Monday, September 03, 2007

The Ivy League Devotional

Psalm 119:9-16
Ivy League Bible Study Fellowship
Week of September 3, 2007

Hallelujah! “Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
God is so good and it is so wonderful to know Him. I am rejoicing in the Lord and in spite of any challenges; I pray that you are rejoicing as well.

The ILBSF has begun our study of Psalm 119! Even though we are only in the second stanza of the Psalm; it has already been an overpowering experience. Per our Bible study lessons, as well as the wonderful study guides that our sister Jamie Love has prepared; we are being blessed with a wealth of information to meditate over as well as to guide us in spiritual growth.

When reading many of the psalms including Psalm 119, I often feel the urge to respond to God in my own “psalm”. I have heard of different church organizations assigning their members the task of writing their own psalm. In our bible study lessons a couple of weeks ago we were challenged to give a response to each stanza of Psalm 119.

This is not necessarily a response to each stanza, but an expression of some of the thoughts and emotions that I experience when I read God’s Word:

The day awakes with praises to the Lord. The grass and the dew bend
as the beast search for their breakfast. The birds fill the air with their
melody and the skies are colored with the shades of dawn. The breeze guides the eagles to their nest. The earth is rejoicing in the artistry of the Lord. Where is the creature that the Lord has given dominion over the labor of his hands? Are they submitting to the will of the Lord? Are they celebrating obedience in praise to the Lord? Are they as wise as the Lord’s other creatures and spending their days in worship?

Look at the daisy so bright and yellow. Blessing our
senses exactly as the Lord has commanded. It does not choose shade when the Lord tells it to feast in the warmth of the sun. It does not choose shelter when the Lord tells it to feed in the nourishment of the rain. Over my shoulder is protection and righteousness, yet I choose the disgrace of sin that always seems to be a nagging presence in my face. Give me wisdom oh Lord to hunger after your word.

You have given man a higher intelligence over all the works of your hand. Yet where is man? I want to be found in the study of your Word. Though the lessons may often reflect my weaknesses, I will be made whole through the strength of your guidance.
My life should be a sacrifice of praise to you Lord.
I can only learn the steps of my praise dance through the earnest pursuit of your Word.

How would your psalm read? Write one. No one has to see it but you and the Lord. This journey through Psalm 119 allows us into the heart of the psalmist to experience his earnest pursuit after righteousness and his great love of the Lord.

I pray that we will all be changed when the journey is over and that we all will have a new found devotion to be obedient to the law of the Lord.

To God be the glory! Be blessed in the Lord my Sistas. Use each day as another opportunity to show someone the love of God.

Jesus loves you and so do I!

Indianapolis, IN

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The 'Ivy' League Devotional

Again we are blessed to be able to hear from our sister Michelle. The Ivy League Bible Study Fellowship started their study on Psalm 119 on last Friday. It was a powerful time in the Word of God. So for the next four months we will be gleaning from the 119th Psalm. May we all seek to hide the Word in our hearts. "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11

Psalm 119
Ivy League Bible Study Fellowship
Week of August 20, 2007

God is good and worthy to be praised. We are blessed with yet another day to lift our voice in praise.

As many of you are aware, over the next several weeks the ILBSF will be studying the 119th Psalm. As we have discussed in a previous devotion this is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. The Psalm is 22 stanzas long; one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

No one is 100% sure who wrote Psalm 119. Some say that it was David; some say that it was Ezra, or Daniel or even King Hezekiah. Who ever the author of the Psalm was, there is one thing for sure; the author wrote it as praise to the glory of the Truth of God’s Word.

I am not sure if you have ever read the entire psalm; but in my readings I found myself amazed at the author’s commitment to be obedient to the Word of God. I will be honest with myself and with all of you. There are many passages in the Bible that challenge me to the point of discomfort, and the 119th Psalm is one of those passages. It made me uncomfortable in the fact that the author is so dedicated to the living of the law and the commandments of God and it seems that we often find ourselves doing just the opposite.

We read the Bible. We study the Bible. We love the Bible, but are we committed to living our lives according to His Word? In our relationships, in our conversations, in our habits, in our jobs, in the things that we pick for entertainment or the way we choose to spend our leisure time. Are we persistent in the pursuit of the statues of God? My answer would unfortunately be “no”. How would you answer this question?

The author of Psalm 119 makes a promise to not only memorize the Word of God, but to live the Word of God. He loves the Word of God and will forsake all others for the precepts of our Lord. The writer recognizes that God’s love is steadfast and that the Lord is constantly blessing His people. The psalmist is able to offer praise to the Lord by passionately seeking after the Lord and his counsel.

