"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise." Psalm 111:10
"The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous." Psalm 19:9
I'm only at the very beginning of knowing what this even means. The part I am certain on is that He does indeed deserve to be praised forever. Because He leads us in unimaginable ways. He paves the way to doors we never thought we would see. Yesterday, He led me to a new one. A door I thought was unattainable. A door I thought I could never get to. A door with a threshold I'm scared to step over. A door I never thought I deserved.
Why is it hard to accept blessings sometimes? Why do I let fear stand in my way? When the only fear in my life should be the holy and reverent fear of the almighty God who loves me! A fear that leads to wanting to know Him more. To know His will and be in it.
A fear that gives wisdom and knowledge.
And is good.
And is pure.
And is sure.
A fear that brings forth praise!
I looked out the window last night into a dark sky, but even in the darkness, there was light. A bright and glowing moon reflecting the light of the sun.
And I am reminded of the light.
That is given by the Son, my Savior. And the wonderful Spirit who guides me, comforts me.
And leads me up to the door.
I seek. He hears.
I ask. He answers.
I knock. He opens.
God, thank you for opportunities that only arise by Your hand. Thank you, Christ, for making the way. Holy Spirit, guide me across the threshold.
May the door be opened wide.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Revelation 3:20
We will not always get the things we want, but the Lord will give the things that we need. Have you asked Him? He wants to hear our cries. Are you seeking Him? He pursues us, let us pursue Him back. Have you knocked at the door? No one knows when we are standing on their doorstep, until we knock. Let God know you are there and be overwhelmed with surprise at where He leads you once you step over the threshold. Lord, come, I want to dine with You.
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The year of fear sounds kind of terrifying right? Why would I want to focus on fear for a whole year? We are supposed to run away from or fight the things that scare us. Fight or flight. One of those is usually our response. I'm going to shield my face from clowns, I'm going to stay away from tall heights that I have a chance of falling off of, I'm probably not going to chose to speak in front of large crowds, and spiders and cockroaches will continue to meet their inevitable fates when a Chaco is thrown at them from across the room. I also fear going blind, financial instability, loneliness. Fears can be big or small and they can paralyze us from doing anything. The things we fear can hold us back, make us stay under the covers, locked up. But, this isn't the kind of fear I'm talking about, friends. I'm talking about a holy and reverent fear in a Most Holy God. A fear that, if embraced, will ultimately lead us into freedom.
I long to live in freedom, free from the fear of things holding me back. I long to know my Savior more, to be more aligned with His will, and to praise Him more. I long to understand more about Him, His attributes, His teachings, so that I can live to be more like Him. This all starts with fearing Him. Not in the sense of being scared, but of revering Him, standing in awe of Him and all that He is.
Fear, in the biblical sense, is to know Him, and to know Him is to fear Him. Healthy fear enables us to praise God and enjoy His benefits and blessings, rest in His peace and security, and experience the length of days. Fear of God, as a believer, produces awe, reverence, and obedience.
Praising God, enjoying blessings, resting in His peace all seem like wonderful things to seek out this year. But, there is another side of this holy fear. To know and understand all that this fear brings, gives a sense of urgency to sharing the Gospel. I may fear God in a holy sense, in wanting to experience all the goodness and blessings, but someone who doesn't know God in an intimate relationship will fear Him in an entirely different light. Not a holy fear, but one of being afraid. It is hard for me to imagine my life without God. Without His blessings, His providence, His protection. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the beauty of the Cross and the teachings of Jesus. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Him ushering me throughout life. The greatest things that we desire in this world, the answers to the questions we ask again and again, the goodness we want in our life, they are all found in God. He is our greatest satisfaction, He is the greatest answer, and He is the only good. To fear Him is to know Him, and to know Him is to fear Him. As a believer and follower, I want to know Him more. I want to experience His goodness in a way that I've never felt before. As a believer and follower, I want others to know Him more. I want others to experience His goodness in a way they've never felt before. I want to fear Him, to know Him deeply and intimately as He desires for us to know Him. The blessings, benefits, peace, and rest? Those are just extra drippings from His goodness that He pours out on us when we come to know Him.
This year, in 2016, I'm going to be centering my year around 13 verses that speak on the fear of God. These verses tell us what fear brings, how to fear God, and what fear in God frees us from. I've adopted one verse for each month to memorize and focus on and have one verse that is my verse of the year. I've already been noticing the word fear popping up in different places and in things that I'm reading. As my verse for the year tells us, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." This is where it all starts. Knowing Him is where it all begins and where all things come from. It leads to good understanding, it leads to wisdom, it leads to praising Him in new ways. Fearing Him leads me into freedom. This freedom pulls me out from under my covers and puts me into His arms. Last year I focused on making the year a better one. This year I want to focus on The Better One.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have good understanding. His praise endures forever."
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Resolving | My resolutions aren't really the norm this year. I instead have a list of 27 things I would like to do this year. Some are silly and some serious. Of course, there is a lot I could add to this list, but these are things I've been wanting to do, need to do, or would just be fun. I'm using this list and breaking it down to form monthly goals and then weekly and then daily. To kick start the year I'm really focusing on these for January: read one book, write a letter to a friend, write my Compassion child, finish one month of daily Bible reading, wake up an hour earlier than needed, eat breakfast daily, clean out closets/drawers and take clothes and shoes to Goodwill.
