Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the second of twenty-two parts to this Psalm – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. This Psalm focuses on Scripture using these words to refer to it: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. The Psalm is written as an acrostic with each section beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. I’ve journaled my way through this.

Beth. January 15-19, 2016

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.

Dear Father, How can an older woman keep her way pure? How can anyone stay pure? It’s difficult or impossible for all of us humans. We only do this by living as your Word instructs us and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Only when we surrender all to you can we approach a pure and unblemished way of living.

10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.

Father, with all my heart I have sought you – some of the time. Am I half-hearted in seeking you some times? I’m afraid so. I need your help. Give me one pure and holy passion for You, Lord. Hold me close. I love you, Lord.

11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.

Father, Your Word I have treasured in my heart – but not as diligently as possible. I’m a work in progress and I need to make your Word a priority. Journaling this Psalm is helping me see the need to do this. The Psalmist said he treasured your word in his heart so he wouldn’t sin against you. Wow! I guess all sin is against you. I never thought of it that way. Help me, Lord. Forgive my daily sins of self-centeredness and pride. Guide me in your humble path.

12 Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.

Dear Father, You are blessed. I praise you Lord. Teach me your statutes. I know a statute is a law or a decree. I know from your word what your laws or statutes are. And Jesus said the most important law is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and the second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. I do LOVE you Lord. Help me focus on this more and love you more deeply. “Day by day, three things I pray. To see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly; follow Thee more nearly, day by day.” Thank you for this song in my heart that helps me keep your first commandment as well as the second one.

13 With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.

Dear Father, With my lips I have told others about Your LOVE and GRACE and your SACRIFICE. Our culture is lawless – perhaps I should tell others about your laws, your commandments, and your expectations of us. I did journal about Your Son’s COMMANDMENTS. These go beyond the ten commandments of your Word. Guide me in thinking more about this.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.

Dear Father, I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies – your Scripture. Have I rejoiced as much as I do in all riches? I know we are blessed with money, comfort, food, shelter, and clothing and we can buy whatever we want or need. I haven’t experienced poverty of things. But I don’t wish for more than we have. Riches get in the way some times – we have too much. It takes up our time and energy taking care of our house and cars and stuff. Things do not satisfy for very long. I do cherish and rejoice in your testimonies. I praise you, Lord. Keep me in your Word.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.

Dear Father, I will meditate on your precepts, your Word. Your Word does guide me, inspire me, delight me and inform me. It even entertains me. M and I have been reading the book of Acts together. What adventures the early Christians experienced, especially Paul. Thank you for your Word. I guess this verse refers mostly to your law as the Psalmist didn’t have the Gospel yet. I do regard your ways. Your ways are not the ways of the world. Guide me in growing in faith and in the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

16 I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.

Dear Father, I do delight in your statues. Or do I? I haven’t thought much about your law, precepts, commands, and statutes until I began journaling this Psalm. I do examine my heart often asking you to show me my sins. And I notice my impatience and irritation and self-centeredness often and turn to you and ask forgiveness. Journaling this Psalm is helping me delight more in your law. I will not forget your Word. It is in my heart, mind, and soul. And the Spirit brings to mind your Word. Help me grow in knowing your Word, relying on it and obeying it. I love you.

Blessings, Dottie



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Resurrection Doubt? No, He's Alive!

Christ the Lord has risen! He's alive! 

Do we believe this? The disciples spent three years with Jesus, living and learning from Him. They saw the healings and miracles and knew He was the Messiah. But they didn't expect Him to die. They witnessed His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, though some ran away and hid. Some helped bury Him. Then they hid together and grieved.
Three days later they saw Him! Can you grasp the surprise, amazement, and yet belief in their voices?
Mary said, "I have seen the Lord! (John 20:18) She knew it was Him!   
The two men on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Him until He broke the bread and revealed Himself to them. 
They said, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32) Their hearts burned within them even before they recognized Him. Does your heart burn within you in His presence?
Thomas wouldn't believe the reports of the other disciples until he saw Jesus a week later. Then he said, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28) I imagine he said this with a hushed and humble voice. He may have even bowed before him. Wouldn't you? Do you now?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most essential doctrine of the church. Any who don't believe this truth are denying Jesus, Christianity and Scripture.     
He said He was the Son of God. (Luke 22:70) He said He would rise from the dead. (Luke 18:33) And He did. He said He would return and He will. (Matthew 24:30) What a marvelous faith we have.
Blessings, Dottie


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gethsemane, Arrest and Trial, Crucifixion and Burial

Today I’m listing the holy week Scripture from Thursday night to Friday. Ponder the meaning of these events. Jesus, the son of God died for us.

Gethsemane – In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus sweat blood and tears. Matt. 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40-46 He prayed “Let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.”

Arrest and Trial – Matthew 26:47-27:26, Mark 14:43-15:15, Luke 22:47-23:25, John 18:2-19:16. Pilate said, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” Luke 23:4

Crucifixion – Matt. 27:27-56, Mark 15:16-41, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:17-37.
Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Burial – Matt. 27:57-66, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42
Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus body. “Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock.” Luke 23:53

In Christ, Dottie


Monday, April 10, 2017

HOLY WEEK THOUGHTS AND AN OLD RUGGED CROSS

This is the most holy week of the Christian calendar. Most churches will have special services this week to recount the events of the first Holy week, to commemorate the Last Supper, to honor our Lord's agony in Gethsemane, His betrayal and arrest and His suffering and death on the cross to redeem us. And three days later his resurrection!

Let the meaning of this week sink in to your soul in a deeper way than ever before. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the amazing significance of this event in history. Wrap your mind and heart around the fact that Jesus, God in the flesh, the son of God, lived a sinless life, taught profound lessons in love, showed us God's unchanging character, and voluntarily died to save you and me. And he rose again. He's alive!

We can't stand in God's presence in eternity without Christ's blood covering our sins. Here's what Scripture says about the effect of Jesus sacrificial death on those who are in Christ:

God has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over His own head on the cross. And then, having disarmed all the powers ranged against us, He exposed them - shattered, empty, and defeated-in His final glorious triumphant act! Colossians 2:13b-15

             On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
            the emblem of suffering and shame,
            and I love the old cross where the dearest and best
            for a world of lost sinners was slain.
            So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
            till my trophies at last I lay down;
            I will cling to the old rugged cross
            and exchange it some day for a crown.

In Christ,  Dottie


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Events of Holy Week in Scripture

We will be blessed this holy week if we read, study, meditate and pray on the events of this week as recorded in Scripture. Today I’m listing Sunday through Thursday. Meditate on His life as you read through these events.

Sunday: Jesus “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem occurred on Sunday with Jesus riding on a donkey fulfilling Zechariah 9:9’s prophesy. “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” See Matt 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:12-19.

Monday: Jesus is anointed (for burial) at Bethany (John 12:1-9) and he clears the temple of the money changers. (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48)

Tuesday: His authority is questioned. Matt. 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8. And Jesus teaches in the temple. Matt. 21:28-23:39, Mark 12:1-44, Luke 20:9-21:4.

Wednesday: Judas plots against Jesus. Matt. 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6

Thursday: Jesus and His disciples eat the Passover meal, the Last Supper, the first Communion. Matt. 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-38, John 13:1-38. Jesus says to his disciples “This is my body, broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.” In John 14:1-16:33, He comforts the disciples, and in John 17:1-26 He gives His high priestly prayer, praying for them and for us – for our unity in Him.

This is a holy week with much to ponder about Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Blessings in Christ, Dottie


Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Palm Sunday Baptism

Early in the morning Dot lay in bed thinking about the special Palm Sunday ahead. She glanced out her window enjoying the sunshine, then noticed snow on a tree limb. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window. Snow covered everything in sight. Who ever heard of it snowing on Palm Sunday?

Dot and her parents and younger sister walked to church through a foot and a half of snow. So much snow had fallen that the streets hadn't been cleared. Dot enjoyed Sunday school and worship and, though attendance was low, she knew it would be an extra special day.
           
That night Dot and her family walked to church again through the snow. Dot's heart beat a little faster than usual now, in anticipation. She remembered the minister’s description of Palm Sunday with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a little mule. The people had strewn palm branches in his path and shouted with praise and joy, "Hosanna to the King!" The minister said they should do everything with love and joy and praise for Jesus in their hearts and shout "Hosanna to the King."

