Nahum; Psalms 149; 2 Corinthians 4

The scene is ugly.  As this example about Ninevah, woe to those at odds with God.

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.  His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.  He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers.  The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before Him, the world and all who dwell in it.  Who can stand before his indignation?  Who can endure the heat of his anger?” (Nahum 1:2-6 ESV)

But those on God’s side get to help with the victory.

“Let the praises of God be in their throats and the two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgement written!  This honor for all his godly ones.  Praise the Lord!” (Psalms 149:6-9 ESV)

And the Apostle Paul reminds us that we have the good news to share with others to help them out of their darkness.

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV)

Help us to shine the light on those in darkness.

Kellie

 

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2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33; Psalm 71; 2 Corinthians 3

I must admit I like the history of Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33 a whole lot better than the story of him in 2 Kings 21 for it contains, as they say, “the rest of the story,” recounting the redeeming work of God in his life.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.” In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. (2 Kings 21:1-6) NIV

Manasseh was living about as far from the one, true, living God as you can get and he took the whole nation of Judah with him. In fact, the wording of 2 Chronicles 33:9 says they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites took over the land. He aroused God’s anger!

11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. (2 Chron 33:11-13) NIV

To me, that is Good News! God heard Manasseh, knew his heart, and was moved to return him back to power. He had learned that the LORD is God!

15 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.

18 The other events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are written in the annals of the kings of Israel.[a] 19 His prayer and how God was moved by his entreaty, as well as all his sins and unfaithfulness, and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself—all these are written in the records of the seers. (2 Chron.33:15-19) NIV

God allowed Manasseh a second chance to get it right. I read these verses and take great comfort in the fact that God gives us multiple chances to redo the choices we’ve made. It doesn’t matter how far off track we’ve gotten, Jesus is there to forgive us! I have my own version of “foreign gods” and I worshiped them instead of God. They have a way of taking us down the road where we can be defeated by our enemy, taken prisoner, and bound in shackles. Thankfully, we don’t have to stay there! I, too, cried out to the Lord in humble submission to Him with a repentant heart. He heard my cry, forgave me, and returned me to my “kingdom”. Were there consequences? You bet. Sin has a way of leaving residue sometimes. The power of God has enabled me to move beyond those bad choices to a place of praise (thank offerings)!

22 I will praise you with the harp
    for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to you—
    I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
    all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion. (Psalm 77:22-24) NIV

Lord, I thank you for the way you forgive me and redeem me. You are so good to me! Thank you for examples in the bible that show me no one is beyond redemption. Having experienced this freedom, I can do nothing but praise you. My heart is filled with gratitude and I will tell of your goodness all my days. In Jesus name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Isaiah 64-66; 2 Corinthians 2

Many of us know that the entire Bible — Old and New Testaments — have a crimson thread that ties it together. It’s all about Jesus. And many of its prophecies are about things that have happened way before we were born, but today we see a prophecy that is yet to be realized. It’s a beautiful picture of what the New Jerusalem will be like. These prophecies are some of my favorite because they share with us what the future for Christ-followers will ultimately be like. Read carefully through these verses and imagine what it will be like when we are there in person.

17“See, I will create

new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever

in what I will create,

for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight

and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem

and take delight in my people;

the sound of weeping and of crying

will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it

an infant who lives but a few days,

or an old man who does not live out his years;

the one who dies at a hundred

will be thought a mere child;

the one who fails to reacha a hundred

will be considered accursed.

21They will build houses and dwell in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22No longer will they build houses and others live in them,

or plant and others eat.

For as the days of a tree,

so will be the days of my people;

my chosen ones will long enjoy

the work of their hands.

23They will not labor in vain,

nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;

for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,

they and their descendants with them.

24Before they call I will answer;

while they are still speaking I will hear.

25The wolf and the lamb will feed together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox,

and dust will be the serpent’s food.

They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,” (Isaiah 65:17-25 [NIV])

What about these prophecies warms your heart? What if anything makes you nervous? What are you looking forward to the most? Share in the comment section.

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Isaiah 60-63; 2 Chronicles 1

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1,3 ESV

My reading today begins with some familiar verses from Isaiah. In fact, these verses are very similar to Matthew 5:14,16 when Jesus tells His followers, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” My life is to be a light to those in the dark, a declaration of God’s glory and power.

The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1 ESV

God has appointed me to deliver His Good News to all people. He has sent me to help those in need and to comfort those who are mourning. However, there are times when I myself am in need of help and comforting.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul tells the Corinthians of the affliction Christians in Asia where experiencing. However, this suffering taught them not to rely on their own strength but to lean on God for strength and comfort. Paul states that God delivered them from the peril they where in and he trusted God to deliver them again. Like Paul, I too need to lean on Christ, not relying on my own strength but relying on Him.

The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his might arm: “I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.” Isaiah 62: 8-9 ESV

Sometimes it feels like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, a burden so heavy I cannot carry it alone. That is when I need to turn to God for help and ask for His strength and comfort. He will help me through my struggles, strength, and comfort me. He will not let me go.

