Monthly Archives: November 2010

1Chron.28, 2Pet. 2, Micah 5, Luke 14

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted”

Jesus, you embody humility.

Not considering equality with God something to be grasped, although it  was entirely yours to possess, you made yourself weak. You took on my form. You submitted yourself. You denied yourself to the utmost. For me.

I want with everything in me to follow your example. At times.

Though painful,

gut-wrenchingly difficult,

and, in fact, impossible by my shear will,

I pick up my cross. The very mechanism you determined to crucify self.

Merciful Savior, give me the grace today to remained crucified. Dead to self. And claim my identity in you. That I no longer live but that you live in me.

I want to see you resurrected in me.

That I may decrease.

And decrease.

And decrease.

Not I, but YOU.

– christiancourier517

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1 Chronicles 26-27; 2 Peter 1; Micah 4; Luke 13

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” (Micah 4:1, NIV)

This season means one thing at my daughters’ ballet academy: Nutrcracker. A few years ago, my older daughter, Anne, danced the role of an angel. She led a line of angels around the stage to form a path for the Sugar Plum Fairy’s grand entrance.

But at the final dress rehearsal, Anne got confused. She turned right when she should’ve gone left, and the result was an unholy collision of ballerinas in halos. When the Sugar Plum Fairy came onstage to find her pathway blocked, she dropped off her tippy-toe shoes and put her hands on her tutu-hips.

Anne was beyond upset. She cried all the way home. “What if I mess up in the real show tomorrow?” She fretted so much that she couldn’t sleep that night. But the next day when we arrived at the theater, Anne’s teacher met her at the door. “Let’s go practice onstage before the other girls come,” she encouraged. With the curtain closed, Anne’s teacher led her by the hand around and around the stage until she knew just what to do.

The performances were all a great success, with the angels perfectly aligned, and the Sugar Plum Fairly grandly entered. Anne’s teacher taught her the dance, so that she could go in the angel-path. In the same way, the prophet Micah said that God “will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” On our own, we don’t know what to do. We end up in one unholy collision after another. But–thank You, God!–we have a Teacher who leads us by the hand, teaching us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.

amystorms

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1 Chronicles 24, 25; 1 Peter 5; Micah 3; Luke 12

– CHOICE –

I think I’ve been struck by this simple yet deep concept more than any other as I’ve plowed my journey through scripture over the years.  Every time I’m impacted by it…it takes me deeper and deeper into the truth behind it.  And now, here again, I find today’s selections of scripture focusing me back on this vital tenant to anchor my life. 

So many examples are given in just these few passages to build a foundational understanding that the way my life plays out is essentially in my hands to choose as I see fit.  God clearly presents the opportunity…but I ultimately choose to embrace the opportunity or I choose to throw my weight against the opportunity in preference of my own selfishness.

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I can choose to shepherd those God has placed in my midst…

            …or I can choose to make my wellbeing the bent of my existence

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly.

1 Peter 5:2

I can choose to accept the present danger of the adversary by humbly submitting to the hand of God…

            …or I can choose to walk obliviously in the midst of the danger that stalks me

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:6-8

I can choose to put full weight against my actions…

            …or I can choose to squeeze out every weak kneed justification I can muster.

Hear now, O heads of Jacob,
      And you rulers of the house of Israel:
      Is it not for you to know justice?

Micah 3:1

I can choose to let my entire life follow Christ…

…or I can choose to believe that there are portions of my life that can be safely hidden from influence.

For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.

Luke 12:2

I can choose to humbly fall to my knees at the feet of an all-powerful God and find comfort in His protection…

            …or I can choose to flex my will against God’s and believe that my protection is in my hands.

Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

Luke 12:5
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:7

I can choose to live my life as a confession of Christ…

            …or I can choose to accept Christ, live my own life and make confession to neither.

Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

Luke 12:8-9

I can choose to give all God has blessed me with as an offering to others…

            …or I can choose to keep my possessions, ability, talent and wisdom closer to my chest as a “blankey” of selfishness.

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool!

Luke 12:19-20

I can choose to rest and find peace in the overwhelming provision of our Protector…

            …or I can choose to self-reliantly make an attempt at foreseeing and planning every minute of my life in order to try to feel safe.

But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

Luke 12:31

I can choose to utilize the preparation and equipping God has provided as an asset for my life…

            …or I can choose to deny that which has been given and accept a life of halfhearted mediocrity.

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

Luke 12:48

I can choose to stand behind the convictions of the Lord…

            …or I can choose to appease and avoid conflict for as many people as I can.

Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.