When they arrived at church Dot went to a little room next to the sanctuary. Her friends were already there and women from the church helped them get dressed. Dot slipped into her white robe and just then the organist began playing the prelude. Dot's heart beat a little faster, because she knew this was such a special moment in her life - one she would always remember. Dot was going to be baptized that night.

The service began. Dot's best girl friend, Kitty, went first and came out dripping wet, but smiling. One of the boys went, and then her turn came. She stepped into the water slowly and confidently. The minister took her hands. He talked about the meaning of baptism and asked her if she loved Jesus and wanted Him as her Lord and Savior. Dot replied, "Yes" in a low whisper, but her heart was beating a loud and joyous "Yes" within her.

Dot didn't fully understand all that baptism meant, but she knew Jesus was the Son of God and died for her and rose again. She knew baptism meant she would try to do whatever Jesus wanted her to do and she would be different because Jesus would live in her heart.

The minister said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" as he gently let her down into the water. As she came up out of the water she heard the congregation singing "My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine" and she knew for the first time what that song meant.

After church she heard people say, "What a shame it had to snow on Palm Sunday." But Dot didn't feel that way. She knew this day couldn't be hurt by outward things like snow. That night she had proclaimed to all the members of her church that she wanted Jesus to be the King of her life - just as the people the first Palm Sunday had proclaimed him King. Dot wanted to do as the minister had said they should that morning and live with a song of love and joy and praise for Jesus in her heart always.

"Bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" Luke 19:38 NLT

Blessings,

Dottie



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

CHOOSING A COUNSELOR

Q. How can I find a counselor I can trust? I want to find some one who is qualified to help me with my particular problems and someone who will be understanding and helpful. What do you suggest?

A. Choosing a counselor should be done with care and thought. It is best to obtain the recommendation of someone you know and trust. If you have a friend who has had a good counseling experience this is an excellent recommendation. A trusted doctor or minister can also make referrals. Once you have the name of a counselor, think about what you want to know about that person and about counseling before you make your initial phone call. Remember, you are purchasing a service from a professional and you have the right to ask questions.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:
1. Are you licensed by the state? What license do you hold?
When you choose a licensed professional you are safeguarding yourself from someone unqualified to treat you. Licensed Independent Social Workers, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors and Licensed Psychologists have all had post graduate training, several years of supervision following their degree, and they are required to keep their training current with additional continuing education. 
         
Psychiatrists have a medical degree, they are doctors before being trained in psychiatry and they have stringent licensing requirements and continuing education requirements in order to practice. However, with managed care, most psychiatrists see patients only for evaluation and then provide medication as needed. They don’t have the luxury of spending a full 50 minute hour with a patient on a weekly basis. 
         
2. How much do you charge for each session? Will my insurance pay for this? How do you expect payment? 
         
3. How long will my appointments be?
Most counselors see clients for 45 or 50 minutes once a week. After several weeks, depending on the problem, interviews can be spaced farther a part. You have the right to express your opinion about this. 

4. How many years of counseling experience do you have?
Usually, the longer anyone does something the better they get at doing it.       

5. What are your areas of specialization? What types of problems do you see most often? Most counselors see a variety of problems but they often have a specialty. Specialization may be in treating marital problems, parent/child problems, depression, panic disorders, substance abuse, sexual abuse and many others. It will help to find a counselor who specializes in your problem as this person probably has additional training in this area. 

6. What is your therapeutic orientation? Are there particular techniques you use?
Look for a counselor who can explain their methods in simple language and who doesn’t become defensive at being asked this question. Choosing a therapist with a similar world view is important no matter what. This is especially true if your faith is very important to you or if you want to explore spiritual issues. To do otherwise is like trying to communicate in two different languages.  

In your early sessions with a therapist pay attention to how comfortable you feel and to whether you feel understood. If your counselor doesn't seem to understand you, discuss this with him or her. As therapy continues notice whether you are learning about yourself, making changes in your life and gradually feeling better. Therapy needs to move at your pace and according to your goals for yourself.      

I hope these ideas will help you find a counselor who is right for you and who can help you with your problems.

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.” Proverbs 15:22 NLT

Blessings, Dottie