‘God Still Speaks to Us Today': Write for 31 Days

 http://write31days.com/My “God-Spot” for Day 30 of Writing for 31 Days is my dear friend Betsy Tacchella. Betsy and I are of the same generation and sisters in Christ. She is a wonderful speaker, mentor, author and an inspiration to so many. She recently published her second book, “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening.” It is a wonderful collection of biblical examples of God speaking a rhema word as well as Betsy’s stories of hearing God’s voice in her own life. Here, she answers my questions and shares an excerpt from her book. To read more posts from my 31 days of blogging, click on the button above.

1. What is your desire in writing this book?

Betsy Tacchella

Betsy Tacchella

My desire in writing “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening,” is to raise the reader’s awareness that God still speaks to us today just as He did throughout the Bible. Through more than fifty stories, you will recognize that you, too, have heard God’s voice of encouragement, comfort and direction. Have you ever had a Bible verse seem to pop off the page, had a friend “just happen” to call at a critical time, had someone speak words of life to you? Our personal relationship with God is more than us speaking to God. It is also Him speaking to us through Scripture, in prayer, through people, in the midst of circumstances, through visions and dreams, and through His creation.

2. Explain a “rhema” word and describe a couple of ways God can speak personally to us.

God loves to speak to us in a very personal way. When He does this, the Greek word is “rhema.” While “logos” is the whole written word of God, rhema is a personal word. Used seventy times in the New Testament, it refers to a specific word from God for a particular situation. That’s why Jesus said, “…Man shall not live by bread alone but by every (personal rhema) “word” that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). Another time rhema is used is Rom. 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the (personal rhema) “word” of Christ.” One of the joys of the Christian life is listening for God’s voice, heeding what He says and reaping the blessings that follow.

3. How did you come to write your first book, “Mother Has Alzheimers”?

As my mother went through her demise with Alzheimer’s, God seemed to whisper to me to journal everything she went through and any answers to prayer. I determined that I was going to expect to see God at every turn and He did not disappoint me. With several years of notes, he prompted me to collate my writings and turn them into a manuscript. I had several 8 x 11 copies made into loosely bound booklets. For a number of years, I loaned the booklets out to people caring for an Alzheimer’s relative. People seemed to be touched and helped through reading about my experience, telling me that they both laughed and cried at my stories. Then one day twenty years later, God clearly revealed to me that I should have the book published. My husband said he had always felt it should have broader exposure. So, today, that book is also available at various e-book locations, including amazon.com.

4. Do you have plans to write another book?

When I first began writing, I felt I had four books in my heart. Two have been published. Two more await; and only God knows if there are more after that. Over the years, I have journaled various opportunities God has given me to share the Lord with people. Some have received the Lord as a result, and some have not. This book will be down to earth stories of how each of these witnessing occasions unfolded. Many are incredibly unique, stories only God could have orchestrated. Another book that is on my heart is a children’s book. This one will contain true stories about raising our son, Mike. We were older parents when Mike came along and perhaps more seasoned in our faith walk and more geared toward intentional parenting. Because of that, there were many situations in which Bill and I had opportunity to speak into Mike’s life and often times when he made wise decisions. I’ve always felt his life stories would be worth sharing as encouragement for young boys to emulate his choices.

5. Besides being an author, do you also speak about your books?

Yes, I have had many wonderful opportunities over the years to speak at various church and secular groups. Before I ever published a book, I had spoken many times on the topic of hearing God’s voice. The thing I love about that topic is that there are always fresh stories to tell. I love telling stories and always mix them with some solid Bible teaching when I speak. I have a passion for God’s word and made a covenant with God that whether I speak on “Mother Has Alzheimer’s,” “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening,” or any other subject, His name will always be lifted high. I am available to speak at women’s retreats, conferences, seminars, banquets, etc. On my blog,www.betsytacchella.com, you can also note other subjects I enjoy speaking about.

