Measuring Self

For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 (World English Bible)

The chapter that this verse comes from, is titled “A Living Sacrifice to God” Romans 12 (NLT), which I strongly recommend reading prior to studying the PerspectiVerse above. The chapter describes how we are to worship God by giving ourselves to Him, that He may transform us by changing the way that we think. It is a chapter about humility and using the gifts that we have as best that we can. The chapter concludes with the concept that the Lord will revenge the evil done to you (verse 20) and that rather you should focus on conquering evil by doing good. (verse 21).

What I have found interesting is the concept of looking at self-value in regards to the measure of faith in verse 3, in regards to not being prideful or thinking more highly of oneself than one should. Verse 3 (the PerspectiVerse) (click the link to see verse 3 compared to multiple translations) is translated in the NLT as: “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
– Some translations start the verse with the fact that one should think of oneself with “sober-judgement”, (NIV, ESV, Berean Study Bible, ISV, and more). The Holmann Christian Standard Bible says to think “sensibly”about one’s value.
– The latter part of the verse is translated in many different ways, and after reading the Greek translation, I was personally most drawn to the World English Bible translation. We also read the following verses which encourage each person to use their gifts “with as much faith as God has given you” (verse 6).

I studied New Testament (Koine) Greek and enjoy looking at the text to further understand.


“Measure” is Strong’s Greek 3358
 : μέτρον (transliteration : métron). It is a noun meaning a measure or standard. It is uncommon in the bible, and is included in the following verses:


Luke 6:38
NIV – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
NLT – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Mark 4:24
NIV – “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more.”
NLT – Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more.”

Matthew 7:2
NIV – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
NLT – For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

The three verses above show μέτρον in terms of giving, listening, and judging. What they have in common, is that depending on how you use or do them, they will be returned to you, and even more. The focus is not on the amount or measure given, but rather on the person’s usage of the measure. Instead of being focused on thinking highly (or lowly) of oneself, or even thinking of the size of measure given … we should be concerned with how well we are using the measure. As we use what we have, it will increase.

This concept keeps reminding me of the parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The master gave each of his servants a portion of silver “dividing it in proportion to their abilities” (verse 15)(NLT). This relates to how the concept of how μέτρον is used in the above verses, where the amount is not necessarily equal. More likely, it is different for each person… given as God sees fit.
When the master  returns from His trip,  he meets with each of the servants that he left silver with. After meeting with the last one who did nothing with his silver except bury it to keep it safe, comes verse 29 “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”(NLT)

This is a very interesting concept, where people are entrusted with something … whether it be bags of silver or listening closely. In both circumstances we are expected to do something with what we have been given, as well as we can. 

As with “The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids[Virgins]” (Matthew 25:1-13), let us not be caught unaware or unprepared. Though the word μέτρον is not utilized here, each of the bridesmaids had oil to keep their lamps burning. Some were prepared and had the oil they needed, the others did not. Those who were not prepared had to get more oil … but by the time they were ready, it was too late. The bridegroom had left with the ones who were prepared,  to the wedding feast.

Matthew 25, which included both parables of the Talents and the Bridesmaids, concludes with Jesus returning and explaining that when people do or do not help ” the least of these” they are doing the same to Jesus(Verse 40 & 45). The final verse reveals eternal life for those who help [they are righteous], and eternal punishment for those who do not. (See post on Righteous Life).

In warning people from thinking too highly of themselves in the PerspectiVerse (see NLT), we see a similar concept displayed in the previous chapter. Romans 11:20-22: “Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. Notice how God is both kind and severe.” Intense. The fear [respect] for God is here, along with a healthy dose of humility.

Let us not take for granted the things that God has given us. Rather, may we be diligent and focused on doing the best we can with what we have.

Dear Lord, I choose to put my focus on You and on being led by the Holy Spirit. I repent for anytime that my focus has not been in line with Your will.  I choose to use the faith and gifts that You have given me. Thank you!

Rest is Holy

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.
Genesis 2:1-2 (NIV)

We all know what happens next … man is made.

Rest. Holy.

Completion… then rest…then new beginnings on Day 8. 

Rest is a powerful place … the place of stillness before new things are done or put into action. Wow. Peace. Today I was reminded of the understanding that Peace is a Force. Rest is a force too … it is so easy to get caught up in doing lots of things and rushing around and getting ‘busy’. Too busy to rest, and be in His presence…the place where …there is such powerful stillness. Powerful…because it is here …the silence before the storm….before new things are birthed…when you are immersed in the spirit…

rest is also a place where we can be…should be….at any given moment. A place of communing with the Holy Spirit.

Intentional resting in Him. Peacefulness. Grace. Mercy. Powerful presence ….of being with Him.

A place of looking back and experiencing completion … and at the same time looking forward to the ‘unknown’….the possibilities and potentials of the future..such peace in that stillness..yet…also fervor…. desire… passion … increased intensity … drive… desire for more.

Lord, I desire to rest in Your presence, always. To taste and see Your goodness, to know that You know everything that is going on in my life, and to experience the peace of resting with You. Wash over me, Lord. Be with me. Thank you for Your beautiful loving presence.

Choose Well!

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Context: This chapter begins with “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”(verse 1)(NLT) . It goes on with how once we belong to Christ, sin has no power over us because we have been set free – Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses which we could not overcome. We Have Been Set Free!!! 

This is one of my favorite verses in my life. It describes how God will continue loving us, and how nothing can keep us from that love. Except, our own choice to separate ourselves from His love for us.

Going back to the PerspectiVerses we look at the term “to separate” translated in verse 38 from the word “χωρίζω” in New Testament greek. What caught my eye is the intensity of this word… where it “refers to divorcing a marriage partner who vacates the relationship in soul or body” (HELPS Word-studies). This is a very serious removal. It is not a maybe kind of a situation .. it is a definite I have drawn the line and am very sure about this decision.

CHOICES
We have the freedom to choose OR reject YHWH and Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord and Savior. Not only that, but we have another choice after that of how to live.

After choosing Christ (become Christian) .. we have a choice of whether to follow the Spirit or the flesh (sinful nature). As the GOD’S WORD® Translation puts it “So, brothers and sisters, we have no obligation to live the way our corrupt nature wants us to live.”(Romans 8:12). That leaves us with two options, according to Romans 8:13 (NIV):
Option 1 : For if you live according to the flesh
Consequence 1: you will die;
OR / BUT
Option 2: if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body,
Consequence 2: you will live

Verse 4 starts the explanation of how we can follow the Spirit (which becomes the assumed preference once we choose Christ) or we can follow our sinful nature. Romans 8 continues: Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. (verses 5-8) (NLT). Wow!

Can you imagine? The inability to please God, because you CHOOSE to let the sinful nature lead you. #SHOCKED. yes. Verse 7 and 8 said that. Yet His grace is so amazing – that all we need to do is to trust Him! (more about that in my previous post called “Love & Trust”).

Verse 14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of Godand thus co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). So amazing! Co-heirs with Christ, in God’s eyes! Not because anything we have done, but because of His blood, the grace and love of God. 😀 And it is available for all! “So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor 5:9-10)(NIV)

Sometimes, because of choosing Life I forget that some people still do not choose everything that God has for them. Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t choose Option 2! Some people say, I believe in Jesus, that He is the Christ. .. but they do not change their lives around! They don’t clean up their speech, or their actions. Do it! Choose today!! #BeDiligent #checkyourself. Put sinful nature, to death. Say “Goodbye!”

This reminds me of Revelations 3:16 “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (some translations replace spit with vomit! … make God feel sick .. yeach.)