Dear God, please help me call to You when I need strength instead of trying to do everything myself. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to help me and for always caring for me. I want to love and trust you more LORD. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Isaiah 56-59; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 16

I’d never been in the presence of such a warrior. We were talking about life and hard issues, and I shared something that had hurt me deeply that I was still trying to resolve in my mind and heart. She offered to pray for me, and when she did, I felt small and humbled by the things she took to the throne on my behalf–boldly, powerfully. In fact, I almost felt afraid at her great, impassioned petition for vengeance.

Please, God, rescue me!
    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
May those who try to kill me
    be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
    be turned back in disgrace.
Let them be horrified by their shame,
    for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “God is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    please hurry to my aid, O God.
You are my helper and my savior;
    O Lord, do not delay. (Psalm 70, NLT)

 

God is so mighty. And her mighty prayer showed me who I’m dealing with. This was many years ago, and I don’t remember the exact words she said (mostly because I was drop-jawed stunned as she said them), but I will never forget that evening. Weeks later I got word of some things that immediately brought this warrior to mind as her prayer was answered. I was awestruck. I couldn’t get my head around it. But that incident became grounds for great trust in God, his might and sovereignty. (As well as the very real power of prayer!) I learned over the years to trust him with the outcome of things that were so much bigger than I was. And I still do.

I read an article recently that left a long impression on me about forgiveness, “Forgiveness means we don’t ignore. We don’t excuse. But we do release the right of vengeance to God without pretending vengeance isn’t right” (True Woman, Haley Mullins, 9/4/18). God is just. He is judge. I take the wounds and hurts and offer them to him, to free my heart–because it is the wellspring of my life.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    to find there was no justice.
16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened
    to help the oppressed.
So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,
    and his justice sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his body armor
    and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.
He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.
18 He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds.
    His fury will fall on his foes.
    He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
19 In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord;
    in the east, they will glorify him.
For he will come like a raging flood tide
    driven by the breath of the Lord.

20 “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem
    to buy back those in Israel
who have turned from their sins,”
    says the Lord.

21 “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Isaiah 59:15-21, NLT)

When I’m taking a walk, I notice the size of the trees, trees that seem so big when I stand beside them, but look so small compared to the backdrop of the heavens–and I am so much smaller, a young child is smaller still.

Oh, Lord, how is it you notice me? I am so grateful. That of everything under your watch, you see me and you care for my heart. You value truth and what is right, and it is worth fighting for. You give me hope. What a precious gift.

Courtney (66books365)

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Nahum 1-3; Psalm 149; 2 Corinthians 4

I have just finished a wonderful week of vacation and have really enjoyed knowing that God has been caring for me and protecting me no matter where our family went and no matter what our family did.  It was so gracious to hear each of us take time to thank God for asking Him to protect us.  He honoured our trust in Him and was so faithful to be present in all of our activities.

The Lord is good.
He protects those who trust him
in times of trouble. – Nahum 1:7  CEV

This is why Sunday morning worship is something our family enjoys the most when we go to church.  It is a time where we join with others to thank God and to worship Him for all His blessings.

Shout praises to the Lord!
Sing him a new song of praise
when his loyal people meet. – Psalm 149:1  CEV

What makes this the hardest to understand is that so many times I think about all these blessings coming my way because in some way or form I have earned them.  It is the hardest thing to get out of my system.  My head knows the truth, there is no way in this world that I could deserve even a little of what God has been so gracious to give.  My head knows that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and each morning when I spend time with Him, I invite Him to walk with me during the day.  I know He fills me with His Holy Spirit so that the work I will do for Him does not come from my own strength but from Him alone.

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7  CEV

Lord, forgive me when I have even a passing thought that I have earned anything. I know it is You and You alone that has protected me, cared for me, loved me and have blessed me.  You have graciously given me so much including the power of Your Holy Spirit to live the life You have asked me to live.  I have so much to be thankful for and I thank You right now, today, for this gracious gift you have so freely given. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Isaiah 49-52; Psalms 69; 1 Corinthians 14

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.” Psalms 69:1&2 NLT

“But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation.” Psalms 69:13&14 NLT

“Answer my prayers, O Lord, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!” Psalms 69:16&17 NLT

Sometimes when I can’t see progress, I get stuck.  I get tired of waiting through the messy.  I can get so hung up on the moment, that I forget that my life is most lived in the process.  I look to earthly reassurance, instead of crying out to him, like David. “What if God wants to do it in a different way? In a process not in a moment.” Steven Furtick.  He will answer my prayers in his timing.  He loves me through the waiting.  That’s when he does the most work in my heart.

This is what the Lord says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you.  On the day of salvation I will help you.  I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them.  Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.” Isaiah 49:8 NLT

He has given me hope.

He has given me favor.

He has restored my life.

His love is unfailing.

“Pay attention, you who are far away! The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.  He made my words of judgement as sharp as a sword.  He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand.  I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.  He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.”  I replied, “But my work seems useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.  Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”  Isaiah 49:1-4 NLT

I am reminded that God has given me a greater purpose than I can think or dream up.  I spend too much time asking him what I should do, instead of just doing it and leaving the results to him.  When confusion bombards my mind, I know its not from him.  He is the giver of a peace that surpasses my understanding.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 NLT

Thank you Father for always meeting me where I am at.  For using your words and the words of others to draw me closer to you.  Help me to live with an eternal perspective.   Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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