Experience His Presence More Than You Have

If I were to name a common denominator,

a desire that the women here all have,

it is to experience His presence.

This last week I’ve been mediating on a pattern I see in Scripture,

so I’m hoping together we can follow this pattern

and see if we indeed do experience His presence

on a steadier basis than we might have before.

I’m not talking about the mountain-top experiences,

but the steady stream of peace His Spirt can give:

peace like a river.

Sunday: The Pattern

A few of you will look at this before you go to church, and can try this in church. So first, let us see the pattern. Find it for yourself by looking up just a few of the many times this pattern occurs.

1. What repeated refrain do you see in these passages?

A. Leviticus 26:12

B. Jeremiah 7:23

C. Romans 9:25-26

Now, if you see this before church this morning, I’d like you to be aware of how you can apply this in church — I admit it might be a bit easier in a more formal church than in a really informal non-denominational church — but it can be done in either. However the service formally opens — with a piano prelude, or an opening prayer, or some kind of a call to worship, I want you to hear God saying to you:

You are my people!

He is telling you that you are His, and He wants your attention, your heart, your allegiance. So respond silently:

You are my God!

When you sing, the lyrics are inspired by Scripture, so again He is saying to you, these words are Mine to give to you because:

You are my people!

And as you respond by singing with all your heart, mind and soul, you are saying:

You are my God!

In some churches there are responsive readings between the pastor/elder and the congregation — in those, again, there is this continual patter of:

You are my people!

You are my God!

When the sermon comes, it is God’s Word coming to you and He is saying:

You are my people!

If you are listening with your heart, a play-dough heart, you are saying:

You are my God!

If you put to your mind to it, you can do this all through the service: during communion, during the offering, and when distracting thoughts come, by turning back to God.

2. Whether you saw this before church and tried it, or are just seeing this now, how can you see that you can better say “You are my God” as you sing, give, listen, or take communion in church? Think about this and then share your thoughts.

 

3. What comments or questions do you have?

 

 

Monday: Focus 

I play pickleball, which is a kind of gentler tennis that may older people can do (though we have many young players too) for it is a smaller racquet, a smaller court, and you play doubles. It’s really fun and a great way to both get exercise and to get out of my Christian bubble and mingle with non-Christians. However, this summer, I was realizing that I am one of the worst, if not the worst player on the court. And sometimes my partner plays reluctantly with me and gets miffed with me for missing the ball or hitting it out of bounds. I was beginning to question whether I should be playing anymore, for I couldn’t seem to get better, and I didn’t want to be such a drag to the others when I am on the court. One day, because James tells us if we lack wisdom, to ask God, for He gives generously without reproach, I asked God (because He is my God) “What should I do? Should I quit?”

One word came to me, because I am His child.

Focus

And I realized, “That’s what I have been failing to do at pickleball. I think about everything under the sun except what I’m doing. And some of those things are good, like how I can engage non-Christians when I’m sitting on the sidelines. But, it makes me a lousy pickleball player. And so I have been, in obedience to God (because He is my God) focusing when playing pickleball. And you know what? I am doing considerably better! And when I make a good shot, which is happening a bit more often, the people from the sidelines are yelling: Wow, Dee! or Yay Dee! 

This makes me experience the presence of God, for I listened, responded, and He is rewarding.

In the same way, we must focus throughout the day to experience the presence of God. Today we are going to focus when we begin the day with His Word.

3. Meditate on Psalm 119:1-8, the first of 22 strophs or sections of this psalm. Before you meditate, ask God to speak to you and then focus.

A. Observations — Do you see any repetitions, any pattern in this stroph?

B. Interpretation — What would you say is the main message of this stroph?

C. Application — How could you apply this to your life today?

To prepare your heart for tomorrow, we’re going to consider how to get out of bed on the right foot through focusing on God.

It begins the moment He awakens you to a new day of life, saying, “You are my people.” It is God who has given you this day and awakened you, so breathe deeply, look outside at His world, and say, “You are my God.”

Most of us need to brush our teeth, wash our face, or  get a coffee to get fully awake — these are all gifts from God — the power to do these things, and the resources to do them, and He is saying, with these gifts: “You are my people.” And we can respond in thankfulness, when the warm shower comes over us, when we open the drapes and see the morning light, to have a thankful heart that says,”You are my God.” We simply have to focus to do this. So when you go to bed tonight, Monday night, ask God, when He awakens you, to help you remember this.

Tuesday: Focus when You Begin Your Day and Keep Returning

4. Did God help you to remember Him as you awakened? What happened and how did you respond?

5. Lamentations 3:22-23 gives one of the blessings of a new day. What is it, and how could you apply this?

6. If you are in the Word for another Bible study, or just doing something for your own edification, go ahead and do it and then share any way God speaks to you. When He speaks to you, He is saying, “You are my people.” When you respond in obedience, you are saying “You are my God.” So what did He show you and how will you respond?

7. Our hearts tend to wander, but we can keep coming back in various ways: listening to sermons, music, simply bringing our mind back in thankfulness or repentance when His Spirit convicts. Stay alert and share a way you came back today.

Wednesday: Focus Through Singing

 

Often we can prepare our hearts to listen through music. Listen to the following song, with lyrics from the poet William Cowper, and share what he says can happen to the Christian while he sings, and why.

8. What do you learn from the above hymn with the lyrics by William Cowper?

9. Now, choose a praise song or a hymn to sing frequently today — what will it be?

10. How did singing that hymn help you focus on God or hear from Him in any way?

 

Thursday: Focus Through Repentance

Every new day is clean, but it’s hard to keep that slate clean. Yet every time His Spirit makes us aware we have walked out of the light, He is saying, “You are my child — get back in.” And when you respond, you are saying, “You are my God — I trust you and will obey, even though it is initially hard.”

11. Meditate on 1 John 1:5-9, and FOCUS 

A. What do you learn about God in verse 5?

B. What do you learn about how to continue in His presence in verse 6?

C. There are two promises in verse 7 — what are they? This is big, so FOCUS.

D. How does verse 7 imply we often sin without knowing it even while we are endeavoring to walk in the light? What will God do with these sins that we do not even see?