In conclusion, the only thing that can separate us from God’s love is our own choice to not choose Him. Choose Him and choose to follow the Spirit…”And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

Lord, help us to choose well. To choose You, to choose Life! Help us in the areas where we give in to sinful nature … may You strengthen us and protect us. I choose to follow the Spirit in every word and deed . 🙂 In Jesus name, Amen.

Love & Trust

You love Him even though you have never seen Him.  Though you do not see Him now,  you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

In this chapter, Apostle Peter expresses praise and joy for the resurrection of Jesus Christ through which we are given “new birth into a living hope” (Verse 3) (NIV). Becoming born again requires faith, belief, complete trust in God, and His power to redeem our lives.  Then we learn that by faith/trust/belief we are shielded …and then how trials that come so that faith may be proved genuine (Verses 5-7)(NIV).

Faith is defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as :

  • : strong belief or trust in someone or something
  • : belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs
  • : a system of religious belief

 

Trust. What makes us trust in someone  or something? Is it not Faithfulness? Or consistency?… perhaps it is knowing that you can depend on that person or object…. trustworthiness. Does that mean that if you know God loves you,  is all-powerful and places you as a high priority. .. that you are able to trust Him..more? However,  I do not believe that the belief is enough. .. rather, that it is God’s consistency in following through … His real, near, tangible love..as seen through action …His actions seen in relationship…be it through personally experienced blessings,  miracles,  answered prayers. .. even in testimonies of His goodness to others. Tangible love,  in action.

A cross reference to the PerspectiVerse is given as Ephesians 3:19: May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Experience His love. The love of Christ. His love is creative…His love is healing …His love completes us. Wow.

The verse that follows the PerspectiVerse says “The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.” (Verse 9) (NLT). Some translations do not disconnect verse 8 and 9 into separate sentences.

Thus,  we see in John 3:16 that all we need to do is trust Him, in order to receive His love. We are used to reading this one : For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life(NIV). I found 2 Bible translations of this verse that use the word “trust”,  rather than the often seen “believe“, and they are the Weymouth New Testament and the Aramaic Bible in Plain English. The Aramaic Bible says : For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.

And it is available to everyone! He isn’t hiding anything from us. .. It is all available to anyone.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (NIV). His transparency with us,  as a close friend, promotes trust. Our trust in God’s love allows us to receive grace for eternal life. Incredible! What an amazing equation! What a gift!

Dear heavenly Father, I want more of you! More of your love,  and to see and experience You so tangibly in the world around me. I want to share Your love with those around me. ..I want to experience Your love ..want to trust You more. I trust You, thank you for being so faithful,  even when I don’t understand what is going on. .. thank  you for standing with me.  Amen. 

Righteous Life

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10 (NLT)

1The proverbs of Solomon: A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother. 2Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life3The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked. 4Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich. 5A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace. 6The godly are showered with blessings; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. 7We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away. 8The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces. 9People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall. 10People who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof promotes peace.b11The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. 12Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses13Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod. 14Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster. 15The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their destruction. 16The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin. 17People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray. 18Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. 19Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. 20The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless. 21The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense. 22The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. 23Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible. 24The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted25When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly hav
e a lasting foundation. 
26Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes. 27Fear of the LORD lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. 28The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. 29The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked. 30The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land. 31The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. 32The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

I have named this post Righteous Life because I had been led by the Lord to write on righteousness .. or on what a righteous life looks like. I was then led to this chapter.

It is a chapter of verses by Solomon who God gave much wisdom and understanding, even the wisest person (1 Kings 3:12). The Amplified version calls this chapter “Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked”(AMP). Most of the verses compare a godly action or result, with a parallel wicked action or result. Many of these positive sections relate to righteous living in different ways, and after selecting the positive parts in order to focus on these, I then found and highlighted the points which repeatedly arise (see colors below). My focus here is on how the positive aspects are interlinked, related and describe characteristics of a righteous person, either directly or via contrast.

The NIV translation has the word righteousness in 14 verses: 2,3,6,7,11,16,20,21,24,25,28,30,31,32 (I have underlined where these have been replaced with a different word (usually “godly”) in the NLT translation above.

