our souls in our God and in Christ, so we love Him. And that is faith—believing in something even if you cannot see it.

 

Mark 12:28-33

“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.””

Here, Jesus is telling us that what God views most important are two things: love Him with your whole being and to love others. The scribe responds that this is true, of course, but what is important is the last line: that those are “more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” In other words, it does not matter what offerings or sacrifices you give if you do not do it in love for God or love for others.

 

The take away is…

I am going to make a leap here to connect these two Scriptures, and I ask that you take the leap with me. 1 Peter 1:3-9 is telling us that Jesus Christ is our living hope and we should glorify God above all else, even in times when our faith is tested. Like it may be when we try to abide by the second most important commandment in Mark: love others. In Mark 12:28-33, Jesus tells the scribe that the first greatest commandment is to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and the second is to love others. It can be hard to glorify God when we are having difficulty loving others. (Let’s face it—we’ve all been there.) But we must.

We should love and glorify and honor God with our entire being, as Jesus commands, no matter what we are going through. Our faith may be tested with fire, but still we should love God as He commands.

I won’t lie to you: that can be hard. Heavens, that can be hard.

What about that time my grandfather became suddenly ill and passed away before I truly had a chance to say goodbye? I can tell you, I did not glorify God then. I was angry. How could He take this person from me, from my family?

What about that time my husband made a commitment that I didn’t fully understand and needed to know more about but he made it anyway? Did I glorify God? No. I cried, I yelled, I asked “why my marriage, God?” Did I “love others” in this instance? Probably not. I was mean spirited and I pushed my husband away.

And what about when my parents divorced? I didn’t glorify Him then.

But now I see the beauty in some things.

Does it still hurt that my grandfather is no longer here? Yes. But my faith tells me he is with his Heavenly Father, and what more glorious place to be than there.

I was angry for a while with my husband. Unrightly so. But God has blessed us through that decision. My husband has found his passion, his calling. He may not have otherwise. And I thank God for that. And, if it’s possible, I love him even more.

10 years later, does it still hurt that my parents divorced? Eh, yes and no. I’m over it at any rate. Old enough to know it isn’t my concern. But I am still blessed through that. How? My parents both still support me. They both still love me and care about me. My mom has gotten to do things in her career that she has always wanted to do. I get to visit more places. The dad-daughter time I have with my dad when I see him is that much more special.

My point is, we can be tested, but there is a blessing in everything, even if we don’t see it yet. That is faith—believing in something even if you cannot see it.

What do you need to have faith for? Maybe it’s a change of scenery or of a situation. Maybe it’s just that “things,” whatever they may be, work out. Maybe it’s that everything stays the same. Or maybe you need a push to love others because you have been hurt by something in the past. Whatever it may be, allow me to encourage you to never stop believing. The most important commandment is to love God and His people (“love your neighbor as yourself”) above all else.

So, today, practice love.

Be Equipped to be a New Creation

Today’s Word at church was the first part in a series, Equipped, about how God equips us for the plans He has for us. One of the things that stuck out to me the most was our pastor’s line: “Get intentional about being alone with God before you find yourself unintentionally alone without God.” It doesn’t matter what this looks like for you, but it is important that you do it. It’s the only way you will hear God clearly speak to your life. (I highly recommend the full sermon once it’s posted. Visit Covenant Church’s website: covenantchurch.org.)

It sounds strange, but in that moment, I realized that this Scripture Writing Plan I’ve embarked on, and the blogging about it, is my intentional time with God. I also realized that if I can hear Him during this small, 10 minute intentional time, then I am better equipped to hear Him when I speak those short prayers in a moment of fear, anxiety, or worry.

So let me share with you how today’s Scripture has equipped me.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputting their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Wow. There’s a lot there. Let’s break it down a bit.

First: if you believe in God, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are new. Your past is forgiven. In fact, it is gone. Your slate is wiped clean. You get to start over. How cool is that!?

Second: Everything comes from God. He has fixed the broken relationship between Himself and His people through His Son, Jesus Christ. He has assigned us, as Christians, to be His people, His “ambassadors” and spread the Word.

Third: God fixed that relationship by sending His Son, who “knew no sin,” to take the place of all of our sins in this world. Jesus died so that we may be free.

