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Deep Thoughts on Coloring Pages

I am not a creative person. There are probably several people reading this right now who would disagree with that statement but I know a crafty person when I see one and I am definitely NOT one of them. You know those people that look at something on Pinterest and actually MAKE it?! I don’t have those skills unless someone is holding my hand every step of the way.

However, with the ability to read mysteriously gone for now, I’ve had to get a little creative with my devotions and they have taken a mildly crafty turn. I’ve been using coloring books. Yup, you read that right. The person who loves a good theology book is using coloring books for her devotion time. Ironic, no? I’m sure you’ve seen them- the “Adult” coloring books that are supposed to help you relax (unless you are Type A) and these ones have Bible verses on them. So I color a page and meditate on the verse while doing so. It usually takes me at least two days per page because of the detail.

The other day, I finished up this page:

img-5513.jpgAs I looked over the completed page, I chuckled to myself about how much time I had spent on that border versus the words. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a lot of times, that is exactly what we do with the gospel. The gospel is so simple that a child is able to understand it but we try to crowd it with extra stuff sometimes and spend way more time on that when we should just be focused on Christ.

You can find other analogies too. What if that center box represents Scripture and the border is everything else in your life. What do you spend more time and energy on? What is your focus on? Do you allow the busyness of life to crowd out your time spent with the Lord or is it the other way around?

All that to say, I guess you can learn stuff from crafts. Well, I don’t really think I learned it from the coloring book… ūüôā

 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Devotions

 

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When Dreams Fall

I always thought that dreams had to be something big. Like a dream job, how you want to change the world, or the perfect marriage. But I’ve recently learned that dreams can come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t always have to be something life-altering. Sometimes, a dream can be something that is small but important to you. Actually, I think that is really the key: importance.

How did I come to this conclusion? Hmmm…when I first tried to understand the idea of not working for a while and needing to rest, I hated the thought. Mostly, because I am not very good at resting. I like to be doing stuff and I like to be working so the idea of giving that up frustrated me. But suddenly a wonderful thought popped into my head and slowly a dream started to form. I started to envision all this time that I would have to study God’s Word and do my devotions. I thought about quiet time without time restraints and unlimited hours to read great books and really get closer with the Lord. And I got a little excited. I ordered a few new books and stared at them, waiting for the time to come where I would finally have time to read them.

And the time has come. Do you know what? I can’t read. This has happened before, right when I first started having seizures, but I find myself really unable to read for any length of time. My eyes jump from line to line and the amount of focus it takes to read is so incredible that my head starts to pound and I get worn out very quickly. Everyone tells me to get audio books but I am the worst auditory learner IN. THE. WORLD. It’s like background noise and I just tone it out. (I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m crazy but maybe you don’t like reading at all so picture something else. ūüôā )

In my disappointment, my heart and mind cry out “Lord! How can this be good?! How can it be good for me to not be able to read your Word? I don’t understand!”

And you know what? I will honestly say that I don’t know the answer to that question. But I know that I don’t need to know all the answers and I can also honestly say with Job, “The¬†Lord¬†gave, and the¬†Lord¬†has taken away; blessed be the name of the¬†Lord.‚ÄĚ I read this simple quote the other day and I feel like I should write it down and put it up all over my apartment so I don’t forget it! It said, “And if not, He is still good” Just let that sink in. You can put whatever thoughts you want in there and it won’t matter:

He. is. still. good.

What a beautiful thing to rest in.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2017 in contentment

 

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A Buffet Line

Buffet restaurants are my favorites and I also dislike them. Ha! They are my favorites because I don’t have to decide and order and there are tons of options but I don’t like them because I usually only eat one plate of food so I don’t really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of the whole deal. But still, tell me you are going to Golden Corral and I’ll be all in.