Here is an excerpt from Betsy’s book, “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening”:

Hearing God’s Voice in a Hike along the Colorado River

I love hiking trails, rivers, waterfalls, and especially the mountains of Colorado. I especially enjoy how God speaks to me on our various road trips. As we wandered along the highway next to the Colorado River one year, the Lord revealed a clear lesson from the river. For many miles, I observed the dynamics of this spirited, energetic river. Dashing over rocks and boulders, this massive flow of water raged undaunted past anything in its path. Sometimes, only small rocks blocked the way. Glistening, white spray was the only visible evidence that the river had collided with anything. Other times, the water impacted large boulders as it hastened toward its destination, sending up a violent, crashing surge of foam as though proclaiming, “Do not mess with me!” These class five rapids spewing white water gave the only evidence of obstruction. Yet, nothing stopped the flow. Charging at accelerated speed through its channel, the river relentlessly followed the passageway carved out before it.

Whatever the opposition, the river coursed onward, single-minded in purpose as it hastened toward the ocean. No obstacle was big enough to bring the river to a halt.  Water either surged over the tops of rocks or cut a path around them, eventually wearing them down, always finding a way to continue its journey.

As I watched this interesting phenomenon, a Bible verse came to mind and the Lord began to speak a lesson to me. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it”  (I Cor. 10:13).

Pondering that verse, I began to see that the rocks and boulders in the Colorado River were like the temptations and trials we have in life. A way of escape always materialized for the water, either around the rocks or over them. Single-minded, the water flowed onward to the sea. In the same way, God promises to provide a way of escape for us. He is a faithful God who can be trusted. As we focus on the Lord, walking in His will as our destination, He faithfully provides whatever escape we need around the rocks and boulders in our lives. I felt comforted by the river and the message God gave me.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ By this He spoke of the Spirit…” John 7:38-39

Betsy Tacchella has lived in Michigan for over 30 years. She and her husband of 50 years have three children and nine grandchildren. Betsy holds a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary and has been teaching the Bible for over forty years. She also mentors women and does public speaking. Betsy writes about hearing God’s voice on her blog, www.betsytacchella.com.

 

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Dogs Are Family, Too: Write for 31 Days

There are events in life that just catch one unawares. And when they happen, we sometimes learn things about ourselves we didn’t expect.

We’re still reeling from one of those events.

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Charlie and Lily

They were just a couple of dogs. Family pets. They could be annoying and endearing and entertaining all at the same time. Lily was an older, low-to-the-ground beagle mix and Charlie was a spry, innocent shepherd mix who was still just a pup. They were great pals and partners in crime.

Yesterday, their hunting expedition took them off the farm and into a nearby highway. In the blink of an eye, they were swept from our lives, struck and killed by a vehicle on a curve. A day later, we’re still not sure what hit us.

Calls and texts to our four sons who live hours away were required, and each time it was a tough conversation. These two crazy dogs were part of our family. And today, there’s a gaping hole in our household. We feel incomplete.

The dogs were my husband’s constant companions. He operates a business from our farm and the dogs hung around the barns where he works, greeting our customers and sometimes getting in the way of a tractor or a loader. They let us know any time a vehicle pulled into the barnyard or driveway and kept us awake some nights barking at the coyote howling from the ridge behind our house.

My husband rarely went to bed without checking on the dogs first, and theirs were usually the first faces he saw in the morning.

We’ve lost dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, iguanas, chickens. Death is a cruel reality, especially on a farm. But this loss has been harder than any of the others because, as the others left us, we always had our sons around to share the grief and fill the void. This time, it’s just us.

And now it’s way too quiet around here.

We learned that we need to have something to care about in our daily lives besides ourselves, someone who needs us, who makes demands on our time and attention. Someone who’s loyal and thinks we’re the best thing going on in their lives.

There will be other dogs — we ARE dog people. But there will never be another Lily and Charlie. I can’t wrap my mind around that just yet.

Charlie with the "toys" he had scattered across the yard earlier this fall.

Charlie with the “toys” he had scattered across the yard earlier this fall.

http://write31days.com/

 

This is not the post I expected to write for Day 29 of Write for 31 Days, but sometimes life just happens and you have to go where it takes you.

