Write the Word-May

Hello dear ones!

Still writing? Many have expressed a desire to finish the year strong. Well here you are—a list of suggested scriptures for the month of May! Like always, use them as you see fit. Allow God’s Word to permeate your soul. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

Happy writing,
Your friend in the journey,
Sparrow

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Mission Accomplished

I sent three students on a mission to deliver some treats to a buddy classroom.  Twenty minutes later, they had not returned. After finding another teacher to watch my class, I went searching for the three missing students. As I passed the playground, I saw that the class I had sent my students to were at an early recess. I frantically asked the teacher had she seen my students, who were now, in my mind, missing. She said no, but also let me know that they had been outside for about 25 minutes. That said, I ran up to the other teacher’s classroom only to find my three sitting outside her door, patiently waiting for them to return. I was less than pleased, but glad that they were okay. I asked them “why didn’t you just come back?” One little darling answered “we didn’t want to come back until we finished the job.”

After breathing a sigh of relief because I hadn’t lost someone’s children, I began to reflect on a passage of scripture from Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Precipitation such as rain and snow follow cyclical pattern. When it falls from the sky it doesn’t evaporate until it waters the earth to bring forth growth so that the cycle of sowing and reaping may continue. The rain and snow does its job. It causes the ground and all forms of vegetation to prosper.

More beneficial than the rainfall are the Words of God. It goes forth from the mouth of God for purpose. Every Word spoken has a purpose; a mission for which it has been sent. The powerful Word cannot return empty without accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent. The Word sent forth will accomplish whatever the Lord pleases. Don’t be confused, the Word accomplishes what He wants, not always what we want. Dear friend, this is where trust comes in. We can trust God because He is trustworthy. He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). We can trust God because He knows what’s best for our lives (Isaiah 55:9). We can trust God because He is working—He is present and actively orchestrating things in our lives to produce good results (Romans 8:28).

Not only do God’s Words produce results, but it will cause us to prosper! Again, this is a matter of trusting God’s will and His ways. Prosperity is not only a matter of material and financial gain, but also of spiritual prosperity where we grow from faith to faith and from glory to glory.  When we grow and move forward in the things of God, we are prospering.

Stake your confidence in the Word of God! Hold on to its promises and apply its precepts. It is powerful and effective, producing great results in our lives. Like my sweet little students, God’s Word will not return without accomplishing its purposes.

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Learning to Stand Still

Learning to stand still may seem like an odd thing to learn. It takes little effort; just do it, right? Wrong! Learning to stand still is difficult for many. Take my second grade class, for instance! I don’t mean a physical posture, but rather a heart posture. One that disavows human effort and stakes it’s hope on the power and ability of God.

In the 14th chapter of Exodus we see the people of God being pursued by Pharoah and his army. They found themselves standing between the Pharaoh’s army and a sea in front of them. At that point, they began to complain. They expressed their regret, they expressed their anger, they expressed their frustration, and they expressed their fears. Then Moses answered,“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14

Moses told them first, do not fear. Fear is an overwhelming emotion. Sometimes fear makes you run. You want to retreat or remove yourself from the situation. Other times fear makes you fight. Like a bear backed into a corner, you feel like the only thing to do is come out fighting. Rarely does fear make you stand still.

But that is exactly what Moses told the people to do next, stand still. Standing still involves planting your feet firmly.

God has given us something to stand on—something on which we can plant our feet.

We can stand in faith
We can stand in hope
We can stand in trust
We can stand on the Word

It’s difficult in uncertain circumstances, but we must be still!

Don’t sway! Don’t allow the things that come make you sway back and forth or side to side. Stand firm and trust God.  James tells us that a double minded person is unstable in every way. (James 1:8) Don’t allow your circumstances to make you waver.

Don’t lean! Don’t allow impatience or self-reliance cause you to take steps or make decision apart from God’s will. Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”.  

Moses then tells the people, “The Lord will fight for you, just hold your peace.” It maybe even more difficult to be silent than it is to be still. Oftentimes we don’t know what to do, but if you are anything like me, I always have something to say! It’s usually the wrong thing. Complaints, negativity, and doubt fills my mouth, then my heart, until it filters to my actions. In times of trouble, it is important that we speak God’s Word into the situation or be silent. Your words will fail, but His Words lead to victory.

King Jehoshaphat faced a similar situation (2 Chronicles 20). Nearby enemies had come together in attempts to defeat Judah. Jehoshaphat prayed. He was honest, “I don’t know what to do; but Lord my eyes are fixed on You” (v.12). He admonished the people not to fear or be alarmed, because, “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v.15). King Jehoshaphat had to give a command to trust, just like Moses did; “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17.

There’s the command—Stand still! It can be difficult, it can feel counterproductive, but we must learn to stand still. Sometimes we stand between the enemies taunts and what seemed impossible. We want to react, we want to fight, we want to run, but God says stand still. Plant your feet firmly on the Word of God, and watch Him fight for you! FE870A96-4D50-4E34-AA15-D89198FCAAD6

Comfort and Life

57BE2A23-2339-4EEE-A715-94F527AF62B9The 119 Psalm is the longest chapter in the Bible and it’s all about the Word of God. Whether referred to as the law, the statutes, judgements, testimonies or precepts, the focus is the same. The author of this Psalm (whom many believe was David) reveals the importance of the Word of God. It brings liberty. It guides our way. It helps us walk in wisdom and in prudence.

Psalm 119 holds many precious gems. Among them is one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. The Psalmist testifies of a beautiful aspect of God’s Word; it brings comfort and strength.