As I was doing my devotions this morning, it hit me that sometimes we treat God’s Word like a buffet line. Like there are tons of options and we get to pick what we want. There is a particular reason that this thought came to me today. Right now I am memorizing 1 Peter 2 and I’m also studying 1 Peter which is pretty handy. As I was working on memorizing this morning, it occurred to me that there is one very¬†popular verse (actually partial verse) in the section I was working on, but all the verses around it are often left out. Look:

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,¬†or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.¬†For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.¬†Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.¬†Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:13-17

So if you just read over that, maybe you found the verse I’m talking about: “Live as people who are free..”¬†Everyone loves that verse. You see it on t-shirts and mugs, and you often hear sermons preached on it. People love freedom. But do they enjoy the part that says not to use your freedom as a cover-up for evil? Do they like the verses above it and below it that tell them to honor the emperor or in our case, president? Ouch. Threw that one in there, didn’t I?

Let me travel a little further along the lines of verse 13. It says to be subject or rather, be obedient to the government, right? Now this is assuming that the government is not telling you to do something against God’s Word. Can I bring up a touchy issue? Oh good. I was going to anyway. When I purchased a gun a while back, I had numerous of my believing friends tell me that I needed to get two of them. Very confused, I would ask why I needed to have two and the response was always the same. So that when guns are outlawed and the government comes to take them, you can give one and keep the other but it looks like you have given yours.

Besides the obvious deceit in this action (which would go against the first verse in 1 Peter 2), can someone point me to a verse in the Bible where God grants us the right to own a gun? I can’t think of any verses but I can think of several that tell us to obey those in authority over us because God has placed them there. I can point to a verse that tell us to be subject for the Lord’s sake to our government.

Perhaps you are one of those people that I talked to and maybe you are upset with me right now. I would love to have a good conversation with you and hear your side of things. I’m not trying to be better than anyone here but I am trying to honestly evaluate what God has told us in his Word. And I am trying to live by it.

Because as much as I love buffets, his Word isn’t optional.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Devotions

 

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Stop Reading the Bible

Someone in my life recently challenged me to stop reading the Bible. So I did. About two weeks ago. Hang on; before you grab your copy of God’s Word and come smack me over the head with it, hear me out.

For probably 5-6 years running, I did the Read-Through-the-Bible-in-a-Year thing. I love plans and things that are organized, so it was great. You do your reading for the day and put a nice little check mark beside the line and Bam! you are good to go! Devotions done! And at the end of the year, you feel really accomplished because you have finished the whole Bible! Tada!

But let me ask you something. Have you ever been reading the Bible (or any book, for that matter) and you read a chapter and then realize you have NO IDEA what you just read? You read every word on the page but wouldn’t be able to tell the person sitting next to you what it was about. Yeah, me too. I’m not sure how that¬†happens but it does.

So now let me tell you the second part of what my friend said to me. What he actually said was, “Stop reading the Bible. Start meditating on it.”

There are quite a few passages in the Bible that talk about meditating on God’s Word. The most convicting one for me being Joshua 1:8:

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

What would our lives look like if we actually meditated on Scripture instead of just reading it? If we kept it in our minds day and night? It reminds me of how the Israelites were commanded to keep God’s law before their eyes and hearts all the time:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.¬†You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.¬†You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.¬†You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:6-9

I think when we start to meditate on Scripture is when the above passage becomes a reality in our lives. It becomes a normal thing to speak of God and his Word instead of it being something that we do at church. His Word permeates our lives and hearts and we are filled with him.

So my devotions have changed. Instead of reading whole chapters a day, I’ve starting reading a couple verses, sometimes even just one (you do have to keep context in mind.) And I meditate on it. I read it over and over and I pray over that verse. Depending on the verse, I might pray for God to make it a reality in my life or in the lives of my friends and those I love. I pray for God to make his Word clear to me and to keep me in it always. I’m getting so much more out of my devotions now. I find myself thinking about Scripture way more often than I used to.

So my challenge for you also then is this: will you stop reading the Bible?

 

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Devotions

 

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