Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Refocusing on God

While I was visiting my family up in Indiana, I found that my Bible reading and quiet time with God really fell by the wayside. It's great to be back home this week, back in my routine, and back to my Tuesday night Bible study and Wednesday night church life group. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with having two week nights taken up by activities, but weeks like this one show me how truly valuable those activities are in encouraging my Christian walk. My Bible study last night and my life group meeting tonight both helped me incredibly in refocusing my gaze on Christ. After a week away from home, I had found myself very much living in the here and now, completely oblivious to God's presence and will. And that's not where I want to be.

Last night's Bible study focused on seeing the positives in life, not the negatives. It was about accepting the trials in life, and running to God in prayer and submission, knowing that He will take care of you and give you peace that passes all understanding.  We were challenged to practice the following four things, especially when we are feeling frustrated, hurt, or negative about situations in our lives:

1. choose to give our anxieties to God
2. choose to pray specifically
3. choose to be thankful
4. choose to dwell on the positive

Four things I know I should do but more often than not do not. (Did you catch that? I'm striving to be like Paul. Romans 7. Check it out. You'll get an awesome headache. :))

In tonight's life group, we wrestled with determining the time point at which temptation actually becomes sin. At what point has the line been crossed? We discussed guard rails (or training wheels, hehe Ashley), or extra precautions we take to ensure that we are avoiding sinful behavior. We discussed marriage, and how easy it may be for someone to fall into temptation. We also focused for a while on the topic of social media, and how it presents temptations that never existed fifteen years ago.

Within these past few days, I've felt encouraged to start memorizing more Scripture. Although I know many of the stories and lessons and rules in the Bible, I have very little memorized verbatim. Those few verses that I do have down by heart, however, I use on a very regular basis. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have more life-giving words at my fingertips, wherever I am, regardless of whether I have a Bible accessible? I'm thinking so.

So here are the verses that have stood out to me this week. I am going to focus on memorizing them. One of them I already have mostly memorized, but it's always good to do a refresher.

Philippians 4:6-8
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.

1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

James 4:7
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Feel free to join in the memorization if you'd like. :)

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