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Maybe I Need Bible Homework

28 Jan

I read about a school’s homework policy. Sounds funny, but maybe it’s true!

Students should not spend more than 90 minutes per night.

This time should be budgeted in the homeworkpolicy_lolwithgod_patriceaudet_pixabayfollowing manner:

  • 15 minutes looking for assignment.
  • 11 minutes calling a friend for the assignment.
  • 23 minutes explaining why the teacher is mean and just does not like children.
  • 8 minutes in the bathroom.
  • 10 minutes getting a snack.
  • 7 minutes checking the TV Guide.
  • 6 minutes telling parents that the teacher never explained the assignment.
  • 10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Mom or Dad to do the assignment. *

Sounds about right.

For some people. Not for me. I remember how much I got done as a student. I actually liked to study in school. I’d shut out distractions and shut myself away with my books until I grasped what was important.

And because I had homework, I learned a lot more than if I had left my education to chance.

At one point, I thought, “Maybe I need Bible homework.”

Paul told Timothy,

“Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (1 Timothy 2:15, Amplified).

It’s not that I wasn’t “in my Bible.” I’m in it all the time for my job, for blogs I write, and for general reading (and lately, memorizing).

But studying to learn… studying for God’s approval… studying to be a better teacher?

Not so much.

Because of my job and other responsibilities, I can’t go to the official women’s Bible studies at church. But that’s just a reason for my lack of study, not an excuse.

I can educate myself in biblical truth at home. I’ve got oodles of books and commentaries and several Bible translations on my shelves. And I have the Holy Spirit within me, the best teacher of all (1 John 2:27).

So I’ve started giving myself homework.

  • I assign a passage and answer questions about the text.
  • I write little essays.
  • I apply what I learn – I figure out practical ways to use what I learn.
  • And the Lord sees to it that I am “tested” on the things I say I believe!

Why should I study scripture?

I am accountable to the Lord for what I learn about His Word … or fail to learn.

Learning just takes a plan and the desire to execute that plan.

It takes seeking and responding to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and not carrying out the desires of our distracting flesh (Galatians 5:16).

I need to shut off the TV, switch off Facebook, get out of the kitchen, and get busy studying.

I’ve got homework!

Do you need Bible homework too? When are you going to get started?

 ~ Dawn

 * “Homework Policy,” Cybersalt News, January 28, 2015, CybersaltDigest

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay

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Picky Eating Habits

13 Jun

One of the most frustrating things about being a mom of toddlers is theChewingOnGodsWord_LOLwithGod little ones’ eating habits. A blog called Mommy Shorts posted moms’ submissions about their children’s picky eating habits. Here are my favorites:

  • Hello, my name is Julia, and tomorrow I will hate every food I liked today.
  • Hello, my name is Lexi, and I will gag at the sight of sauce, except if you call it frosting. I love pasta frosting.
  • Hello, my name is Gabe, and I will not eat scrambled eggs unless you spell my name out in ketchup next to them.
  • Hello, my name is Wyatt, and I like my milk separate from my cereal so I can treat it like a dip.
  • Hello, my name is Olivia, and I hate crust. Not just on bread and pizza. Did you know there is crust on pancakes and hot dog rolls too?
  • Hello, my name is Xander, and if I find one string on my banana, I will cry like you chopped off my leg.
  • Hello, my name is Atlee, and I like toast with butter, but not if I see you putting the butter on my toast. You must butter my toast in the pantry, in another room or outside, because if I see you put butter on it, I will not eat it. And don’t get the crazy idea that I like dry toast. I do not. I like toast with sneaky butter on it.
  • [More “picky eaters” here.]

Ah those sweet days of feeding toddlers . . .

Toddlers’ food choices can drive us crazy. Of course, those picky eaters don’t think they’re being picky. In their little minds, they’re being discerning gourmets!

I read a scripture that made me think about what I “eat” each day.

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV).

It’s a choice. I can either eat the world’s foolish words—and go hungry nonetheless—or I can feast on the satisfying, wise words God has provided for me.

Chewing on God’s Word is a matter of being a discerning picky eater.

We have a choice every day about what we will read and the media we devour. Our choices will affect our lives.

If we are wise stewards of God’s time and of our minds, we will make choices that the world might consider “picky.” But that shouldn’t concern us.

If we want to model Christ to the world, we will want lives that are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We need to “test” literature and media—and “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The Psalmist said, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103), and the patriarch, Job, said he treasured God’s words more than his actual “portion of food” (Job 23:12). They “ate” the Word and were satisfied.

