Words are how we tell someone we love them. Words communicate our wants and needs. Words can be beautiful, musical, uplifting and encouraging. They can be strong and aggressive and painful. Sometimes all in one sentence! Believe it or not, Gods word can do all of the above too.

Our church is beginning a new series called 40 Days in the Word. I’m excited about this because I love reading God’s word. I can get myself wrapped up in the drama of a story, like the battles Joshua led taking the land God promised Moses so many years before or when Jesus dies on the cross. (I’ve been known to shed a tear or too on that one) Verses I’ve memorized long ago greet me like an old welcome friend.

But Gods word is so much more then stories or memory verses to check off our to do list. God’s word lives and breathes…..into me.

I struggle with the right words to describe how God’s word breathes life into me. Words like holy, righteous, awe inspiring and powerful are all great words that describe God. But what about forgiven, accepted, loved and hope doesn’t that describe God too? They seem to pale in comparison to this richly deep and intimate relationship God so desires to have with us.

The story of Ruth and Naomi is a beautiful love story in many ways. But it begins with such deep loss. After the loss of her husband and sons, Naomi decides to move back home. She is angry, bitter and hopeless. Knowing she’s unable to care for her two daughters-in-law she tells them to go home to their families. One daughter-in-law leaves, the other desperately clings to Naomi.

Ruth 1:16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Now that’s love! Yes, love for Naomi, but this is the first time in scripture Ruth acknowledges that Naomi’s God, the God of Abraham and Jacob is her God too. There is desperation in her voice. Perhaps she so wants and needs the hope she has seen in her husbands family. God’s redemption story is lived out in Ruth. She is blessed by her desire to know Him more.

God’s word should inspire us. It show us how to live. In his book, “Your God is Too Safe”
Mark Buchanan tells us that the Bible is more than just a good read, it’s useful. Quoting 2 Timothy 3:16 he points out that “The Bible is useful for this: shaping and training you to be the kind of person who walks in righteousness and is ready to do good works, God’s works in a fallen world.” This world we live in is broken and corrupt. But that’s the beauty of God’s word. It provides hope. Not a list of do’s and don’ts, but a way for us to live out our faith in him.

God’s word is a love affair of sorts. Him to us and us to him. When we open God’s word we invite him into our lives. When we are open to God’s word he invites us into a relationship with him, an intimate, deep personal relationship.

I love a good story and the Bible is filled with really good ones, but more so. Just like Ruth sought after God, I meet with my Lord daily desperately seeking a loving relationship with him. A relationship filled with hope, joy and love. One that gives me life and breath.

Lesson’s Learned in 2012

In looking back at 2012, there are a few lessons I’ve learned. Some of them have been painful, some joyful, always insightful. Hopefully none will need to be repeated lessons in 2013!

1. The “Great I Am” wanted me just as I was.

I’m a self described control freak and even though I say I gave up perfectionism a long time ago, it still trys to rear its ugly head once in a while. This year I learned that God wanted me just the way I was and not after I had “cleaned” things up a bit. Life is messy and I am messy, but it doesn’t matter to God. He still wants me and all my mess. He’s shown me how much He loves me and has waited way too long for me to say “Jesus, Come into my heart. I want to belong to you”

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

2. Trust, trust, trust and trust some more, oh and be still while your are trusting Me.

Consistently and often (almost very time I picked up my Bible) I saw how God was asking me to be still and trust Him. It was such a regular occurrence at one point I wrote in my journal, okay God I get it. Not moving here and trusting you! A task easier said then done. It’s not easy to trust. Faced with a trial or circumstances out of your control fear grips us and we question whether God is in control.

“Trust in the Lord and do good: dwell in the land and enjoy safe pastures. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the

desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4

3. God’s plans are perfect.

In my effort to try to “do” instead of “be” I realized I was creating the agenda, not God. This brokenness I was feeling was God trying to tell me slow down. He had a plan for my life already. I just needed to stop doing and just listen.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a

future.” Jeremiah 29:11

The result has been a surrendered life. One that cherishes each moment that God reveals yet something new about Himself. The unfolding of His plan isn’t to tell me do this or do that. The unfolding of his plan is that I am His child, cherished and loved. That a relationship with Him is far greater then anything else this world has to offer. That His plan for me is to stay right here, in His loving arms, protected and secured.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with the hope by the power of

the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13