The psalmist was no stranger to affliction. It is evident that he had experienced much hardship, but over and over he finds comfort in the Word of God. Notice what is said here, IN my affliction—While I’m yet in the thick of it! In the middle of a messy divorce; during a battle with an illness: in the midst of loneliness and depression; amid a financial crisis or legal drama; while fighting for your family and friends, The Word will comfort you. The Message Bible paraphrases it this way, “These words hold me up in bad times”.

The Word, like a faithful friend, gives us a place to lean on. It is a place where we can firmly plant our feet and ride out the fiercest storms. I’m not just referring to the lifeless words of a natural man or woman, but the Author of life gives us hope producing promises that we can hang our hat on.

His Word gives us life. It rejuvenates and refreshes us. It revives and even refocuses us. An elderly church mother would say, it gives us the strength to “run on a little while longer”. The Word breathes a fresh prospective into dry and hard places.

This is why being absorbed in His Word is so important! Read it, speak it, WRITE IT, listen to it. Breathe it in, inhale it and exhale it! It’s the life giving comfort you need.

Are you experiencing the comfort of the Word of God? Allow me to share some life giving promises that have held me up in bad times.

Loneliness- Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Joy- When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

Healing- Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Lack- And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Hope- 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. Jeremiah 29:11

Heartbreak- The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

All occasions- Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

 

Combating Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Paul’s words present a challenge for me. “Do not be anxious . . . about anything?” This seems like an impossible task. The truth of the matter is anxiety sometimes creeps in when I’m unaware. Worry consumes me when I least expect it and causes me to move ahead of God’s timing. Worry is something that hampers our expectations and hinders our forward movement. So how do we avoid it? Three words— prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. We can combat anxiety head-on when we employ these precious gifts which are always at our disposal.

By prayer . . . Prayer is a beautiful gift that we possess. We have the ability to “come boldly to the throne of grace and find help in our time of need” (Hebrew 4:16). This is how anxiety is kept at bay; The One who sits on the throne extends grace to us when we need it. We come in confidence that we will not receive chiding or rejection, but we will get the help we need. Prayer is the sweetest form of communication between a Father and His children. This two-way communication does not always involve asking, but should also include worship and praise given to The Father and times of listening to receive divine direction. Paul includes a Word about prayer as he ends his description about the Armor of God. He did not name prayer as a piece of armor, but did relay the importance of this very powerful, effective weapon. (Ephesians 6:18)

And supplication. . .Supplication speaks of persistent prayer. We are admonished in scripture to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) this does not mean non-stop as in always talking, but a persistent, recurring petition before the Lord. There are times when we need to persistently petition the Lord. This is not because He doesn’t hear, or because He wants us to beg. Jesus told the disciples to always pray and do not lose heart. He went on to tell a parable of the widow and the unjust judge. The widow came to the judge demanding justice. The judge initially disregarded the woman. This didn’t stop or deter her; she came continually with the same request. Eventually, the widow wore down the judge! That’s some persistence. The difference is, though, this judge did not care about the woman. We, however have a Judge who also advocates for us. We have One who sees the injustices we face and comes to rescue (see Luke 18:1-8). Matthew 7:7-8, in its truest translation tells us to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking, because we will receive.

With thanksgiving. . .It may seem crazy to be thankful in the midst of anxiety, but it is so worth it to do so. Not only that, but it is God’s will for you! In everything give thanks, no matter what the situation, give thanks. You have something to be thankful for. Look around! Little things, big things, or no “thing” at all—friends, family, health, employment, love, joy, shelter, laughter, hope, adventure, rest. Take a look at the list again. If you can’t find anything on it that you are thankful for, thank God for life! (I know you are alive if you are still reading). When you begin to thank God for what you have, it takes your attention away from what you don’t have, from those things that steal our joy and bring anxiety.

Don’t allow prayer, supplication and thanksgiving to be your last resort. Instead, let it be a first response in anxiety producing situations. When things surface that threaten your peace, pray, petition the Lord with your request and thank Him for working in your behalf! It’s then when God’s peace will reign in your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).

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Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

He Sustains Me

144B3E66-2363-4970-A8B5-06FCF1B14877Too often we try to do the work of “keeping it together” on our own. We try to juggle all the balls in the air—day to day schedules and routines, relationships, commitments, personal desires, plus that unexpected circumstance that threatens to topple the whole thing. At any given point, we can become overwhelmed, feeling simple inadequate and unable to shoulder the burdens of life. Not to worry! You were not designed to bear that weight alone. Psalms 55:22 is a sweet reminder of a truth we should hold on to: Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. (NIV)

You can lay all your cares on the Lord—“the good, the bad, and the ugly”— knowing that He will sustain you. He will both strengthen and support you. He gives us strength to endure what we face and He holds us together as we face it.

There’s an old song that says:

God has a way that’s mighty sweet.
I’m gonna lay my burdens down at His feet.
He knows the road,
He’ll carry your load.
God has a way that’s mighty sweet.

There is a sweet relief in knowing that it is His loving nature to carry our burdens simply because He cares so deeply for us. (1 Peter 5:7). He knows the road both behind us and ahead of us. He knows what we’ve endured and what we have yet to face. He invites us to give Him everything that has the potential to oppress, devastate, or defeat us. And in exchange He promises rest. (Matthew 11:28-29). You see, He doesn’t just carry our burden, but He will carry us! He will not allow us to be so shaken that it all falls apart. This is true even when it seems that it has already fallen apart, we can look with the eyes of the Spirit and see that God so masterfully holds it all together. He will not let you fall!

Father, thank You for sustaining me. I acknowledge that it is You, Who keeps me together. When I feel overwhelmed allow me to know that You hold me up and support me with Your unfailing love. Let me rest in Your sustaining power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

Blessings,

Sparrow