Monthly Archives: April 2010

Numbers 7; Psalms 42, 43; Song of Songs 5; Hebrews 5

In the car, listening to an intermission discussion between radio hosts. The topic is peace. One said that when given two paintings, the first of a serene lake and the other of a turbulent nature with a bird calmed on a branch, it was the latter that best portrayed peace.

The psalmist here paints his picture with language that groans: my tears have been my food; my bones suffer mortal agony; my foes taunt me. His soul is downcast and he goes about in mourning. Oppressed. And I think of this bird on a branch in a turbulent nature …

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. Psalm 42:7 (NIV)

And I see peace.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Peace. And the pursuit of it.

A prayer to the God of my life. When my soul is downcast within me, I will still remember you. As I pour out my soul with shouts for joy and of thanksgiving, I will yet praise you–my Savior, my God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 6, Song of Solomon 4, Psalm 40 & 41, Hebrews 4

Have you ever had that awkward sense of feeling slightly off kilter and not knowing why? Being uncomfortable in your own skin and not knowing what it is that is bothering you so much? Almost like there is something about yourself you don’t know?

There is an ancient Greek saying, know thyself… that encourages us to reflectively search our own hearts; to discover our inner thoughts, the source of our emotions, feelings and fears. It’s great advice, but can it really be done?

The prophet Jeremiah almost makes the task of knowing ourselves seem impossible as he makes this painfully accurate observation, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”  The statement is followed by this question, “…Who can know it?”

On the one hand, the Greeks are giving good advice, know thyself, and on the other hand, the Bible reveals the difficulty of the task and warns us of what we are sure to uncover – it’s not a pretty sight.

In a sense, maybe we know ourselves well enough to know we don’t really want to know ourselves! Maybe we are quite comfortable covered in fig leaves?

Part of me wants to know “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, while part of me runs for cover – exposure is a frightening proposition, even self-exposure.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

I’ve read that passage four or five times now and the more I read it the faster my heart seems to race… I feel it penetrate the darkness of my own heart, like a searchlight that has finally found its target. I’m caught and there is nowhere to hide regardless of how hard I try, or how fast I run.

The heart can be known; in fact it is known by God. I too can know my own heart, by choosing to “expose” myself to God’s Word and allowing it to do it’s penetrating work. Or I can hide, but I can’t hide forever, one day I will give account.

God’s Word is far from being simply ink printed on pages. It is alive, powerful and penetrating – soaking in it can be a painful process, but it is always freeing. We can know the truth about ourselves and we can know who God really is. That truth that has the power to set us free.

He died so we could be free… not afraid.

paul

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Filed under Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Uncategorized

Numbers 5, Psalm 39, Song of Songs 3, Hebrews 3

Then the Lord said to Moses, Give these instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people – men or women- betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. Number 5:5-6

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will curb my tongue when the ungodly are around me. But as I stood there in silence not even speaking of good things the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point  My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn igniting a fire of words. Psalm 39:1-3

One night as I lay in bed. I yearned deeply for my lover, but he did not come. So I said to myself. “I will get up now and roam the city, searching for him in all its streets and squares. But my search was in vain. Song of Songs 3:1-2

You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called today, so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. Hebrews 3:13

I am a middle child. When I was little I used to provoke my older brother until  he hit me, then I assumed the innocent tearful face. He would be punished and I would be comforted. This attention seeking behavior quickly ended when my grandmother alerted my parents to my schemes.

My need for attention lives on. Like the woman in Songs of Songs I am apt to leave home in search of that which eludes me. I could stay home where I don’t see anyone or refrain from speaking while I’m out, but neither of these strategies is practical.

My daily dip into God’s pool of knowledge, keeps me forewarned of trouble. Without the Lord’s wisdom, I can only imagine what kinds of mischief I would be getting into right now.

Long ago a man named Paul said,

Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from this life that is dominated by sin? Romans 7:24

Every day sin lures me dangerously close to the precipice. I am saved by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Without Christ, I would still be in a state of unconscious ignorance, satisfying my basic instincts to the detriment of my soul. I thank God daily for rescuing me from myself and the sin that longs to master me.

yicareggie

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Numbers 4, Psalm 38, Song of Songs 2, Hebrews 2

I listen in on David’s heart song:

“My iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too many for me.”

“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

“Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me!  Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!”

Psalm 38: 4, 15, 21-22

Fast forward 1,000 years and that salvation,
the beloved of Israel, that all humanity was waiting for,
has a name…

JESUS

for he will save his people from their sins.*

Fast forward another 2,000+ years and find me…
I’ve messed things up royally. again. because of my foolishness.
I groan. My heart is in tumult.  I cry,

“Lord, all my longing, all my sighing is not hidden from you.
I’m broken.  I wait for You.  My heart throbs.
My strength fails, the light of my eyes is gone.”

I definitely should have paid closer attention.

“…he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”*

Now, I look.  I see that great salvation, I see Him.  Jesus, my help, my salvation.
I listen and I hear.

“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”*

Oh Lord, I am coming… stumbly, humbly.
Help me to remember; to see You.
I long to be with You, to love you,
to see your face and hear your voice;
for Your voice IS sweet, and Your face IS lovely.

amy in peru

* 1. Matt.1:21 * 2. Heb.2:18, * 3. Song of Solomon 2:10

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Numbers 3; Psalm 37; Song of Solomon 1; Hebrews 1

Scripture

“But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.  And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.”
~Psalm 37: 39-40

Observation

This week I was in meetings for work and was unavailable most of the week to respond and deal with issues that continue to occur with all of my oncology studies.  Not always, but sometimes urgent issues will occur that require my attention and it’s difficult for me to address them immediately.  This week one of those situations occurred.  I called one of my team members, who was not tied up in the meetings that I was attending, to see if she could handle the issue for me.  She said that she was already working on it.  She said, “I’ve got your back”.  I was so grateful!  As I read Psalm 37, I was reminded of what my coworker said to me earlier in the week and was reminded that “the Lord has got my back!”

