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Some good reads that have been doing a work in me:

"What Matters Most" by Doug Field

I tend to spread myself thin. I love to be a part of all things and say yes to everything but I watch as some things suffer because I said yes to something else. Saying yes to one thing means you are saying no to something else, is it worth it? I'm a work in progress but thankful that it's being worked in me. Instead of spreading myself wide to doing many things mediocre, I want to do a few things well and allow room for the priorities in life. 

"In the end, busyness makes us look important but cripples our relationships. Busyness feeds our egos but ultimately starves our souls. Busyness fills our calendars but fractures our families. And busyness props up our image but shrinks our hearts."

"You need to learn to say no to many good thing and wonderful people so you'll have space to say yes to God, yes to the important people in your life, yes to priorities -  yes to what matters most."

"during my busyness I didn't intentionally stop loving God and spending time with Him, but my passion and love for God was definitely taking a backseat to my passion and love for the church and the activities of the church culture."

"Busyness is the enemy of depth...many ministry people are busy because they're trying to become everything to everyone; instead, they become nothing to no one."

"When you're spiritually empty, your heart for God shrinks"

"I sacrificed my intimacy with God for the idols of busyness, achievement, and making people happy."

"To change, you must declare war on busyness."

"Counterfeit Gods" by Tim Keller

 A fresh convicting perspective of what things have taken a place of idols in our lives. 

"What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give... We never imagine that getting our heart's deepest desires might be the worst things that can ever happen to's because our hearts fashion these desires into idols...If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." 

"A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson

"Pilgrim tells us we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is a way, Jesus Christ. "

"Songs of Ascents, Psalm 120-134 were likely sung, possibly in sequence, by Hebrew pilgrimage as they went up to Jerusalem to the great worship festivals...Jerusalem was the highest city in Palestine, and so all who traveled there spent much of their time ascending...between the time we leave home and arrive at our destination...between the time we leave the works of the law and arrive at justification by faith."

"Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I ventured into this book wanting to better equip and understand women's issues as I love meeting and pouring into people. To have a good base and truths for understanding issues and lies and what truths scripturally to counter those lies better. I knew that I would come away with truths to carry for life, but this book surfaced so much and worked so much more out of me than I expected. Made me raw like from the use of sand paper, but the truths were the sweetest balm to heal any wound.

"Satan deceived Eve through a clever combination of outright lies, half-truths, and falsehoods disguised as truths. He began by planting seeds of doubt in her mind about what God had actually said...causing her to make decisions based on what she could see and on what her emotions and her reason told her to be right, even when it was contrary to what God had already said."

"Satan has used deception to win our affections, influence, our choices, and destroy our lives...every problem we have in this world is the fruit of deception - the result of believing something that simply isn't true."

"Regardless of the immediate source, anytime we receive input that is not consistent with the Word of God we can be sure Satan is trying to deceive and destroy us."

The progressions from deception to bondage - Listen to a Lie...Dwell on the Lie...Believe the Lie...Act on the Lie.

"what we believe inevitably is what we will act on...when we act on the lies we have believed, we begin to establish patterns in our lives that ultimately lead to bondage."

Moving from bondage to freedom - (1) Identify the area(s) of bondage or sinful behavior. (2) Identify the lie(s) at the root of that bondage or behavior. (3) Replace the lie(s) with the Truth. 

"The Truth has the power to over every lie. The Truth has the power to set us free. The Truth has the power to sanctify us."

Here are some powerful truths - soak these in:
God is good (Psalm 119:68). God loves me and wants me to have His best (Romans 8:32, 38-39). I am complete and accepted in Christ (Eph 1:4-6). God is enough (Psalm 23:1). God can be trusted (Isaiah 28:16). God doesn't make any mistakes (Isaiah 46:10). God's grace is sufficient for me (2 Cor 12:9). The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all my sins (1 John 1:7). The cross of Christ is sufficient to conquer my sinful flesh (Rom 6:6-7). My past does not have to plague me (1 Cor 6:9-11). God's Word is sufficient to lead me, teach me, and heal me (Psalm 19:7; 107:20; 119:105). Through the power of His Holy Spirit, God will enable me to do anything He commands me to do (1 Thes 5:24). I am responsible before God for my behavior, responses, and choices (Ezek 18:19-22). I will reap whatever I sow (Gal 6:7-8). The pathway to true joy is to relinquish control (Matt 16:25; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 5:7). The greatest freedom I can experience is found through submissions to God-ordained authority (Eph 5:21). Personal holiness is more important than temporal happiness (Eph 5:2-27). God is more concerned about changing me and glorifying Himself than about solving my problems (Rom 8:29). It is impossible to be godly without suffering (1 Peter 5:10). My suffering will not last forever (2 Cor 4:17-18). It's not about me; it's all about Him (Colossians 1:16-18). 

