Sitting Duck – “Into the Word” Week 4

  I love nesting in quiet spots to read and journal.  My current home of 3 years provides a sweet sanctuary in the family room with a big window framing our backyard.  I often sneak away back there as it overlooks the water.  Ducks, geese, and ibis all congregate on our lawn from time to time — so fun!

A few days after settling in, I realized that two particular ducks seemed to be frozen in place like statues.  I pointed them out to my man, and he explained that they were “decoy ducks” set up by our landlord to protect the yard from Muscovy infiltration.  An impressive tactical maneuver, I thought.

Later that month, however, my friend Sherree schooled me by shedding light on the fact that the county had actually placed the ducks along the canal bank behind every home on my block to protect the underwater utility lines from boat damage. When confronted with this fact, my man shrugged sheepishly and admitted his mistake  – I am still not sure if he deceived me on purpose or if he had bought into the lie himself.

I was reminded of this story this week while digging “Into the Word.” Paul cautioned us to study the Scriptures so that we would not be “sitting ducks,” easy marks for wolves in sheep’s clothing that the enemy uses to destroy us:

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches,

people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting,

stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog,

unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous,

ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make

a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals.

Stay clear of these people.   These are the kind of people who smooth-talk

themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and

take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness,

take up with every new religious fad that calls itself ‘truth.’

They get exploited every time and never really learn…

They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself

….But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed,

sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in

the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like

the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation

through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed

and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion,

correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word

we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us” (II Timothy 3, MSG).

This week, I am praying that the Lord will help me to know a real duck from a decoy.  May His Word dwell in my heart and guide my steps.  How about you?  Have you ever felt like a sitting duck — easily deceived and lead astray?  Dig in to the Truth.  It’s the best remedy.

 Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Dead End — “Into the Word” Week 3

   A few weeks ago, I braved the expressway and headed about sixty miles South in rush hour traffic for a doctor’s appointment.  Honestly, I don’t mind a long drive.  You know why?  It’s because my car becomes my concert hall.  I love to sing along with the radio and do so with hearty enthusiasm.  The problem is that sometimes I get really distracted by the music and miss my turn.

Once I realized my error, I did what any girl would do — I frantically called my husband for advice and then decided to stubbornly ignore the route he suggested in hopes of saving some time and still making it on time to my appointment.  Do you know where this disobedient wife ended up 20 minutes later?  Apparently, I did a complete circle and ended right back at the same spot — utterly lost and stuck in crazy traffic.  My short cut actually was a dead end — I was like a caged hamster on a treadmill wheel pushing my feet with all my might and going nowhere.  Do you ever have days like that?

Last week, I recognized this “dead end” thinking in the life of Abraham.  I’ve been digging “Into the Word” and examining Genesis 12 and 13.  Here, after building an altar and worshiping God, Abraham decided to take matters into his own hands when he encountered a famine — he headed straight into Egypt, symbolic of worldliness and carnality.  Then, he proceeded to lie and manipulate rather than use the spiritual weapons of warfare that God would have readily supplied had he just asked.  This was not a careful course of action bathed in prayer, but rather a decision full of fear and self-centeredness.  I wish I could claim to “not relate” to the outcome.

Abraham decided to worship God again and got back on the right road.  I am so thankful for a God who allows me to begin again.  Aren’t you?

“…Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you…”

Isaiah 43:1b-3a (MSG)

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Hiding 20 in 2012 — Scripture Memory Challenge

I must confess  that I still probably know all the lyrics from the “Grease” Movie Soundtrack.  Unfortunately, “Grease” is not “the Word.”  I don’t care what John Travolta had to say about it.  Why is it that my brain easily retains this useless information?  In 2012, I seriously want to stop the mental madness.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul challenges us to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”   So, this year, I am committing to memorizing 20 in 2012.  Twice a month, on the 1st and 15th, I will choose a new Bible verse and hide it in my heart.   Want to join me?  I will be starting on February 1st.  Sign up by posting your name in the comment section below.  Then, we will meet back here in February to share our verses and hold each other accountable.

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2012 Reading List

   I love to read.  Stacks of books seem to pile up all over the house — most of them half read.  Other women buy shoes; I buy books.  For 2012,  I am purposing to be a bit more intentional about my reading plan.  I hope to read 12 books and post a “Net Out” here on the blog using a  format similar to Michael Hyatt’s.

Up first will be Stumbling Into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper.  Lisa spoke at our Ladies’ Christmas Event at church this past December, and her wit and wisdom packed a powerful punch.  The picture on the cover of the book is ADORABLE and captured my attention.

I definitely could use a little grace as we start 2012.  Can’t you?  Want to read it together and then chat about it?  I will be posting my “Net Out” on Friday, February 10th.    The book is available on Kindle for all of you techy readers that got those new gadgets for Christmas.

Here is the rest of my 2012 Reading List:

March 2:  The Circle Maker (Mark Batterson)

March 30:  Made to Crave (Lysa Teurkehurst)

April 27:  God’s Story:  Your Story (Max Lucado)

May 25:  Get Out of that Pit (Beth Moore)

June 22:  Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (Francis Chan)

July 27:  The Resolution for Women (Priscilla Shirer)

August 31:  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict (Ken Sande)

September 28:  Boundaries:  When to Say Yes, How to Say No (Henry Cloud and John Townsend)

October 26:   Margin:  Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (Richard A. Swenson)

November 30:  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Ann Voskamp)

December 21:  An Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Peter Scazzero)

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A Gourmet Palate: “Into the Word” Week 2

  Yesterday afternoon, I indulged in a gourmet meal.  My old friend “Pelota” invited me to an event — Supposedly, I was attending a typical baby shower, but as soon as I sat down in that enchanting room under a beautiful  chandelier and glanced at the menu, my taste buds started doing the “happy dance.”  A renowned chef whipped up three-course culinary deliciousness.  Every bite exploded with joy in my mouth.

Later that evening, my husband and I dropped in at a local diner to grab a bite to eat together.  You know what?  I really wasn’t even hungry.  That fantastic meal from the morning had fully satisfied me and made normal fare unattractive.  This got me to thinking about how often I settle for the mediocre in my life — especially spiritually I frequently chow down on “Mc Donalds” fare on the run rather than sitting down to relish a meaty dish from the Word.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been digging Into the Word.”  One of the stories we examined this week dealt with how Christ filled Peter after He was restored — In John 21, Peter and the disciples come back to shore after their fishing excursion and discover the resurrected Christ making them a meal.  The Master encourages Peter to “feed His sheep.”   I noted in my reading that Jesus Himself supernaturally provided the fish and bread required.  Peter had futilely struggled to feed Himself, but Christ alone, the  Bread of Life, could truly satisfy his hunger.

This week, I want to feed on a gourmet meal — I want to linger at the table until I am fully satisfied.  I want my spiritual meal to make every other fare seem unappetizing.  What about you?

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63, NIV).

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts”  (Colossians 3:16, NLT).

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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