The Living Word

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Hebrews 5:12 – “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Have you ever noticed that the Word has life? It’s not static. It has depth and breadth; hidden corners and nooks that require repeated exploration. I’ve been through the Bible a few times; and every time, I learn something new. It’s like the Spirit is reading me as I read the Word, guiding my heart and mind to a new interpretation of the text that speaks to my current life experiences and provides valuable insight and wisdom for me (or for someone to whom I am meant to minister). It amazes me, actually!

It also humbles me a bit. There are millions of people out there reading the Word RIGHT NOW…developing new and unique perspectives about God’s heart and character of which I might never have dreamed. It would be pure hubris to believe that mine was the only valid insight into the Word. To be clear, there are definitely very black and white, certain, and inarguable aspects of the Bible; but it is always fascinating to me how you can take one verse and get 50 different insights from 50 different people. The Word has life!

However, despite my appreciation for some diversity of perspective, I’ve learned that it’s important to handle the Word with care…engaging in our own study (not just being receivers of the Word on Sunday morning), praying for wisdom and discernment, seeking wise council from spiritual mentors, and questioning and testing everything (1 John 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:21); not believing a “truth” just because someone said so, but reading the Word ourselves and opening our hearts and minds to be led by the Spirit. With the Word firmly imprinted upon your heart (Deuteronomy 11:18, Hebrews 10:16), you will be better prepared to discern the truth when someone is wielding the Word misguidedly; and you will be better able to lovingly engage in a healthy discourse on scripture in a way that bears fruit and brings glory to God.

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Also Read:

Isaiah 55:11 – “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.”

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You’re A Star!

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WISDOM

Daniel 12:3 – “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

“You’re A Star!”—Has anyone ever said that to you (or have you said it to yourself)? In the context of fame and fortune, this statement may or may not be true 🙂 ; but according to the Word, beloved, there is one thing of which you can be sure—when you walk in wisdom and strive to lead others to righteousness, your countenance will shine like the brightest star in the heavens forever and ever! And believe it or not, the wisdom that we seek is accessible to everyone!

James 1:5 states that if any of us are lacking in wisdom, we have only to ask, and it will be given to us. All we have to do is ask, and God will bestow upon us the knowledge and wisdom we need to be happy (Ecclesiastes 2:20) and protected (Proverbs 4:6-7); to gain understanding (Proverbs 3:13), bring peace to volatile situations (Proverbs 14:1); be considerate, merciful, fruitful, and sincere (James 3:17); and live lives that are righteous and holy (1 Corinthians 1:30). As we share this knowledge, this peace, this holiness and righteousness that wisdom affords, we are, in effect, sharing our light…the light of God’s love.

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And as we let this light shine within us, we bring honor and glory to God; and we draw others to us who long to experience the peace, joy, and fulfillment that God’s love and wisdom provides. Like a star, you can light the way for someone who is lost in darkness and seeking a way into the light.

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Shine Your Light!

2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine our of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

Song: “This Little Light of Mine” by Addison Road

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

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A Hopeful Heart

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HOPE

Job 6:8 – “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for…”

Joyce Meyer reminded me this morning of the importance of maintaining a hopeful heart. So many areas of my life are amazing right now, but there is one aspect that has been like the proverbial thorn in my side. For YEARS now, I’ve been asking God to move in this area, while also seeking guidance and wisdom if God is actually waiting on me to grow in a certain way first. While I do actually see God working in the situation, the wait for His full move has definitely been challenging on a number of levels; and to be honest, I’ve begun to numb myself to the disappointment of the delay. But Joyce called me out this morning—cautioning against the danger of losing hope or becoming emotionally numb during the waiting period. She reminded me that God’s timing is always perfect, and that if He deems that I should wait, then I should do so with a hopeful heart, believing in God’s promise and provision and waiting expectantly for Him to move.

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I’m grateful for this reminder, and have determined to start each day with new hope in my heart for the resolution of this ongoing dilemma.

Are you waiting for God to move in a certain area of your life? I know it gets hard sometimes (believe me, I know), but don’t go numb; don’t lose hope. Let’s vow together to face the day with hearts full of hope; with faith that God is always moving and working in the background in ways that we can’t yet see;  and with the certainty that in the end, He will work everything our for our good and His glory.