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10 (NLT)

1The proverbs of Solomon: A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother. 2Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life3The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked. 4Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich. 5A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace. 6The godly are showered with blessings; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. 7We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away. 8The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces. 9People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall. 10People who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof promotes peace.b11The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. 12Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses13Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod. 14Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster. 15The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their destruction. 16The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin. 17People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray. 18Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. 19Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut20The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless. 21The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense. 22The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. 23Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible24The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted25When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation26Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes. 27Fear of the LORD lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. 28The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. 29The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked. 30The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land. 31The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. 32The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

There seem to be a few main concepts that stand out.

There are qualities of wisdom expressed multiple times along with word use being helpful or encouraging. l like the verse about how the words of the godly are a life-giving fountain (verse 11) and the verse about how one should “be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”! (Verse 19) Surprised?!  I was, a little. 🙂

I was inspired by the blessing concept … hope, happiness, pleasure,  happy memories, to be thought well of and then to experience safety and long life.  The fact that “the godly will never be disturbed”… that is peace. . and it is contrasted with the how “the wicked will be removed from the land.”(verse 30). Wealth in relation to ‘blessings’ and earnings from hard work are mentioned in a few verses, and sometimes in regards to the ability to keep safe and not be worried in different situations or storms…”The rich hide within the fortress that is their wealth, but the poor are dismayed due to their poverty.”(ISV) Here,  righteousness is not directly specified though it is alluded to in verse 16 “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives…”.

My prayer today is that our hearts would be turned to His righteousness .. towards the wholeness that God has for each one of us in His presence. That as we seek Your face,  Lord, that you would meet with us and lead us in Your ways. I desire to be a blessing in Your sight, Lord. I desire Your peace and provision in my life.  May I be wise in words and in action… and a blessing wherever I go!

I’d love to hear of your own perspective. . was there anything that spoke to you, or was impressed upon your heart?

-The Resurrection!

Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb.
Mark 16:2 (NLT)

This Chapter in Mark, hits unbelief on the head..does it not? Many of you will recognize this chapter that is distinct in the bible, as there are two possible endings depending on which version you read. One version ends on verse 8 … the other at verse 20. Read both versions here Mark 16.

You can look up a number of commentaries on why there are two different endings..
It is all very interesting.
I recommend Matthew and Mark” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary) as I studied under Tremper Longman III (editor of the commentary) in college for a class in exegesis. I think you will like their take, if you like really delving deep.

I want to point out one section, in the longer version…and that is Christ’s words that are quoted as saying “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.17These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.e 18They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”(Mark 16:15-18). What profound testimony. About the call as a believer, and that these are the signs that will be seen on those who believe. Believers… do you see such signs in your life, or in the lives of those around you? Do you still believe and see miracles happening around you? Do you see the Word of God active in your life? Some of these, I have personally witnessed and I hope that as we grow we shall begin to see them more and more in the ways that God has truly intended.

This prayer today is that God would work in me and you, in our pursuit of truth. That where there is doubt, or not-knowing … that we would be given over to learning and the development of our faith. That we would seek out the living truth and seek to pursue it with all that we have.

That in everything that we do … even as we compare different translations of the Word of God .. that we would have our eyes on You Lord. Help us where there is unbelief or even doubt, Lord. Teach us, Your way. 🙂 Amen.

Obedience with truth in love

This is love for God: to obey His commands. And his commands are not burdensome …
1 John 5:3 (NIV)

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3 (NLT)

Context: The verse in perspective is preceded by a chapter about the love of God. It then transitions to the fact that “…Whoever loves God must also love his brother”. 1 John 4:21b  (NIV). After the Perspectiverse, we read more of Jesus Christ, and who He is in relation to eternal life. Read the 2 Chapters….full of love and truth!