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When All You Can Do Is ‘Do the Next Thing': Write for 31 Days

Do the next thing

In the days when my life was filled with diapers, alphabet cards, math books, stinky boys’ gym socks and  the never-ending question “what will I make for dinner?”….

When it felt like I’d never see the laundry room floor, never get to read that book waiting on the shelf or find a moment to paint my nails and talk on the phone with a friend….

In those halcyon days of young motherhood, these words dropped into my lap.

“Do the next thing.”

For a long time, I thought they were first said by a favorite author, Elisabeth Elliot.

Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth’s biography of Amy Carmichael “A Chance to Die” was pivotal in my growth as a woman of God. Her personal account of her marriage to her first husband, Jim, and his death on the mission field was one of those books I longed for time to read during busy mothering days.

In researching Elisabeth for an essay awhile back, I learned that the words she often quoted came from a poem whose author is unknown. Those four words carried me through many a long day, and they still come to mind when I’m overwhelmed with too much to do, or when I am downtrodden and just do not know what to do. At those times, I still tell myself:

“Do the next thing.”

My research on Elisabeth turned up a treasure which I want to share with you here along with the words of that life-altering poem. Twenty years ago, in 1994, Elisabeth included the poem in her ministry’s newsletter. That newsletter is available for download and it includes more of this fine woman’s teaching. (You can find it here.) Elisabeth is 87 and she and her husband, Lars, no longer travel and teach, but at her Web site are links to her devotionals and radio broadcasts.

And here is that lovely poem:

Do The Next Thing

From an old English parsonage,

Down by the sea,

There came in the twilight,

A message to me;

Its quaint Saxon legend,

Deeply engraven,

Hath, as it seems to me,

Teaching from Heaven.

And on through the hours

The quiet words ring

Like a low inspiration-

DO THE NEXT THING

Many a questioning, many a fear,

Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.

Moment by moment,

Let down from Heaven,

Time, opportunity,

Guidance, are given.

Fear not tomorrows,

Child of the King,

Trust them with Jesus,

DO THE NEXT THING

Do it immediately;

Do it with prayer;

Do it reliantly, casting all care;

Do it with reverence,

Tracing His Hand,

Who placed it before thee with

Earnest command.

Stayed on Omnipotence,

Safe ‘neath His wing,

Leave all resultings,

DO THE NEXT THING

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,

(Working or suffering)

Be thy demeanor,

In His dear presence,

The rest of His calm,

The light of His countenance

Be thy psalm,

Strong in His faithfulness,

Praise and sing,

Then, as He beckons thee,

DO THE NEXT THING

http://write31days.com/Here we are at Day 28 in the challenge to Write for 31 Days. Today’s “God-Spot” came to me as I faced a long list of tasks to be completed this week. As usual, I hope you find inspiration and encouragement here. For more reflections, click on the button at left.

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‘Duck Daughter’ Is More than a Pretty Face: Write for 31 Days

http://write31days.com/My Day 27 post is a bit of a departure from my usual theme, but this young lady has been on my mind all day. So, I’m taking that as a “rhema” word from God telling me to pray for her. Today’s “God-Spot” in Write for 31 Days is Sadie Robertson.

 

I thought twice before I dropped the magazine into my shopping cart. The 5 bucks it cost me canceled out any money I’d saved by shopping at the chain store, and besides that, I don’t normally waste my precious reading time on US Magazine. But when I saw the headline “Duck Daughter Tells All”, I had to buy it.

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Wedged in between an article about cheating teen moms and a photo of Kim Kardashian’s “bootie” was a sweet, relatively unbiased interview with Duck Dynasty daughter Sadie Robertson. (For those of you who haven’t a clue, Willie is her Dad, Phil’s her “Papaw” and Miss Kate is her grandmother, and they make duck calls in Louisiana. Love ‘em!)

