Archive | God’s Word for Today

Finding Strength

I’m excited to have Heather Strickland as my guest today! Her passion is to encourage women with the truth of God’s Word!

Strength in God's WordI’m Mama to three small boys. Some nights I’m so tired I can’t think straight. Cooking meals, washing dishes, teaching school, and folding laundry can overwhelm me. Sometimes, it feels like there isn’t enough of me to go around and I’m burdened with weariness.

But, God’s Word reminds me I don’t have to do it all on my own. He urges me to call on Him for strength and the ability to do my work. He waits for me to come to Him. He longs to help me. I don’t have to be overwhelmed when I lean on my Father.

God waits for you, too. Humble yourself before Him. With His help you can complete your tasks and fulfill your calling. Like a tired child who climbs up into her father’s lap to rest, come to God to find your rest.

God wants to encourage you and fill you with His strength. Go to His Word and find spiritual renewal. Humbly ask for His help and give Him the glory for accomplishing what only He can.

God calls us to tasks beyond our ability, so we’ll rely on Him. I have never felt like I could be a good mother, but God works through me to be the mother He desires me to be. It’s amazing to feel His presence working in and through me.

The words written in the Bible are effective and can have such an impact on our lives. They can carry us through hardships, guide us in making decisions, and encourage us when we are burdened. Our Father loves us and wants to see us succeed so we can give Him the glory and praise. Get in His Word and let it fill you up.

What verse or passage of Scripture has encouraged you recently? In what way?

Heather StricklandMississippi born and raised, Heather Strickland is a stay-at-home wife and mother with a Heather Strickland coverpassion to encourage others through writing. She enjoys sipping coffee on her front porch, flipping through the pages of a good book, and holding hands with her love. When she isn’t serving her family, Heather blogs regularly at Becoming Titus 2 Women, Laced with Grace, and The Imperfect Wives. But her primary ministry is to her husband and three boys. The encouragement Heather receives from God’s Word gives her a desire to help other women experience the same thing. Her new devotional book, At the Master’s Feet, is the result. Whether you are in the midst of trials or joys, triumphs or defeats, good times or bad – Heather encourages the reader to turn to God’s Word for encouragement. Sit at the Master’s feet and learn from Him. You may contact Heather on Facebook at Becoming Titus 2 Women or email her at the.stricklands06@gmail.com

 

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Spiritual Power Walking: Learn & Apply God’s Word

I’m honored to welcome my friend, author Poppy Smith, to the blog today. Poppy gives us a glimpse into what it looks like to not only learn God’s Word by to also strive to apply God’s Word!

Poppy SmithA couple of weeks ago I went for an hour’s walk, determined to not only exercise my “temple” but also my brain. I decided to memorize what the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24 and consider how I could apply God’s Word to my life.

“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

As I mulled over each part of this verse, heart-probing questions filled my mind.

Four questions I wrestled with:

  • Do I really consider my life worth nothing to me? Or do I want and go after what pleases me?
  • Am I still eager to finish the race, or am I being side-tracked and enticed to take it easy?
  • Do I know what task the Lord Jesus has given me? Am I taking it seriously? Do I sincerely long to complete what He uniquely designed for me to do? (Eph:2:10)
  • Am I testifying to the gospel of God’s grace in the ways God has equipped and called me? At home with family, through words, hospitality, generosity, acts of kindness, staying in touch with unbelieving relatives and friends?

Spending an hour with these questions and asking the Holy Spirit to search my heart unveiled a lot of stuff I needed to acknowledge. But you know, and I know, that merely acknowledging our failings with humble repentance is not the end goal of times like this. God wants us to make changes—otherwise our repentance is merely sentimentality.

Keep Going. Don’t Stop.

To further emphasize His point that we are called to complete the tasks He has for us, God declares through Paul:

“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).

I need that message every day. My mind needs challenging when I dwell on the obstacles, pressures, stressors, and negatives. It needs reminding that inertia, laziness, self-indulgence, and faithlessness is not the way of Jesus nor of His followers.

Paul challenges us to “run the Christian life with focus, train, compete with passion, fight with purpose, master the flesh, and work to receive an eternal reward” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Leadership Bible).

Are you challenged by these verses? Are you convicted as you look at your priorities? Will you take time to pray over what the Spirit is saying to you about your view of living the Christian life?

I’m glad God’s Spirit is “working me over,” speaking to me through numerous Scriptures, prayer, and other books that challenge me to live fully for Him.