Gospel of Luke
I'm going through the New Testament this semester for a Bible class at church and I loved reading all four gospels right after each other and really was drawn to the gospel account by Luke. His chronological order and detail and the perspectives from different people shed light into the life of Christ. Go through all the gospels and see what one most draws you to the life and work of Christ...or at least read Luke.


Dear wavering heart - weary traveler,

Trust in the unchangeable, unconquerable, immoveable, irremovable, unwavering, untiring, unflinching love of God!

For your nearness Lord I hunger. For your nearness Lord I wait. For your nearness I am hoping. For your nearness Lord I long. In your nearness there is healing. What was broken now made whole. Restoration in its fullness. Lasting hope for all who come. In your nearness I take shelter. Where you are is where I'm home. I have found where I belong. I have need of only one thing, to be here before your throne. So keep me here, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Draw me nearer Lord. Never let me go. 
Draw Me Nearer by Meredith Andrews 

I can't help but picture Peter stepping out on the water and the waves with his sights set on Christ. But then the wind and waves distracted him; the worries, fears and things of this world that distract and pull our affections and sights away.

Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to self...When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on this earth.  Pursuit of God by AW Tozer

I'm prone to have my gaze elsewhere and easily swayed away. Things of life can distract and wear me out. But what always gets me back, back to the right perspective of who God is and who I am - being in the Word!

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 
Colossians 3:1-4

If you've heard of the "mountain top" experience where some event or retreat away singled-in and re-focused all passions on Christ and pursuing Him more. Then something happens and that passion and commitment seems to slowly slip away and be forgotten. To be expected to "regain" that focus at another retreat or event, but until then we'll just get by. Peter, James, and John had that as well when they were with Jesus on the mountain at His transfiguration, but they didn't stay there; they came down the mountain (Matt.17, Mark 9, Luke 9). Why can't we stay there?

I know I'm filled to be emptied again, this seed I've received I will sow 
 Desert Song

The inflowing power and work of God's very Spirit in us sealed by the blood of Jesus should be overflowing out of our lives.

I remember so many summer camps and that "mountain top" experience, then back into the routine of life and wondering what happened? Then there came a time where I no longer was on the ups and downs of the roller coaster of spiritual highs...because I had begun a steady ascent upward in pursuing Christ on my own and being in the Word, not just making marks in my Bible, but letting it make the marks in my life. I no longer depended on and or looked for those spiritual mountain top experiences because I had the very source within me and started to understand how to grow on my own. You see it is my own distracted eyes and heart that takes me to distant places but His chesed, convenantly love, always draws us to Him.

I will allure her and bring her into wilderness, and speak tenderly to her...let us press on to know the Lord. 
Hosea 2:14; 6:3

God reveals Himself to us not only so we may know and be known by Him, but so others may know Him as well. We aren't to remain only in those "high" places, but to come back and bring the light of His love and truth with us into dark places.

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. 
Psalm 73:28

Like cracked jars of clay - His light shines in those dark places through the honesty and authenticity of our cracks, our short-comings, and mended brokenness put back together by Christ. Remain in the Potter's hands.

 His hands are faithful and sure. 

‎Faith is not simply the belief in a statement; it puts trust in a person...when you trust someone, you give them a gift, and you enter into a kind of dance. When I trust you Lord, I take myself and put it into Your hands. I give You the gift of my trust, and You give me the gift of Your faithfulness 
John Ortberg

Like the soft edged focus on a photo, may the things of the world be on the outside, a soft blurred focus and the clear crisp focus in the center remain Christ.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it...So I do not run aimlessly... 
1 Corinthians 9:24,26

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us 
Hebrews 12:1

My wavering heart needs His nearness and He promises to never leave nor forsake us.

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! 
Psalm 65:4

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. 
Psalm 73:28

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. 
Psalm 145:18

repetition. redundancies. reiteration.

Deuteronomy 6:4-12 "Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them...Tie them...Write them...
When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Issac and Jacob, to give you - a land with large flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant - then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

Do you ever find that sometimes after hearing or reading something, what could be the 100th or the 3rd time, the reminder of the same thing comes across so new and fresh? Never think just because you've heard something before you know it all or can't learn anything knew because "yeah yeah I've heard or read this"

The Israelites are a great example of often forgetting who God is, what He has done, what He has commanded, and what He has promised. This led them to be wilderness wanderers. It is so easy to read the Bible and all the "moral meltdowns" in there and say "why couldn't they remember God"?

Romans 15:4 "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

I think more than often we are just the same, if not more forgetful. We have even more material resources (Bible, messages, seminars, books, teaching, podcasts, illustrations, etc) all reiterated to us and available. Because of that we can become passive in our responsibility to learn, grow, remember, and point the responsibility on others to do that for us. As Paul would say, may it never be!

Deuteronomy 8:2 "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert for forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."

Remember the refining moments in your walk, they may be painful, but are intended to strengthen and deepen our faith. If we could only remember Him and His purposes in the sanctifying process we would end up looking more like Him. Job 23:10 "when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold."

Deuteronomy 8:18 "but remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today."

Remember who is the ultimate provider and giver of life and things. It is nothing on our own merit but from His undeserving grace.

Deuteronomy 15:15 "Remember that you were salves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you." (16:12; 24:18,22)

Deuteronomy 32:7 "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past."
Remember where you came from, what darkness God has called you out of what you are now called into.

Numbers 15:39 "You will have these tassels (on the priests' garments) to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes." 1 John 2:16

1 Chronicles 16:12,15 "Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced...He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations."

We should remember in response to Him being a covenant keeping God.

Psalm 78:34-36 "Whenever God slew them, they would seek Him; they eagerly turned to Him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God most High was their Redeemer. But then they would flatter Him with their mouths, lying to Him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to Him, they were not faithful to His covenant." v.38-39 - But HE remembers us

Remember who is your Rock and do not give into the lies that other things can fulfill only what God was intended to fulfill. Be cautious of idols in your life, making good things absolute things, and uproot them and replace with a pure devotion, affection, and gratitude for the finished work of Christ.

Psalm 103:17-18 "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children - with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts."

Psalm 111:4 "He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate."  (Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 145))

Isaiah 46:8 "Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me." (Colossians 1:1-3)

When we don't remember...we become wilderness wanderers, empty, hungry, vulnerable, aimless, hostile of mind, alienated, worldly thinking and we loose sight and perspective

When Israel remembered, the response .... repentance, changed life, new direction, gratitude, greater faithfulness, trust, obedience, victory over sin and enemies, provided for, cared for

When God remembers...He keeps His covenant of love, hears our cry for deliverance, takes action, is merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, gracious

What are your remembrances..?

God gives guidance in how to remember, from the Deut 6 scripture mentioned at the beginning:

"be upon your hearts" - commit scripture to memory

"Impress them on your children. Talk about them..." - Whoever your children are - actual kids or maybe younger believers who need training and instruction, in the process of raising up other believers you are raised up as well as you are dependent on Him. He shepherds us so we can shepherd others. Talking and processing with other believers I find such a great way to talk thru the truths of the Bible and the implications for our lives from those conversations. People can bring different perspectives and understanding that I may be lacking and can point out/direct/correct areas in my life that I may be blind to. Community is edifying.

"Tie them..." - the idea of having them in front of you all the time. This can look like daily spending time in the Word. This is in the morning for me so I can chew on the Word and let is sink deeply during the day. What things are you putting before your eyes and mind? We are to set out minds on things above (Col. 3:2), things that points to Christ and eternity - the Word, worship music, good sound books, podcast of sermons, good conversations...

"Write them..." - this is journaling for me. I can try and internalize all I want but there is something about writing my thoughts, prayers, praises, challenges, fears, on paper that solidifies it and allows me to really understand myself and what God has called me into.

May we use repetition. redundancies. reiteration. to remember all our days.

Deuteronomy 17:18-19 "When [a king] takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees."