Monthly Archives: September 2010

1Kings 2; Galations 6; Ezekiel 33; Psalms 81&82

Son of man say to the house of Isreal, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them.  How then can we live?”

Ezekiel 33:10-11

I remember being at this crossroad in my life;  my sins were weighing me down.  I had changed my ways; began to live a more respectful life, given up the partying, lying and cheating.  We looked like the all American semi-dysfunctional family.  A divorced mom of three, remarried with aspirations of having more children with my second husband, but I was weighed down and burdened.  I wanted something more but didn’t know what it was.

I worked with a woman who befriended me;  at times I would have told you that she was argumentative, stubborn and just a bit self righteous.  But like sandpaper on wood, my irritation toward her little comments and questions began to smooth out.  After awhile I wanted to spend my lunch hours with her and eventually she became a very close friend.  I didn’t know at the time that God was using her in my journey towards salvation.  Looking back it is so clear, but at the time there were days when I would walk out of her office with steam coming out of my ears. 

One particular day I remember very clearly; I was sharing a story about one of my children being caught in a lie and the punishment that insued.  She listened intently as she always did and when I was finished she gently asked me whyI had thought what my child had done was wrong and by what standard did I use to back up the punishment?  I was confused and embarrassed.  I asked what she meant.  She agreed that I was correct in admonishing my child for lying but why was the child wrong in telling a lie.  I answered; “because lying is wrong” to that she replied; “who says so?”

Hummm…she had me.  I wasn’t a Christian, I didn’t read the Bible, but…I knew that it was one of the Ten Commandments…is that what she meant?  I believe that  moment was my first encounter with conviction.   It wasn’t just beacuse of this one story that this occured; it was after several months of  her getting to know me and listening to my stories.  She then explained her question and said that if I wanted my children to know why lying was wrong then I would have to explain to them “why” it was wrong and “who” said so.  In other words not just wrong in our home but that it was a sin and if left up to world view as opposed to biblical world view then  it would be harmful to my children their whole life unless I taught them about God’s why. 

Years passed and I accepted Christ.  Would you like to guess the first thing that came to mind?  It was that day in her office.   That was the day that I probably said those exact words in my heart; “My offenses and sins weigh me down, and I am wasting away because of them.  How then can I  live?”    

Father God I praise you for my friend and others who were your instuments in my journey toward you.  Thank you for loving me so much that you placed her in my life to show me how to turn from my evil ways.  Her name wasn’t Ezekiel and she wasn’t a prophet, but she was your faithful servant.  Father I just ask that you prepare in me the foundation  and heart of a faithful servant who will be an example and witness for others when they ask; “How then can we live?”   In Jesus Name. Amen.

Cindi (rustiqueart)

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1 Kings1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:1,16,22-23

A watch rests in my jewelry box. The pendant  belonged to my grandmother, who was born in 1887. The gold is tarnished. It doesn’t keep time. The chain is broken. Yet every so often I take it out and attempt to adorn myself with a useless relic from the past.

I think about how the yoke of sin still sparkles deceptively in my life. My old nature tries to put a strangle hold on me. I know wearing this collar of temptations can only lead to ugliness and discord.

This sin/repentance cycle repeats over and over. I pray. I transcend, rather than descend into the baser instincts. Each time I shun more quickly wrong actions. Covered in prayer I throw off everything that hinders my walk with Jesus.

To live in the Spirit is one of my greatest desires. I imagine myself wearing a new necklace fashioned by the Holy Spirit, that shines with happiness, peace, patience, love, kindness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.

One day I will be perfect. On that day I will be festooned in pure white garments of praise. I need no other adornment than to reflect my Savior’s love.

yicareggie

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

How many times do I offer God that which costs me nothing?

the scanty leftovers of my time…

the skimpiest sum I can manage to fumble  inconspicuously out of my pocket…

a begrudging, grumbling obedience…

service IF it is convenient, promisingly fruitful, or is particularly of a nature that others might well see…

O God, You don’t force us to serve you, much less love You…
But now that we have come to know You, or rather to be known by You, through Your Son… We are no longer under law.  How much more then ought our offerings be worth since we are now conscious of grace; grace that’s free and yet so very very costly.