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Shine your light!

See Also:

Jeremiah 29:11  – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Romans 12:12 – “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.”

Lamentations 3:24 – “The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.”

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!
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Love Thyself

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LOVE

Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.”

Valentine’s Day and the month of February have come and gone, and throughout the month, there were numerous conversations about romantic (eros), brotherly (philos), and godly (agape) love; but I realized this morning that sometimes, we overlook one of the most important loves of all—love of self! Far too often, we neglect this valuable step—loving ourselves—which I think is actually second only to loving God in the Love Process. The first step in this process, always, is experiencing God’s love—receiving His adoration of you with your full heart and understanding that His love for you is unending and without measure. When we accept this love, internalize it, and start to see ourselves through God’s loving eyes—flawed, but fearfully and wonderfully made—we begin to see ourselves differently and position ourselves to experience the phenomenon of self-love…of seeing ourselves for who we really are—children of a loving God—and accepting ourselves (the good and the bad) as we continue this journey of learning and growing and evolving into the people that God created us to be.

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There are so many voices around us—from images in the media to toxic people that we may have allowed into our inner circle—telling us that we’re not good enough and causing us to doubt ourselves, deride ourselves, fall out of love with ourselves…And when we don’t love ourselves, it becomes so much harder to engage in loving relationships with anyone outside of ourselves. It is only when we remember who and WHOSE we are that we can block out the negative voices and find peace in knowing and loving ourselves for who we are.

The other danger is one of simple neglect. I see so many people in ministry and giving professions (myself included) who become burnt out and exhausted because they devote so much of themselves to others that they neglect taking care of themselves until they become broken down or ill because their hearts, minds, and bodies just can’t take it anymore. So many of us place such a primary focus on loving and serving the people around us, that we forget that loving and caring for ourselves actually equips us to better care for the people in our lives. The Word says to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). It’s one of the great commandments given to us by Jesus Himself; and it implies that we must learn to love ourselves first before we can apply that same level of love to the other people in our lives.

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So, as we continue to prioritize loving God, loving our family, and loving our neighbor each day, let’s be intentional about showing ourselves a little love—consider treating yourself to a quiet, restful night at home; a day out at the spa; or a little time engaging in that beloved hobby that used to bring you such joy! When you take the time to take care of and love yourself, you refill your tank and are better prepared to then go about the business of loving and serving others.

Make it a point to take care of yourself today and every day!

Shine your light!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

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You Are Royalty

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IDENTITY

1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

I love God—with all that is within me; but I have to admit that for a good portion of my life as a Christian, this notion of being a part of His royal priesthood never really took root in me. I don’t really know why; I just never thought of myself as royalty or as a “royal priest.” But there it is in black and white! It’s what I am; it’s part of my identity in Christ, and it’s a key component of who He calls us to be.

A royal priest…What does that even mean? Well, according to Peter, we, as Christians…all of us…are the chosen people of God; and as his royal priesthood, we to be holy, set apart. As we receive the love and favor that He imbues into our lives; we are to be an example to those around us, showing His love to everyone we encounter, extolling His goodness, and lifting our voices in praise.

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This is a vital role that God calls us to fulfill, but it is so easy to prioritize the other roles and facets of our identity that beckon to us in this world and cause us to put God and our kingdom work on the back burner. It’s so simple to abandon our praises as we forget God’s goodness in the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. It’s so easy to forget His charge to love one another as we endure the slights of those who don’t know Him. It’s so easy to just ignore this calling. So simple…

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, do we want to follow the ways of the world or the ways of God? Do we want to go our own way, do our own thing, or fulfill the role and calling that God has placed on our lives—the call to be holy, set apart, separate from the ways of this world…to live a life that is worthy of God’s Royal Priesthood?

You are royalty. As a Christian, you are one of the chosen people of God, and as such, you are a part of His royal priesthood. But you have a choice of how (and whether) you will fulfill this role. What will you choose?

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Your Light!

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Lovely images obtained from

  1. https://render.otoy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1814
  2. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/c2/ec/00/c2ec0008c259720b7b66f4739f34f132.jpg
  3. https://artofthechristianninja.com/2014/09/09/be-the-frame-not-the-picture/