Application

Not only do I need to know that the Lord has “got my back” I also need to trust that He’s “got my back”.  As my coworker was “already working on it”, I need to trust that the Lord also is working on the plans that He has for me and I need not worry for my life.  He is my “strength in the time of trouble”.  He can help and deliver me; deliver me from the wicked; save me!  He can do all these tremendous and amazing things and all I have to do is trust Him.  But just as I had to check in with my coworker to make sure the issue was being handled, I often worry that the Lord will not do what He has promised and forget that He is able to handle anything!  I just need to remember and trust that the Lord of this universe who is more capable than anyone, has “got my back”.  There is no need to worry!

Prayer

Lord,
You are not only able, but You are working behind the scenes to help and deliver me.  Help me to trust even when it may seem that you are not “working on it”.  Your Word is true and You are faithful.  I know that “You’ve got my back!”

kathleenathome

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Numbers 2; Psalm 36; Ecclesiastes 12; Philemon 1

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “ I have no pleasure in them”.
       (Ecclesiastes 12:1) NKJV

These words seemed to jump right out of the pages of my Bible today, and grab me by the throat. 

Soloman is painting a picture of growing old.  It is a sobering picture and not a very pretty one.  But what really grabbed my attention is that this could be my picture.  If God allows me the years of life that would allow me the ability to grow into an elderly man, this is the description of what it would be like in those days.

But what would life be like as an elderly person if I’ve wasted and squandered my opportunities to serve and love God in my younger years.  As a middle-aged and relatively young man today, I could look back on many years of my life in which I was seduced by the “pleasures” of this worldly system.  There are many days when opportunities existed to share the love of Jesus and I wasted them.  There were days that were filled with meaningless activities focused only on me and not on God.  I can never have those days back.  They are gone.  If I could see them so clearly now, what will they look like as an elderly man? 

 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.  Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.    (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)  NKJV

One day, this body is going to return to dust, where it came from.   One day, my silver cord will be loosed, my golden bowl will be broken, my pitcher will be shattered.  I have one shot at life.  I have one opportunity to make a difference for eternity.  At the end of this journey, if the days of my life are not filled with God’s purpose, my existence is meaningless.  If my life and actions are not rooted in God’s love, my service to Him means nothing.  Just a mere fifty years from now, it is very likely that I will not exist on this earth anymore and most of the people I interact with will no longer exist on this earth either.  Yet, I put so much emphasis on today as if today were all that mattered. 

The bottom line for me is that life is meaningless, empty and without any purpose at all if I just live it for the here and now.   One day, when I live in eternity with my beautiful Savior, I will really begin living as God designed me to live.   Because my time on this earth is so short and limited, the most important thing I could do with my time here is invest it into the things that will outlast my time here.   Each and every moment of each and every day must be focused on eternity with Him.  

God’s words are clear.  Fear God.  Love God.  Obey God.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

      Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 
       For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.  (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)  NKJV

O God, great and awesome and eternal God who was and is and always will be, I thank you for the truth of your word!  Your Holy Spirit has penetrated my heart and you have reminded me that the purpose you have for me in this existence matters for eternity! 

I humbly ask you, God to help me prepare and plan for my eternal future with you.  I ask that you take this existence and build upon this foundation utilizing the building blocks that would result in fruit in my life and glory to you.  I have no desire Lord, to just do the things that I think sound good, fooling myself into thinking that they matter to you.  In reality, I know that selfish things are not Christ centered at all.  I want to KNOW you and I want you to work in me and through me to use me however you wish.   Make my life purpose begin and end with you. 

While I wait on you, I will still work, however imperfectly it is, to build on the one foundation that is the greatest gift from you of all – LOVE!  I love you so very much, Lord and my love for you is only possible because you loved me first.  My heart yearns to be with you in eternity.  I long to see you face to face one day.  It is my deepest longing, and to hear you say to me, “Well done” would be the greatest joy I could possibly ever imagine!

Lord, only you could make that dream come true!  Until then, I will worship you and love you with all that I have to give.  You are merciful, righteous, perfect, omniscient, loving, good and caring.  You are MY GOD and my desire is for my heart and my mind to be transformed into the likeness of your most holy and beautiful Child.

Help me not waste one day you have blessed me with.  I love you!

John (Johnd7264)   

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Filed under Ecclesiastes, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Numbers 1, Psalm 35, Ecclesiastes 11, Titus 3

Say to my soul, “I am your Salvation.”

Psalm 35:3b NIV

______

Lord Jesus,

When things in this life do not seem to make sense, say to my soul, “I am your Salvation.”

When I stumble and fall over the same issues time and again, say to my soul, “I am your Salvation.”

When doubtful, anxious or negative thoughts persist, say to my soul, “I am your Salvation.”

When I feel lost and beyond hope, say to my soul, “I am your Salvation.”

“Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.” (Casting Crowns)

______

My soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like You, Lord?”

Psalm 35:9 & 10 NIV

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, who He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.

Titus 3:4 – 8a NIV

______

Father,

You are so good! Who is like You Lord? The Almighty I Am, the Warrior of my enemy, the Comforter of my sorrows, the Encourager of my spirit, the Gentle Shepherd who leads and guides, the Savior of my soul. Oh how the list could go on. Please help me to always hold fast to you, to keep my hope and my trust in You, even when I don’t understand. You are trustworthy!

Amen.

– Beckie (look2thehills)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Titus