Regret

17 Afterward, as you know, when [Esau] wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

- Heb 12:17 NIV

“He could not change what he had done.” This strikes a chord with me. I have done things I regret also, and I cannot change what I have done either.
I once asked a psychologist what to do about regret. He told me to tell someone about it. I am embarrassed to tell anyone about most of the dumb things that come back to haunt me. That may be why they haven’t been defused and still plague me from time to time. I should tell them to God. He knows all about them anyway.
I’m so glad you’re there for me, Father God. I will probably have regrets all my life, but you can begin to heal me from these embarrassing memories. Free me from them so I can go forward to serve you in peace.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV

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With Every Breath

6 Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
- Ps 150:6 AMP

“Let… every breath of life praise the Lord!”
I praise you, my Lord and King! All I have is from you, including every moment of this life and the next. May my life give you praise and bring glory to your name with every single breath I take.

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It Shall Be Well

Psalm 128:2 AMP
For you shall eat [the fruit] of the labor of your hands;
happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) shall you be, and it shall be well with you.
Bible.com/app (YouVersion)
NIV: You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Another promise — with the same condition: “Do something so I can bless it!”
I like the Amplified better for this verse, I think. I relate to labor of my hands, though if I work in voice over my mouth will be heavily involved as well. It is sobering to think that I would starve if my sustenance was directly linked to the work I do for pay right now. I hope I would do things differently if I needed to earn my own living. I’ve definitely been spoiled!
The main reason I like the Amplified is the promise at the end: “It shall be well with you.” I so want to know it will be well with us — with me — when all is said and done. Not just OK, either. “Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable)” … generous words from my generous Heavenly Father.

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Ask for Help

Isaiah 30:19-21, 23 NIV
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” …
23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows.
Bible.com/app (YouVersion)
This passage spoke to me today. Each of these verses seems to have a message I can use.
19: The time of crying will end. “This too shall pass,” is always a good message for God’s people. Also in this verse is a message to cry out to Him. He wants to be gracious to us and will answer as soon as he hears us.
20: This verse reminds me of the saying “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Sometimes God has to let us get into tough situations before we are looking for the teacher he has for us.
21: God guides us as we go. Don’t sit around waiting for God to build a fire under you before you do something. Start doing what seems best to you and he will work with you.
I just finished a book called Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung that says pretty much the same thing:
Step 1: Search the Scriptures
Step 2: Get wise counsel
Step 3: Pray, especially for the right motives and attitude
Step 4: Make a decision and act on it. (By the way, these are lifestyle steps. You don’t keep your Bible under your bed until you need to make a decision.)
23: If I plant it, he can water it and make it grow. On the other hand, if I don’t plant he has nothing to work with. (See also Ecc 11:6)
I’m always amazed at the number of ways God will show me the same message until I act on it. Help me, Lord, to get started — ready or not, whether I want to or not. Do it for him if I won’t do it for myself. Col 3:23-24
Continue reading

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Hearing, Receiving, Loving, and Obeying

Psalm 119:100-101 AMP
I understand more than the aged, because I keep Your precepts [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Your word [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it].
Bible.com/app
[Lord, help and remind me to hear, receive, and love your precepts and your word so I may obey you from a heart of love and understanding.]

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Do I Know You?

Matthew 7:21-23 NIV

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.    Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’    Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

I am convicted by this passage today. When I go on one of my binges I don’t even take care of myself much less “do the will of my Father in heaven.” I don’t believe it is his will for me to squander hours at a time like that.
Verse 21 isn’t all there is to this, either. No matter how well I lead worship, no matter how heavenly the harmonies I sing, no matter how big my Sunday school class gets or how good our discussions are, if I’m not doing “the will of my Father in heaven,” he won’t know me. I won’t know him, either — not like I could have if I had done my best to do his will all the time.