Do you need to ask Him to work a changed heart and perspective in you, too? What perspective of yours doesn’t line up with God’s?

Poppy Smith is funny, warm, and passionate about helping women grow spiritually and personally through her speaking and writing ministry. She is a former BSF teacher and has a Masters in Spiritual Formation. Her most recent book is “Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?” For more information, visit PoppySmith.com. Connect with Poppy on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

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3 R’s for Life’s Trials and Troubles

I get motion sick very easily. Cruise ship. Park swing. If I move too fast, I can even get a little queasy unloading the dishwasher.

So a few years ago, when I flew on a small puddle-jumper plane from Shreveport to Houston during a thunderstorm, I didn’t stand a chance. Even though it was only about 45 minutes from wheels up to wheels down, it was a two-airbag flight. I “lost” everything.

The flight attendant could have opened the door and tossed me out and I would have been relieved. There were moments I didn’t think I was going to live through it. Other moments when I wished I wouldn’t. Of course, I did live through it, but not with grace or dignity.

3 R's for life's stormsHave you ever felt like you wouldn’t survive one of life’s storms? Has there been a time when a trial was so intense you wondered if you would make it through? Jesus clearly told us trials will come. We will have trouble in this world (John 16:33), but we can take heart, because Jesus is greater than the trouble!

When trials and troubles come – and they will – here are 3 R’s to help you weather the storm:

1. Reflect on God’s purposes – Trials in a believer’s life have purpose. God wants to use them to refine our faith, to transform us into the image of Christ. The trials themselves may cause grief, but we can rejoice in the truth that God will use them for our good and His glory! (See 1 Peter 1:6-7.)

2. Rest in God’s promises – The Bible is full of promises God makes to His children. Many of them are promises to help us, strengthen us, walk with us, and guide us in the midst of trouble. We can rely and rest on God’s promises because He is a promise keeper! (For more on God’s promises in trouble see this post and this post.)

3. Rejoice in God’s presence – God does not promise a life without trouble, but He does promise His presence in the midst of it. Even if we lose everything, we have God and that is more than enough (Psalm 23:4; Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Which of these R’s comforts you the most? Which one do you have the most trouble hanging onto? Why?

 

 

 

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Yes, I’m Frustrated! So What?

Several unrelated circumstances mixed together earlier this week to create the “perfect storm.” People not following through with what they promised. Others getting something wrong that seemed so simple to me. Another needing my time when I wanted to be doing something else.

By the time I sat down to dinner, my frustration erupted in a tirade of words, self-righteously proclaiming to my family why I had the right to be so frustrated. Of course the rehearsal of it all only fed my frustration.

Raise your hands if you’ve been there. If you haven’t, no need to read further.

This morning I actually worked up the courage to ask myself – and God – how I got there. How did I allow myself to slip into that spiral of anger and indignation?

frustrationOf course the quick answer is that I’m sinful. Although saved by the blood of Jesus, I will continue to battle sin until I die or until Christ returns and relieves me once and for all from this mortal flesh.

The longer – and more helpful – answer required a little more thought and prayer. Here’s a few things God reminded me of this morning:

  • I think too highly of myself – (See Romans 12:2-3 and Philippians 2:3.) Oh, pride! I just knew I could do it better, faster, and get greater results. I felt my time and my agenda were more important than the other person’s. I did not consciously think this in the moment, but looking back, I can see it.
  • I tend to be a selfish control freak – I want things done my way, in my time frame. I’ve been reading about David in my quiet time recently. This morning the passage was  from 2 Samuel chapters one and two where Saul dies and David is crowned king over Judah. There were a lot of years, pain, and uncertainty between God’s anointing and the crown being placed on David’s head. I realized once again that God rarely does things the way I would do them and when I would do them. I must continue to learn to trust His ways and His perfect timing, knowing that He is working all things for His glory, not mine.
  • I’m a poor listener – Oh, I’m really fast at giving directions and voicing my desires and concerns. But I very slow to listen to the other guy. And that causes all kinds of problems. (See James 1:19-20.)

Mix these things together, add other people and their own stuff, and you get a big, heaping mound of frustration. In the moment of the venting it almost seems justified. But afterwards… well, it becomes obvious it’s not.

So, what’s the answer? Jesus is the ultimate answer. I need Him desperately. However, I can also learn from God’s Word and apply His truths. For instance:

  • Practice humility. Maintain an accurate estimation of myself, by keeping my eyes on Jesus as my example.
  • Reflect on the sovereignty, faithfulness, and love of God.
  • Close my mouth more often and open my ears more quickly.