 

E. When we are aware of sin, what are we to do and what is the promise according to verse 9?

12. Practice this today and report at end of the day or first thing in the morning.

Friday: Focus Through Thankfulness

Put a notepad on your kitchen counter, and list throughout the day things you are thankful for — then, come back and share your best here. When He gives you a gift He is saying, “You are my people.” When you thank Him, you are saying, “You are my God.”

13. What was one of your best gifts today and why?

Saturday:

14. What was your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS (103) Post a New Comment ↓
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2. How can you see that you can better say “You are my God”…in church?
Growing up, prior to taking communion the congregation would recite “I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”  I still say this (silently) prior to taking communion; it reminds me not only that my salvation is provided by Jesus, but also my very being a follower of Christ.  This awareness should be present in all of my worship.  Recently in a devotional (“Openings,” Larry James Peacock) I read: “God woos us, besieging us with love. Before you even start to pray, God places the yearning to pray deep within you. Before you even turn to seek God, God already seeks you, looks for you. prepares a welcome for you.”  The Lord is saying, you are my people, come…”You are my God!” is our perfect response to God.

3. What comments or questions do you have?
I loved reading “experience His presence on a steadier basis … I’m not talking about the mountain-top experiences, but the steady stream of peace His spirit can give: peace like a river.”  Mountain-top experiences are wonderful, but they are often a moment in time, one doesn’t remain “on the mountain”… I far more appreciate the steady stream, the continuing flow.

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    Nanci –I am memorizing “I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed” before communion. Love it. You really understand too!

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I love the pattern you showed us in the Scriptures–He calls us His own and we respond that He is our God. A few days ago, one of my devotional Scriptures was Exodus 29:45 ” I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God”, and it struck me anew–what an incredible gift that He not only chooses us as His own, but chooses to dwell among us, and He declares this because He knows we so often doubt His presence, His care. He chooses to DWELL among US. It just amazes me.

My church was cancelled today due to the storm and then the church we’d planned to go to (where I work) also cancelled. But with school canceled Friday and a long weekend at home, I’ve spent many moments on my screened porch, watching the trees sway and listening to that beautiful sound of rustling leaves, and cannot help but refrain You are my God. And when I see how protected we have been, and even if we had not been, I hear Him say, “You are my people”. It’s been a great time to exercise our faith before our children, admitting our own tendency to fear, but the choosing to hold onto what no hurricane can ever take away.

I agree with Nanci that the “steady stream of peace” draws me in and excites me for this week, and for me, is far more attractive than a mountain top right now! I’ve had enough emotional upheavals lately and steady sounds really good :)

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    Lizzy, love this:  ” And when I see how protected we have been, and even if we had not been, I hear Him say, “You are my people”. It’s been a great time to exercise our faith before our children, admitting our own tendency to fear, but the choosing to hold onto what no hurricane can ever take away.”  God bless & protect u!

    Sharon, how are u??

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    Lizzy I’m glad you and your family are doing well. I continue to pray for everyone there.

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Oh Lizzy — so glad to hear you are okay, and instead of listening to howling wind are listening to rustling leaves and saying, “You are my God.” Your posts warm my heart. And yes, steady sound good. :-)

 

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Dee, this is awesome! I tried it at church and  it was a profound experience. Sure enough, there were many distractions to be had but to practice the discipline of listening to God say, “you are my people” during the different movements of  worship and to say” you are my God”. -it was experiencing His presence in a new way. We were singing Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave and the words were speaking to my soul-shackled no more since the war has already been won-Redeemed! Thank you for leading us on this.

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    Bing–just hearing of how you experienced this at church ministered to me, love how you share

    How was your surgery last week?

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      Surgery went well-had the most engaging time with the OR crew including my surgeon and his assistant. Plus some Led Zeppelin music! Hah! Some swelling still but managing OK.

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    This is wonderful Bing — such an encouragement!!!

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2.  I am not a liturgical person, but I think I could do this.

 

3.  A&B.  Every separate verse in the whole Psalm is in some way about the law. I used to find that really dry, but now I relish it. It is really all about God’s character, giving us insight into Him.

C.  Application. I want to focus more on God.

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    I think you can too Mary. By the way, it’s helping me with eating — sticking to counting WW points thinking “You are my God!” But I shouldn’t brag too hard — it’s only been a day! :-)

     

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As I learn to adjust to working full-time, what of the things that I am doing is rethinking my “quiet time”. I don’t have my usual unlimited time to soak in his Word. So focus is important – “as I am going”!  Some mornings I don’t even have time to read God’s Word – only to remember that He is God and offer short prayers of remembering that He is God and my life is in His hands.

I am so glad to hear you and your family are safe, Lizzy. And that you are focusing on God’s saying “You are my God” in the midst of the storm.

3. B. Interpretation — What would you say is the main message of this stroph? (Psalm 119:1-8) and C. Application — How could you apply this to your life today?

I would say the main message is in verse 2 “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart”. The verses seem to be saying that if we seek him with our whole heart (all that we are, every moment, “eyes fixed” vs. 6) then we will be blessed with steady peace no matter what the circumstances of life. Working outside the home is a good practice in seeking him with “eyes fixed” as life swirls around me, most of it out of my control.

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    Diane–love this truth of how seeking Him, “eyes fixed” grants us steady peace. Thankful to see you here with all the new responsibilities on your plate! Praying all is going well~

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    So good how you are adapting this to your new life circumstances, Diane!

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3. Psalm 119:1-8 A. Observations — Do you see any repetitions, any pattern in this stroph?

God blesses those who obey His Word, who seek Him and walk with Him

I see a lot of deliberate action on our part: walk, keep, eyes fixed, praise, learn…and His response is to bless us. Following Him is active.

B. Interpretation — What would you say is the main message of this stroph?

To follow God and His Word, but what I most feel is the call to submission and the reminder of who we are and Who He is. He is God, worthy of all my obedience, praise, and focus.

C. Application — How could you apply this to your life today?

I love what Dee said above: “Most of us need to brush our teeth, wash our face, or  get a coffee to get fully awake — these are all gifts from God — the power to do these things, and the resources to do them, and He is saying, with these gifts: “You are my people.”

I think for me, there are so many things I overlook, I take for granted. I do often thank Him for a good warm bath, but so many other things I just expect. I become passive, which is not the call in Ps. 119. I want to ask Him to clear my vision, focus my eyes, prioritize the reading of His Word, and be quick to repent, to obey, to praise Him.