 

The take away here is…

Yesterday’s Scripture was about counting the things we have given up to follow Christ “as loss” because our God is so much better. It’s interesting that today’s Scripture is about becoming a new creation if you are “in Christ.” Why? Because if you believe, if you are a new creation, if you have pronounced Jesus as your Savior, you have given up something: the old you. So the old you can be “counted loss for Christ.”

Because how much better is it to be a new creation, to be seen as completely clean, in the eyes of the Lord than to hang on to whatever chains you had?

And this resonates a lot with me. As I’ve said before, I will not pretend to be “the perfect Christian” (and I don’t think there is such a thing, really), nor will I pretend to know everything there is to know about the Bible and the intentions therein. All I know is what I feel in my heart and what I feel God speaks to me through His Word.

I have spent a countless amount of mental energy thinking “looking back, I wish I hadn’t done that,” “what if this or that had happened?,” and, most dangerously, “how could God possibly love me?” Have you struggled with those kinds of questions? I can’t see a show of hands, but I’m guessing the answer is yes.

But you know what? When we accept God into our lives, and we declare Jesus as our Savior, our past no longer matters. Because we are new in His eyes. And of course He loves us. We are His children! He created us! We are the creation He desires most of all. And how absolutely astounding is that? That our great God would desire us above all else.

So if there is anything you are struggling with right now, just call to Him. Just cry out, “Lord, I need you.” He will show up. And He will make you new. I know because I’ve felt that newness wash over me before. Actually, a few times. It is an incredible feeling.

I encourage you: do not be haunted by your past. Let God re-create you so He can show you the great plans He has for you.

I count it all as loss…

As Christians, we hear a lot about counting things as loss for Christ. I never really understood what that meant until I read today’s Scripture.

 

Philippians 3:7-14

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Phew! That was a lot, huh? I know that seeing a lot can make it really daunting to uncover what God is trying to tell us. I am by no means perfect, and I do not pretend to know everything there is to know about Scripture. What I can tell you, though, is what I learned through today’s reading.

 

The take away is…

Pay special attention to the first three verses: “7But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him…”

I felt the message here was fairly simple. What things I thought were important to me, I have to let go of, or “count as loss,” for Christ. But those things I have “lost” are nothing in comparison to what I receive by giving it to Him. We must lose things to find Christ.

We must lose our expectations for our lives, our plans, our desires. Because it is all for Him and His glory, not ours.

In the last few months, I have experienced a lot of frustration. I was so frustrated that the goals I had for myself were not happening, that the jobs I really wanted I wasn’t getting an opportunity for. But when I let go of what I thought “the plan” was for me, when I calmed down and came to peace with our life as it is, when I became content, when I began to truly listen to God, amazing things happened. But I had to give up me.

So here’s my question for you: what do you need to “count as loss”?

Seeking Wisdom

Yesterday’s and today’s Scriptures made me think. I had to think hard about relevance, because far too often it’s easy to put your Bible down and stop reading (or writing) because you think “and what does this possibly have to do with me, here, now?” God always speaks to us in our current time and place. So I wanted to share with you how I have felt God has told me yesterday’s and today’s Scriptures connect and how they have been relevant for me.

 

Day 5, Psalm 90:12-17

Yesterday’s Scripture was Psalm 90:12-17. Much, if not all, of Psalms is devoted to singing the praises of the Lord, and 90:12-17 was no different.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Return, o Lord! How long? And have compassion on your servants. Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, the years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”

These verses ask God to grant us mercy so we may rejoice, even in times of difficulty, and to allow His people to see His works. Psalm 90:12 resonated with me the most: “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I felt this verse was simple to me: seek the Lord to gain wisdom. This Psalm was asking for God’s instruction in some ways and asking that He “show up” for us.

That is definitely a prayer I have prayed.

 

Day 6, Jeremiah 29:11-14

Today’s Scripture is one many church-going Christians probably know all too well. Or at least know some of. Jeremiah 29:11-14. This is where we gain the knowledge that God has plans for us.

“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. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”

This is a verse I hang on to in my heart, especially in times of disappointment. Like when I was getting rejections from jobs or not even getting interviews for jobs I applied for. This Scripture reminds me that He has a plan for me, and if something does not work out the way I originally wanted it to, then it probably isn’t part of His plan.