Frustration is an emotion and not necessarily sinful in and of itself. However, it can lead to all kinds of sinful thoughts, words, and actions. And it’s certainly not tasty. I’m praying I won’t be serving it up at dinner again anytime soon.

Okay, ya’ll. Don’t leave me hanging here. Am I the only one who succumbs to frustration? What has God taught you about yourself and how to deal with it? Let’s talk!

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World Vision, Hobby Lobby, and the Real Issue

How ironic. While Hobby Lobby wages a spiritual battle in the US Supreme Court, World Vision loses one without ever picking up a sword.

Before you read any further, please hear this: My intent is not to debate, defend, or denounce abortion or same-sex marriage.

Neither of those are the real issue anyway. The issue is the believer’s relationship to God’s Word. Will we stand firm on its truth and not be moved? Or will we float on the tide of the cultural stream?

World Vision, Hobby LobbyJust in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick summary of these two recent news stories:

  • American craft store giant, Hobby Lobby, is fighting for its religious right to not provide its employees with four specific contraceptive methods, mandated by Obama Care. The Green family, who owns Hobby Lobby, – and many others, scientists included – believe these four, including the Morning After pill and IUDs, can actually cause abortions, which is in opposition to their faith. The US Supreme Court heard the case on Tuesday. An unfavorable ruling will cost Hobby Lobby millions of dollars every year if the Christian-owned store continues to stand firm on what it believes to be God’s truth. (You can read about both sides of the argument in this USA Today article.)
  • Earlier this week, World Vision, one of the world’s largest Christian relief organizations, announced a significant employee policy change. World Vision’s American branch will now accept employees who are in same-sex marriages. This is a reversal of the policy implemented under the organization’s founder. According to World Vision’s current president, Richard Stearns, (as cited by this article in Christianity Today) the decision was “not symbolic of compromise but of [Christian] unity.”

Hobby Lobby fights for the legal right to act in accordance with what it believes to be true based on God’s Word. This has been and will continue to be a long, expensive, and painful battle. In contrast, World Vision changes it stand. Why? World Vision once believed that union between one man and one woman was God’s design. They believed that was truth. And while truth hasn’t changed, what our culture accepts and doesn’t accept has.

Let’s be honest. It’s just plain harder to swim upstream. Ask Hobby Lobby.

Yesterday, when I first heard about World’s Vision decision, I was confronted with a decision. What should I do about the child I sponsor through that organization?

Honestly, my knee-jerk reaction was to immediately pull my support. But after praying, listening, and thinking, I sense God leading me to keep my commitment. I made a commitment to a little boy, not to World Vision. And no company – Christian or not – will make right decisions 100% of the time.

Obligation to the Truth

However, if the Bible is God’s inspired, unchanging Word, we have an obligation to stand firmly on it’s truth. To “compromise” on anything we believe God’s Word clearly teaches – even in the name of unity – is to side with sin.

I do acknowledge that no individual believer, group of believers, church, or denomination can interpret or apply the Bible with complete accuracy. In fact, since we are fallible, sinful, humans, we will make mistakes in understanding and handling God’s Word. We will read it through our own worldviews and infuse it with our own prejudices.

Difference in Interpretation or Compromise?

But if we are honest with ourselves, we are more susceptible to compromise than we are to misinterpretation. Will we cling to God’s truth even if it hurts or costs us money or makes us a target? Or will we comprise with the truth in the name of unity or relevance or grace. (FYI – I do believe in love, forgiveness, and grace! Check out my post, “Question Raised by the Duck Controversy,” to hear what I have to say about truth and grace working together!)

The Greens (Hobby Lobby) are willing to put their business and their livelihood on the line rather than compromise the truth of God’s Word. I admire them and hope I would make the same brave choice.

World Vision would rather change their beliefs and compromise with the truth than risk offending the culture. What a dangerous and slippery slope.

The real issue is not what Hobby Lobby believes about the morning after pill or what World Vision believes about same-sex marriage. It’s not what you or I believe about them. The real issue is faithfulness to God and His truth.

Are we willing to stand uncompromisingly on the truth of God’s Word whatever the issue and whatever the risk? I pray so.