 

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    Lizzy, you used the word “submission” in your answer to B….I think that’s what I was seeing too, when the psalmist says that God’s precepts are to be “fully” obeyed. It’s not submission to try to figure out just how much I have to obey. When you wrote about how you thank Him for a good warm bath….made me think of my mom and how she loved her baths….she liked the water to be very warm, hot even!

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      I like scalding baths too Susan! I also thank God often for water, as we lose it when we have a power outage in the winter. I tell my students, “water is LIFE!”

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1. What repeated refrain do you see in these passages?
A. Leviticus 26:12
And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

B. Jeremiah 7:23
But this command I gave them: Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’

C. Romans 9:25-26
As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called sons of the living God.’”

I see God affirming He will be their God and they will be His people. The promise of his presence and his claim upon their lives. 
This is true of me too because of Jesus and  my personal relationship to Him. He is my God and I am his child 

2. Whether you saw this before church and tried it, or are just seeing this now, how can you see that you can better say “You are my God” as you sing, give, listen, or take communion in church? Think about this and then share your thoughts.
 
It is a matter of the heart actively responding to the messages being sent and heard. I have little trouble focusing and responding during the time of singing in worship as music and it’s words draw me in. I enjoy the teaching of the sermon too. My greatest challenge is distraction.  Some times I tend to think about the people around me or my present circumstances and lose focus on God. This is a good challenge to mindfully think on Him. “You are my God!” 

3. What comments or questions do you have?
 
Again I really appreciate the direction this is taking us. Life is so daily and lived out in the small things. In our church service this morning the song “ Dream Small” by Josh Wilson was played and spoke to how to live well in the small things of life. https://youtu.be/dOBaLrItEyc
 

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I didn’t see this before church, but I will try & focus on “You are my people” & I will respond “You are my God”……….not “will be my God” when I get things perfectly in order, but” You ARE my God”; right now, in the present, in whatever state I am!

I too long for the “steady stream of Peace like a river”. I want to be consistently walking with the Lord & receiving His Peace. Toe be more aware of His Presence moment by moment.

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3. What comments or questions do you have?
I’m just seeing this, but can apply something that happened today already! We had our annual children’s Christian education training after church today for all of us who work with children. One of the deaconesses opened with a story about how we are supposed to teach our children’s children about God. She has been teaching at this particular church for over 25 years and has a pre-school there now. A student of hers now is the child of a student she taught 20 years ago. She wanted us to know,
“…that they may know that the Lord is God.” I think this is exactly what you were saying in your opening! Wow.

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    That’s a wonderful goal for a teacher — and so encouraging to have a grown up child testify that that happened.

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A. Observations — Do you see any repetitions, any pattern in this stroph?
I will keep your laws always and be blessed for doing so.

 
B. Interpretation — What would you say is the main message of this stroph?
Remember His law and you will be blessed.

 
C. Application — How could you apply this to your life today?
 

In my day to day interactions I should do the right thing regardless of the pain.  I need to keep Him in the forefront of my mind. I will be blessed by doing this.

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4.  For twenty years now, I haven’t set an alarm clock. God is the one who gets me up. And the first thought that crosses my mind when my eyes open is, “thank you, God”.

 

5.  Lam 3:22-23 His mercies are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  To both remember that and say it back to Him is a great way to frame my attitude.

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    Mary, I love your first thought of the day!

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    Mary B…I love it! What a wonderful way to start your day  :)

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3. Meditate on Psalm 119:1-8,
A. Observations:
The use of phrases; whose way, walk in the law, walk in his ways, my ways. And terms for God’s Word; law of the Lord, his testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, righteous rules. 
B. Interpretation:
From this passage it is reiterated that my “way” or my “walk” is tied directly to God’s Word and my living life will be blessed and steadfast as I seek Him and learn and practice the truths of his Word. 
C. Application:
 
I make a choice as I move into my day and the activities that will come with it. Will my walk and my ways reflect the truths of God’s Words. The key is to seek Him with my whole heart. Not a divided heart but as verse 4 says “diligently “. When distraction comes and it will my desire is to focus back onto God’s Word for how I am to live and the choices I make. To repeatedly remember “You are my God!”. 

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1. What repeated refrain do you see in these passages?

 

A. Leviticus 26:12 – “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.”

B. Jeremiah 7:23 – “Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be My people.”

C. Romans 9:25-26 – “I will call them ‘My people’ who are not My people, and I will call her ‘My loved one’ who is not My loved one, and it will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people’, they will be called sons of the living God.”

 

The repeated refrain is “I will be your God and you will be My people”.

 

2. Whether you saw this before church and tried it, or are just seeing this now, how can you see that you can better say “You are my God” as you sing, give, listen, or take communion in church?

 

I didn’t see this before church, but I did go to church! I have been in a habit of only going to my Adult Bible Fellowship class of women, usually with my daughter, and then going home. There’s always an excuse – my daughter needs to get home to do homework, or she has to be at work at noon, or I’m not feeling ‘connected’ at church and so I leave. It’s been very bad for me spiritually. I have determined that I need to go to church, with or without my family, whether or not I have to sit by myself (which yesterday I did not, I had other ladies to sit with). This plus I signed-up for a Bible study every week, too. I have not been doing well spiritually.

Interestingly, our service opened with a reading from one of the psalms in which the leader read one part, and then we as a congregation responded. I tried to focus my mind on the words to the songs, so not to just sing the words, but to think about what they mean. Often I will replace a pronoun of “we or our” with “me or my”, as in “God my Father”. I didn’t know I was affirming that ‘You are my God and I am Your people”! I never thought of listening to the sermon as God’s Word coming to me and saying that I was His people. Maybe that’s why unbelievers can sit in church and it makes no sense to them and they leave unaffected by it. But when it stirs my heart and I understand what the pastor is saying, it is affirming that I belong to Him.

 

Wow – how many times is this repeated in The Song? “My lover is mine and I am his….”

 

 

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    It must be such a struggle to go alone,Susan — proud of you for setting your face like flint to do it!

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      Susan: I know what it is like to go to church alone. I have done this for years too, & sometimes I also leave early, cause my husband is at home. I’m proud of you for making a new commitment to stick it out…u will be blessed!  :)

        Thank you, Jenny! I admire your commitment!

