Monthly Archives: June 2010

Deuteronomy 30; Psalm 119:73-96; Isaiah 57; Matthew 5

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

I wasn’t looking for a theme. Quite honestly, I was looking for a snippet of encouragement to get me through rough days–those days when things seem to go wrong and my reactions, thoughts, and words are not righteous at all. I was looking for a verse that I could say to myself, to bolster my faith through difficulties–even those that are self-inflicted. Fortunately for me, the Lord is more interested in the circumcision of my heart than quick fixes.

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. Deuteronomy 30:11-14. (Emphasis mine.)

Righteous meditations, the running theme through Psalm 119(:73-96); he seeks it too.

Give me understanding to learn your commands … for I have put my hope in your word … your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me … let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight … I will meditate on your precepts … my soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word … preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth … your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Obstacles will come. Hardships exist. Like the psalmist writes in antiquity, it’s still true today: if your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

Lord, you say, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 50:15

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18

The Lord is with me in all circumstances. When I seek him, he’s there to guide me and give me peace. He heals and restores.

In today’s reading, I found encouragement in nearly every line of scripture–and I am filled.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Deut. 29, Ps.119:49-72, Isa. 56, Matt. 4

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him…” Matt 4:1-3

This was Jesus’ preparation for public ministry. In order to prepare himself for the temptation to come, Jesus fasted. That is, He willingly and purposefully placed himself in a weakened state. Sounds like a bad idea, but it was brilliant, it was counter-intuitive.

If I knew temptation was coming, I’d make sure I was well rested and well-fed. I would prepare myself for battle by strengthening myself… in myself.

Jesus prepared for ‘battle’ – temptation in preparation for his public ministry – not by strengthening himself in himself, but by strengthening himself in God the Father. For Jesus, fasting signified surrender to the Father’s will. It was the ultimate act of humility and the only way to prepare for the ministry God had for Him.

Surrender through fasting actually strengthened Him and gave Him the ability to resist the temptation. He was in a sense in His strongest place – fully surrendered to the Father.

I’ve never fasted, at least not that I can remember. And yet as I read this story of tempting and testing, of preparation and perseverance, of victory over Satan, of God’s strength in human weakness – I know I’ve had plenty of reason and opportunity to fast.

The next time I come to the end of myself, when all human wisdom is exhausted, when my knowledge of God and scripture fails to provide what I think I need, or when I am asked to do something I know I cannot do in my own strength… I pray I remember to take my cue’s from Jesus and consider the path of hunger. Maybe in some way fasting will make me acutely aware of my weakness and more aware of God’s strength and His ability to sustain me when I rely on Him.

Paul

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Deuteronomy 28:20-68, Psalm 119:25-48, Isaiah 55, Matthew 3

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32

This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ Matthew 3:3

This is who I want to be in Christ.

The one running on a path headed straight for God with my friends following close behind.

Running barefoot in the cool grass, with the wind caressing my face.

My heart free,  pursuing my love, like a child chasing after fireflies.

Thrilled at capturing the understanding in his word.

Happy to be included in his plans.

Grateful to be picked for the winning team.

Smiling as he whispers my name.

Trusting as he assigns me my position in the game.

Confident that he has equipped me with all I need to play fair.

Speaking higher thoughts that bless those listening.

Joyful, peaceful.

Bursting with gleeful songs of praise from the bottom of my heart and soul.

yicareggie

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Filed under Isaiah, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Deuteronomy 27-28:19; Psalm 119:1-24; Isaiah 54, Matthew 2

God’s words are important.

Obey be blessed, disobey be  cursed.  Clear and simple.  (Deut. 27 & 28)

God’s words are precious.

With my whole heart I seek you!  Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  My soul is consumed with longing!  Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.  (Psalm 119)

God’s words are gracious.

“In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.  (Is. 54)

God’s words are true.

…for so it was written by the prophet.
…this was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet.
…then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah.
…that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled.  (Matt. 2)

God,
You are our Maker.
We are sojourners on the earth.
You are the God of the whole earth.
We want to seek You with our whole hearts.
You are the Lord, our Redeemer.
We want Your words to be our delight.
Teach us.
Deal bountifully with us that we might live and keep your word.
Amen.

amy in peru

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Matthew, Psalms

Deuteronomy 26; Psalms 117, 118; Isaiah 53; Matthew 1

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not.
~ Isaiah 53: 2-3

During a sermon this weekend, I was reminded of a song by a Christian artist named Steve Taylor.  The song is entitled “The Lifeboat Song”.  It was a particularly harsh song describing an exercise lead by a teacher entitled “Values Clarification” whereby children would be asked to decide from whom of several individuals should be thrown overboard because there isn’t enough room for everyone in the boat.  The children are to determine who is the least important and who could be sacrificed.  In this song the people who remain are the “beautiful” and the “intelligent”.  The old, the handicapped, and the infirmed are thrown overboard.

We all intrinsically compare ourselves to one another and often we find ourselves lacking. 

I was reminded by this verse in Isaiah that Jesus was not one of the “beautiful” and he was not someone who would have been chosen to remain on board the lifeboat by the class, “but He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (vs. 5)”.  Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we can find our value in Him.  “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” II Corinthians 5:21 

Wow, we are now the righteousness of God.  We are valuable!  We no longer need to compare ourselves anymore!

Lord, thank You for your sacrifice for me.  Help me to remember my value as a child of God.  Help me to show others that they are valuable and loved by You.

kathleenathome

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Filed under Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan