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God’s Words

“… my words remain in you …”
 
~Jesus
 
 
During this first month of 2013, I have been talking to my children about ways that we can keep more of God’s words in our hearts and minds.  We have also been talking about why it is important to do so.  My goal for my family is this: each day we will hear or read one or more verses from the Bible.  The phrase from John 15:7, “my words remain in you,” has shaped this goal.  To reach our goal, we have to make deliberate behavioral choices.  Ideally, I would like to read my children a Bible story each day, but often (for various reasons) it doesn’t happen.  However, I try to create a climate where hearing God’s word is natural part of our day.  We talk about different verses throughout the day, and when we are in the car, we sometimes listen to a recording of the book of Psalms.  After dinner, sometimes we read from one of the gospels or from the book of Proverbs.  I try to provide a variety of ways for my kids to interact with scripture so they won’t feel like it is a burden or boring.  If we have had an extremely busy day and they haven’t heard any of God’s words during the day, I like to add a scripture to our traditional bedtime song and prayer.  Having this goal of hearing and reading God’s word each day helps me keep my children, and as well as myself, receiving daily spiritual nourishment.
 
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples. John 15:7
 
 
Dedicated to my mom, Charlotte on her 70th birthday.  I have wonderful memories of my mom reading me Bible stories, reading me Little Visits with God at breakfast, and reading family devotionals after dinner.  As I was growing up, my mom helped me hear God’s words every day. 
 

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More in 2013

 
Bring joy to your servant,
 
for to you, O Lord,
 
I lift up my soul.
 
Psalm 86:4
 
 
 
New Year’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year.  On January 1, 2006, my youngest son Sterling was the first baby born of the new year in Nashville, Tennessee.  We made the news on four television stations and were highlighted in the area newspaper.  It was a fun time, but what made it even more special was that the date of his birth was an answered prayer.  I had prayed that he would be born on the birthday of my dear friend Dianne.
 
Another reason I love New Year’s Day is that it is a time for making a fresh start.  Even as a child, I liked making New Year’s resolutions, and once I even laminated the resolutions.  (I still have the list!)  This year, I am not making resolutions; I am choosing a “focus word”.  For me, a focus word defines how I want to grow, what I want to accomplish, and what I want to be like in the upcoming year.  My word for 2013 is “more”.
 
 – I want to be more aware of God’s presence.
 – I want to be more organized.
 – I want to exercise more.
 – I want to be more patient and kind.
 – I want to have more joy and more peace ….
 
I know that I cannot have “more” by my own effort.  In John 5:30, Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing.”  So I am praying that God will “be merciful to me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:2) and grant my request for “more“. 
 
I would like to invite you to choose a focus word or words for 2013.  If you would like to share what you chose, you can e-mail me at spacious4@aol.com or leave a comment.  Happy New Year! 
 

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God heals the brokenhearted

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But you, God, see the trouble of the

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afflicted; you consider their grief

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and take it in hand. The victims

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commit themselves to you …

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Psalm 10:14

 

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The Lord builds up Jerusalem (and those who are grieving)

He gathers the exiles …

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

and His ears are attentive to their cry.

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Cry out to God Most High …

He sends from heaven and saves you, …

God sends His love and His faithfulness.

He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.

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Whoever who dwells in the shelter of the Most

High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under His wings you will find refuge

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 147:2-3; Psalm 34:18,15; Psalm 57:2-3* slight change

Psalm 9:12; Psalm 91:1,4

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Dedicated to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School

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What counts is whether we have been
transformed into a new creation.
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Galatians 6:15
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My sons enjoy playing with “Transformers”, so I like to tell them that God is the Master Transformer.  I explain that God doesn’t change, but He transforms us by changing the way we think (Romans 12:2).  This transformation is a radical process!
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God wants to transform each of us into people who:
These things are only possible through God’s creative power.
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On Ash Wednesday, I shared a YouTube video about butterflies to a group of children.  We talked about how butterflies can be a symbol for Easter and how Lent is like being in a chrysalis (a time that God can change us) and how Easter is a time for celebrating God’s life-changing power.  I think the butterfly is the most incredible example of God’s ability to transform.  The caterpillar has to be broken down and reconstructed before the beautiful butterfly can be created.
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Please take a moment to watch this video clip about butterflies. My hope is that by watching this video, you will be awed at God’s power to bring about change and reminded that an astonishing metamorphosis can also take place in your life.
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Let God transform you into a new person
 by changing the way you think.  Romans 12:2
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Dedicated to Lea and Melanie, my book club friends, who inspired this post and shared this video at the Word Made Flesh Advent 2011 Retreat
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Comfort Overflows

For just as the sufferings of Christ
flow over into our lives, so also through
Christ our comfort overflows.
 
2 Corinthians 1:5
 
 
Suffering does have a purpose
Though it hurts beyond words
He endured the pain
All the rejection and shame
Physical – Emotional
His heart was like wax
that melted away
He then died for me
 
I fall on my knees
His story touches my soul
Takes me to the heart of God
Embraces my pain
Gives me power to love
 
I seek the silence
When I am quiet I hear
The whisper
Of a love larger than me
Surrounding my soul with joy
 
Do you hear the invitation
To come and rest in His peace
To drink the living water
Receive Divine Love
 
Terry S. Smith
my precious daddy
 
My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me ….  But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.  Psalm 22:13-14,19
 

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