Here’s a few other posts on this topic you might find interesting:

STORY UPDATE:

Praise God! With humility and repentance, World Vision announced today that the organization has reversed it’s decision! They have admitted to being inconsistent with God’s Word and their own statement of faith. Read More Now.

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14 Ways to Show Real Love

It’s February 13. People are busy buying gifts for their Valentines. Those tokens of love will amount to about 196 million roses, around180 million cards, and – my personal favorite – roughly 58 million pounds of chocolate. I imagine quite a few “I love you’s” will be tossed around too.

How will you express your love? It’s easy to buy a gift and say a few words. But, the Bible’s definition of love sets the bar much higher.

Valentine's Day LoveThe apostle John said it this way: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18, NIV). So, if love is action, how do we love? Below are 14 ways from Scripture that you can actively show love to the people you love.

  1. Help them out of a tight spot – When Jesus attended a wedding with His mother, she asked Him to help the hosts when they ran out of wine. We may not be able to miraculously solve a problem, but God has gifted us in other ways to help. (John 2:1-11)
  2. Get them help when you can’t help them – A paralyzed man received healing from Jesus because his friends dropped him through a roof at Jesus’ feet. They were willing to do whatever it took it to get help for their friend! (Mark 2:1-12)
  3. Pray for them – The Bible is full of people praying for the ones they love. The church prayed for Peter in jail (Acts 12:5). Jesus prayed for the disciples (John 17:6-19). Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers (Ephesians1:15-23).
  4. Rebuke them when needed – Sometimes the best way we can love someone is by confronting their sinful, destructive behavior (Proverbs 27:6, Matthew18:15-17).
  5. Freely forgive offenses – Jesus eliminated the limit on forgiveness when Peter asked how many times he should forgive (Matthew 18:21-22). Some hurts seem unforgivable, but with God’s help it’s possible to “promote love” through forgiveness (Proverbs 17:9).
  6. Humbly serve them – Jesus set the example (John 13:1-17). He calls us – His followers – to also humbly and graciously serve others (Gal 5:13).
  7. Meet their physical needs – Scripture is clear. If we see a brother in need, have the means to help but don’t, our love for God should be questioned (1 John 3:17).
  8. Rejoice and mourn with them – We show deep care for others when their hurts and joys are also ours. Don’t hold back. Let the tears and the cheers flow! (1 Cor 12:25-26).
  9. Show kindness to someone they love – King David expressed his deep bond of friendship for Jonathan by caring for Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:1-13).
  10. Intercede with others on their behalf – Could your influence help a loved one? Barnabas smoothed the way for Paul with the Jerusalem church leaders (Acts 9:27-30). Paul wrote to Philemon appealing for Onesimus the runaway slave (Philemon 8-11).
  11. Help two loved ones work out their differences – Does strife exist between two people you love? Be a mediator and help them mend their relationship. Paul asked the believers in Philippi help two women in their church (Philippians 4:2-3).
  12. Introduce them to Jesus – Does a loved one desperately need to know Jesus? Share the Good News! Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:35-42).
  13. Encourage and disciple them in their relationship with Christ – The author of Hebrews tells us to “spur one another on to good works” and “encourage one another” daily (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  14. “Lay down your life!” – Seems pretty drastic, but that’s exactly how Jesus showed His love for us (John 15:12-13). The basic principle has much broader application than actual physical death. Jesus calls us to unselfishly seek put others ahead of ourselves.

Wow! Buying a card and a box of chocolates is a lot easier. But Hallmark and Hershey doesn’t say love like real love in action. Show somebody you love them today!

Who can you show love to today? How will you show it?

 

 

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Everyone Wants a Coat Like Joe’s

The Super Bowl wasn’t so super this year. Not only did my team lose, it wasn’t even a fun game to watch. It was simply too one-sided.

As usual, the commercials helped to keep things interesting. But something unexpected grabbed the attention of America. Did you see it?

Joe Namath’s coat.

As quarterback for the New York Jets in the 60’s and 70’s, Namath’s fondness for fur was well known. Apparently, this 70-year-old football legend didn’t want to disappoint his fans when he tossed the coin for this year’s big game at Met Life Stadium. He reportedly bought the $3,000 coyote and fox coat just for the occasion.

Joe Namath's coatNamath – or rather, Namath’s cost – immediately caused a firestorm on social media sites. In fact, before the game was over, the coat had it’s own Twitter account. Some – like PETA – hated it. But many, many others wanted a coat of their own.