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3. What comments or questions do you have?

 

I also desire to experience His quiet presence with me throughout my day. A couple of weeks ago, our ABF leader, Cathy, was talking about Daniel in the Bible, and how he had this habit of stopping and praying three times a day. While not making it a ritual or just a ‘habit’, she wondered and pondered about how we can get so busy and distracted from God….what would it look like if we tried to stop and re-focus on the Lord, maybe even twice a day? I wonder if maybe I’m missing His presence because I’m too busy and distracted to notice the way He is speaking to me. Now I’m thinking of The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner, in which he writes that we must learn to listen to our life, that God is speaking through the “alphabet of grace” but it is mysterious, like the Hebrew alphabet which has no vowels….it’s not always clear; we have to dig it out for ourselves.

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Before you meditate, ask God to speak to you and then focus.
A.  Observations — Do you see any repetitions, any pattern in this stroph?
The words way, laws, precepts, decrees, commands
B.  Interpretation — What would you say is the main message of this stroph?
The importance of the Word of God and the need to seek it out, learn from it and obey it.
C.  Application — How could you apply this to your life today?
When I am stumped about what to do, to stop and FOCUS and ask God for guidance knowing He will be faithful to “not put me to shame” and not “forsake me”.
I realized that I have been looking to man more than to God to help me with my concerns particularly regarding classroom management.

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Ps 119: 1-8;   A. Repetitions are that we will be blessed when we follow God’s commands, when we walk in His law.

B.  We are commanded to keep His laws & statutes diligently; to seek Him with our whole heart, & to walk with Him.

C. Start every day in His Word & ask Him to speak to my heart. Respond with my worship & obedience. Look for Him throughout the day in all the little things.

I usually wake up every day & say “Good morning Lord”! Then I sit with my cup of tea outside when weather permits, & read Bible & watch Him make a new day.

 

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3. Meditate on Psalm 119:1-8, the first of 22 strophs or sections of this Psalm. Before you meditate, ask God to speak to you and then focus.

 

A. Observations – do you see any repetitions, any pattern in this stroph?

 

I see a repetition of “blessed are they….” and that blessings come by walking in His ways, through obedience. I think I see this pattern: first, the standard of God’s perfection. I found myself asking, who are “they” who keep his statutes and do nothing wrong? Secondly, the realization of my imperfection, “Oh that my ways were steadfast….”  This could also be repentance – agreeing with God that I do not fully obey His ways. Thirdly, the resolve to praise Him and to “learn” or to have a teachable heart to learn His ways, the resolve to obey, and asking for His mercy.

Another thing that stood out to me was the word “fully”  in verse 4, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” Stands out to me because I confess I am one who looks for the loophole.

 

B. Interpretation – What would you say is the main message of this stroph?

 

God’s laws, statutes, precepts, commands, decrees – they are not to be taken lightly. Our hearts should be set on obedience. There is a way to walk through life, and it is God’s way.

 

C. Application – How could you apply this to your life today?

 

I know what God’s ways are, I can’t claim ignorance. He doesn’t want half of me, or three-fourths….He wants ALL of me. Jesus even stressed that the way to show that I love Him is to OBEY Him. I need to be quicker to turn and repent when I disobey (verse 5) and praise Him for His continuing love and forgiveness. I can also ask for HELP as I learn how to walk in His ways.

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4. Did God help you to remember Him as you awakened? What happened and how did you respond?
I woke up a few times during the early mornings and I thanked God for another day. Remembering His Word You are my people and responding you are my God. Just being aware that He is there for me and the God of the universe is MY God.
5. Lamentations 3:22-23 gives one of the blessings of a new day. What is it, and how could you apply this?
HIS mercies are new every morning. I came home early yesterday from a teacher’s day feeling down. Just a few things bothered me at school and the cordial greeting of “what happened to you?” wore me out. Lol Feeling like things are out of control. Lamentations 3 today is a great reminder of who is faithful to me and his mercies will be new.
6. If you are in the Word for another Bible study, or just doing something for your own edification, go ahead and do it and then share any way God speaks to you. When He speaks to you, He is saying, “You are my people.” When you respond in obedience, you are saying “You are my God.” So what did He show you and how will you respond?
Read Psalm 118. 29 verses with 28 of them referring to what God is and can do.  He is saying to me that no matter what happens today, His love for me is everlasting. I need to look to today as an opportunity to experience His enduring love. And verse 28 and 29 says, You are my God, and I will praise you;     you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;     his love endures forever.

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So good, Bing:

I woke up a few times during the early mornings and I thanked God for another day. Remembering His Word You are my people and responding you are my God. Just being aware that He is there for me and the God of the universe is MY God.

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4. Did God help you to remember Him as you awakened? What happened and how did you respond?

 

Well I am a day behind, so I hadn’t read this part to be prepared this morning, but I love this and I so need it. Most mornings when I awake, I feel as if the old tape recorder starts playing in my mind….everything I’m worried about, anxious about, problems, past regrets and mistakes, uneasiness. That’s when I’m still lying in bed. So this morning, I was thinking about my dad and a concern about his health that my sister shared with me yesterday, and thoughts like I suppose I’m going to lose him soon….I’m still not over losing my mom….my life will be so lonely…. and then I started thinking about how I’ve heard in so many messages, Tim Keller, Chip Ingram, Dee, about why we cannot look to others for security, to meet our needs, because they do die, they can’t come through for us, when the phrase I dare not trust the sweetest frame came to mind, which is strange for me because, unlike many of you, I didn’t grow up in the church and I don’t know all that many hymns. But I recognized this one. It goes on to say that Jesus is the only solid Rock on which we can stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I always thought that was referring to matters of salvation only, but I think it applies to many areas of life. Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit that brought that phrase to my mind.

Now I look forward to a mental reset tomorrow morning!

 

5. Lamentations 3:22-23 gives one of the blessings of a new day. What is it, and how could you apply this?

 

I love this verse….the Lord’s compassions never fail, they are new every morning. That does come to my mind often if I am driving to work and see the sun coming up; I think of this passage. Just like that sun is faithful to rise every morning, so is God faithful every morning to give us a new day full of new mercy and compassion. When I see the new day dawning, I can say, “You are my God”, and with the morning light hear Him saying “You are mine, and My compassion for you are here for today.”

