An Aptly Spoken Word

 

I am so tired of one-size-fits all, stale, pat answers and blanket statements that sound empty even to my own ears.

Aren’t we, as Christians, called to model our lives after Jesus? Then shouldn’t we strive to do that in our daily relationships and conversations?

A quick observation of the gospels shows how He spoke to Martha differently than He spoke to Mary. Which was different from how He spoke to the woman at the well. He addressed the rich young ruler, the Pharisees, Nicodemus, the Canaanite woman, Zacchaeus  all differently. He did not hesitate to talk to “tax collectors and notorious sinners” (Luke 15:1, NLT)

What was His secret? Simple, He treated each individual with respect. He saw everyone as unique, valued, worthy of His attention. He knew each one longed to be treated as such. Not another face in the crowd, not dispensable. He realized each had distinctive life experiences and  needs. One-size-fits all was not in His nature!

He never wasted words, always getting to the heart of the matter.Then, as now, we tend to mask our real issues. His encounter with the ‘woman at the well’ is an excellent blueprint. Gently peeling back the layers of her life to minister to her deepest need.  (see John 4)

His words could be very direct but never brutal, always intent on bringing healing, restoration, and truth;  Always filled with compassion and love. He wept at Lazarus’ tomb and over Jerusalem and its hypocrisy. The truth may hurt but never bring lasting harm.

I long to converse and connect as Jesus did! 

An aptly spoken word is like apples of gold in settings of silver, Proverbs 25:11, is my prayer! 

Lord, grant wisdom and discernment to speak appropriately! To treat everyone I encounter with respect, realizing how much You love them! Everyone is redeemable, no one is beyond your ability to restore! May my words have and give value! As I speak God’s truth with love and compassion, may my words encourage and give hope! May conversations point others to you and bestow  beauty, life and peace!   Help the broken, the hurting, the questioning, the lost receive The Word! Amen!

We can love and help our neighbors, we can impact our sphere of influence and the world simply with our words. Jesus did. Go and do likewise!

 

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

Praise

When lack of understanding

overruns my faith

I will draw near to you with praise.

 

When anxious thoughts threaten

to sweep away my peace

I will be still before you and praise.

 

When wearied of the burdens

and joy is nowhere to be found

I will seek your presence with praise.

 

When all around is chaos

and lies are the loudest sound

I will rest beside your still waters and praise.

 

When all is said and done

matters come what may

I will trust in your loving goodness

and

With all my heart I will praise.

 

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

Can I Trust The Bible?

We’ve all heard the critics. The Bible is archaic with outdated ideas. It’s been through too many translations, which one is correct? It’s just a bunch of myths with no merit. Can it be trusted? These are just a few comments about Bible reliability.

Let me offer a few facts about the Bible.*

It was written over a period of 1600 years and
has more than 40 writers, including kings, military leaders, fishermen, farmers and a doctor.
It was written on 3 continents, in 3 languages, on controversial subjects which
include history, poetry, genealogies, parables, letters and prophecy.
It employs common literary devices such as symbolism, metaphors, similes, hyperboles, and sarcasm.
It connects Old Testament and New Testament with over 300 fulfilled prophecies in the birth, life, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus.

In all this it is constant in its worldview, teachings and God’s unfolding story of man’s fall and redemption!

In addition, there are over 5,000 copies of the New Testament. More than the writings of Caesar, Aristotle, Plato, Homer and many more combined.

II Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

The Bible can be trusted because, though it was written by men in their own style, God was guiding the content and accuracy.
The Bible records stories of man at his best and at his worst. It has been said that man could never have written it alone because he would have taken out all his own flaws and mistakes.

The Bible can be trusted because it provides absolutes for us, allowing each one to live a life pleasing to God.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

The Bible is not just another book. It is alive! Evidence of this is found in the innumerable lives changed for the better by following its teachings.

Yes, it has been misused by people for personal gain and ideology. There are multiple warnings about this in scripture. We cannot control what other people do. We can only search for ourselves, with a sincere heart for truth. Almighty God himself has given and kept his Holy Word through all generations. He still speaks through it today and we have his promise:
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)

So, can the Bible be trusted? Let me answer that with a resounding YES!

*There are many more in depth resources on this available online. Bible.org is one I like.

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Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word

Names

 

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

A common greeting goes something like this.
“Hello, my name is Jodi. What is your name? Nice to meet you.”

Our names are the means to identify ourselves to one another, Some names are synonymous with power or wealth, think, Rockefeller, Kennedy or Gates. Others for great athleticism like Owens, Williams and Manning. Then there are the one name people we all recognize, Elvis, Dolly, Cher. And infamous names such as Hitler, Capone or McVeigh. Don’t forget nicknames, Little Joe, Butterbean or Bear.

So names can either serve us well or hinder us.

Some people who never changed or regretted their wicked behavior are remembered as such but what about others who have had a true heart change. We do a serious disservice by reminding them, through their name, of their failures and flaws.

I think of biblical people like, “Blind” Bartimaeus. He’s probably yelling from heaven, “I’m not blind anymore!” Or “Doubting” Thomas who proclaimed. “My Lord and my God!”  Some names are hard to shed.

Do you have a name you’ve come to identify yourself with? Useless, addict, liar, fat, stupid, incorrigible, worthless, lost-cause, hater, good-for-nothing, ugly, never-amount-to-nothing, second-class….the list could go on and on. You don’t have to be defined by that name anymore!

There is one name that is above all names, the name of Jesus! If you would submit to His call he will forgive you and make you new. Come to Him just as you are, receive His forgiveness and join His family! You will discover your real worth in Him, gain a new name and identity, Accepted, Loved, Recovered, Priceless, Beautiful, Valued, Redeemed and most of all….His!

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word

Psalm Twenty Three

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

The twenty third psalm contains such familiar and comforting words! It is a favorite to read at funerals.

Who wouldn’t like to leave the daily pressures and drama to lie down and rest beside peaceful streams? Who doesn’t need refreshing and restoration from time to time? Yet, when we are assailed from every direction we have the promise of the Great Shepherd’s loving guidance and protection! And then, and then it ends with the promise of His eternal presence!

Psalm twenty-three is really about the complete journey of life! Read on, sweet friend, with a fresh look at my expanded version of this well known and beloved psalm!

The Lord is my Shepherd, my ruler, companion and friend.
I will not be in want or go lacking.
He calls me to lie down and rest in green pastures,
a pleasant place where I feel welcome and at home.
He leads, guides and gently carries me beside quite, peaceful, still waters.
He restores, refreshes and rescues my soul, my heart, my life and my very breath, turning me back to be with Him, rejoicing in His presence.
He guides me in the right way and direction, in the paths of righteousness,
for His names sake, for a secure destiny that honors and reflects His character.
Even though I walk through the valley, with its shadows of death, darkness calamities,
I will not fear, panic or retreat from any evil or adversity,
because I know you are with me, your rod and your staff comfort and protect me.
You prepare a table before me, a feast of choicest delicacies.
I can eat in peace and thanksgiving, in the very presence of my enemies,
While they look on, in full view,
You anoint my head with oil, the richness of your Holy Spirit.
My cup overflows. I am satisfied, content and complete in your provisions.
Surely your bountiful goodness, kindness, unfailing love, mercy and grace will pursue and follow me all the days of my life and then
I will dwell and remain in the house of my Lord, in my King’s palace,
praising Him in His courts forever and ever!

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word

Blessing and Brokenness

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

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This Mothers Day marked the day of my mom’s death twenty-one years ago. Fond memories filled the void of not having her on this special day. Then sorrow came with the thoughts that her great grandchildren would never know her sweet smile and hugs.

Did you catch the paradox? The blessing of memories, then the pain of loss, blessing and brokenness.

How often this mystery presents itself in life!

Remember 9/11? The horror of the attacks and the heroics of the first responders. Anger at the attackers and pride at the unity of our nation.

Consider childbirth. The pangs of labor then the joy of a new life.

Blessings in brokenness.

Wayne Flint puts it like this, “tragedy and triumph often occupy the same space”.

Surely the cross that Jesus bore presents the ultimate illustration of this. Our sins paid for by the sinless; injustice heaped on the innocent. From seemingly defeat came superlative victory!
Life from death! Blessings from brokenness.

Why? How can it be?

Well, my friend, I can’t adequately explain it but I know this. It should give us hope and courage. Hope that whatever situation we find ourselves in, whatever problem we’re facing believe good can and will come from it. We gain courage to confront life at its worse knowing God is with us. He will use your brokenness, even the barest flicker of faith, that you may not even recognize is there and bring life, blessing, purpose and meaning into it.

Yes, it is hard to look for a blessing when the pain is too great to bear any longer and suffering seems unending. Take courage, my friend, even in the midst of your battle. See, the victory is not at the end of your trial. Victory is right where you are!

Victory is when you call out to Jesus. Victory is choosing to trust. Victory is when you overcome the obstacles that are seeking to obstruct the view of your loving heavenly Father. Victory is when you push through one more day. Victory is when you stare down fear and it flees. You’re only defeated when you refuse to fight.

Asaph says this, in Psalm 50:15, “Trust in me in your times of trouble and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
A promise in our troubles, blessing and brokenness.

The brokenness will be healed and the blessing revealed. Don’t give up! Ask the Lord for help to see your blessing right where you are. He loves you with an “everlasting love“ and promises “you will be happy again and dance merrily”. (Jeremiah 31:3,4 NLT) “God blesses those who weep now,  the time will come when you will laugh with joy.” (Luke 6:21b NLT)

May the Lord show you His love in wonderful ways and answer your prayers with awesome deeds!

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

May I Have This Dance?

Written by Jody Davis Lybrand

How do you perceive God?
The Lord God is with me. He is The Mighty Warrior that rescues, defends and preserves me. He takes great delight in me and He is filled with gladness as I draw near to Him. His love quiets me with a great peace. We dance a dance of joy as He sings a triumphant song over me. (Zephaniah 3:17, my translation)
Can you envision that? Almighty, creator God, maker and sustainer of all that is…dancing…with YOU!  Is that possible? Does He love that much? Or do we think of God as the Great Grinch and Party Popper?
Consider creation, we see the majestic mountains, turquoise oceans and blue or starry skies. We have magnificent diversity of trees and beautiful flowers! Would God give us such wonders if he didn’t want us to take joy in it? Would He give us the ability to laugh, to enjoy music, then say don’t? Could it be that we need to reassess our perception of God?
I wonder if we think, out of some innate sense of guilt, God is out to get us.
Yes, we are all born with a sin nature that separates us. (Romans 3:23) But remember to balance that with the great sacrifice He provided to bridge that vast chasm. (John 3:16)This selfless act of God and the belief in Jesus is a gift called grace, amazing grace, supernatural grace, abundant grace, sufficient grace! This means we receive “the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace”. (Ephesians 1:7b TPT)
Just as He communed with Adam and Eve, He longs for that with each of us. He wants to be that real to you. He wants to do life with you!

What if we looked at life as one long dance. Could you think of a better partner than your Creator? The one who knows everything about you, loves you, cheers for you and wants the best for you. Remember, above all, God is love. Its not something he does, it’s who he is!

He loves you without limits! He lavishes us with his grace and mercy! His request is waiting. All you need to do is turn to him, accept and believe it.
Read that first verse again!   Picture yourself accepting His outstretched hand, spinning around the dance floor of life and all eternity!

 

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

 

Journey To Joy

pink gerbera flower in closeup photography

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

 

Negativity was my roadblock to joy…

I’m just going to admit it right off… I am a glass half empty kind of girl. I don’t really want to be, but my melancholy self just leans that way.
No one  wants to be around negativity all the time. I didn’t want to be that person everyone avoids, the one who always complains about everything. But I’m afraid I was, and I was tired of being that person.
I begin to realize it was time to do some serious soul searching. It has taken me a long time to accept my own personality and the way God designed me.
As The Lord was ‘forming me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 MSG), as He formed all of us, we were made unique. He made us who we are. He gave us our personalities with all it’s qualities and quirks! We are made in God’s image so our qualities are cause for celebration! The quirks are the things we give to Him to mold into Christlikeness.  The former we take for granted, the latter draws us close to Him.  This marks our dependence on Him. It keeps us coming to Him again and again, which in turn, enriches our relationship with the Lord. If we were perfect we wouldn’t have to lean in so much.
Starting on this joy journey, the first step was becoming tired of the life of pessimism, which was weighing me down, as well as desiring to be a better representative of God’s marvelous grace. It became a high priority in prayer because I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

I couldn’t will myself to do it, though I tried and failed. I wanted it to be authentic and I needed a changed heart.  Oh, how I wish it was a one and done type deal! But no, I didn’t use the word ‘journey’ by accident!

I started intentionally looking for things to be grateful for and searching for the good. A few extra minutes of sleep, a smile from a stranger, a beautiful bargain from the clearance rack! I verbalized my thanks directly to the Lord. Then a funny thing started happening. My heart was responding! The Holy Spirit was transforming me from the inside out! I didn’t have to try so hard. It was becoming…me!
There were some serious challenges.
I have been getting injections in my left eye for about two years. On one visit the nurse was about to numb my right eye. I said, “Stop! You are treating my left eye” He said, “Oh, we are so used to doing both eyes”. And there it was, a choice. I could be bitter about having to get any injections or choose to rejoice that there was only one eye affected.
I chose joy.
That’s all part of the journey.
Choosing.
I’m not talking about a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, rose colored glasses, afraid to speak a negative confession lifestyle. I’m talking about getting to know the love of God in such a powerful way that you know you are His. He will work all things for good. He is for you, not against you.  He loves you with an everlasting love. And there is so much more!
I found this by committing to read the Bible through. I used a one year, chronological Bible. Immersing yourself in the Bible, God’s active and alive word will be the key to successfully journey to joy!
Oh, my sweet friend, join me on this journey! You have a greater joy awaiting you!
As you begin your journey I pray:
That Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will go deep down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

 

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

Gone Unnoticed Until Now

Written by Jodi Lybrand

woman standing near body of water

Walking is my preferred choice of exercise. I love walking the trails on my very wooded property. Many times it is a multi-tasked walk. When I am frustrated my walk is a bit more intense, it is my stress reliever.  Some days are pure worship, enjoying God’s creation. Other days it is filled with prayers and petitions. Away from phones, social media, chores, errands and all other distractions I can hear God’s voice most clearly.
On one recent walk, my attention was drawn to a large patch of green I had never seen before. Leaving the pathway to take a closer look, I discovered it was Surprise Lilies. These are flowers that grow grass-like leaves, these go away and months later  single stalks and flowers emerge. This group was about thick three feet square. They had to be growing for years! Why haven’t I seen them before. I must have passed by them hundreds of times!
Have you ever felt like these lilies? All your work, serving and sacrifice have gone unnoticed? Have you spent years honing your giftings but seemingly not using them to potential? Do you feel like you have  endlessly labored overlooked while others have their dreams fulfilled? Has your dream died?
Oh, my sweet friend this is not true! The great prophet, Isaiah felt the same way. Knowing he was called by God, he still thought his work was in vain. (Isaiah 49:1-4) In a similar  fashion Paul felt his labors among the Thessalonians may have been useless. (1 Thessalonians 3:5) You are in good company!

We all get tired from time to time. We are prone to discouragement. As the scripture states, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true there is life and joy. (Proverbs 13:12 NLT)  Being stuck at the comma is challenging! Waiting is difficult. It is hard living in the in-between.

While we are waiting we need to learn not to compare ourselves with others.  It is a must! Jennie Allen tells us that “Comparison robs us of the joy of obedience.” We are all on different time tables with the Lord. Find your joy in what He has called you to do today.
Also during the wait share your dreams with someone who will encourage and remind you of God’s promises. Remember,Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
My dear friend, I don’t know when your ‘now’ will come, when your special dream will be fulfilled but know this, God sees you. He knows your heart, He sees your efforts. He loves you. Don’t give up! Be encouraged with this truth from His word  ..stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for me is a waste of time or effort(Corinthians 15:58 Message)
One last thought. Do you know what another name for those lilies is? Resurrection Lilies! I’ll just leave that one for you to reflect on!

 

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word

My Deliverer

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

adult back view beautiful bench

Your tormentors have said to you,

“Fall prostrate that we may walk over you”

And you made your back like the ground,

like a street to be walked over.

But the Lord your God says:

“I will rescue and redeem you

out of the hands of your enemies.

Though many gather against you

to gloat over you, to make your situation appear hopeless.

They do not now my plans for you,

plans not to harm you but to give you hope and a future,

to restore the years the locusts have eaten.

They do not understand my plans

to gather them to the threshing floor,

to place your foot on their necks.

Do not be afraid!

Do not be discouraged!

Be strong and courageous!

This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.

I will make your feet like the feet of a deer.

Rise and thresh, O, Daughter of Zion!

I will give you horns of iron,

I will give you hoofs of bronze!

You will have My strength and My power,

to overcome all your enemies.

Praise be to my God!

He trains me for battle,

He gives me His shield of victory!

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!

Exalted be God my Savior!

It is He who saves me from my enemies.

Therefore I praise you with my whole heart!

Thank you for your unfailing love and mercy!

Deliver me according to your promise.

( Isaiah 51:21, Micah 4:10-13, Joel 2:25, Joshua 10:24, 25, Psalm 18:33-35, Psalm 119:11 NIV)

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.