Though hardships and trials may come, the writer knows that there is hope in the Word of God! Though evil may come and try to distract us and try to draw us away from God, the author of Psalm 119 assures us that there is freedom and deliverance in God’s Word. Can we, when being tempted by evil or challenged by others for the love of the Word of God, still be faithful to the Word? When facing persecution for love of the law, the psalmist clung more tightly to the Word of God.

God’s way is not easy for us to understand. As a matter of fact, we are not even capable of understanding God’s Word without the Lord’s guidance. The Lord gives us detailed instructions on how to pursue His way and His testimonies. God’s words have been true and good from the beginning of time and they are true and good today. His testimonies are eternal! If we follow the way of the Lord we will be blessed to gain wisdom.

God has given us His Word since the beginning and since the beginning we have been disobedient to His Word. But even in the Lord’s discipline; we are still blessed. As the psalmist states; our discipline is used to draw us nigh unto God.

Our daily lives are full of struggle and sin, but God’s law is a refuge from our daily struggles. Go to the Word and it will offer comfort and strength. I mentioned earlier that I was not doing a very good job in my dedication to the Word of God. Even in our short- comings and our sins, God’s judgment is full of grace and mercy! His judgments are always just.

God’s testimony is true and not capable of lying. Draw nigh unto His Word my Sistas. As the psalmist instructs; meditate on God’s laws day and night. God’s instructions give us peace and comfort and life and joy.

I pray that through this journey of Psalm 119 we all find ourselves making a vow to live by the precepts of our Lord. By being loyal to God’s laws we will gain a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Be blessed and spend your days finding ways to make God smile.

Jesus loves you and so do I!

Indianapolis, IN

Vacation Time!!!

Hello everyone. I am sorry I have been absent for the past week. Things have been CRAZY!!! My family and I are preparing for our family vacation. It will be our last trip before school starts and we want to make a memorable one.

I will be returning on next week. I have several things I'll be posting once I return. Pray for our safety and also that we'll be examples of the most Holy One, so that those in our families who don't know Him might see Him through us.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him

with the whole heart. Psalm 119:1-2

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The 'Ivy' League Devotional pt.2

1 John Chapter 4

My dear sisters in the battle; do not be fooled by the latest charismatic speakers. If they are not clearly confessing that Christ came in the flesh, they are not of God. They are “that spirit of the antichrist.” We need to be lead in the Word by men and women of God. By men and women that love His Word and that teach according to His Word. We do not need motivational speakers, with need Bible teachers.

We need to be taught the love of God. Taught how God loved us so much that He allowed His precious Son to suffer and die for us. What parent has not nearly lost their minds with the concept of having to watch a child suffer or struggle? God did that for us. Not because we deserved it, but because He loves us that much.

We cannot say that we love God, whom we have never seen but struggle to show love to our brothers and sisters whom we see everyday. We cannot only love those we choose to love, but love those that God told us to love.

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Be blessed women of God and may all your tomorrows be filled with the desire to show someone the love of Christ.

Loving you always,


The 'Ivy' League Devotional pt.1

1 John Chapters 3 & 4
Ivy League Bible Study Devotion
Week of August 6, 2007

Praise the Lord Women of God!!!! “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

God is good and worthy to be praised! He continues to bless our study group as we grow in number and in the Spirit.

This week we will continue our meditations in the book of 1 John. Last week our devotion covered chapters 1 & 2 and this week we will cover Chapters 3 & 4.

“BEHOLD, What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; there fore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1.

1 John Chapter 3

They will know we are Christians by our love. We should be in awe and humbled by the concept of the almighty God calling us His children. His love for us is that great. We should be excited about showing love toward each other in a way that is strange to the world. We should realize that we are not worthy to share the title of “strange” with our Savior. They do not know us as they did not know Him, they will not understand the way that we love.

Our motivation for showing this unworldly, uncommon love is an eternity with Christ. Seeking after righteousness, turning the other cheek and praying for our enemy; these challenges are well worth the struggle. Our reward is to one day, be face to face with our Savior!

Do not be surprised if the world hates you as you seek after righteousness. Cain killed his brother because Cain himself was evil and his brother was seeking after righteousness. Why are Christians always portrayed as weird or as fanatics? Because the world hates that the light of our love reveals their wickedness.

Love one another. Not just with our mouths, but with our actions. I have been blessed to be the recipient of an uncommon love. I have been loved by others in a sacrificial way. I have been loved in a manner that makes me yearn to daily show others the love of Christ. Once we commit to blessing others with a Christ like love we are not only blessing that one individual, but we are loving our God.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Anniversary!!!!!

Today marks my 14th year of marriage. It seems that just a short time ago, I was walking down the isle to meet my beloved, the one whom God had specially designed for me. I often thank the Lord for being so gracious to me, in the giving of a gift that is priceless. My husband.

When one understands the sovereignty of God, you gain a perspective on the things that happen in your life. It amazes me that before the beginning of time, God's sovereign plan was to specifically shape, mold, and fashion my husband for me and me for him. And through the years the Lord continues to water and prune us both, so that we will continue to grow in love with Him and with each other.