I like how the NIV version describes how the commands that God makes, are never burdensome. Wow! So…doesn’t that mean that obedience is …EASY?!

Everything He commands for us to do is out of love. That reminds me of John 8:32 we read “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom. Interesting. Freedom .. peace…found in truth, and even in obedience towards God’s direction. There is no oppression in the commands that God gives us … He is not a dictator…rather, Christ even says that we can call Him friend John 15:15 (MSG) , and says that He is not hiding anything from us.

A relationship with Christ brings freedom, and at the same time walking with Him as a friend, and understanding that God loves us and everything He says and does is out of love, should encourage us to trust Him and walk in His ways. #thoughtlife. Think about that..

Today’s post has been an act of obedience, for me. But I now understand that there is a specific place that God wants my heart to  be when I write on this blog for Him. I am excited that my relationship with God, and yours, might grow in this place. 🙂

Lord, may I hear You more clearly in my daily life. I desire to act as you lead, with love and in peace. I trust that all things you have commanded and are with love in mind, and never burdensome. I choose to trust you, and act on the faith that you have consistently confirmed before me. Thank you for walking with me, through my life.

Today's Word

Psalm 139:1-10 (NLT)
1
O LORD, you have examined my heart

and know everything about me.

2You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

3You see me when I travel

and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

4You know what I am going to say

even before I say it, LORD.

5You go before me and follow me.

You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too great for me to understand!

7I can never escape from your Spirit!

I can never get away from your presence!

8If I go up to heaven, you are there;

if I go down to the grave,a you are there.

9If I ride the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10even there your hand will guide me,

and your strength will support me.

The Lord gave me these verses to share with you, after He took me to Psalm 139:2 this morning(see above). I hope you enjoy knowing these, as I have this morning. God bless. 🙂

Escape!

When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:17 (NLT)
 

Context: If you read around this verse in Genesis 19, you might recognize the story of Lot and his wife being rescued from Sodom just before G’d destroys the city. G’d has sent the angels to destroy the city (Genesis 19:13), and after having a horrifying night (I won’t go into that .. but check it out ;)) the angels asked Lot if he had any other family, and told him to hurry and leave! Lot’s son-in-law didn’t believe them. Can you imagine the urgency of the situation?! It is so … real .. Remember where Lot’s wife is turned into a pillar of salt … yes … if only she had run and not looked back... That is THIS Story.

The verse spoke to me about leaving behind a place of pain, when you have healed and dealt with the pain. So, for example … you break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and you know that the relationship is not what you want for marriage. (Personally I think we should not get too far … and should do the research friendship phase effectively so we don’t move into messy relationships.) However, if you find yourself leaving a relationship that you don’t want to continue with, don’t go back into it. Be sure. Heal. Make amends in your heart. Break any soul ties. And get out of there … don’t look back.

On another angle, maybe you were hurt deeply by a person 10 or 15 years prior, but you never forgave them. You still carry the pain and it still affects you. These types of situations require deep healing. Once healing is done, then you can let go of it. Give it to Jesus and move on with your life – don’t go dwell in that valley, that low emotional place. Just like the verse says, Run for your life. Don’t look back or stop in the valley. Escape to the mountains.

This morning I came across the following quote just after I read and prayed about the verse above. “Let go of the thoughts that don’t make you strong.” Wow. Thought life. What is your thought life like? Are you dwelling in the valley? Or are you thinking up and onward, to the mountain top – the place where you are seeing miracles and praising and jumping for joy! When you are standing on the mountaintop – what you see is more mountain tops! More awesome and exciting things that God has for you!

Yes, everyone goes through valleys … and some valleys aren’t because we choose to be there – some valleys are because of other people’s choices or the situations we find ourselves in. But let us do what we can to keep peace within… the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7):

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:7-9 (NLT)

Thought Life

That is my prayer today: God, that Your heavenly peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, would guard my heart and my mind. Strengthen me, Lord, that even in the valley I will focus on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely in Your sight. Amen.