God loves us. He has never, and will never, not love us. But in order for us to know His plans, to see Him work, we must seek Him with all our hearts. This scripture is what has encouraged me to seek Him more.

 

The take away here is…

When I struggle with what this new job and the move means for my husband and I, I am reminded that God has plans to give us a future and to give us hope. Always. He would not place something in front of us, guide us somewhere, and forsake us. No. He will guide us, we will call upon Him, and He will work in our lives in ways we can hardly imagine.

These Scriptures seem to speak the same thing to me, though: seek Him to gain wisdom. Psalm 90:12 is very straight forward about that—“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 may not be, but I feel it is in there in the Lord telling us He has plans for us, that we should seek Him and He will listen. By seeking Him and understanding that He does have plans for us, we do gain wisdom. We gain wisdom in our faith, in Him, and in life. We learn that He is in control, not us. And by having the wisdom to relinquish our control, we open up the door for God to work.

I will not pretend I am an expert on wisdom, because I am not. I don’t always show wisdom in decisions, and I have often paid for that. But I am learning. By His grace, I am learning.

Maybe you have been trying to seek Him but you feel lost now. Discouraged. Don’t worry—you’re not alone. But I encourage you to continue to seek Him. Seek Him with all your heart.

Where do you need wisdom?

Psalm 98:1-9 : Praising God

It took me some time to decide to write about today’s Scripture because I was trying to think about how to connect it to what’s going on and to the news I have to share.

Today’s Scripture was Psalm 98:1-9: “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His hold arm have gained Him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a Psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it; let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples with equity.”

As you can see, this seems pretty long. But I hear God saying the same thing: “Rejoice. Give praise.” And I should, for everything. For me, what I learned here was straightforward: give praise to God, be joyful for Him.

And, believe me, I have plenty to be joyful for.

And that is why I said in the first two days of this that the Scriptures were so meaningful to me, because things are happening in my life.

Last month, as my husband and I were leaving for a relaxing vacation to Mexico for a week, I received an email with a job offer. After conversations of what this means, how this will work, how it will affect our relationship, how it impacts my husband’s career, and, of course, an official start date, I accepted the position. I start on January 30.

In 3 weeks, I (and our 3 animals) will be moving to Virginia. Without my husband. And I will be without him for about 6 months, possibly longer.

So what, you may ask, do I have to sing praises for?

The answer? Everything.

Yes, I will be away from my husband. And, yes, it’s going to be painful emotionally. I will miss him. But I am thankful that I have a husband who supports this career move for me. I am thankful that he knows what this means for me, for us, for our future. I am thankful for his strength and his faith.

I am thankful that I was offered a job so soon after receiving my master’s. In just 6 months. Many people wait much longer. I am thankful that an employer saw the potential in me that I know I have and am so eager to prove.

I am thankful that I have family who are willing to help me in any way they can as I embark on this adventure.

I am thankful for technology, which will make the distance between my husband and I that much easier.

So even through the difficulties, emotionally and financially, I will praise the Lord because nothing would be possible without Him. He has blessed me with what I have, and it all belongs to Him.

Today’s Scripture resonated with me a bit more than I thought it would when I initially wrote it down. And I hope it can make an impact in your life.

What should you sing praises for?

Sometimes understanding God’s Word is a struggle.

Day 3. Today’s verse was a little more difficult for me to understand, and I am praying that God will show me what I am to learn from it. As the title says, sometimes understanding God’s Word is a struggle.

So, here is today’s Scripture Writing. Ecclesiastes 3:11-15: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and noting take from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past.”

Maybe you can see why this one is confusing, why it didn’t speak to me quite like the verses of the past 2 days. In my New Spirit Filled Life Bible, the New King James Version, these verses are part of the section titled “The God-Given Task.” So, my take away is relatively simple: that God ordains our tasks in life, and that we have the right to enjoy the fruits of our labor, but that we must also rejoice because, in the end, it is God who has given us what we have.

I like verse 14 the best. “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it.” I think this is telling us that everything God has done in our lives will remain. No one can diminish the miracles or the blessings God has placed in our lives, and no human’s work can add to His work. Because He is God.

As I said, I am still struggling with this one, and I pray that God shows me what He desires me to learn from this passage. But I invite you to struggle with me. What do you think these verses are saying? Has God spoken to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.