1. "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. This was a favorite in college, when it served as reminder that He had a plan when I didn't know past this semester. Fast forward a few years and actually study more of Jeremiah, and I find even more comfort in the next verse: "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." He will listen. To me. This lowly woman in a small town in a corn field in the middle of Illinois. One of billions. Wow.
2. "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with royal food and wine." Daniel 1: 8. Admittedly, this is not a life-changing verse on its own. But I studied Daniel with my blog Bible study group – a group of women scattered around the country, all of us with young families and careers in ag and livestock communications – during May and June and July of 2011. Mom was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2011. And although I'd been through this exact study before, it hit me anew that May: Daniel resolved. He set his mind on the Lord. On the good, despite his exile in Babylon. I, too, could resolve. To march through what we had been handed. To set my mind on the good, despite our exile in the world of cancer. To purposefully look for the ways the Lord was providing for us, caring for us, carrying us through, despite ridiculously difficult circumstances. His word was faithful and true and even in the end, I could see exactly how He had prepared Dad, how He'd sent just the right friend with just the right words, how he made the end perfectly peaceful. I fear I would have neither looked for nor found those things, had I not studied Daniel.
3. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9. I carry a note in my bible from our beloved former Pastor Al Somers. In his writing, it says:
Do not be afraid - 58
Do not fear - 52
Do not let your heart be afraid – 2
Do not be troubled - 8
Below that, the number 120 is circled; it's the total number of times, by Al's rough estimate, that God tells us not to fear because He is with us and we do not walk this path alone. Words to live by.
4. "She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25. Oh, the poor maligned Proverbs 31 woman! People either build her up or tear her down, fearing the unattainable standard. I don't know about that. But I have seen strength and dignity in women I know and love and that's something to strive for. And "she considers a field and buys it." That's a woman I can get on board with.
5. "Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly." Colossians 3:16. See Things #1-4. Amen.
Five Things: The Series
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