The Manhattan storeowner who sold Namath the coat said business has been booming since it debuted at the Super Bowl. According to an article on NYPost.com “The publicity has helped Kaufman’s business. He said he’s had at least 30 media inquiries, made some sales Monday morning, and ‘Inside Edition’ was planning on a piece.”

Wow. The hoopla over Joe’s coat sadly demonstrates our culture’s obsession with “stuff.”

The Broncos may have gone down, but Joe’s coat went viral.

I know of another coat that caused a big uproar too. In fact, its owner’s name was also Joe. But this Joseph didn’t run down to the local furrier for his coat. It was a gift from his dad, Jacob.

Joe’s brothers were none too happy about it either. The “richly ornamented robe” incited jealousy because it reminded the brothers that their father had a favorite. And it wasn’t them. Then their jealousy turned into action and they sold Joseph into slavery (Genesis 37: 3-28). And it all started with a coat.

What is it about “stuff?” We want more. We glamorize it. We envy others’ stuff. We fight over it. We even kill for it.

Jesus knew that love of stuff would draw us away from God, that whatever we “treasure” would capture our hearts (Matthew 6:19-21) – and apparently our social media accounts. Jesus’ brother, James, bluntly described those who succumbed to earthly desires as “adulterous” and friends of the world (James 4:1-4).

Loving stuff is serious business for a believer. Left unchecked, it will determine our motives and dictate our actions. We must deal with it decisively. Here’s James prescription in bullet points (James 4:7-10):

  • Submit yourself to God
  • Resist the devil
  • Draw near to God
  • Turn from our sin (wash, purify, grieve, mourn, wail)
  • Humble ourselves before God

Praise God! When we come before God in humble repentance, He will lift us up!

Self-examination time. Has a love of stuff taken God’s rightful place in our hearts? Do you “want a coat like Joe’s?” Where do you struggle?

 

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The 5 Most Challenging Bible Verses

Some verses in the Bible are easier to swallow than others. Even though I wholeheartedly believe them all, there are some I honestly just don’t like very much. In fact, some Bible verses are too challenging.

Let me explain.

Some verses, like “He gives strength to the weary…” and “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine…” cause me to throw my arms open wide and yell “Bring it on, Lord!”

But others cause me to sigh and take a deep breath and think, “Really? Isn’t that kind of difficult?”

Bible versesBelow are 5 verses that I find really challenging to fully embrace and live out every day. Oh, there are others too – and I may have a slightly different top 5 tomorrow – but these will definitely stay in at least the top 10 for the indefinite future.

  1. Matthew 6:33 – I really like the last half of this verse about God supplying my needs, oh yes! But when we read the whole thing in the context of the passage, we see the primary topic is worry. Jesus said we spend too much time and energy worrying about our needs. We allow worry to keep us from pursuing Jesus and His Kingdom. The challenge: To turn off the worry and turn to Jesus. Or better yet, turn to Jesus to turn off the worry!
  2. James 1:2 – James doesn’t waste any time with small talk in his letter. Essentially he says, “Dear Jewish believers, be full of joy when life punches you in the gut.” (My paraphrase of course.) Sounds unrealistic right? James says we can be joyful in spite of our circumstances because we know God plans to use them for our spiritual good and for His purposes. The challenge: To keep our eyes on the spiritual and eternal rather than the physical and temporary.
  3. Romans 12:2 – God wants us to be like Jesus, not like the world around us. But truly, it’s like fighting a battle every day. Our culture constantly bombards us with values and behavior that is contrary to the character of Christ. The challenge: To strap on that spiritual armor, refuse to compromise, and yield ourselves to the Spirit’s transforming power. (Mandisa shares one battle story here.)
  4. John 15:12 – Okay, let’s be honest. Sometimes our fellow believers aren’t easy to love. Plus, did you notice that Jesus said we should love each other “as I have loved you.” Well, Jesus gave His life for us, so this is really extreme. He wants us to be willing to die for each other. To put others’ needs ahead of our own. To honor others over ourselves. The challenge: To take off pride and selfishness and put on humility and selflessness in order to genuinely love others.
  5. Galatians 2:20 – Wait a minute. My life isn’t my life? Nope. Jesus purchased my life on the cross and it’s His to do with as He sees fit. But if I can remember this, the previous 4 challenging verses suddenly get a lot easy to live out. The challenge: To consciously choose every minute of every day to give my life to Jesus.

Jesus’ way may seem challenging. But the reality is, He only wants what’s best for us. His way is abundant and satisfying and joyful. His way is life.

Please feel free to disagree with my list. Or add to it! What Bible verses do you find the most challenging and why?

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You are Insignificant

You and I are insignificant. Our impact on this earth is miniscule. Negligible.

We are but a breath. A blip in history. Even Scripture describes us as grass that quickly withers away (Isaiah 40:7).

It’s easy to forget just how insignificant we truly are because our personal universe is quite small. We’re a big fish in a small pond, as they say.

But, if you take a moment to contemplate the scope of God’s creation, your perspective will change. Recently, I did just that. My small group is reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. In the book, Chan directs you to watch the following 3-minute video. I encourage you to watch it now.

Are you awed? If not, watch it again, because you missed something. We are insignificant. Lost in God’s great cosmos.

Now here’s the thing that should really blow our minds:

As insignificant as we are, God loves us and wants us.

Before He created the first star, He knew you (Ephesians 3:4-5). He does not need you, but He loves you and wants you (Acts 17:25, 27). He knows and cares about your every need (Matthew 6:28-33). You are so important to Him, that He gave His only Son over to death so you could be with Him forever (John 3:16).

In the midst of His vast, glorious cosmos, God sees you and calls you by name. And insignificant becomes significant.

How does it feel to be truly so small? How does it feel that God knows you and loves you?

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10 Characteristics of a Blameless Life

Imagine entering heaven and approaching God’s throne. Picture yourself as you kneel at His feet and bask in the joy of His presence. All the struggles of life fade away as you praise Him who sits on the throne.

blamelessDo you long to enter God’s holy presence and joyfully worship at His feet? The woman whose “walk is blameless” (Psalm 15:2, NIV) may dwell in God’s sanctuary and live on His holy hill. I long to enter God’s presence, but I’m not sure I would describe myself as “blameless.”

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the Hebrew word translated as “blameless” in Psalm 15:2 describes a person with “nothing in his outward activities or internal disposition that is odious to God.”

Good definition, but that’s too general for me to get my mind around. I need some specifics about what a “blameless” life looks like. Thankfully, the Bible tells us. Psalm 15 and 102 describe a blameless life (Read them now if you have time. They are not long.) The following list of characteristics is derived from these two psalms of David.

  1. She practices praise – Regularly contemplate the holy nature of God. Recognizing His worthiness will not only foster praise, we will also be moved to obedience.
  2. She lives with integrity at home – Sometimes we fail to purposefully watch our words and actions at home like we do other places. We tend to let our guard down; to allow our first, sinful instincts to rule. We need to be as careful at home as we are away from home.
  3. She turns away from everything vile or vulgar – “Blameless” woman do not compromise with the sinful ways of the world. We don’t allow ourselves to become desensitized to immorality, crudeness, or risqué humor by watching it, reading it, or listening to it. For a sad example, read my recent post “Holiness is not a Shade of Grey.”
  4. She ruthlessly guards against evil thoughts and behavior (vs 3b-4) – We must proactively rid our lives of every thought and action contrary to the nature and character of God.
  5. She does not use her words to tear others down – Our speech should be edifying and encouraging. That doesn’t mean everything we need to say will be easy. But it does mean it will be helpful to the hearer.
  6. She does not collaborate with ungodly, wicked people (vs 3-4) – The only way to never encounter ungodly people is to leave this life and transfer to heaven. However, we can choose not to enter into agreements, projects, or business dealings with people whose worldview is not Christ-centered.
  7. She embraces honesty – Satan is the father of lies. Anytime we are less than honest we have yielded to the tempter! Let’s commit to total honesty in our own lives and conduct. We should also expect honesty from the people around us and distance ourselves from those who refuse to be honest.
  8. She does not seek gain that brings harm to others – God wants us to use our God-given skills, talents, and gifts to support the Kingdom, serve others, and provide for ourselves and our families. However, any effort for gain or advancement that takes advantage of others is sinful.
  9. She squashes pride and conceit – Pride fosters an abundance of sin. Those who want to live blameless before God will seek humility by keeping both God and ourselves in proper perspective.
  10. She helps, encourages, and protects the godly – God calls us to serve others and meet the needs of those who cannot help themselves. Do we respond when they cross our paths?

This may not be a complete list of “blameless” characteristics, but it’s a start. Let’s keep searching God’s Word, applying what He shows us, and enjoying His holy presence!

Which of these 10 characteristics do you struggle with the most? Why is that, do you think?

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