We may have second thoughts about other things we’ve read, but we will never regret “chewing” on scripture.

Do you eat God’s words every day? How has He blessed and encouraged you by them?

– Dawn

A Perfect Substitute

3 Apr

PeepDynastyI love Peep “creations,” like this “Peep Dynasty” diorama (left) created by Minnesotans Liz, Maddie, Drew, Matt and Ryan Mulcahy to resemble the “Duck Dynasty” TV show.

My sister-in-love, Janice, loves Easter “Peeps” candy and we’ve shared some of those squishy, sugary chicks or bunnies with her every spring. But they don’t belong in her healthy diet, so she firmly told my husband and me last year, “No more Peeps!”

JansBirthdayPeep_2015_croppedWe complied, until we saw this huge stuffed “Peep” (right). Jan’s birthday is two days before Easter, so Miss Pinky Peep was her special gift this year!

LOL indeed!

The stuffed Peep was a good substitute in place of her more tempting marshmallow version, don’t you think? It brought nothing but joy.

I’ve been thinking about “substitutes” lately — how the Bible mentions at least two kinds of substitutes. Here’s what I’m thinking . . .

1. It’s a good thing to find acceptable, even beneficial substitutes when we are tempted. The reason temptations are successful is, when they connect so deeply with our desires, we often choose to give in. As James, one of the disciples, wrote,

“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15).

Actually, temptations arise from the world (1 John 2:15-17), our sinful flesh (Galatians 5:16-21) and the devil (1 Peter 5:8). So we can’t just say, “The devil made me do it,” or blame the culture. We are responsible for our choices.

Our example of dealing with temptation is Jesus Himself.  He was tempted as we are, yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). When tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11), Jesus substituted God’s truth for Satan’s lies.

God wants us to do the same.

When tempted, we must not rely on our own skill, our own wisdom or our own strategies. We must appeal to, quote and rest in the sure Word of God.

The Lord uses His Word to correct and transform us (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 3:16). We can rejoice in that!

And we can ask the Lord to show us how to stand against temptation, perhaps by choosing an alternate activity or a godly option. Remember:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

When faced with temptations today, we must learn to use the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and the Word of God (Psalm 119:9, 11), to defeat our enemy. We must be watchful in prayer, discovering and becoming more alert to Satan’s strategies (Matthew 26:41). [A good resource for this is Warren Wiersbe’s book, The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him.]

We must not be ignorant of Satan’s tricks (2 Corinthians 2:11). Our crafty adversary twists scriptures (Genesis 3:1-5) as he masquerades as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He seeks “opportune” times to tempt us (Luke 4:13). We need the Holy Spirit to show us how to recognize and defeat the devil through the power of the Word.

We can always rely on the truth of the Scriptures to show us how to substitute healthy, godly, wise choices for spiritual growth and victory.

And then . . .

2. Jesus is my PERFECT Substitute. That’s another “substitute” concept that truly blesses me this Easter season.

God promised Adam and Eve a Savior would come (Genesis 3:15), but ironically, He spoke those words to Satan. From that moment, Satan knew he was headed for defeat. He likely sensed it again, before the cross,  when Jesus defeated him in the wilderness through the power of the Word. But that doesn’t keep Satan from trying to destroy God’s children. We must remember the promise of Genesis 3 and how God fulfilled it in John 3:16!

Yes, every believer has counted on God’s promise of a coming Savior since the Garden of Eden.

The blessing of Good Friday and Easter is that Jesus kept the law perfectly his 33 years, then died on the cross and rose to victory as our gracious Substitute.

JesusTheLambOfGod_OurSubstituteThe perfect Lamb of God died for our sins and rose that we might have eternal life, if we trust in His substitutionary sacrifice for us.

He took what we rightly deserved, and gave us what we could never deserve in ourselves. This was spelled out in Isaiah 53:5, which prophecies Christ’s “substitutionary atonement,” as well as many New Testament passages, like:

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God . . . He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness . . . For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous. to bring you to God . . . “ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).

Yes, Jesus, our Champion — Jesus our Substitute — rose from the dead and won the victory. And by faith, the victory is ours as well.

In summary, remember:

1.  To find victory over besetting sins, learn to substitute God’s truth for Satan’s lies.

2. We cannot save ourselves; we need a substitute to take our place. We must rest in God’s grace . . . in our Holy Substitute, Jesus.

Have you placed your trust in the perfect Substitute? Are you learning to find victory in the Word of God?

– Dawn

 

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