HELP US O GOD of our salvation,
for the glory of Your name;
deliver us, atone for our sins,
for your name’s sake.
Psalm 79:9

God, it hurts to be exposed.
To realize how seldom I realize how great You are.

How many good things I try to keep to myself…
Forgive me.

You are worthy, for You have given extravagantly

Give me a heart ready to be poured out before you.
To spend myself lavishly to bring You all the glory.

Help me God, to be resolute.
Choosing not the easy route.
Fearing not that I might suffer,
To say with David, “I will not offer
burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
That you might be my everything.

amy in peru

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2 Samuel 23, Galatians 3, Ezekiel 30, Psalm 78:38-72

“Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”  Galatians 3:3

I admit it!  I am a really slow learner!  On a regular basis, I slip back into my “foolish” way of thinking.  It is so easy to be judgmental (of others and myself) and to focus on “observing the law.”  Just typing the word judgmental, I recall getting caught up in the fact that the word judgment was spelled incorrectly (judgement) in a verse written on a restaurant bulletin board one time.  I don’t think I enjoyed my meal because I was so fixated on this error.

I waste so much time and energy … and do damage to myself and my relationships … when I allow myself to head down that doomed (and foolish) path. I do this in big ways and in small ways.  I do this nearly every day.  Frustration over clothing not folded “properly.”  Feeling guilty at the grocery on Sunday morning (even though I went to church on Saturday night) and judging those around me for not being at church.  (I told you I was a little crazy!)  I get impatient with myself when I don’t live up to some “ideal Christian” standard … with all pure actions and a Christ-like attitude about everything that comes my way.  Then I am reminded.  It isn’t all about me!  It is about Him!

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  Galatians 3:26

Father, remind me of the folly of living life on my own power and under the law.  Help me to set myself aside and to live a life clothed in Christ.  –  Amen

byhisgracekml

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Filed under Galatians, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

2 Samuel 22; Galatians 2; Ezekiel 29; Psalm 78:1-37

Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. (2 Samuel 22:1)

What an awesome privilege to be able to read the prayers and words of David, so many centuries after he lived on earth.  I love that God’s Word has given us a record of compositions, songs and prayers that came from the heart of a that man after God’s heart.  His words are breathtaking to read!  And his dialogue with God is something I never tire of, particularly in 2 Samuel 22 which is the final swan song of David’s beautiful heart for God.

In this beautiful prayer, I am captivated by these words and I love to meditate on them and consider them:

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.”  (2 Samuel 22:2-3)

The Lord is a rock.  A place of salvation .  He is my foundation.  I could rest in Him and trust in Him.

The Lord is my fortress.  He is the protector of my heart and my very life.

The Lord is my deliverer.    He delivers me from all times of temptation.  He is mighty to save and His mercies never cease.

The Lord is the God of my strength in whom I could put my trust.    He protects me from the enemy.

The Lord is my shield and my salvation.  I could rest in Him because He has delivered me from my sins.  He has torn the veil and given me access to Him by the beautiful gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on a tree for me.

The Lord is my stronghold.  He is my strong tower.  From His heights He allows me to see the big picture as my eyes could see it.  He is my vision.

The Lord is my refuge.  He is my Savior.  He is the one who saves me from violence.

David recognized God for who He is and he recognizes God in absolutely every experience in life!  And He gives me 20/20 vision on who God as I meditate on these intoxicating words.  I am reminded of just how awesome He is.  His poetic expression of gratitude is so profoundly expressed in these words.  And I fall in love with God all over again as I read them.

Lord, you are so awesome!  Your word is a treasure chest that is greater than the greatest that life could offer.  You are timeless and I am so grateful to have the privilege of reading this beautiful prayer over and over again, thousands of years after they spoken to you from one of the greatest hearts that ever lived.

My beautiful Savior, it is my prayer that you give me a heart like David.  I so desire to have a heart like the sweet psalmist of Israel for all I wish to do is lavish my love and praises to you all of my days.  But God, I get distracted by this world.  Anxieties for me are huge and I need to rid my heart of all things that are keeping me from trusting in you alone.  Forgive me Lord, but I am human and my heart is often times inconsistent and wayward.  I need your help and I ask you to what is necessary to develop me into a man that rests and trusts completely in you.

