When Mere Words Become the Living Word

by Michelle Lazurek

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life” Mark 10:29-30 NIV

Growing up, my grandmother took me to church every Sunday and I enjoyed it. During my late teens, however, I began to have questions about my faith and started to want more out of my relationship with God.

God, in his sovereignty, began to place people in my life who were on fire for Him. At church, I met a woman who understood my doubts. Soon she invited me to her home for a weekly Bible study. She didn’t try to force me into believing the Word. Instead, she encouraged me to go home and study the Bible for myself.

Several weeks passed as I studied Scripture on my own. Just two weeks before my senior prom, I went forward to the altar at church and gave my life to the Lord. I didn’t tell anyone about this for several months.

When I finally did tell my parents, they were furious. Two days after my absence at Thanksgiving, they stormed into my workplace and asked me to step out into the busy plaza walkway. Once outside, my father told me I needed to pack my things up and leave immediately. When I got home, he opened the garage door to reveal a neat line of black trash bags filled with stuffed animals, clothes, and the rest of my belongings. He tossed them onto the truck, and we headed to my boyfriend’s house.

Without even a goodbye, my father threw the bags onto the driveway, got in his truck and drove away, leaving me on my knees sobbing with my life’s possessions lying around me. In the blink of an eye, I went from having everything I could ever need to poverty, clinging to God with a tentative hope that His Word was true.

One day, I stumbled upon the above passage in Mark. Suddenly I saw the Bible in a new light: it was not just an item on my daily to-do-list, but a living and active love letter to me from God. Its beautiful words were meaningful and transforming. I knew now that I needed to get serious about studying Scripture for myself. My once passive attitude about my spiritual life became active. I began to pray daily, study the Bible consistently, and spend time in silence listening for His voice and guidance.

Psalm 1 promises great benefits to a person who delights in and meditates on God’s Word. They will be “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever [they do, they] prosper.” (Psalm 1:3 NASB) The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. Consequently, the biggest reward in studying the Scriptures is getting to know God on an intimate basis.

It is worth the effort to carve out the time (even if it is just a few minutes) to spend with Him.  The better we know Him, the better we will love Him in return.

michelle lazurekAbout the author: Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, national speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she loves to help people encounter God and engage with the world around them. When not writing, you can find her enjoying a Starbucks latte and collecting vintage records. For more info, please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random numberrighteous and lost generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Michelle’s book, Righteous and Lost: Finding Hope for the Pharisee Within,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

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Content in Any Season

by Kristi Neace

After being out of town for an extended time, I was more than ready to get back to teaching my precious women’s Sunday School class.  But upon entering the classroom, I was shocked to learn that I had been replaced!

Now before my trips, I had prayerfully turned in my resignation. But I was careful to express I was in no rush and very willing to serve until they found the right person. Now I suddenly found myself replaceable. The sting of that broken tie to the women and church I had grown to love nipped at my soul.

This season has ended, I heard Him whisper into my thoughts as I walked out of the classroom for the last time. Yet it was still a somewhat bitter pill to swallow.

Early the next morning, still nursing the wound, I turned in my Bible to Psalm 1. Combing through the passage, the words which yields its fruit in season jumped off the page. I was again reminded that fruitfulness has an appointed time. Obviously my time in that position had run its course.

Continuing to ponder what God was trying to teach me, I thumbed forward to a familiar passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1… “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (ESV)

Neither verse was new to me, but nonetheless, at that moment, I was freshly reassured that it was God alone who was shifting my path…plotting the next course, whatever that may be.

Though I could choose to be offended at the church’s lack of communication and unexpectedly abrupt ending to what had been a fruitful season, I knew that God had something different for me now, and my transition to the next thing might even include a period of rest.

Over the next several days, I came to realize it all was actually a blessing. God had faithfully provided a competent teacher to take over the class (what I had prayed for!) While she had been moved into a time of fruitfulness, I had been moved into a time of rest from a busy season of fruit bearing. I was now in a season of metaphorical harvest – the fruit having been produced, the tree was now at rest.

I don’t know what season you are in right now. Perhaps you are busy producing the things God has called you to, but maybe you find yourself in a season of fallow ground. Know that no matter where God has you, everything happens in His time. He may have you in times of production but will also lead you into stillness between seasons.

Sweet friend, learn to be content in both. You can rest in His sovereignty and goodness no matter where God has you.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3 ESV

Kristi NeaceAbout the author: Kristi Neace is an accomplished Author, Speaker and Artist. She is also the founder of a nation-wide, non-profit ministry called Badge of Hope. Join her as she blogs about life as a cop’s wife, offering encouragement in such an upside-down world. Kristi has written several Bible studies, including Layers: Living a Life Unhindered. Her latest book is Under Fire: Marriage Through the Eyes of a Cop’s Wife.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Kristi’s book, Layers, Living a Life Unhindered,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

 

Join the conversation: What has God taught you during your seasons of rest? Encourage others by recalling God’s faithfulness.