 

I found it interesting when I read this verse in my old NIV that I noticed that the word compassion is plural; it says His compassions never fail, they are new every morning. I looked up the definition of compassion: consciousness of others’ distress and the desire to alleviate it; the difference between empathy and compassion is that compassion is both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to mitigate that pain. I couldn’t find a definition of the plural.

Now I’m intrigued….is this a nuance of the Trinity, or simply that within God there is infinite understanding, awareness, and desires to help us?

    Reply

    Susan: this is great!

    “I love this verse….the Lord’s compassions never fail, they are new every morning. That does come to my mind often if I am driving to work and see the sun coming up; I think of this passage. Just like that sun is faithful to rise every morning, so is God faithful every morning to give us a new day full of new mercy and compassion. When I see the new day dawning, I can say, “You are my God”, and with the morning light hear Him saying “You are mine, and My compassion for you are here for today.”  ”

    And I’m sure also that the Holy Spirit brought the words of that hymn to your mind…He is our greatest encourager!!  :)

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This is the first day I’ve had internet since last Thursday when Florence hit.  We decided to stay home…2 trees fell on our house with one branch coming into the hallway and through the bedroom wall.  I thank the Lord that we and our whole family is ok.  Still without power and staying with our daughter as our home is unsafe.  Thanks for all your prayers…will share more later ways God has been faithful in all this.

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    Sharon, thanks for touching base. Wow! You’ve had it rough! I’m glad you and your family are OK. I hope you are able to get your house fixed soon! Praying for you!

      Reply

      😊❤️

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    Oh Sharon, I was concerned when we didn’t hear that you were affected, and you definitely were. Praying for you to be able to return home soon, that insurance will cover your costs, and give you peace. I am thankful no one was hurt. Thanks for checking in.

      Reply

      😊❤️

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    Praying, Sharon. For power to return soon and your house to be safe.

      Reply

      😊❤️

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    Sorry to hear of this Sharon. Please take care; I will pray.

      Reply

      😊❤️

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    Oh WOW Sharon, so glad no one was hurt. Prayers for you and your family.

      Reply

      😊❤️

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    Sharon–I am just seeing this and SO sorry. I don’t know how far you are from me (I’m on the border, 5 min from Charlotte), but please contact me if I can be of any help at all. I have an empty bedroom and lots of supplies! Prayers!

    Reply

    Oh dear Sharon….so thankful that u & your family are safe! Looking fwd to more details of God’s failthfulness to u!  <3

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ROUGH morning 😩. I’m not  A morning person anyway… I have to force myself to lay in bed for an hour before I can actually face the day, most days!  That’s when I do all my Bible study normally. This morning I woke up at my alarm 5:00 AM yikes! And then proceeded to fall back asleep until 640… That put me way behind and now I’m late to school.  Music helps get me pumped up though… As long as I don’t have to sing! Here’s a good one for the morning

 

https://youtu.be/hjZ_IlP9c5A

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    Laura:   so sorry u are having rough mornings :(    I will pray that u wake up with a song from the Lord in your heart!! I love “Days of Elijah” & seeing those marines singing with actions made me smile & sing along…so joyful!   :)

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3. Meditate on Psalm 119:1-8, the first of 22 strophs or sections of this psalm. Before you meditate, ask God to speak to you and then focus.
 
A. Observations — Do you see any repetitions, any pattern in this stroph? – The repetitions I see are that you will be blessed if you follow the Lord and obey his commands.
 
B. Interpretation — What would you say is the main message of this stroph? – Blessings will come upon you when you follow the commands given.
 
C. Application — How could you apply this to your life today? – Try to live a Godly life each and every day. It will be a work in progress since I am still a work in progress, but by putting God’s commands into my heart, then what comes out will be the fruit of his goodness in me.
 

    Reply

    Good application, Julie.

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4. Did God help you to remember Him as you awakened? What happened and how did you respond? – When I first woke up today, I always look out the window and here in North West Indiana the sun was starting to come up. I thanked him for another day and as I was getting ready it grew foggy in an instant. For me this was God reminding me that He is in control of everything and it can all change in a split second. There is nothing that He does not control
 
5. Lamentations 3:22-23 gives one of the blessings of a new day. What is it, and how could you apply this? – ‘Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.’ For each day as I mess up, and I usually do in some way, I don’t have to be consumed by the wrong I did. I don’t have to let the offense eat me up. I can learn from it, grow from it and ask God to help me be better the next day, hour or minute and because he loves me, I can have faith that he will.
 
6. If you are in the Word for another Bible study, or just doing something for your own edification, go ahead and do it and then share any way God speaks to you. When He speaks to you, He is saying, “You are my people.” When you respond in obedience, you are saying “You are my God.” So what did He show you and how will you respond? – I was listening to Moody Radio and James McDonald was on and he said that even though the pastors and the people in church are important, it doesn’t matter what their name is, it doesn’t matter what my name is, the only thing that matters is that the presence of God is there. This was a WOW moment for me. I don’t need to be worried about who is preaching, I only need to worry about and listen for the Word of God being taught. This was so timely since our church was suddenly and without warning to the congregation without a lead pastor. I felt abandoned, but hearing this brought peace to my soul. I only need to go and look for the Lord.
 
7. Our hearts tend to wander, but we can keep coming back in various ways: listening to sermons, music, simply bringing our mind back in thankfulness or repentance when His Spirit convicts. Stay alert and share a way you came back today. – A friend was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer in her 5th month of pregnancy and was treated with a high dose of Chemo once the baby was born, fast forward to today, she made it through that and the reports are good, but she had a double mastectomy today and I wore a cancer bracelet on my arm to remind me to go to God throughout the day and pray for her and her team of doctors and for her recovery and family. It is so hard to keep my mind on track at times, and this helped me remember to lift her up to the Lord. The report so far is good, lymph nodes are showing no signs of cancer. Praise God! 
 

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    Julie, I love this for #4 For me this was God reminding me that He is in control of everything and it can all change in a split second. There is nothing that He does not control

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Okay,  I’m gonna try this wake up thing again!

 

5. Lamentations 3:22-23 gives one of the blessings of a new day. What is it, and how could you apply this?

 

His steadfast love is new every day and a blessing to us. He is merciful. I could thank him for his love and mercy each morning when I wake up

 

6. So what did He show you and how will you respond?

 

I have been waiting and listening for God for so long with respect to a huge trial in my life.  He has been so silent for so long.  However, yesterday‘s Bible verse stood out to me and I used it  in this trial, and will use it today in a trial that popped up yesterday at my work.