I cannot express my thankfulness to you for your Word and how it speaks to me.  Your Word is life giving!  The words open up my heart and my mind.  They open up life.  The let me live.  And my desire is to live for nobody but you.  All the “comforts” and things I cling to in the world are nothing but emptiness compared to you.  There is none like you and it is only in a loving relationship with you that I am able to really live.

I will praise you my loving Savior.  You are merciful and forgiving.  You are mighty and just.  You are omniscient and altogether lovely and good.  You are my rock, my fortress, my reason and purpose for living.  You are the hope that makes my dreams pleasant.  You are my God and I love you with all of my heart!

Thank you for loving me so unfailingly.  Thank you for breathing life into me and giving me abounding joy found in you.  My desire is to lift you on high and make much of you and I confess my desperate need for you.  It is with a heart of gratitude and praise, that I kneel before you and cry out to you, Abba Father!

I love you, Jesus!

John (johnd7264)

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Filed under 2 Samuel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms

2 Samuel 21, Psalm 77, Ezekiel 28, Galatians 1

“Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again? Has His unfailing love vanished forever? Has His promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples. With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people, the descendants of  Jacob and Joseph.

Selah

Psalm 77:7 – 15 NIV

__________

I admit it – sometimes I feel very frustrated with my children. I wonder why they act they way they do.  I wonder if they will ever listen the first time I ask. I wonder if we are even speaking the same language. I wonder what I’m doing wrong as their mother.

As I pondered the verses in Psalm 77 this week, I could see some correlations between my thoughts and the thoughts and feelings expressed by the psalmist, Asaph.

Why is God doing this? Why does it seem like God is not listening?

So what does the psalmist do when he doesn’t understand and can’t explain his current problematic situation? He remembers. He recalls. He mediates on what the Lord has done.

I find myself doing a similar thing with my children too. When I’ve had an especially difficult day with the kids and I wonder if it will ever change, one my favorite things to do is to go in their bedrooms and watch them sleep. To stare at their innocent face and marvel at their beauty. To remember them as babies and realize how fast the time has gone by. To realize that my time with them is so limited. And to vow once again to be more patient and as they grow and mature, even if I can’t make sense of it all.

Basically, count my blessings. Remember what the Lord has given me and treasure it. When I count my blessings, I focus on what God has done and all that He has poured into my life. I focus on the positive and not the negative of the current situation.

__________

Heavenly Father,

When my life doesn’t seem to make sense and I wonder why things happen, and start to focus on the negative, help me to keep counting my blessings and recall how abundantly You have blessed and led me in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Yours Forever,

Beckie (look2thehills)


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

2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekiel 27; Psalms 75, 76

I was talking to my sister-in-law the other day about likely future trials–wondering how I might respond under those stresses.

“It will either bring out the best or the worst in me,” I said. Followed with, “I’m not so sure I want to know that answer right now.”

And that was over a big issue … just thinking of how I handle the daily things: Yesterday I could handle a lousy night’s sleep, stuffy head cold, wired on too much coffee, settling down to start school with my oldest. We began our day in prayer, and all seemed like it was going well. Then, a phone call that an agent wanted to show our house in an hour and suddenly I’m wiping counters, cleaning toilets, vacuuming, packing up school work, getting drinks and snacks, getting kids dressed so we can get out the door before the showing–and the kids are bickering. I can’t say I was at my best in those circumstances. Not at all.

Later, I considered 2 Corinthians 13: 5-9 (The Message):

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.

This is one of those verses that I am hesitant to tackle. Reading commentary confuses me a bit on the issue, and perhaps it doesn’t quite jive with my application. I know I am a Christian. I know I love the Lord and he lives in me. No doubt. But when I think of firsthand evidence of Christ living in me, and if yesterday was a check-up, I failed the test. Instead of relying on the Lord’s strength, I relied on my own. Instead of responding in a way that points to him, my reactions were self-centered.

God is so merciful. We were out of the house in about thirty minutes. I stressed for nothing. I apologized to my kids. I asked forgiveness from the Lord. With gained knowledge: seek Him in all things.

Psalm 75:2-4 (The Message)

When the earth goes topsy-turvy
And nobody knows which end is up,
I nail it all down,
I put everything in place again.

Father, thank you that you put it all in place again. Praying that I lean hard on you and your strength in life’s tests.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Psalms