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A Willing Heart

Psalm 119:32 AMP
I will [not merely walk, but] run the way of Your commandments, when You give me a heart that is willing.
Bible.com/app
The NIV says, “I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.”
This verse popped out at me today. I wonder if I am too sedate about my walk with God. I like the idea that God will “give me a heart that is willing.” I can take that to mean I don’t need to exert myself until He makes me willing. I am reminded of a prayer from my past, something about being “willing to be made willing”. This sounds well and good, but the unspoken underlying thought is, “but I really don’t want to, so please don’t take me there.”
Lord, please forgive this lazy, reluctant, selfish servant. I am yours. Use me and fulfill your purpose for me, according to your word.

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The Prudent Overlook

Proverbs 12:16 NIV Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult. Bible.com/app I’ve been building up a discontented attitude over the last couple of days. I’ve seen it happening and thought about better ways to think about the situation, but then another petty little annoyance would occur and the peeve would come right back full strength. This morning I reached the inevitable next level: Open mouth, insert foot, … apologize. It’s inevitable if I don’t deal with it when I should, when God shows me I’m out of line. It’s actually totally preventable. I don’t remember the last time I did this, so either it’s been a while or there’s a good side to not remembering as well as I used to. God is faithful. First Oswald Chambers talked to me today about being “quarrelsome and easily upset over small things.” (My Utmost for His Highest) Then this little gem was tucked into my daily Bible reading today. I don’t usually show my annoyance at once, so I’m not a fool, usually. I guess I have been foolish to let this attitude go downhill until my dissatisfaction spews out all over whoever gets in my way. (That would be my Dear Husband, generally. Sigh.) Perhaps someday I’ll be a prudent person who overlooks insults. I assume she wouldn’t be bothered by annoyances at all. Someday. Maybe. I have this Friend who does miracles. I think he’ll help me. Thank you, Father, for putting up with me. Forgive me for not listening to you sooner. Forgive me for my bad attitude and pettiness. Thank you for your love and forgiveness.

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Weakness to Strength

Hebrews 11:33-34 NIV … through faith … whose weakness was turned to strength… Bible.com/app [If God can hang the stars on high, Can paint the clouds that drift on by, Can send the sun across the sky, What can His power do through you? --Jones (from Our Daily Bread) I don't know the answer to that question, but I've been getting this message from several places lately. I saw a replay of Jon Acuff's Start Night on Wednesday. He said it's time for me "to stand up in my seat and do what I've been afraid to do. It's time to Start." And a lot of other inspiring, true things that resonated with me. (If you're interested or curious, you can preorder his new book, which includes a video of that night to watch yourself on daveramsey.com) He also said we need to Start before we are ready, since nobody is really ready for something they've never done before. Just make a list and Start doing things, one after another. I suspect he wasn't talking about my To Do list that is rather out of control at the moment, either. Help me, Lord, to do something with this besides thinking about it until the urge goes away. I love you and want to use the talents you've given me for the purpose you have in mind, but I don't know how to get there from here. I'm not sure where "there" is, but Jon says I don't need to know where I'll end up. Show me the next step and help me to get started.]

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Every Empty Word

Matthew 12:36-37 NIV But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Bible.com/app NIV84 said “every careless word.” “Empty” words make me think of small talk and meaningless, shallow conversation that is so prevalent nowadays. If I will have to “give account on the day of judgment” for my side of these conversations, what does that mean? If the other person is only interested in shallow topics… That may not be Jesus’ intent. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary helps by putting it in context. “…words that might be thought “insignificant” (Stendahl, Peake) except for their revealing what is in the heart. Jesus is saying that every spoken word reflects the heart’s overflow and is known to God. Therefore words are of critical importance (cf. Eph. 5:3-4, 12; Col. 3:17; James 1:19; 3:1-12). … Here it heightens the warning that what one says about Jesus and his miracles reveals what one is and that he will be judged accordingly. … ” (Volume 8, p 293) I think in context, as Scripture should always be examined, it doesn’t much matter whether he said “careless” or “empty.” The point is, “What you say tells everyone who you are, even — especially — God.”

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