Chocolate or… By Beth Smith (my mom!!)

I’m partial to chocolate. Not fancy stuff. Just the good ol’ grocery store variety. But I want to love God’s Word more than chocolate, to “eat” it more often than anything else.

Here’s how I want to feel about God’s Word.

  • I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 AMP).
  •  “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103 AMP).

Why is it so hard to make God’s Word a priority in our daily lives?

  •  We decide, “Yes, I’m going to read the Bible. I’m setting aside a special time for study.” The time comes, and we’re ready. Then the phone rings, a neighbor drops in, maybe the toilet overflows… I think that’s the Devil, the one C.S. Lewis called ‘ol Slewfoot.
  • We read the Word, and we remember what we read. Then a problem comes up, or we argue with our spouse. Whatever we read that very morning flies out of our minds, anger or worry taking its place. That’s our sinful self getting in the way, or maybe ‘ol Slewfoot again.

We could all come up with plenty of examples, times when “eating the Word” can be a struggle. Being a Christian isn’t for sissies! It’s a battle. It’s a good fight of faith. We need to recognize the tricks of the Devil, to know our own weaknesses, and to be prepared to defeat them. We can triumph over them, because God is always faithful to make a way for us. And why should we bother?

  •  “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4).
  • If you live in me and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will and it will be done for you” (John 15:7 AMP).
  •  “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
  • “The word of God is alive and powerful.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).

What we eat physically matters, but eating God’s Word matters so much more. The Word is God’s power for us. We can’t treat the Bible like snack food—a quick bite here, a quick bite there. Reading the Bible without meditating on what we’ve read is like eating without chewing.

Some people say you are what you eat. That’s good news if we’re on a steady diet of the Word of God. Look back at the verses I’ve just listed. Think on them. Meditate. Let’s let the Holy Spirit use them in our lives.

Roots for Fruit by Beth Smith

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This is an interactive lesson, so if you’re game, stop reading and go grab a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil (or, if you want to be really creative, a couple of crayons.) I’m going to write about roots again. Go ahead and draw the trunk of a tree.

In Isaiah 37:31 (NIV), God said of His people, “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.” I think God wanted to remind us that we need roots before we get fruits. Roots do plenty of growing underground, often before we see any results. Matthew 7:16-17 says, “By their fruit you will recognize them… A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” We want good fruit, but we need good roots first.

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;” (John 15:5). Jesus is our taproot, the main root out of which our support roots spread.

Draw a long root straight down from your trunk. Label it Jesus.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2: 6-7).

Draw two roots out from the taproot. Label them faith and thankfulness.

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The Rock or Great Words from the Bible and Beth

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I like rocks. I have one from an ancient fort in Honduras, and one from a glacier I walked on in Alaska. I picked one up in Greece at the site of the first Olympic Games, but happened to see a sign that removal of any rock or plant was prohibited. I put it back.

My husband Bert is happy that I like rocks. They make for cheap souvenirs. Some women buy jewelry. I pick up rocks. Yes, I’ve reminded Bert that diamonds are rocks, but he didn’t offer any for my souvenir collection.

Rocks are also a good reminder of our Lord. Psalmists called the Lord God a rock many times.

  • “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2 NIV).
  • “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me” (Psalm 31:2-3 NIV).
  • “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm strength of my heart and He is my Portion forever” (Psalm 73: 26 AMP).

When life is hard, we feel as if we’re walking through mud, slipping and sliding and trudging along. Where can we find firm footing? Here’s where:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40: 1-2 NIV).

We need the Rock. In Psalm 61:2 (NIV), David cries out to God, pleading, “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” He is the One who knows more about everything than we do. He can put us on the right, high, firm path. Why will he do that? Because he loves us.

When things all around us are crumbling, God is firm.  2 Timothy 2:19 (AMP) promises that, “The firm foundation of God stands, sure and unshaken.”

My dad was a humorous, kind and hardworking man. I loved him, and was blessed to know that he loved me. We were churchgoers, but Daddy often fell asleep during the sermon. In the superior attitude of my teen years, I wondered if he was really saved. Daddy always said, “People shouldn’t talk about politics or religion. It always causes an argument. Just talk about fishing or pretty girls.” So we didn’t talk about church. Then one day I learned that Daddy’s favorite hymn was The Solid Rock. From then on, I always knew where and how Daddy stood on faith.

  My hope is built on nothing less

  Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

  I dare not trust the sweetest frame

  But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

  When darkness veils his lovely face’

  I rest on his unchanging grace.

  In every high and stormy gale,

  My anchor holds within the veil.

  His oath, His covenant, His blood,

  Support me in the ‘whelming flood.

  When all around my soul gives way,

  He then is all my hope and stay.

  When he shall come with trumpet sound,

  O may I then in Him be found!

  Dressed in His righteousness alone,

  Faultless to stand before the throne.

  On Christ the solid rock I stand.

  All other ground is sinking sand.

  All other ground is sinking sand.[1]

I hope you’ll pick up a rock today and carry it in your pocket or purse, or maybe put it where you pray or where you will see it often. Let your little rock remind you of the Rock, the One upon whom we can stand firm. Christ is still the rock and wants to be, as David declared him to be, our Savior, our Refuge, our Fortress, our Sanctuary, our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Firm Strength, and the Cornerstone of our lives.

All other ground is sinking sand.


[1]Words by Edward Mote, circa 1834. First appeared in Mote’s Hymns of Praise, 1836.

Rooted in the Right Place by Beth Smith (my mom!)

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Imagine this conversation between God and a typical Christian. (I’ll call him Chris.)

God: “What sort of person do you want to be?”

Chris: “I want to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

God: “Terrific! That’s just what I created you to be. ‘Made any plans for becoming like that?”

Chris: “Well, I do as many good things as I can and try really hard not to do bad things.”

God: “How’s that working for you?”

(We’d all have to answer just like Chris) “Honestly, it isn’t working.”

God: “Well, let me remind you of why you’re failing. Apart from me you can do nothing. But, with me all things are possible. If you want to be that sort of person, to have that good fruit, you’ve got to be planted in the right place.”

Chris: “But, God, how do I get planted in the right place?”

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Rope of Hope by Beth Smith

You’ve heard it said, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” I have a better idea. When you come to the end of your rope, let go and grab on to God’s rope of hope.

Years ago, our youngest daughter gave birth to a nine pound boy. He was whisked away to the neo-natal intensive care unit before his parents even got to hold him. The doctors put him on oxygen, IV antibiotics, and four monitors of various types. This was scary for parents and grandparents alike.

But, praise God, we have a strong rope of hope, a lifeline made up of five strands.

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Refreshed by Beth Smith

The York Candy company once ran a series of commercials, each beginning with the words, “When I bite into a York Peppermint Pattie, I feel…” followed by images of extreme refreshment—like falling into a pristine pool on a hot summer day. While I love Peppermint Patties, the refreshment I get from God is even better.

Refreshment can mean relief, and God gives us relief from sin. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Sometimes when we say we need refreshment, we mean we’re desperate for renewed strength. The Bible promises us that as well. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Maybe the refreshment you’re looking for stems from some other need. Still covered! Philippians 4:19 promises that, “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

The help, the refreshment we need, often comes from God’s Word. Once I was very nervous about flying to Europe. I prayed about it, but I was still really scared. Here’s the Bible verse that freed me from fear. “Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:10). God helped me with his Word, and I was refreshed! He’ll do the same for you. Tell him what you need, and the expect him to come through.

Part of the refreshment God gives us comes from a renewing of our minds and bodies as we submit to him. Paul wrote, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 NLT). Note, please, that our part is to submit to God. His part is to change us, to refresh us, to supply our needs.

Next time you are refreshed, whether by a mint, or a cool drink of water, or even a nice long nap, think about the ways God refreshes you. Praise him. And keep on going to him—reading his Word, spending time in prayer, submitting to his ways, choosing to trust—for refreshment every day.