Monday, March 5, 2012

Psalm 107-- This Is So Encouraging and Insightful.

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

107 Oh give thanks to the Lordfor he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
     and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33 He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
     a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.
39 When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
    and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad,
    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Women Get Real: Staying Pure In A Tainted World

Queen Esther. What do you think of when you read that name? What do you think of when you read the word Purim. Do you know it's significance?  It's a special time of year.  A time to remember a majestic story, a story of the deliverance.  Purim has to do with the story of Queen Esther of the Persian Empire, the deliverance of the Jewish people from annihilation. In the Bible, there is the book of Esther that tells the whole story.  Real briefly I will say, Esther was a Jewish girl who became the queen of Persia. She is described as one who was set apart, different from the other women who were in contest to win the affections/the heart of the king.

Esther's great integrity, her purity, her honesty, her grace, her strength, her passion for honoring her God (the one true God) far above herself and her own desires is a GREAT example we need to look into more deeply on our own personal time.  And since it's getting to be that time of year when millions of people around the world take time out to remember Purim, it reminds to me to bring up a topic that relates. Staying pure in a tainted world. If you are able, take about ten minutes or less to read the story of Esther in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is a very powerful story.

Some of you might say, 'yeah, well, I'm gonna check out of reading this post. It's not something I can relate too. I'm already not pure and already tainted. What's the point, Becky?'  There is SO much of a point, dear friend.  Each day, God brings us NEW MERCIES........a second chance to exist for His glory and not our own.

Lamentations 3:22-25
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your [God's] faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion", says my soul, 
"therefore I will hope in him."

We need to confess whatever sin keeps blocking us from living for Jesus--for God's glory and His renown, repent (turn away from sin and turn to Christ) and keep living lives that are pure, just, and set apart---it so happens that Jesus Christ is all three of those things. So, think of it as walking toward Him in surrender and worship of His supremacy, His forgiveness, His sacrifice, His unchanging character, His redeeming power.  Oh, and by the way, I am saying all this to myself, too.

Here are some thoughts I have about attitudes we women get on occasion that are counter to the lifestyle of a woman living for the fame and glory of Christ...and NONE of these thoughts are in response to anyone I know, they are in response to my own mistakes in the past and in the present and my personal tendencies for the future...I am just speaking in general terms about how our attitudes as women can get off from being honoring to Christ.

So, just because we married women are married does not mean we can "check out of" the pursuit of being sexually pure in mind and body.  Just because you single women are single doesn't mean that you can watch whatever raunchy television show/movie you want because you have no husband to see you doing it.  Just because you teenage women are teenagers doesn't mean you should "check out of" being pure in our minds because you're "allowed to dream big about what's to come" or because you're "not harming anyone with your thought life".  Just because you grand-mom women are grand-mom's doesn't mean that you should give up purity in your speech and your story telling and in your story-listening because you say you "deserve" to be whoever you want, whenever you want "after all you've been through and after all you've done for others".

Sounds harsh, but somebody's gotta "bring it". I'm not even close to being the first to "bring it". Check this out.   Romans 6  (The Message) a paraphrase version of this chapter in the Bible.  It speaks in our language.  To read it online, just 'copy and paste' this link:

If you'd like to read it in the English Standard Version (ESV), which is an actual translation of the Greek, use this link below.

God's Word speaks to us constantly. In so many different places in God's Word it tell us we women who love Christ Jesus as Lord need to always make Him our Lord; day in, day out.  We need to make Christ Lord inside our minds, in our speech, in our stories, in our television watching, in our magazine buying/reading, in our time with friends, in our time with our spouse, in our time alone in our rooms, in our time out for a walk/run, in our time at work, in our time in the car, in our time at the store.

 In the chapter we just read of Romans 6, God's Word tells us we are not to think that we "have arrived" at some point in our journey on this earth that we can now do whatever we want because Jesus saved us and we now have heaven to look forward to. We are not to think that believing in Jesus as Lord is our "fire insurance"....our safety from hell. We ARE to live each day joyfully celebrating being brought from darkness--slavery to sin, to life a life that is abundant--forgiven, hope-filled, a promised citizenship in heaven---being the daughters of God, the heavenly Father.

 Have you tasted the sweetness of God's grace?  When you sing Amazing Grace at church or funerals or along with your favorite country singer while their music video plays on cable, do you realize what you are singing?  Do you know the amazing-ness of God's grace?  Because we have tasted the most amazing grace and freedom by receiving Christ's forgiveness and salvation, we should know our life isn't ours to live on our own anymore. Purity should be a priority. Our mind isn't our own anymore. It is for the glory of our Risen Lord that we put things into our minds, that we read what we read, that we share/tell what we share, that we dream what we dream.  As a gift, a daily gift, to our Lord Christ....our KING, purity in mind, heart, body and soul should be priority and something to be pursued with great passion.  

Christ is worthy of all praise, even when the praise comes in the form of pure mind, a pure heart and pure actions toward others.   JESUS SAVES US and no one else can do that for us.  He saves us from the inside out.  As a way of showing gratitude, living for him and like him is a great place to start.....from the inside out.