Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My prayer for understanding

This is what I have been praying for lately. Understanding. As I wend my way once again through the verses of the Old Testament, I ask God, how am I to read this? What is this to mean for me? And also, what answers can I give to those who question you, your existence, your goodness, your love?

Two of the most valuable teaching series I have heard in my life were at Faith Fellowship, many years ago. The best one was on Deuteronomy. Pastor Gary Mortara lifted that book right out of history and plopped it down in the middle of our lives. It was no longer just the story of the ancient tribes of Israel preparing to enter the geographical areas God had promised to them as a home. It was the story of each of us, of me, of God preparing me to enter my own Promised Land, the land that God has prepared for me in this world, where the paths lay that will lead me to the highest place he has for me. God's admonitions to the nation of Israel became his admonitions to me. His commands to the Israelites to kill off all who might lead them astray were commands to me to kill off everything in my own life/heart that might prevent me from sticking to the path and claiming my own Promised Land. This sometimes difficult Old Testament book took on a new life that lit my soul.

Well, I didn't make it into the Promised Land at that point. I used to read the Old Testament and see all the unfaithfulness of the nation of Israel and say, tsk tsk, how awful they were. I have to laugh at that arrogance now! Now I tend to read it and say, yeah, that's me. I probably would have done that same thing, or something equally unfaithful. Once I came to that understanding, reading the Old Testament became personal. I am a microcosm of the nation of Israel, and all of God's dealings with them, all of his words to them, are to me.  Is that the whole purpose of the Old Testament, the fullness of its understanding for me? I don't know, but I do think it is probably the most important.

Today, a part of my Bible study was in Psalm 119. I highlighted verses as I read it, and when I looked at what I had highlighted, I saw that it was my own prayer:
(124) Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. (125) I am your servant, give me understanding, that I may known your testimonies. (132) Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. (133) Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. (147) I rise before dawn and cry for your help; I hope in your words. (169) Let me come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word! (171) My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. (174) I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. (176) I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments."
And then after it, on the same page, I saw a verse I had previously highlighted, which stood out to me as the answer to this prayer, in Psalm 121:7-8 ...
"The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forward and forevermore." 
Here is one lesson to carry away from the Old Testament. God's love is pretty sturdy. You read about the grumbling, whiny, complaining, faithless nation he loved, and yet he still loved them. Individuals who were completely beloved of God were terrible sinners. David committed adultery, and covered that sin with murder. Yet God loved him. I have been a terrible sinner in my life. It took me quite awhile to recognize that, although most people would be able to see it in a second. Yet God apparently loves me quite a bit, based on his relentless pursuit of me! Our hearts are crazy things. I am just beginning to understand that a lot of the problem with these hearts of ours is that they crave something that cannot be found in this world.

I'm on a journey, seeking the high places. I'll send you postcards on the way. You can pick them up right here.


  1. Stunning, Sharon. Just stunning. Thank you so much for these postcards.

    - Lauren in Seattle

  2. Baptism by immersion is what genuine followers of Christ are called do……wondering when you will make this choice?? Mark 1: 10. ( JesusBaptism).. And straightway COMING OUT OF THE WATER ,,,--Mark 1:5 … they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him IN THE RIVER of Jordan, confessing their sins. Acts 2:38 ..38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST . Mark 16:16 .. 16. He that believeth and is baptized SHALL BE SAVED;… Acts 8:36-38 38. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both INTO THE WATER , both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. Acts 22:16
    16. And now why tarriest thou (SHARON) ? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

  3. Now, Anonymous, why would you make assumptions about what I have and haven't done? I have been a Christian since 1975, and I was baptized by immersion shortly after that. So now that you are aware of that, I hope you will be more careful before making any other assumptions. Your questions are welcome, but assumptions are not.

  4. Do you want to hold on to all of your sins since then???

  5. You did read my reply, correct? I have been baptized by full immersion, if you are still referring to your first message. It is a one-time sacrament. We do not get rebaptized every time we sin. And we never stop sinning.

  6. Why wouldn’t God love you enough to bring this to your attention???12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of UNBELIEF, in departing from the living God.13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. (Heb 3:12-13)

    1. Well actually I bring it to his attention. "Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!"

    2. Best to you & much Glory to God in the wonderful life experiences yet to come

  7. Acts 19 indicates the gift of a 2ND BAPTISM…Will you consider this for your special life??? “ He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
    3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; …”.

    1. Anonymous, I just posted a brief version of my testimony on my new blog if you are interested. http://sharonnemethmurch.com/2016/04/07/tired-of-wandering-my-testimony/

  8. Replies
    1. God Bless you & everyone who reads this testimony