Back in the Box

I’ve been reading through the letters of John, asking God to show me a phrase or verse from each chapter that’s particularly meaningful to my life right now (this is called lectio divina). What popped out in chapter 2 of 1 John is this:

“… the world is passing away along with its desires …” 1 John 2:17a

Years ago I heard a story told by James Dobson. He talked about playing monopoly with his family — he was winning, and he got really excited as he accumulated more and more money and property. At the end of the game, everybody else got up to go to bed and he was left to clean up. All that cash, all those buildings, all those “things of the world” that he was so pumped up about …. they all just went back in the box. The “rush” he experienced from acquiring them didn’t last very long.

Since my husband retired, I’ve been putting a lot of things back in the box (in my case, the box is the trash!). We’re cleaning out a storage locker, sorting through files and pictures, and in many cases wondering, why did I keep this? Why do I have hundreds of pictures of places I’ve visited? Often I don’t remember where they were taken! Why do I have file folders of notes and papers I wrote in college? Will my children care about these? Why am I holding onto books I read 20 years ago, even if they were really meaningful to me at the time? Wouldn’t it be better to pass them on?

The things of the world are temporary, and that doesn’t just apply to money and buildings. Even the things we read, the knowledge we accumulate, the things we create — none of this will survive for very long once we’re gone. So …

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in possessions–is not from the Father but if from the world.” 1 John 2:`5-16

Love what lasts — God and His Word.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8

For more about Lectio Divina see:

Philippians Chapter 1 — What Stands Out

And He Said This Plainly

Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ–Book Review

Staying Alive

“The minds that are alive to every word from God, give constant opportunity for His divine interference with a suggestion that may alter the courses of their lives: and, like the ships that turn when the steersman’s hand but touches the helm, God can steer them through the worst dangers by the slightest breath of feeling, or the lightest touch of thought.

Richard H. Hutton(2 June 1826 – 9 September 1897), an English journalist of literature and religion.

How do we stay alive to the word of God? It’s pretty simple. Practice spiritual disciplines — pray, worship, study the Bible, sing hymns and songs of praise, speak with a spiritual director or a Christian friend about your faith life. All of these things will keep us aware of God and how He is at work in our lives and in the world around us. The more we pay attention, the more we “fix our minds on Christ,” the more we will hear the particular words He is speaking to us personally. Is your heart numb and hardened? Or are you staying alive?

For more about spiritual disciplines see:

Spiritual Discipline For a Spiritual Life by Donald S. Witney –FTF Book Review

A Disciplined Life

Formation by Henri Nouwen–Book Review

Staying On Course–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“But to deviate from the truth for the sake of some prospect of hope of our own can never be wise, however slight that deviation may be.  It is not our judgement of the situation which can show us what is wise, but only the truth of the Word of God.  Here alone lies the promise of God’s faithfulness and help.  It will always be true that the wisest course for the disciple is always to abide solely by the Word of God in all simplicity.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Word of God – A Poem

Another Fearless Year

This poem is a tribute to the Word of God, which I am so thankful for. I love to be able to read His Word! I pray for those who desire to read the Bible but don’t have access to it. It is inconceivable that just owning the Bible is illegal or dangerous in 52 countries. But when you think about how powerful His Word is, I suppose it makes sense to keep it out of the hands of people if you want to control them. God’s Word, when it takes hold of the heart, will not be displaced.

The Word of God

The Word of God
is alive
fills my life
with blessings
wisdom and
comfort

The Word of God
is active
changes my heart
with conviction
truth and
love

The Word of God
is sharp
judges my thoughts
with precision
repentance and
faith

The Word of God
is…

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Why to Study (according to Martin Luther)

Image result for martin luther on god's word

My last post was “what do you study.”  This quote from Martin Luther tells us “why we should study.” It is one thing to study the Bible as history or literature and another to read it as a guide for life.  It is one thing to memorize Bible verses and quite another to pray and meditate about them.  It is one thing to know about God and it is something entirely different to know Him.

Study of the scripture is challenging;  it changes us. Why do you study?  How has study changed you?  I hope some of the Lutheran Ladies will blog about these questions.  I hope our readers will comment.