I praise the Lord that our season of life together is not over. My prayer is that our love for one another would be reflective of His great love for us and that it would be pleasing in His sight. Using the words of the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon, I'd like to say this of my husband,

My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires.
His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Song of Solomon 5:10-16

Praise the Lord for 14 wonderful years.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dew Drops from Heaven

I posted this last year in July. As I was reading over this post, I found it to be just as encouraging now as I did then. My prayer is to encourage and love those who are dear to me with the words of my mouth. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer" Psalm 19:14 May our words be a sweet sound in the ears of our Lord and a refreshing drop of dew on the hearts of those we love.

How often do we take the time to encourage the people we love? How often do we make an effort to tell them how much they mean to us, how we were moved when they did or said a particular thing? Well this evening I saw the importance of verbally encouraging the ones we love and in this particular case, our spouses.

We had some good friends over and we enjoyed a game of Win, Lose, or Draw, but with a twist. Each clue that was to be drawn was associated with a virtue. (Love, humility, etc.) As we unfolded each one some marvelous things were brought to the light. We had the opportunity to tell our spouses things we never thought to say and maybe things they thought they would never hear. It was such a beautiful thing to see. The encouragement that came from a few words. The air seemed easier to breathe and the future was something we could look forward to.

I would beseech thee to take the time to encourage your spouse. Let him or her know about the little things they do, or the qualities they possess, how those entities encourage you.

I want to leave you with a quote from the beloved author John Bunyan. He says so wonderfully:

"The doctrine of the gospel is
like the dew and the small rain that distilleth upon the tender grass, wherewith
it doth flourish, and is kept green (Deut. 32:2). Christians are like the
several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of heaven,
which being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dew at each other's roots,
whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of one another. For
Christians to commune savourily of God's matters one with one another, it is as
if they opened to each other's nostrils boxes of perfume."

As the dew drops from heaven, may we nourish the roots of the one we love.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The 'Ivy' League Devotional Pt. 2

1 John 2 picks up where chapter 1 left off and tells us how we can be forgiven of our sins. “But if anyone does sin we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins-and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:1-2. Glory hallelujah!!!!! Thank you, Father for your grace and mercy. Once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, he’s got our back! He is our attorney and we will not be condemned!

The next part of 1 John 2: 7- 12; really challenges us. It gives us a new commandment that is old. It calls us to simply love one another. So if we say that we love Christ and go to church and won’t speak to Laneeqa because she rubs us the wrong way, we are still living in darkness (1 John 2:9).

From there John really starts to step on toes. He tells us not to love the things of the world more than God. Not to be caught up in or to take pride in our possessions and achievements. (1 John 2:15-17) If you can’t say “amen” say “ouch”! That’s smart. Take a deep breath, say a prayer and continue.

The last part of 1 John 2, teaches us about the antichrist. To test the spirit by the Spirit. When I first read this passage some years ago I was very confused about what it was directing us to do. “And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:22-23. You cannot love God and deny Jesus. You cannot love Jesus and deny God. They are one.

We have the Holy Spirit in us that allows us to discern what is good from what is evil. When Christ sent the Holy Spirit that lives within us and the Holy Spirit teaches us what is true. The moment that we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts. When we get caught up in a movement or on the latest dynamic speaker to hit the airwaves, yet something deep inside is tugging at our hearts and no matter how hard we try to ignore the feeling, it still persist. That’s the Holy Spirit. My Bible commentary recommends the following Scriptures for more on the Holy Spirit and what He does: John 3:6, Acts 1:5 and Ephesians 1:13, 14.

John definitely stretches us in our Christian walk. The book of 1John also blesses us in assuring us in our relationship with our precious Lord and Savior.

Until next week, women of God. "May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 6:24.

Yours in Christ,


The 'Ivy' League Devotinal Pt. 1

This is a word from our Sister Michelle on I John chapters 1 & 2.

1John Chapter 1 & 2

Praise the Lord Women of God!!!! How is it with your soul today? I pray that you find yourselves overwhelmed in the presence of the Lord.

Welcome to all of our new members! God is truly blessing the “Ivy” League Bible Study Fellowship. Counting the day and evening groups combined, I think that we are nearing the 30 mark in number, as well as being spread out all over the U.S.! I am looking forward to our study time together and know that we are going to not only enjoy an incredible spiritual voyage, but a lot of laughs as well.

The ILBSF have been studying the book of 1 John for the past several weeks. My devotion assignment for the next two weeks, for the benefit of all of our newcomers, is to attempt to summarize our journey through the book of 1 John. This week I will ask for God’s guidance in covering 1 John Chapters 1 & 2. For next week’s devotion I will cover 1 John Chapters 3 – 5.