As if this cute 17-year-old isn’t garnering enough attention on her family’s reality TV show, she’s currently wowing the judges on Dancing with the Stars. And not just with her footwork, but also with her character. Last week, the judges praised her modest rumba, as in this comment from dancer Juliana Hough: “Obviously, the rumba is a super passionate dance, right, but when we think passionate sometimes we go into this whole, like, raunchy thing, but it doesn’t have to be raunchy. This was a beautiful story about falling in love, and that’s what I loved about that.”

Sadie’s stated desire that the dance not come off as too sexy payed off. It will be interesting to see what she does this week.

It’s refreshing to read about a young woman who is comfortable talking about the strength and training she’s gained from family and from her faith in God. Seeing Sadie Robertson’s life portrayed alongside other young adults who are making less than admirable choices (Justin Bieber comes to mind) gives me hope.

In light of the scrutiny and heartache certain children of certain right-wing politicians have suffered, I’m inclined to send up a prayer or two for Sadie. She’s a prime target, not just for pot shots from skeptics, but for temptations that will no doubt be leveled at her by the ultimate skeptic.

I’ve rediscovered the brief gospel of Jude lately, and my prayer for Sadie Robertson — and for all young women seeking to remain pure — is this doxology (Jude 24-25) offered up by the half-brother of Jesus Christ:

“Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, be glory, majesty, power and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.”

Keep your eyes on Jesus, Sadie.

 

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Today, God Made a Farm Wife: Write for 31 Days

http://write31days.com/Today’s “God-Spot” showed up in a bean field, and in the heart of this farm wife. I’m writing every day for 31 days, with just five days to go! To read more posts, click on the button at left.

 

A funny thing happened on our Sunday drive.

Sunday afternoon drives through the country used to be pretty common in our neck of the woods. I remember being “tortured” by Sunday drives as a kid. With five children, Mom and Dad and, most of the time, Grandma and Grandpa crammed into the station wagon, those drives were a test of our self-control and familial love. The only Sunday drives I appreciated were the ones that ended at the Atz ice cream shop in a neighboring town. We’d swing open the back door of the station wagon and sit with legs dangling while savoring an ice cream cone. The ice cream was worth enduring the drive.

When our own four boys were little, our Sunday drives were usually the trip to and from church. Afternoon soccer games, youth group, chores and other priorities kept us from even thinking about taking a drive with no special purpose or destination. Even with our empty nest, my husband and I don’t often take Sunday drives. Today, however, we needed a few things in town and we wanted to swing by the farm where he grew up to see his Mom and Stepdad. So, we went for a Sunday afternoon drive.

We live on a hundred acres that a neighbor farms for us while we run an agriculture-related business, but my husband grew up on a REAL farm where they raised crops and hogs. I would hardly call us farmers, although when we first bought the farm, my husband tried a season of harvesting his own crops with an antique combine. He quickly decided it was an inefficient use of his time. Over the years, we’ve had a few steer in our pasture, more than a few 4-H calves, some hogs and chickens, and gardens that could feed three families. Still, we haven’t really considered ourselves farmers.

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Our youngest son, now 19, helping Dad fix the tractor.

Today, as we drove down country roads at the peak of harvest, I began seeing our place in this rural community with different eyes.

We slowed down several times to make our way around a tractor or combine traveling from field to field and when we pulled down the dirt road leading to my husband’s homestead, we saw his brother combining soybeans. My mother-in-law’s red Jeep was parked along the road so that she could take a couple of laps around the bean field with her son.

After Mom returned from her combine ride, we sat at the kitchen table, catching up on family news and finding out how harvest is going. With good weather holding for a couple of days, the guys should be able to stay on target to be done by Thanksgiving. In a farming household, the days of spring and autumn are counted by how much planting or harvesting can be accomplished between sun-up and sundown, and sometimes late into the night.

Driving home at sunset, I had an epiphany — I finally feel like a “farm wife”.

I don’t have all the credentials and experience of most farm wives. I’ve never stayed up all night to help birth pigs, or risen at dawn to do chores in the barn. And I haven’t had to sit in a truck cab waiting for it to be filled so that I can make another trip to the grain elevator. But our farm-based business provides a product livestock farmers depend on. It’s our contribution to the industry.

