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April - Discipline

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

First off, I want to say thank you to everyone who liked and subscribed to my blog since its launch last month. Your kind words and encouragement truly touched my heart. I am very grateful to have your support on this journey, and even more than that, I’m thankful to have you along for the ride! As we walk side-by-side in studying God’s Word, I know He will bless your life as abundantly as He is blessing mine. God is a loving Father who desires nothing more than spending time with and blessing His children.💙


For those curious about what Daily Plan I am now using, it is called The Daily Walk Bible. You can purchase the hard copy or download it to your Kindle! (I am using both). The Daily Walk Bible (which again is a treasured gift from my fearless Fellowship leader), is organized into a few chapters each day, along with insights and scriptures for further reading. Frequently, I hear God’s gentle voice guiding me through these insights, and I receive concrete confirmation that He is right beside me, teaching me everything that He knows I am ready to learn.

 

Picture edited with (C) Snapchat.


As I read through the Old Testament, I am just amazed at how God is opening my eyes to the reality of the battle we are engaged in to advance His Kingdom here on Earth. Throughout human history, there were so many great Kings and prophets who did wonderful things for God and were incredibly blessed by Him for their faithfulness.

God uses them as examples for us to follow.


But there’s a catch - following in their footsteps requires work on our part. We have to take the necessary steps to follow them. To advance the Kingdom of God, we have to do Kingdom work.


In Matthew28:19, Jesus tells his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” [AMP]


How can we help others learn of Him unless we are genuinely learning about Him ourselves?


A particularly interesting insight in the Daily Walk asks us to imagine going through our house and gathering up every trace of scripture we could find - “every copy of the Bible, every Bible motto or poster hanging on your walls, every hymnbook or gospel recording, every gospel tract or Christian biography - and then piling them all together on a table in the living room. Then find a book of matches and light one as you ponder this sobering thought: someday you may lose the freedom you enjoy today of surrounding yourself with God’s Word.” We are then asked, “if that ever happens, how much of God’s word would you have hidden away in your heart?” (The Daily Walk, p. 552)


[With all of the censorship being imposed upon us by Big Tech companies in today’s world, I do feel compelled to say that this is something we must be heavily praying against!]


In any event, imagining this scenario, for me, was deeply profound. Without the written references of scripture, which I do have in every room of my house, do I have enough of it tucked away in my heart to sustain me for the rest of my life? Enough of it tucked away that I will be able to teach it to someone who hasn’t yet heard of Jesus? To welcome home the prodigal sons who have lost their way? To be the light for those who are trapped in darkness?


Are you with me, people?


In Psalm 119, David tells the Lord, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” When tempted by Satan in the desert, Jesus Christ battled him with the Word of God and the Word of God alone. Only after the battle, when the devil fled, did the angels come and tend to Jesus.


We need to be more like David. We need to be more like Jesus.


While the entire New Testament is dedicated to the Living and Resurrected Christ, many books of the Old Testament prophesy the coming [and even the second-coming] of Jesus Christ. David himself prophetically painted a picture of Christ’s crucifixion in Psalm 22.


Dr. Chuck Missler, an engineer and Bible teacher, who I listen to frequently, repeats the words of Saint Augustine in many of his teachings:The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.


David is actually the second most-named person in the Bible - second only to Jesus Himself! A great many books in the Bible tell the story of King David. The First and Second Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, as well as the book of Psalms, are all dedicated, in some part, to the life and prayers of King David. Furthermore, the apostle Paul speaks of David in the book of Acts, and Jesus Christ himself speaks of David in His recorded parables in the Gospels. According to stats from wordpress.com, the name Jesus Christ appears in the Word 1,528 times, and David, 1,011. Clearly, there’s much that we can learn from both our Savior Jesus Christ, his ancestor David, and the relationship they each had with our Heavenly Father.


I named this Blog “Apple of His Eye” because I always wanted to have God’s favor as David did. (Psalm 17:8) Even with all of his faults, David was incredibly blessed by God. God anointed David for greatness, and David knew that fully well.

When David slew Goliath, he did so with such tremendous confidence in God’s ability to do what He said He would do. I love the absolute trust he had in God’s omnipotent power. In 1 Samuel 17:45-46, we read: “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the Earth; that all the Earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”


Wow!


That’s the kind of confidence I aspire to have in the God I serve.


David was a warrior. He physically battled against a literal Giant. [This is not an exaggeration; please read about Nephilim if you are not yet aware that Giants did, and still do, walk the Earth, Genesis 6:4]. David took over many lands in numerous wars for the Lord our God. In fact, God told David that it would not be him who built the Temple because of all of the warfare that he engaged in his lifetime. Rather, his son Solomon would be the one to build the Temple. (1 Chronicles 28:3-7)


We are, too, like David, warriors fighting an ongoing battle for God’s Kingdom to become fully established here on Earth. Many oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ fight for their religious freedoms to this day. Thankfully, for us, we have to look no further than Christ to fight this battle. In fact, the battle has already been won, and “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (John 4:4, KJV)


In 2 Corinthians 10:1-5, Paul writes, ”Now I, Paul, urge you by the gentleness and graciousness of Christ.....For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ, being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience [as a church] is complete." [AMP]


This is a spiritual battle; one in which trusting in God and knowing His Word is the only way to prevail.


In the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 30, the Lord instructs us to do what is correct so that WE may continuously prosper - both us and our descendants. He tells us specifically in verses 15 & 16: “Listen closely, I have set before you today life and prosperity (good), and death and adversity (evil); in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments (precepts), so that you will live and multiply, and that the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to possess.”


He repeats and solidifies this promise in verse 19: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants may live.” (AMP)

Something else I am noticing as I read - when God wants us to really get something - to really let it sink in, He repeats it, again and again, and again.


He is faithful. He does what He says He will do. (Numbers 23:19).


But we have to do our part too. We have to do the work.


James 2:14-26 gives us a clear understanding of what faith in action looks like. I particularly love the Message Translation of this scripture:


"Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that weave of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works? The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse." (James 2:14-26)


So yes, Faith without works, is indeed a dead faith.


I must say, if there is one good thing I am in this life, it is a good worker - almost to a fault. If anyone can tell you this truth about me, it’s my husband and my kids. They can attest that I will neglect my entire household to meet a looming deadline. It’s not something I’m proud of all the time, but it is undoubtedly true. If you give me a job with instructions, I will carry those instructions out to the best of my ability. I will put time and effort into making sure the job is done correctly and completed on time. (Maybe a few minutes or a day late here and there, but you get my point) - I am disciplined to work.


I am learning that just as we become disciplined to carry out the duties of running a household and holding down a career, we have to become disciplined to study God’s Word.

We have to become disciplined to spend time with Him in prayer and put effort into our relationship with Him. We need to add Him to the top of our To-Do List. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.


And something else...


We have to discipline ourselves to REST in Him. Yes. REST!! Resting is just as important as working. If we don’t set aside time to pray and rest in God's presence, we will burn out quickly. And what good to the Kingdom is a burnt-out, cranky Christian? Surely, we can be better than that!


God bless you, and thanks for reading!


I pray this month’s post is a blessing to you!

Until next month,


Jen 🌹

 

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success." - Joshua 1:8 NASV

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