 

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/pro.27.5-6.esv

 

 

    Reply

    You always make me smile, Laura.

    We wait with you for the answer to this trial in your life.

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8.  The hymn by William Cowper. I loved that he incorporated Hab 3 in there. Our praise isn’t dependent on our circumstances, but on the character of our God. I don’t find it easy to do, but it is a huge comfort to know it.

 

9.  Choose a song for today. If I had time it would be an exercise to research Cowper’s hymns and pick one of them. But I will go with my favorite, My Hope is Built.

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    8. What do you learn from the above hymn with the lyrics by William Cowper? 

    What a beautiful arrangement!

     

    “When comforts are declining He grants the soul again  A season of clear shining,  To cheer it after rain. “

    With age the physical declines.  It is a fact of life. But in the midst of that I observe it is the soul that is cheered and finds encouragement from our God.  He brightens our spirits with His great love and faithfulness. He never ever leaves us down. He always picks us up when we come to Him. And we can’t help but praise and rejoice.

     
    9. Now, choose a praise song or a hymn to sing frequently today — what will it be? 
    “Like A River Glorious”
    Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace
    Over all victorious, in its bright increase
    Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day
    Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way
    Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
    Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest
    Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand
    Never foe can follow, never traitor stand
    Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care
    Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there
    Every joy or trial falleth from above
    Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love
    We may trust Him fully all for us to do
     
    They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true
     
    10. How did singing that hymn help you focus on God or hear from Him in any way?
    As I was trying to think of a song the refrain “stayed upon Jehovah hearts are fully blessed” came to my mind so I pulled up a rendition of this old hymn and it was so good to be reminded of the great truths in it.  It felt like an anchor for my soul.

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    Mary,

    Yesterday at a small prayer group one of our ladies came in and immediately pulled up a beautiful arrangement of  “My Hope Is Built”. She had listened to it as she traveled into town from the farm where she lives. She shared through tears some hard things in their family but how God had spoken to her heart through the hymn.  Often it is the hymn I bring to mind to remind myself of Christ as my solid Rock. I almost chose it for today but God led differently.

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      Bev, thank you for sharing that. Yes, some songs have a way of earning a permanent seat in our hearts!

    Reply

    Good goal for another day, Mary — and to let us know if you find another gem!

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7. Our hearts tend to wander, but we can keep coming back in various ways: listening to sermons, music, simply bringing our mind back in thankfulness or repentance when His Spirit convicts. Stay alert and share a way you came back today.
School often has a way of pulling me away from a meditative mood. Thankfully, life is about faith and not of works. Breathing in ‘you are my people” and breathing out “you are my God” was very helpful to bring me back to focus. The day settled into a restful rhythm.
Wednesday: Focus Through Singing
Often we can prepare our hearts to listen through music. Listen to the following song, with lyrics from the poet William Cowper, and share what he says can happen to the Christian while he sings, and why.
We get a surprise from the Lord; His light, that is, to bring cheer, healing, his provision, his abiding and his joy and to get us to focus on  him rather than on our  illness, sorrow, lack and fears of tomorrow.
8. What do you learn from the above hymn with the lyrics by William Cowper?
The last verse: He is always there (abiding) and praising Him in tune enables us to rejoice.
9. Now, choose a praise song or a hymn to sing frequently today — what will it be?
 Sarah Groves “He’s always been faithful to me”.
 
 I recorded myself singing with her on my phone lol and will listen to it on and off today as I have taken the day off to rest my hand.
 

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    Love that you love Sara Groves, Bing.

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    Bing, how is your hand doing? May the Lord heal it completely :)

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Wednesday
8. What do you learn from the above hymn with the lyrics by William Cowper? – We can rejoice in the Lord as we sing because he supplies everything we need at all times. He will be there to bring us through it all, we do not need to worry, He will be there.
 
9. Now, choose a praise song or a hymn to sing frequently today — what will it be? – I’ve really started hearing and liking this song by Francesca Battistelli called The Break Up Song. It is a good song to go to when fear creeps in. I hope this link works…https://www.bing.com/search?q=the+breakup+song+francesca&form=EDGTCT&qs=LS&cvid=6aa4c3dfe07d4fd7a051fee874a8d34d&cc=US&setlang=en-US&PC=LCTS
 
10. How did singing that hymn help you focus on God or hear from Him in any way? – This song reminds me that fear has no control over me. I was not created with a spirit of fear and I can tell it to leave. God has made me who I am and has equipped me to fight the battle of fear, or any battle that clouds my mind, heart and soul.
 

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8. What do you learn from the above hymn with the lyrics by William Cowper? 
 

Music can change your heart from fretting to hope.  God will take care of you.

 
9. Now, choose a praise song or a hymn to sing frequently today — what will it be? 
 

Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns are two of my favorites. Hard to choose! Probably “Voice of Truth” by Cadting Crowns.

 

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    Love that Laura, “music can change your heart from fretting to hope.”  

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    Laura: I love “Voice of Truth” too! Good one to focus on when those old lies play in our heads   :)

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11.  1 John 1:5-9

A.  He is total light, with no darkness.

B.  To continue in His presence, verse six says we need to be in the light. I remember Del Tackett saying that when you open the closet door, you don’t let the darkness out. You let the light in. So the way for me to continue in God’s presence is to keep my doors open.

C.  Two promises in verse seven. We will have fellowship with other believers, and, Christ’s blood purifies us. How true this is. When we live with closed doors, we hide from others. And just as we used to hang clothes out in the sunlight to help bleach them, our sins in the light of Christ and the washing of a His blood, become clean and renewed.

D.  In the NIV, the first word is ‘but’ if we walk in the light. That implies that often we do not. Again, if we open our doors to His Spirit and cleansing, God will forgive and purify us.

E.  When aware, we need to confess, and He will forgive. Seems like this should get easier with time, but still I often resist it. I tell myself I’m not very sincere when it is the same sin again. Or I start, in those same lines, to wonder if it does any good since I keep returning to it. Writing it down here sheds light on it (no pun intended). Those are lies from the devil! I am looking forward to practicing today!

    Reply

    Mary B: I appreciate your honesty! :)

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Tuesday 

4.  When I wake up in the morning one of the first things I like to say is… This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.  I will admit this hasn’t been my usual the last week, but seeing this exercise I have been intentional in doing it and my outlook has been so much more positive.

5.  The blessing given of a new day is… His mercies, they are new every morning!  The song that always comes to mind is, Great it Thy Faithfulness…morning by morning new mercies I see…

6.  One verse that God was faithful in helping me recall during this last week was 1 Peter 5:7…”Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  It was humbling to think of God then saying, You are my people (I know all that is going on down there Sharon…I’ve got your back) and I would respond by looking up and saying, You are my God!!  I can’t even begin to express how comforting that was and still is!

7.  The way I kept coming back was being thankful for all that He has done…His faithfulness and being my refuge in a time of need.

 

    Reply

    Sharon — with what you are facing with Florence this is a remarkable post which I will use next week! :-)  Okay?

      Reply

      That’s ok…so humbled.

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    Sharon, you are really getting to put this into practice, daily, moment by moment, in light of the hurricane and the damage to your home. I was thankful to hear that no one was hurt when the tree came through the walls. Wow. Have you been able to go back to your home yet and assess the damage?

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Praise God Sharon for His encouragement to u in the midst of such trying & scary circumstances! You are an inspiration  :)

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    😊❤️

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The William Cowper hymn was beautiful. Encouraging us to find our Strength & joy in the Lord…No Matter What!

Singing has always lifted my spirits & puts my focus on the Lord. Helps me to take the focus off myself & to worship God. Even the act of singing energizes me & I think gets endorphins buzzing :)

This morning I woke up feeling His peace & joy, & a chorus was in my mind that I haven’t heard for a long time. “I just want to be where You are, living daily in Your Presence. Take me to the place where You are….I just want to be with You”. I got up & sang it to the Lord, made my cup of tea & read the Psalms. Our God is so tender & kind & loves us so much. How quickly I forget that He wants us to be glad in Him, & to live an abundant life!  Singing throughout the day with worship music on in my car, turns my focus back on Him.

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1 John 1: 5-9  :A. What do you learn about God in verse 5?   God is Light & in Him is NO darkness at all.

B. What do you learn about how to continue in His presence in verse 6?    Walk in His Truth & not in darkness.

C. There are two promises in verse 7 — what are they? This is big, so FOCUS.   1). If we walk with Him in the Light, we have fellowship with each other.  2). The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, when we walk with Him in the light.

D. How does verse 7 imply we often sin without knowing it even while we are endeavoring to walk in the light? What will God do with these sins that we do not even see?   God cleanses us as we walk with Jesus, even when we are not aware of sinning.

 
E. When we are aware of sin, what are we to do and what is the promise according to verse 9?  We are to confess the sins we are aware of, & He will forgive us & cleanse us.

Wow, what a GOD!  What a loving Father  :)

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10. How did singing that hymn help you focus on God or hear from Him in any way?

 

The song “Voice of Truth” reminds me that God is in control, not me.

 
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. “Boy you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!”

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

    Reply

    I love the words of this song, Laura. Oh that we would listen more to the Voice of Truth instead of our fears. I couldn’t sleep last night and I was praying through the 23rd Psalm. I came to the last part where it says “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” and it suddenly struck me again how God in his mercy and goodness is with me always and that as I lay there praying for my friends and family who are in need that I can pray for God’s mercy and goodness to follow them no matter the circumstances. You are among the people that I prayed this prayer for last night. His goodness and mercy is following you, His dearly loved child.

      Reply

      Oh Diane! Tears…thank you SO much for your prayers. You can’t imagine how I cherish them since my mom is no longer here.

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    Beautiful, Laura.

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11. Meditate on 1 John 1:5-9, and FOCUS 
A. What do you learn about God in verse 5?
 

There is NO darkness in God at all.

 
B. What do you learn about how to continue in His presence in verse 6?
 

We are to confess our sins to God if we are aware of them.

 

The need to be truthful and admit our failing short. We need to not walk in darkness to be in fellowship with Him.

 
C. There are two promises in verse 7 — what are they? This is big, so FOCUS.
 

When we walk in the light we have fellowship with each other AND are washed of our sins by Jesus Christ.

 
D. How does verse 7 imply we often sin without knowing it even while we are endeavoring to walk in the light? What will God do with these sins that we do not even see?

 By being in fellowship with each other there’s always a potential for sending because we are human.  We make bad choices sometimes when we are together.

God will wash is clean of these sense.

 
E. When we are aware of sin, what are we to do and what is the promise according to verse 9?
 

 We are to confess our sins to God if we are aware of them. 

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10.  How did singing that hymn/song help you focus on God or hear from Him in any way?

For the past two weeks I have been learning a song by Sara Groves entitled What a Friend.   I grew up in a family that sang.   I especially remember my sweet mama’s beautiful alto voice singing as she worked, in church,  sitting around the campfire.     Many memories of my mom and dad harmonizing as we crowded into our station wagon and headed down the road.

I play guitar and have given guitar lessons for the past thirty years.    Often, when my soul is anxious and I don’t know what to do, I will get out my guitar and start playing.   Worshiping the Lord can serve as an adjustment to my soul   (much as my chiropractor gives me necessary adjustments).    And I am often in need of soul-adjustment.

So, with this beautiful Sara Groves song, what I’ve noticed is that as I have immersed myself in learning this song it has been coming back to me in unexpected moments   (walking through the grocery store,   cleaning the house,   as I drive around on errands,   on a walk……)    And the truth of this beautiful song has been stirring my soul to repent, rejoice and be thankful.  This song becomes my prayer.    It has provided much-needed heart-adjustments.    (I posted some of this song here a couple weeks ago as well, so some of you may have already seen some of  this.) Here’s a youtube link:

What a Friend  ~ Sara Groves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3JT1kuSTlY

[Verse 1]
O my Redeemer what a friend You are to me
O what a refuge I found
When the way was dreary and my heart was so oppressed
Your voice, it lulled me to calm and rest

[Verse 2]
When in their beauty stars unveil their silver light
Then, O my Savior, give me songs at night
Songs of yonder glory where my dear ones gone before
Sing out Your praise on that peaceful shore

[Chorus]
Nearer, draw nearer
Till my soul is lost in You
Nearer, draw nearer
Precious Lord

[Verse 3]
Jesus, my Savior, when the last deep shadows fall
When in the silence I hear You
In Your arms reposing, let me breathe my life away
Awake in triumphant eternal day
Awake in triumphant eternal day

[Chorus]
Nearer, draw nearer
Till my soul is lost in You
Nearer, draw nearer
Precious Lord
Nearer, draw nearer
Till my soul is lost in You
Nearer, draw nearer
Precious Lord

    Reply

    What a lovely Sara Grove song, Nila. Thank you.

