Monthly Archives: May 2010

Deuteronomy 4; Psalm 86-87; Isaiah 32; Revelation 2

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11, NIV)

My heart is divided, Lord, into several different pieces. I am one-half pride and ego, one-fourth fear and doubt, and one-fourth willingly obedient to You.

I do want to be Yours, Lord, but then my pride takes over, and I work for my own glory, not Yours. I want to obey in faith, but then I question whether or not I’ve really heard an instruction from You, and the doubts creep in.

But I do want to be Yours.

Will You give me an undivided heart? Take every piece of me–every last fractional part–and make it wholly Yours. I love You, Lord. Amen.

amystorms

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Deuteronomy 3; Psalm 85; Isaiah 31; Revelation 1

Reading this week’s passages has essentially taken me on a journey.  It’s a journey that all of us are on in varying degrees at different points in our lives and a journey that will continue until the end of our days here on earth. 

We start the journey with where we are…the here and now.  One of the overarching themes of the book of Deuteronomy is about preparation for a future they will have one day outside the wilderness.  It’s physical training for what lies ahead.  They were being guided by the law with a few years of experience and God had them where they were so they could be prepared for what was next.  All things and all circumstances are divinely aligned for the completion of God’s will on humanity.  Where I am today is purposefully woven into the fabric of my future.

The journey then moves to Psalm 85 that pleads for mercy, peace and salvation.  It wants more and calls forth a life better than the here and now. 

 4 Restore us, O God of our salvation,
         And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
 5 Will You be angry with us forever?
         Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
 6 Will You not revive us again,
         That Your people may rejoice in You?
 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD,
         And grant us Your salvation.

I find this plea in my own heart often times in a crisis of belief that begs my conscience to ask why.  Why am I stuck in this circumstance?  Why can’t I move forward and grow?  Where is the fire in my gut that is promised in your Word?

The (my) journey then slides eloquently into Isaiah 31.  Reading this passage almost feels like the response to the plea sent out in Psalm 85.  It provides the method to attain the true pursuit of who God is.  It provides the avenue and the tool to live engaged in a life transformed by the pursuit of the God of the universe.  Boiled down to its essence…doing anything but looking to the Lord is but folly.

 1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
      And rely on horses,
      Who trust in chariots because they are many,
      And in horsemen because they are very strong,
      But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
      Nor seek the LORD!
       2 Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster,
      And will not call back His words,
      But will arise against the house of evildoers,
      And against the help of those who work iniquity.
       3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
      And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
      When the LORD stretches out His hand,
      Both he who helps will fall,
      And he who is helped will fall down;
      They all will perish together.

When my trust falls to a substitute savior, salvation never comes.  But focusing my heart, mind, soul & strength on the true Savior of my life provides the road to Glory.

We then reach the end of this journey as we enter the book of Revelation.  We see the culmination of the journey as we look back with Christ at all we’ve been through and all we have become.  We reach the finish line and stand face to face with the Savior that was with us all along the journey.  We “see” like we had never seen before.

I feel like I’ve been through this journey many times throughout my life in so many different ways.  Times when I’ve recognized my current situation, pleaded for help to get out of it, received wisdom to navigate through it and finally arriving on the other side victorious by the grace of God.

This then begs the question…what specific journey am I on right now?

~chefdave11

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Deuteronomy 2; Psalm 83,84; Isaiah 30; Jude 1

“Woe to the obstinate children,”
declares the LORD,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine
These are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. (Isaiah 30:1,9)

These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:16,21)

The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. (Deut. 2:7)

The Israelites that were very familiar with their lives in Egypt were grumblers and fautfinders like the people mentioned in Jude. They were obstinate, rebellious and deceitful like the ones spoken of in Isaiah. But after 40 years, things are starting to turn around for the Israelites. They are starting to get it. They are starting to obey. God says not to disrupt a people but to simply pass through and they do. Twice. And life is good. Then they get to another town and God hands them over to the Israelites, just like He said was going to happen in advance. You can see the relationship growing. Things are changing. The tide is turning. A new generation that is unfamiliar with their former lives of slavery is rising up.

Wilderness experiences can be very painful, but they always bring change. Usually it’s a change for the better. If an experience leaves me depending on God instead of myself then it’s definitely a change for the better. Some people seem to have one primary big wilderness experience that brings big change all at once. Others seem to have a series of smaller ones that brings smaller changes in a serial way, each one building on the one before.

As I look back on my life I can see God’s hand – providing, guiding, correcting, protecting. He has certainly blessed the work of my hands, and I have lacked nothing that I needed. He has been with me in the desert. He never let go, not once. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that I’m even still alive, but I am. And I am so thankful.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you. (Psalm 84:1-4)

Just this morning as I pulled into my driveway I was admiring the birds that are raising a family in the bushes in front of my house. One parent had a beakful of food and the other was escorting. They were anxious for me to get out of the car and go in the house so they could feed their babies. I was watching them and thinking about how God is aware of even them and protecting them. Those little babies must have made it OK through that terrible thunderstorm last night. It made me smile. It gave me that “It’s going to be OK – really” feeling (and I just love that feeling!)

God just wants us to give up on our own ways and trust him. Rest in him, in quietness and trust. That can be hard, and sometimes it takes a 40 year battle in the desert, but God is patient and kind.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:7)

Lord, help me trust in you.

Sue

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Deuteronomy 1, Psalm 81 & 82, Isaiah 29, 3 John

Sometimes the clarity of God’s message reaches out and grabs me, pulling me from the fog, just before I veer wildly off course.

In Deuteronomy 1, Moses begins a chronological recap of the Israelites adventures with God – out of Egypt, to the edge of the Promised Land, only to be turned back into the wilderness for 40 years of wandering. Why? Because they failed to listen (trust, obey, etc…)

Occasionally faithful, sometimes stubborn, and too frequently self-willed… an entire generation failed to realize their inheritance… they perished in the wilderness without setting foot in the Promised Land.

God’s desire for the Israelites and for us as well is simply that we would listen and take His instruction to heart. Everything He calls us to do is actually what’s best for us.

Like Israel, I’m also ‘occasionally faithful, sometimes stubborn, and too frequently self-willed…’ Isaiah described me all too well.

“But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. (Deuteronomy 1:26-27)

“Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways! (Psalm 81: 13)

And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (Isaiah 29: 13)

The Apostle John’s heart beat much like his Father’s. John’s desire was to see his children in the faith walk in the Truth and in this he took great joy!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 4)

Walking in the Truth, bringing my Father joy, really is my hearts desire – but the fog of disbelief, distrust, and self-will, constantly threatens to engulf me… from inside and out.

Lord, You take great pleasure in leading me out of the fog and into the Light. You’ve brought me to the edge of my Promised Land, my inheritance, and invited me in. May I cast off my doubts and my fears and let go of my foolish self-will. Lord teach me to walk in the Truth of Your Son. Amen.

paul

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Numbers 36; Psalm 80; Isaiah 28; 2 John 1

Inheritance … Shepherd of Israel enthroned between the cherubim … precious cornerstone for a sure foundation.

Today’s reading brings to mind Christian’s profession, “If he came not to abolish but to fulfill, both sides of my Bible can attest to his character!”

A tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; Isaiah 28:16-17 (NIV).

Isaiah 28 tells of drunkenness; of covenants with death; and the injurious, ensnaring, falling-backwards of the “do and do, rule on rule, a little here and there” footnoted babble–excerpted, nearly impossible to tell the year this was written … 701 BC or 2010.

Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19 (NIV)

Because of Him, precious cornerstone and foundation, I am restored and saved. He is timeless.

Courtney (66books365)

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