Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

10 Minutes with God: The Way of Salvation February 11, 2014

Filed under: Scripture Reflections — Stephanie Rische @ 8:08 am
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This week I wrap up my writing of the online devotions for my church. After being immersed in Psalm 119 for the past six weeks, I have a new appreciation for this longest chapter of the Bible and a deeper love for God’s Word.

 

Here’s a peek at today’s devotion:

 

airplane

 

Imagine you’re a pilot, taking your small plane out for a quick flight. When you took off earlier in the day, the sun was shining and conditions seemed ideal for flying. But now the wind is starting to pick up, and before you know it, a dense fog has rolled in. Visibility is low, and it’s becoming more difficult to see landmarks—particularly the horizon.

 

Then it happens: suddenly your body is saying you’re going one direction, while the instruments are telling another story.

 

You’re heard warnings about this before—spatial disorientation, they call it. Which voice will you believe? Your inner ear, which is convinced that you’re flying straight, or the plane’s instrument panel, which clearly says you’re banking left? What will you use as your standard to determine which way is up? Your choice could very likely mean the difference between life and death. . . .

 

To keep reading, click here. And to hear the audio version, read by me and recorded by the talented Daniel Rische, click here. May you, too, fall in love with God’s Word! 

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10 Minutes with God, Part 2 January 28, 2014

Filed under: Scripture Reflections — Stephanie Rische @ 7:59 am
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I had the privilege of writing the devotions for my church’s series on Psalm 119 again last week. The theme for the week was “The Way of Understanding.”

 

Here’s a peek at the beginning of one of the devotions:

 

compass

 

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

—Psalm 119:130

 

As we look back over the course of human history, it’s striking how universal the quest is to find direction for our lives.

 

Horoscopes and the zodiac calendar have been around since the sixth century BC as methods of divination.

According to some estimates, Americans spend about $300 million a year on psychic hotlines.

Around one million Magic 8 balls are sold each year.

 

These attempts at seeking guidance range from pure nonsense to practices God has specifically commanded his people not to dabble in. But their very existence indicates two truths about human nature: (1) we want someone wiser than we are to show us the way and (2) we want the quick answer, the shortcut….

 

To read more, you can click here. You can listen to the audio version here.

 

 

10 Minutes with God January 10, 2014

Filed under: Psalms,Scripture Reflections — Stephanie Rische @ 8:00 am
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Over the past week, I’ve had the privilege of writing daily reflections about Psalm 119 for my church’s 10 Minutes with God initiative. You can read the devotions (or listen to an audio recording of me reading them) here.

 

psalm 119-1

 

Here are some things I’ve been learning along the way:

  • Did you know that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter of the Bible?
  • Did you know that Psalm 119 mentions God’s Word in some form in all but one of the 176 verses?
  • Um, really? That’s what my voice sounds like?
  • There are apparently a lot of words I know how to read in my head but don’t know how to pronounce out loud. My apologies to Noah Webster and my first grade phonics teacher for any butchering of the English language.

 

Here’s a sneak peek from one of this week’s devotions:

 

The Way of Truth

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
—Psalm 119:103

 

If you looked down the aisles at a grocery store, you’d likely find a smattering of products with the word delight in them: Kellogg’s Chocolatey Delight Crisps, International Delight Iced Coffee, Quaker True Delights Bars, Yoplait Parfait Delights, Hershey’s Air Delight Kisses, and the list goes on.

 

Likewise, if you leafed through the pages of a cookbook, you’d find countless recipes featuring the word as well (allrecipes.com turned up 917 results with the word delight in the title—everything from Chocolate Delight to Raspberry Delight to Turkish Delight).

 

It seems that in our culture, delight is something we tend to associate with food, with our taste buds, with sweetness.

 

And in a way, that’s precisely what the psalmist says about taking delight in God’s Word. In part of his long prayer to God in Psalm 119, he exclaims, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

 

Stay tuned—I’ll be writing the devotions to go along with this whole sermon series (for the next five weeks).

 

psalm 119-3

 

Sweet Sundays, Part 5: Multitaskers Anonymous July 12, 2013

Filed under: Sweet Sundays — Stephanie Rische @ 11:31 am
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Hello, my name is Stephanie, and I’m a multitasker.

 

I haven’t always been this way. When I was a kid, I’d get so caught up in whatever I was doing that I was prone to lose all track of time and occasionally even miss my bus stop. Maybe it comes with the territory of adulthood or womanhood, or maybe it’s exacerbated by the various technologies itching at our fingertips, but whatever the reason, it can feel foreign and disorienting to only do one thing at a time. (Let alone rest!)

 

The other day I was reading Psalm 92 (while finishing my breakfast and drinking my coffee and doing the laundry), and I was struck by the epigraph at the beginning of the psalm: “A song to be sung on the Sabbath Day.”

 

And it got me to thinking: What is so special about music that God would have us set aside certain songs for the Sabbath?

 

One of the bonus gifts I received with the Daniel-package is the gift of music. On any given day, our home is graced with strains of live music—anything from the Beatles to Bob Dylan to worship music. Daniel plays the bass guitar for our church band, and on the Sundays he goes early for practice, I like to go with him. In the spirit of efficient multitasking, I usually I bring along something I’m working on—a book to read, a letter to write, some scribbles I’ve been wanting to put to paper.

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But after reading Psalm 92, I decided to just do one thing on a recent Sunday: soak in the songs for the Sabbath Day.

 

As the melodies and chords washed over me like so much grace, it occurred to me that music engages our hearts in a way that short-circuits our swirling minds and goes straight to our souls. The church father Athanasius suggested that God paired the words of the Psalms with melody to serve as a metaphor of sorts. Music, he said, serves as “a symbol of the spiritual harmony in a soul.” As a Christian sings praises, Athanasius said, he “brings rhythm to his soul and leads it, so to speak, from disproportion to proportion.”

 

While I sat there listening, I noticed something interesting about the rest notes. As lovely as the music is, the rests make you appreciate the melody all the more.

 

Just like Sundays.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praises to the Most High.

 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,

your faithfulness in the evening,

accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp,

and the melody of a lyre.*

Psalm 92:1-3

 

*Or an ice-blue Fender bass guitar.

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