Thursday, September 26, 2013

Prioritizing Prayer

   Prayer is something that many people think they're sufficient at but I've yet to meet someone who's truly "perfected prayer." There are people who have the right words and pray over others, over food, and at night but prayer is more that that. Prayer shouldn't just be something you do at a certain time, it should be something you do all the time. While reading the Bible I've noticed three main parts of prayer that will truly change our lives: persistency, faith, and conversation.
   While I definitely need work in all three areas, persistency is something I've been focusing on for a while. The Bible says many times (Romans 12:12) that we should pray every moment. This is very hard for me because I often get caught up in living and forget about God for hours at time. However, when I do keep up a constant conversation with him, my mood is better all day! Everything in the Bible is there to help us and in my experience, persistent prayer changes my outlook and attitude towards the day for the better.
    Faith is something a lot of people, myself included, struggle with. The Bible tells us that if we truly believe will receive what we ask for we will (Mark 11:24). However, there are lots of times where I know that God can do something but have trouble believing that He will. But the more I see God at work, the more faith I have. The disciples are a great example of how this played out. They saw Jesus work miracles over and over yet they didn't have enough faith to do it themselves for several years but eventually they were preforming miracles everyday. If we immerse ourselves in Gods wonder, we will have more belief in it. 
   God wants to have a true friendship with us. Peter had one of the strongest faith's in the Bible yet He rebuked Jesus several different times (Matthew 16:22 for example).  Jacob had a vivid prayer life yet he wrestles with God (Genesis 32:22-32). God wants us to ask questions and wrestle with doubts. He wants us to have a real friendship that grows and changes. When we pray He wants it to be a conversation with a good friend because that's who He wants to be for us, our best friend. 
    Prayer is something I've been convicted of a lot in my life and is a extremely important part of following the Lord. My challenge to myself and anyone who's reading this is to focus on these three elements of prayer in order to grow you relationship with God!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Judging Others

   Passing judgement on other people is something a lot of people, myself included, struggle with. The other day I was reading Romans and ran across this verse.
     You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1
    It made me stop to think because while I might not sin in exactly the same way as other people, I still sin, and because of that, the very action judging them is a sin. When we judge we're looking down on someone for sinning while we ourselves sin! I knew that before but needed the reminder. (Thank you God!)
    One thing that causes me to judge is profane language. When someone curses, my opinion of them automatically, and often subconsciously, goes down. However, I have one friend that I really like but she isn't a Christian and has absolutely no interest in any kind of faith. She does different things I don't agree with (because I'm looking through Bible eyes), including her word choice. But often, instead of judging her when she says things, I judge the word she's just said. If I can do this with her vulgarity, why can't I do it with everyone and every sin, why can't we all?
    What I'm not saying is that we should ignore that a certain person is doing something. We shouldn't. We need to keep in mind the ways different people are challenged so that we can be there for them if God ever asks us to, or share of verse we're feeling led to share with them. What we shouldn't do is hold the sin against them.
     So, in conclusion, don't judge people, judge actions. Don't see someone you don't want to be like, see something you don't want to do. 
You who judge often practice the same thing.
p.s. Click here for more verses about judging. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Justified by Faith

   The Bible tells us many times that we are sinful people and don't deserve any of the blessings God gives us (Romans 3:23). That is why Jesus came! Jesus is the only reason any of the Bible matters to us. No matter how many rules, strategies, warnings, or encouraging words God gives, we all mess up all the time. So, without salvation through Jesus, nothing matters. The reason John 3:16 is such a well known verse is because it lays out the foundation of Christianity, 
    "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
    What this means is that God loves each one of us so much that He sent His perfect son into certain torture so that we, despite our own imperfections, can be with Him forever. This is amazing, the best news ever, the Good News! But sometimes I struggle with the reality of this verse.
    Many people often think of themselves as pretty good, I do. I know that I need Jesus but sometimes slip into the trap of thinking that I deserve more than some other people because of I'm "better" than them. Earlier this morning, I was doing my Bible Study and ran across the verse that I thought was extremely cool and exactly what I needed to help me with this particular struggle. 
   "If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God." Romans 4:2
   A little background knowledge for those who don't know, Abraham is the father of the Israelites (God's people). He had great faith in God and did a lot of good stuff, if anyone has something to brag about, it would be Him. However, he could only brag to other people. No one goes up to a famous singer and says, "I'm a really good singer and I sang in my 5th grade talent show 10 years ago and my parents clapped really loudly for me." That would sound extremely stupid and trying to brag about the good things I've done in my life would sound just like that if I were to say them to someone perfect (aka God). Especially since I wouldn't even know the difference between right and wrong without the Bible and the moral compass He's put in each of us! 
   Thankfully, I will never have to try and tell God the "good things" I've done because we are not justified by works, we are justified through faith, faith in Jesus. When the day comes for God to judge me, He will declare me innocent because of my faith in Jesus. Nothing else matters. That's why it's so important for the whole world to see what Jesus did for each of us, to accept that gift and to spend our lives praising Him for saving us. So, in conclusion: If we do good things purely out of thankfulness for what God has done for us, that is when what we are doing is purely good! :)
    I felt like a good verse to end this post with would be another one from Romans, this time Romans 6:23,
    "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
     I think a fun way to memorize scripture is through song.  click here for a Romans 6:23 memorization song! You can find cool songs for other verses as well on the Seeds Family Worship website (the same one the Romans 2:23 song is on). If you see the logo below, you're at the right place! :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's it all about?

the Living Word reflected in the Living Water
   The purpose of this blog is to share neat Bible verses I've run across and that mean something to me. Each post will focus on a specific verse and include a description of what I think the verse means. I will share how I've seen the verse applied in my life, thoughts, or the lives of others. My posts will also include creative ways to share scripture with you friends and family. Hopefully you will gain knowledge and insight on different verses as well as be encouraged to share verses with others!

These are two websites I've found very helpful while studying the Bible:

1) Bible Gateway: This website lets you search verses, passages, or key words and will pull results from all over the Bible in Biblical order. You can read verses in any translation, get reading plans and devotionals, and listen to the Bible due to the audio option.

2) Open Bible (Topical Feature): This website feature enables you to search any word and pulls up verses in order of popularity and relevance. Whether you need a verse to encourage yourself or a friend, this is a quick, easy, and helpful tool to help you in you search.