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    Nila, you and I share the same love for the guitar. And I know you have played through the years. And am always thankful when I hear of another person using the gift of her music to bless others. I love Sarah Groves-I have to check this song out! How is your son?

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    Nila — since I’ve been compelled to meditate on the phrase “My God,” in this lovely song I see that personal name again in “My Redeemer,” “My Savior.” Lovely — and love Sara Groves.

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Wednesday 

8 – 10.  God’s timing never ceases to amaze me…thank you Dee for allowing God to use you and just being obedient to His leading.  The lyrics of this hymn by William Cowper have brought me comfort and peace.  I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to it and the first line, “Sometimes a light surprises, the Christian when he sings.”  was very evident in my life last Friday morning.  It was 2am and I needed sleep, but after hearing two trees already fall on the house and the wind, still so very strong, it was eluding me…I was scared.  It was then that God gave me the verse from 1 Peter 5:7 (the same one written in the middle of this hymn!) and a chorus we used to sing from the 80’s came to my mind so I started singing it…

I cast all my cares upon You.  I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.

And anytime that I don’t know what to do.  I will cast all my cares upon You.”

Thd next thing I knew it was 8 in the morning…God was faithful…He gave me rest!

    Reply

    What a great story, Sharon, and evidence of His mindfulness of you.

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    Sharon, thank you for sharing how the Lord kept you through the night and given you rest.

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Put a notepad on your kitchen counter, and list throughout the day things you are thankful for — then, come back and share your best here. When He gives you a gift He is saying, “You are my people.” When you thank Him, you are saying, “You are my God.”
13. What was one of your best gifts today and why?
A settled peace that seemed to have permeated my day despite the topsy- turviness nature of a lot of things at school. A reminder that God is saying, “You are my people.”  I am His child and I belong to the God of the universe who loves me and is concerned for me and I can really say “You are my God” and marvel at the truth of it and its implications now and in eternity.

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Thursday

11.  

A.  God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

B.  We must practice truth.  We can’t have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness.  I’ve heard it said that if a Christian thinks he can be of the world and have fellowship with God He is sitting on the fence and guess who owns the fence…Satan!

C.  The first promise is, if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another (He with us, and we with Him).  The second promise is, that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

    Reply

    Sharon — I sent you an e-mail asking for pictures for tomorrow’s blog. Is that possible?

      Reply

      Will do😊

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6. If you are in the Word for another Bible study, or just doing something for your own edification, go ahead and do it and then share any way God speaks to you. When He speaks to you, He is saying, “You are My people”. When you respond in obedience, you are saying, “You are my God.” So what did He show you, and how will you respond?

 

I’ve been listening to a series by Chip Ingram and he encourages us to daily renew our minds with Psalm 23, by personalizing it, so I have it printed out with my name filled in for each pronoun. He said this is one of the most graphic pictures of God’s goodness and it will help me to really get it from my head to my heart that God loves me and He is good. I meditate on the picture of God being my Shepherd and providing for me; what it means that I am compared to a sheep (I can’t take care of myself), and I think it fits with this week’s theme: You are My people….You are my God. When God declares that I am His, He is declaring that He assumes all the responsibility of taking care of me.

 

7. Listening to sermons on podcasts is how I try to keep my mind renewed and focused on the Lord. I usually listen when I’m home alone and working around the house. Then I can talk out loud to Him about what I’m learning!

 

8. What do you learn from the above hymn with the lyrics by William Cowper?

 

One part of the hymn said, “Though vine nor fig tree neither, their wanted fruit shall bear; though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there….yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice, for while in Him confiding I cannot but rejoice.” I thought of the similar words of Habakkuk, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Was Cowper thinking of this passage when he wrote his poem, I wonder? Both of these teach me that my circumstances do not change the very nature of who God is: I can still have His presence with me and choose to rejoice in Him.

 

 

    Reply

    I feel sure he was thinking of Habakkuk!

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11. Meditate on 1 John 1:5-9 and FOCUS

 

A. What do you learn about God in verse 5?

 

God IS light, there is no darkness in Him at all. He is Holy and Perfect, totally other than me.

 

B. What do you learn about how to continue in His presence in verse 6?

 

I must be honest and real before Him. If I cover up my sin or avoid coming to Him with it, but act as if everything is okay between me and the Lord, I am lying (to myself, to others). Choosing to remain in this state is ‘walking in darkness’ and He will not walk with me there. I must repent and turn from my sin to keep walking in the light with Him. I picture this as holding His hand, but if I choose to go down the wrong path, I can’t tug Him along with me; I’ll have to let go of His hand.

 

C. There are two promises in verse 7 – what are they? This is big, so FOCUS.

 

Two promises: I can have real fellowship with other believers and with the Father and His Son, Jesus (going back to verse 3 which says, “….so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”)

Secondly, the blood of Jesus will continually purify me from all sin. This makes sense to me now….staying close to Jesus allows me to be continually cleansed, as Lewis said about that ‘good infection’.

 

E. When we are aware of sin, what are we to do and what is the promise according to verse 9?

 

When I am aware of sin, I am to confess it to God and He will forgive me.

Reply

I feel sure he was thinking of Habakkuk!

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14. What was your take-a-way and why?
This study just reminded me of my younger years with the Navigators using the acrostic ACTS to pray. I have incorporated other things like Paul Miller’s suggestions in his book, “The Praying Life”. It is often easy to get sucked into the tyranny of the urgent and being able to slow down the last couple of weeks to move along with the study here was an oasis of rest in the Lord. And in the company of so many godly, sensitive and loving women!
I especially love the discipline of waking up and going through my day and being reminded of God saying, “you are my people” and me saying back, “you are my God.” Thank you again, Dee.

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