Tag Archive | Scripture

A New Month, A New Topical Bible Reading Plan

For a couple years, I have been using the monthly topical Bible reading plans published by Rachel Wojo, and this month’s plan Perfect Peace: Planting My Eyes on Jesus is especially appropriate to where I’ve been walking in recent months. My desire is to do at least one blog post per week during June sharing some of the things I’m learning from this study. If anyone is interested in doing this study with me, here is Rachel’s June Bible reading plan.

In the midst of a time of trying to find answers to explain recent irregularities in my blood tests, walking in God’s peace has been a challenge. It’s been a daily battle not to give in to fear. Last July and again in February of this year, my alkaline phosphatase levels have been elevated. My doctor suspected this was due to a new bone problem, so she ordered a full body bone scan with contrast. The test revealed no new bone disease that would explain the lab results.

Then, she felt the next most probable problem was disease or obstruction in the liver or pancreas. So I had a barium and IV contrast CT-scan done of my liver and pancreas done last Friday. This was especially scary, because my doctor had mentioned the possibility of cancer. But again, I was given a clear report of health from this test. This was a huge relief, but at this point we still do not know what is behind the elevated levels.

Next Friday, I’ll be taking the next step in the diagnostic process, an appointment with my gastroenterologist to discuss the results of the CT-scan in more detail and to schedule a colonoscopy. And the following Friday, I’m scheduled for a bone density test, which my doctor said is due and should be done to rule out the one other possible area of trouble with my bones.

Unlike most of the health issues I’ve faced in the past, this new one isn’t causing any outward problems. But there has been a battle – a spiritual battle in my mind against fear. So this month’s topical study on the peace we find in God’s presence is especially fitting.

Day 1: Psalm 29:1-11 (I’m using ESV throughout this study unless otherwise noted)

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” Psalms‬ ‭29:3-4

‭‭The voice of the Lord – and His very presence – is above the waters that threaten our lives. This reminds me of the first part of Isaiah 43:2.

“When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…”

Psalm 29 ends with these words. They are a great reminder that God is still on His throne, that He has been and continues to be in charge.

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” Psalm ‭29:10-11‬ ‭

Father, today I remind myself that these latest health problems I’m facing haven’t taken You by surprise. You are above these choppy waters I’m going through, still reigning on Your throne of grace and love. Thank You for a doctor who won’t let this go until she rules out all of the major issues that could be causing this irregularity in my blood work. Thank You that the two most likely and most serious problems have now been ruled out. Continue to teach me how to take hold of Your peace and rest in You as I walk through this storm in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

When We Face Circumstances Beyond Our Control

All of us know what it is to feel overwhelmed by things that are happening in our lives over which we have no control. I was there yesterday, from some relatively simple circumstances that caused me to feel out of control.

It was time to file the quarterly sales tax report for my husband’s video production and editing business, a task this month that simply involved paperwork since during this quarter all of our projects were for tax exempt organizations. No big thing. A simple matter of logging onto Quickbooks, running off the income report for the past three months, then filling in the report and sending it.

Simple, and not a problem to fit it in my already busy day. I thought. Not so. Thanks to Microsoft’s recent Windows 10 update on my computer that has a very annoying feature of running updates whenever it wants to do so.

I had logged into Quickbooks, loaded the needed report, and was about to print it so I could file the sales tax report when Windows locked up Quickbooks and started uploading updates. Over three hours later, I finished a project that should have taken fifteen or twenty minutes at the most.

Situations that cause us to feel out of control, whether a relatively minor one such as the one I faced yesterday or a major problem for which we have no solution without God’s help, can cause us to feel frustrated and overwhelmed and make unwise choices. Yesterday, I dealt with the frustration I was feeling by setting aside the diet boundaries I’ve been using to lose some weight and comforted myself with some cookies. Only a small detour from one of my goals for 2018, but not one I wanted to repeat.

So I took some time this morning to prepare my heart so I wouldn’t repeat the poor choices I made yesterday. I knew the proper response in such a situation was to turn to the One who is in control, to the Lord, and receive His help and strength. In the process, I came across the following list of Bible verses from one of my favorite bloggers, Rachel Wojo, which I found helpful to meditate on when we feel frustrated and overwhelmed with circumstances beyond our control. I invite you to join me in using these verses to help you respond with wisdom to the next overwhelming situation you face.


Dealing with our Doubts

This is a post for Tuesday at Ten, the weekly blog link-up where you have six days to post a blog using the prompt word or phrase that Karen gives us. This week’s prompt word is DOUBT.

As I began to do some research for this blog post, I was surprised to learn that doubt and unbelief aren’t synonyms. Doubt is a response of the mind that causes us to feel perplexed and waver in our faith. But unbelief is a choice of the will to not believe what God says about His Word, His works, His worth (character), His ways, and His will.

Or as Mike Hubbard, Pastor of Genesis Church in Eureka, Missouri says: “Doubt is the reality that we have questions, and those questions are deep and difficult to answer. Yet, with that doubt, when we say, “Even in the midst of this, I will choose to trust you,” God will use the doubt to drive faith deep. Unbelief on the other hand comes when a person takes the issues of doubt and adds to them a hardness of heart that refuses to struggle with God to find the answers. An attitude of unbelief is looking for reasons not to believe the claims of the Gospel and the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. A heart of doubt will keep seeking hoping that God will reveal himself.”

One of the best quotes I found that differentiates doubt and unbelief was from Os Guiness, a British author and social critic who was born in China. He said: “When you believe, you are in one mind and accept something as true. Unbelief is to be of one mind and reject that something is true. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at the same time, and so to be in “two minds.” That is what James calls, in Chapter 1, a ‘”double minded man,” or as the Chinese say, “Doubt is standing in two boats, with one foot in each.”

Even Billy Graham, one of the best known preachers in America admits that he has had doubts, “Doubts are a normal part of life. We doubt things on earth, so it’s easy to doubt things of God.”  James makes it clear that doubts will keep us from receiving from the Lord, so the issue isn’t whether we will have them but rather what we will do with them when they come.

How to Handle our Doubts

  • In the midst of doubts, make the decision to trust God. This builds the foundation upon which restored faith can be built.
  • Recognize that many (but not all) doubts are planted in our minds by Satan. As James says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”(‭James‬ ‭4:7-8a‬ ‭NIV)
  • Next, talk to Jesus about your doubts. Even John the Baptist needed to do this when he was thrown in a dungeon and he couldn’t understand how this fit into God’s calling for his life. (See Luke 7:20 – 23) Jesus did not condemn John; He simply reminder him of his calling using some Old Testament Scriptures John was very familiar with.
  • As Jesus reminded John of Scripture, our next step should be to turn to God’s Word, with expectancy that He will speak to you.
  • If one or two verses stand out to you, meditate on them, increasing your understanding. The Internet has some helpful tools to help with this: Bible Gateway, Bible Hub, and the Blue Letter Bible are just a few of the websites that I’ve found helpful in uncovering the meaning of a verse. These all are available as apps and websites.
  • Finally, I recommend choosing one verse that particularly fits the area you are struggling with and memorizing it. By doing this, God’s Word will be stored in your heart for when the enemy comes to attack.  One of the best tools I’ve found for memorizing Scripture is Scripture Typer, available as an app or a website. It not only helps me learn a verse, but it also sets up an automatic review schedule that helps me truly keep verses available when I need them.