1 John was written by the apostle John, one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. This man walked and talked daily with our savior. John’s motivation for the book was to educate early Christians in regards to their faith and to help them discern false teachings. In 1 John, as with much of the Bible; it is astonishing how much of what applied then still applies today. Many of today’s Christians find ourselves confused about where we stand in our faith and who to believe or not to believe in regards to preaching the gospel versus false teachings. Well my sistas, John explains all of that to the early Christians as well as to Christians of today. John also provides assurance in regards to our relationship with Christ.

1 John Chapter 1 is only 10 verses long but full of power. The main concept is that God is light. “…God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.” 1 John 1: 5-6. Either we are in relationship with God or we are not. We cannot say that we have a relationship with God and continue choosing sin. Sin is darkness and there is no darkness in God.

Because we are sinners; we have to confess our sins to God. God is faithful so He will forgive us. The challenge here for us my sistas, is admitting our sins. We have to ask God to convict our hearts of our sins so that we will seek repentance. I know that all of us do things that we know full well in our hearts are not of God and that we try to justify with those sins with excuses. “I was not gossiping, I was calling her so that she would pray for Sister Smith.” Remember ladies, if we say we have not sinned we are calling God a liar. 1 John 1:10.
So….. since this is via email, and we can’t see each other, all of us that have sinned and tried to justify the sin, raise your hand. No one sees but you and God. Confess and repent. Didn’t that feel good?!!!! I know I feel better already.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The 'Ivy' League Devotional

I shared with you earlier that I am venturing to memorize Psalm 119. I've learned the first eight verses and I am working on the next eight. I pray that there are many who are joining me and are experiencing the joy of engraving the Word of the Lord on our hearts.

My dear sister Jamie Love is apart of the Ivy League Bible Study Fellowship. It is a group of ladies from Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia,and New York. They are currently meeting, via the telephone, weekly and are going through the book of I John. Upon completion of I John they will begin studying Psalm 119. Jamie's niece, Michelle, will be writing a weekly devotional on this Psalm and I want to share her insights with you. Lord willing, I'll post it every Monday. Here is the first of her devotions. "Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart." Psalm 119:2

Psalm 119: 1-8

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statues! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statues: O forsake me not utterly.

Welcome women of the “Ivy” League Bible Study to the meditations of Psalm 119. I have been blessed with the awesome task of writing weekly devotions over the course of our study of this beautiful poem. I am by no means a Bible scholar. I seriously considered extensive study and research of the scripture before I began the devotions. Considering the “Ivy” League Bible Study consist of minister’s wives, Bible study teachers, deacons and elders. Bishop anyone? I felt I better do my homework. However, after further prayer and leading by the Holy Spirit, I will write straight from the heart and pray God’s blessings over my thoughts.

Some of you already know that Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. I feel that the Psalms are a collection of poems of praise, poems crying out to God for help and poems of advice. In the first eight verses of Psalm 119 we are being charged with sincere obedience of God’s law. If we are passionate about our search for God and his laws we will not stray from their paths. In this world of negotiations of principles and scruples; God has given us a book of instructions in which there is to be no deviation. As we draw nigh unto God and seek to please Him, we will spend more time honoring God and less time regretting some of our decisions. We can offer God our own psalm of thanks by obeying his laws. God in His awesome endless grace and mercy will always love us and as the writer pleads; the Lord will not give up on us.

Sisters; in the struggle of day to day living and as the wicked pleasures of gossip, nagging, envy and other sins try to over take us, hold fast to the law of the Lord and know that our treasures lie in heaven. Let us seek to be God pleasers.

Be blessed women of God. May the peace of our Lord reign over you until we meet again.


Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

There is a hymn that says, "Time is filled with swift transition, naught of earth unmoved can stand, build your hope on things eternal, hold to God's unchanging hand." I take comfort in knowing that the hand of our LORD does not change. With the many things we tend to face each day, which reminds us of the transition the world is making, it is with the unmovable, unchangeable hand of God that we are able to stand and accomplish the things set before us. Amen!!!

Over the past couple of weeks, almost a month, things have been moving in a, "I don't have time to slow down!" fashion. There have been trip after trip, loads of laundry to wash, dry, fold, pack, unpack, and wash again. As a result of that, my blogging has come to a 5 mile per hour crawl. (Not a complete halt) I am praising the Lord for this moment where I can share His faithfulness and goodness with you all.

My family and I just returned from Lecanto, Fl. My husband was the speaker for Seven Rivers family Bible conference. The conference was on the Pilgrims Progress. We all had a powerful time journeying through this book which depicts the christians life so vividly. I encourage all to visit to download the messages. I had a sobering time sitting under the preached word and I know that you'll, too, have one.

It's good to be in the swing of things again. Stay tuned there is more to come!!!