Reading | One of the things on my list this year is to read the Bible in its entirety. I've always started this and then quit somewhere in March. But before, I never really had a plan that I was following. This year, I found a Bible reading plan that is five days a week, allowing for catch-ups on the weekend if necessary. It combines Old and New Testament readings with Psalms spread throughout. Other things I'm reading: And the Mountains Echoed, Having a Mary Heart in A Martha World.
Organizing | Blogging. Always blogging stuff. I attempted to keep a planner last year for just blogging things and it worked...for awhile. A couple months back, I deleted all the draft posts I had hanging around forever, because I realized that I really wasn't going to finish those. Now, I feel like I know the kind of blogging schedule I want to do for this year and I want to focus more on quality than quantity. I'm getting away from the numbers. Other things I'm organizing: my closets and drawers by getting rid of what I don't need or use and my banking account. This year I'm hoping to really start saving in big ways.
Loving | That the cold weather of winter finally decided to come with 2016! It felt like we were living in summer forever with that weather we had in December. So glad that I can actually wear cardigans and scarves now without feeling like I'm going to suffocate. Other things I'm loving: roommate and I started the Making a Murderer series on Netflix, that I can type fast and get this post out before I have to get ready for work, that 2016 decided to begin with a weekend, and coffee. Always coffee.
Craving | Something yummy and delicious and healthy to eat for breakfast during the weekdays! If I wake up an hour earlier than I want to, I'll have time to enjoy breakfast. I've been having breakfast the past couple of days and it's amazing how my body knows I've been eating in the morning and starts craving it. I need to look up some easy and delicious breakfast ideas...that isn't all eggs. I love eggs, but can get burned out on them quickly.
What are you currently up to this first month of 2016?
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Happy New Year, everyone! We have come to the beginning of a whole new year, 2016. I love the beginning of a new month, just because it provides a fresh start to change things up, make new goals, and get rid of things we don't need. If I love the beginning of a new month, I really love the beginning of a new year! A complete and fresh start, not just thirty something new days, but 365 (or 366 this year. Yay, leap year!). The New Year comes after the whirlwind that is the holidays and, for me, another birthday. This is my "golden year" where I turned 27 on the 27th of December. I have a fresh new set of goals from silly things to serious, which I share with you at the bottom of this post. My desire and hunger for God's Word continues to be strong and I'm looking forward to reading through the Bible this year, hopefully the whole Bible! In 2015, I got some answers regarding some internal questions on singleness. And yet, I enter 2016 with new questions, but also with anticipation of the Lord's answers, because I know He will answer. In 2016, I chose to seek His answers and His will more than my own. The past couple of years I've chosen "one word" to focus on throughout the year and I'm fairly certain I know what my one word for 2016 is. Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks to see what it is. But, for now, let's recap the fun that was New Years!
I'm sure they are going to LOVE these pictures being on the blog, but it's too late now, friends. ha! My roommate and I had a friend come down to celebrate the holiday with us. We were so excited that she came to town! Roomie and I do a lot together, and though we love each other, it was fun to have someone to come along and celebrate with us. We love you, Jordi! Roommate and I started the night by driving all over town to find something to wear! Nothing like last minute, eh? Lastly, we ended up at (another) Target, where we found options. Note to self, just go to the Super Target first. It will save time. After grabbing some Chick-fil-a, we heading back to the house to get ready! And then took selfies, of course.
Our first stop was at one of our favorite places downtown, OK Bicycle Shop. We always mean to try new places, but we keep coming back here. It's funky and fun with bicycles hanging all over the place. They have great drinks and different menus. One menu gets you sushi, another Mexican. What more could you ask for? We always split the Duck Nachos. It's a huge plate filled with yummy goodness. You can't go wrong. And if you are with me, don't doubt that they won't get finished. Because they will. Also, they had the game on and I got to finish watching Bama roll over the Spartans! Roll Tide!
My roommate literally googled things to do in Mobile on New Years and up popped our answer. A local band that we have heard a lot of, but have never seen in person, was playing at a music hall and bar downtown. Tickets were on sale throughout the day, but they were updating when those sold out and when no more were available at the door. Music was set to start at 11, we got to the door at like 10:56. And the girl working the door told us that we were the last three being let in! I wanted to high five her. And we ended up seeing a great band, The Underhill Family Orchestra, at a great venue, The Merry Widow. And got free champagne at midnight. A successful way to end 2015 and bring in 2016.
After leaving the show, we walked around downtown for a bit and ran into some more friends. Then, we heading back home. We didn't stay out super late and I was totally okay with that, because my bed was definitely calling my name. The next day I somehow got the energy to try my hand at making a traditional New Years Day feast. I headed to the grocery store (also the only time I got out of sweatpants) and picked up some collards and black eyed peas. I knew that this would probably be an all day thing, but I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. But, it was totally worth it! I also made cornbread and we had tea and it was one of the best meals we've had in awhile. And one that provided a lot of leftovers. So, we are still enjoying it.
About a month before my birthday, I created a list of 27 things to do in year 27. I do love the new year as a time to create new goals, think of things that I need to get rid of, or things I need to start. I don't know if I would really call these resolutions, although some definitely can be. There are already a couple of these that I'm working on now, so I'm excited to see how many are accomplished before my next birthday or the next new year.
27 Things For The Golden Year
Happy New Year, friends! What goals or resolutions have you set for yourself this year?
What is one thing you are hoping to learn in 2016?
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