It’s taken 20 years for this small-town girl to settle into and really appreciate rural life. It’s not that I haven’t admired and respected my husband’s heritage. I proudly claim that we can’t see a single neighbor from our front porch, and I even kind of like the distinct smell of manure mixed with straw. But until recently, I’ve never fully OWNED this lifestyle.

Combining BeansThis evening, I saw beauty in the corn stubble, and in the bean dust swirling around a green combine as it cut away this year’s crop. Seeing the grain trucks and carts sitting ready to load corn or beans for a trip to the elevator and knowing how late those trucks would run tonight, I thought of the hours, days and weeks of hard work that went into that harvest. There’s beauty in that, too.

That’s when it dawned on me: I claim farming as my heritage.

It’s a good feeling to truly KNOW where you fit in this world. Nothing much around me has changed, but I think there’s been a change in me. Somehow, somewhere along the way, God made me a farm wife, and it feels good. It just fits.

During the 2013 Superbowl, Dodge ran a commercial that is a sentimental tribute to farmers. With words from Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech “So God Made a Farmer”, here’s that commercial. It sums up what I know and what I feel about this lifestyle. Enjoy!

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‘When Necessary, Use Words': Saturday’s Wisdom in Write for 31 Days

St Francis

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When Cancer Is Her Truth, She Needs You: Write for 31 Days

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It was a beautiful Fall day, a good day for the three of us “sisters from another mister” to share some shopping, fellowship, sushi.

And, oh yes, a mammogram.

One of my friends had a scare in the past, so we went with her for this appointment. We prayed for her as she underwent this most dreaded of tests on the morning of our outing. (My other friend has had just one mammogram in her lifetime and says she doesn’t plan to have another any time soon.)

The day after our outing, my friend with the appointment received a dreaded call: “We need to see you again. We’ve found a shadow.” Her next appointment is Monday.

I know the fear that rests in her heart. Two years ago next month, I got the same call, had the same follow-up mammogram, followed by an ultrasound and a biopsy. Just a tiny speck, but it turned out to be an insidious growth — a fast-growing, estrogen-fed tumor.

Because the cancer was discovered early, my treatment was brief but intense. After surgery, I underwent five days of radiation treatments, twice a day. No chemotherapy was prescribed, but I was given an estrogen inhibitor that I am expected to take for the rest of my life.

I’ve had several friends before and after my brush with cancer who had a much greater trial. A dear 70-something woman in our church is currently sporting a lovely bald head (when she chooses not to wear her wig or a cap) and is as beautiful and perky as ever — except on the days when the chemo lays her low. And even then, she is beautiful.

Margaret Feinberg Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Margaret Feinberg
Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Because I’ve “been there, done that, got the T-shirt”, I kind of know what to say to these friends in their time of need, but maybe some of you don’t. If you love someone who is dealing with breast cancer and you want to know how you can help, I’d like to share a recent post by author and Bible teacher Margaret Feinberg. Margaret is also a survivor of breast cancer. Her recent blog post says just what I would say, only better.

Here is Margaret’s advice:

She needs YOU. Yes, YOU. You are God’s plan. You are the one to give the gift of presence.

I know it’s scary. I know it’s hard. I know it’s uncomfortable.

But YOU are the one who is meant to be there for the long haul. Everyone is going to disappear in a few weeks or months or once chemo is over…but the toll this will take on her will last long, long beyond that.

What to Say:

Remember the magic words: You’re in my thoughts, you’re in my prayers, and you are loved. Keep in touch. Set a reminder on your phone once a week. Text her and say, “In my thoughts and prayers today.” She doesn’t need you to fix anything or say any magical words. She just needs to know you are present and there. This will be particularly true in six months when she feels all alone, alone, alone.

What to Do:

Offer to do things beyond cook a meal (EVERYONE wants to do that). Instead, pick up the lawn mower. Hire a handyman for a few hours. Pick up gas gift cards (she’s going to drive a billion miles to the hospital). Don’t buy her anything pink. She’ll be sweet, but there will be a period of time (and it may last forever) that she’ll hate everything pink. Some women find their identities in cancer. Most of us don’t. We end up de-pinking everything in our lives.

What to Give:

Avoid giving to middle-men breast cancer organizations on her behalf. “Despite the fact that Komen trademarked the phrase ’for the cure,’ only 16 percent of the $472 million raised in 2011, the most recent year for which financial reports are available, went toward research,” according to The New York Times.

And .16 cents on every dollar going toward to research ain’t gonna buy anyone a cure. We need the whole dollar going to research.

If she wants you to give, give directly to researchers so the whole amount goes to beating this disease. Rather than do a walk on her behalf, get together with friends and put together cash. Ask her to hand over one of her medical bills up to a certain amount and pay it. She will probably pay maximum out of pocket for years to come and max out in certain areas of insurance coverage (don’t tell her yet—she has is a lot to take in).

If she has any type of treatment plan that extends beyond 12 weeks, know that this is going to take a heavy financial toll on her and her family. Some treatment plans, like mine, last more than a year. She or her spouse may be struggling to hold onto her job to support her family or keep her health insurance. If at all possible, do what you can to make sure her family has work, a job, and insurance.

It’s all big and scary. But remember, as followers of Jesus, we’re the people who run in when everyone else is running out.

You got this. You can do this. She needs you. Be there. Don’t leave. No matter what.

Margaret Feinberg

For more information and to meet Margaret, visit her blog at http://margaretfeinberg.com/breast-cancer-help/#more-28374

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I’ve got a new entry in my calendar for November — my annual mammogram. I’m choosing to approach it as a fearless victor, because to keep the appointment with any other expectation would be self-defeating. And because I believe…..

God has already won this battle.

I think I’ll put THAT on a T-shirt!

http://write31days.com/Today’s “God-Spot” is a date circled on my calendar. For Day 24 of the quest to Write for 31 Days, I want to share an important message for people who love someone with breast cancer. They need you. To read more posts from my 31 days of blogging, click on the button.

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Like Chocolate, ‘Sweet as Honey in Your Mouth': Write for 31 Days

http://write31days.com/Today’s “God-Spot” was found hiding in the back of my kitchen cupboard. I’m joining other bloggers on Day 23 of our quest to Write for 31 Days.

 

My husband found my chocolate stash, and there was much celebrating in our house. I had hidden the silver-wrapped bars safely in a corner of the cupboard for my future pleasure and forgotten where they were! I have no idea who I was hiding them from. My man doesn’t care for dark chocolate and there is not another chocolate-loving soul in our house.(Did I mention our nest is empty? What I wouldn’t give to share a chocolate bar with a man/child today.)

I must have been protecting myself from over-indulgence or simply stockpiling for the future. Whatever the case, I promptly popped a square into my mouth.

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Sigh.

In heaven there will be chocolate.

Consuming that bit of chocolate was a highlight of my morning. I lead a simple life and find joy in simple pleasures — like dark chocolate and really good coffee.

Savoring that moment of sweetness drew me back to a book I’ve been nibbling on over the past several months, “Eat This Book” by Eugene Peterson.

I consider Peterson to be one of the “Saints Among Us” and I am eternally grateful to him for bringing the Word of God into our lives through his paraphrase The Message. I met Peterson a few years ago when I heard him speak at a conference. To say I am a fan is an understatement.

Peterson takes the name of his book from Scripture, the Revelation of St. John:

“I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat; it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. Revelation 10:9-10

Peterson maintains that how we read Scripture is as important as that we read it. The subtitle of his book is “A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading”.

“Eating a book takes it all in, assimilating it into the tissues of our lives,” says Peterson. “Readers become what they read. If Holy Scripture is to be something other than mere gossip about God, it must be internalized.”

Peterson says Christians do not just read God’s inspired Word, they take it into their lives, applying it to their relationships, decisions and worship, their view of the world.

Peterson continues: “….what we need (in reading the Bible) is not primarily informational, telling us things about God and ourselves, but formational, shaping us into our true being.”

Long before the beginning of Christ’s ministry, the founding of His church or the revelation of St. John, Ezekiel and Jeremiah received similar commands (Ezek. 2:8-3:3 and Jer. 15:15). All three of them (John, Ezekiel and Jeremiah) were lured to consider other writings and teachings of their time — as are we in our world today. God gave instructions that for them were very literal. They were to consume the book, digest it and let it nourish their faith.

Faced with so much that is in contrast and contradiction to our Christian beliefs today, we would do well to heed the commands God issued in times that were no less challenging than ours.

Eat the Book.

Pull it from the back of the top shelf. Unroll the scroll. Unwrap and open the pages. Taste and savor their contents. Spend time in the Book, asking others (through reliable authors, teachers and mentors) what different passages mean. Consider how a story or song sheds light on the life you’ve been given. Pray about what you’ve read.

I understand those who take on the task of reading the entire Bible in one year, and I may accept that challenge some day. But for the moment, I’d rather take it in slowly, savoring the inspired Words of God, letting them roll around on my tongue, filling my stomach and seeping into my flesh. It’s nourishment that I need for my hungry soul.

“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Ezekiel 3:3

 

Eugene Peterson Courtesy of Cathleen Falsani

Eugene Peterson
Courtesy of Cathleen Falsani

You can read an excellent interview with Eugene Peterson (who turns 81 in November) and view a video of the conversation at Religion News Service by going here.

 

 

 

 

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To Have and To Hold, a Heart Surrendered: Write for 31 Days

Weddings are my favorite family celebration. Nothing is more beautiful than a woman prepared to wed the man who has captured her heart. And her man looks his most manly as he watches the woman of his dreams walk down the aisle.

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Our lovely friend Ana exchanged vows with her man Seth in a garden wedding.

We were blessed to celebrate three weddings over the past several months and each of them was perfect in their own way. Those weddings come to mind as I consider these words from author and Bible teacher Beth Moore in her book “Children of the Day”:

“Who would you be if you loved Jesus with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength? That’s what you’re meant to look like.”

Jacqueline-Kennedy-Juliet-Cap-Veil-1953

Jacqueline Kennedy

Something to ponder — what would I look like if I loved my Lord in the same way I love my husband? If I gave God every part of me, surrendered and committed myself to Him with a devotion that says “take me, I’m yours; I’ll go where you lead”. How would that look on me?

I think I would be beautiful — as lovely and radiant as a bride on her wedding day.

If I made it my passion to get to know every part of Him.

If I gave Him not just a moment here and there, when I can fit Him in without inconvenience.

If I sought His counsel and considered His preferences.

If I chose Him over all others and adjusted my cadence so that I was  in step with Him.

If He was the first one I turned to upon waking and the last one I sought out before sleeping.

If I loved my God with abandon, I think I would be beautiful.

When I look in the mirror in the morning, in place of the furrowed brow and down-turned mouth, I’d see eyes that sparkle and a smile that speaks of love. I would step lightly into the world, all my burdens lifted and placed on the shoulders of my Beloved. People would be drawn to this beauty and want to know my secrets.

I would have a purpose in my life beyond seeking my own satisfaction and gain. My greatest desire would be to serve and please the One that I love.

As in marriage, I may find myself drifting from this place of perfect love. This love will be threatened by………just life. But I have the assurance that His perfect love will never fail. It will be constantly flowing, with no break in the current, even when my own systems have shut down. And that is when I will learn again to just surrender.

In her teaching, Beth Moore says this:

“You don’t have to figure out what to surrender to. Just surrender every ounce of your heart to Jesus. Ask Him to give you a supernatural love for Him that surpasses anything in your human experience.”

In the words of the disciple Mark:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

And you will be beautiful.

 

http://write31days.com/ I’m stepping back in to the commitment to write every day. I’ve missed the mark for blogging 31 days, but sometimes you’ve just got to “do life”. To visit other blogs on this journey, click on the button at left.

 

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A Little Bear Philosophy for the Weekend: Write for 31 Days

http://write31days.com/As promised on Day 17, here’s something a little more light-hearted for today’s “God-Spot”. Have a blessed weekend!

 

 

Pooh

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