Luke 12:51

Throughout life I am faced with choices…some of those choices can lead to God and other can lead away.  My life needs to be one with eyes wide open to the choices presented and heart properly aligned with the great opportunity giver.

LORD…guide me in paths of righteousness on this journey to seek You first.  Allow my choices to be bathed in Your mercy…Your grace…and Your guidance.

– CHOOSE –

~chefdave11

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1 Chronicles 23; 1 Peter 4; Micah 2; Luke 11

Spiritual warfare. Since my family is in the midst of attack I am quite sensitive to the topic. I see it all around me. It’s not coincidence that months ago when I planned a day trip to New York it included a performance of Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. It’s also not a coincidence that my assigned readings for today discuss it. When I read Jesus’s words and see his actions in Luke 11 I am reminded of a few things.

1 – The man possessed by an evil spirit is not evil in and of himself. The spirit that possessed him is evil. Just like the man himself was not mute, the demon was mute. When the man was possessed he was mute, but when the demon was driven out the man could then speak.

2 – The evil spirit that possessed the man was particularly strong, but Jesus was stronger.

3 – After a victory against a demon we need to be particularly careful to replace the void with God or else we are even more susceptible to evil.

Luke 11 sets us up with instruction on prayer before the story about driving out a demon. Jesus gives us guidelines for what to pray for and how to pray – boldly, knowing that as God’s child he wants to give us our desires, as long as they are in line with God‘s will. As a mama bear I am ready to attack to protect my cubs, but then I am reminded not to repay evil with evil but with blessing (see yesterday‘s reading). Not an easy task, but with prayer it is much easier. I need to be reminded that our battle is against the forces of evil, not humans that are not strong enough or do not have the Holy Spirit active in them so that they can sufficiently recognize and/or overcome evil. We are to love our enemies. Not The Enemy, but human enemies all around us that have fallen prey to The Enemy and his minions.

In his letter Peter says

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

I am very aware of this spiritual battle. As I grow in my Christian walk I am more and more aware of it. As I grow stronger I can feel the enemy stepping up the gain against me and the people I love. So I pray more and seek God more and my faith is strengthened. And along with Peter, I say

To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11c)

Sue

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1 Chron.22; 1 Pet. 3; Micah 1; Luke 10

Today’s reminder:

Seek peace and pursue it.

A friend and I were talking about the themes we noticed in scripture reading, in our lives. For me–the steady undercurrent of seeking peace. Today, it pulls me deeper.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)

Key words standing out to me in this chapter.  Sympathy.  Compassion. Humility. Love. And I noticed there weren’t any qualifiers here: to love only people who love me back or just people I like or who like me. It just says love one another.

When it comes to loving a neighbor, there are no insults or repayments of evil. There is no passing by and pretending someone doesn’t exist. To stop and show mercy–compassionate treatment of someone in distress (even to an offender!)–Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.”

God got my attention with seek peace and pursue it. He reminds me today I am called to a higher standard of sympathy, compassion, humility, mercy and love.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:12-15 (NIV)

Jesus, you are Lord in my heart and in my life. Thanking you again for your reminders to me to seek peace and pursue it. For the story of the Samaritan and the expert’s plain response of mercy. You call me to action: Go and do likewise. To love a neighbor. To bless an enemy. To revere you as Lord. To seek peace and pursue it. In your name. Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

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1Chronicles 22; 1Peter 2; Jonah 4; Luke 9

So much to be thankful for…where do I begin?

As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 2:4-5

I am so thankful that I can “come to him, the living Stone”.  Thankful for the freedom to call Him my savior, my rock, my salvation. Thankful that I can praise and worship Him in the spiritual house, my church. Thankful for those who come along side me, encourage me and hold me accountable.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

This just gets better…That we are chosen?  I am so thankful for His mercy and that His mercies are new every morning.  Thankful that I belong to Him.

When our forefathers came to this new land to exercise their religious freedom they set in motion the tradition we celebrate today; Thanksgiving.  I wonder if Americans who gather around their tables today, with family and friends, understand that the reason we celebrate this day is not only for giving thanks for the new harvest, but it is really celebrating the freedom to worship God and to live out our faith daily.  And to think this day has almost become just another day before all the sales begin.  How sad.

Today I will also be thankful for the men and women who risk their lives to bring Christianity to this land.

Cindi

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1 Chronicles 19 & 20, 1Peter 1, Jonah 3, Luke 8

Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:25

Fear & amazement stimulate questions.

Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. Luke 8:37

Giving into fear causes distance and isolation.

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” Luke 20:50

Everyone experiences fear, but faith can move us beyond it.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1Peter 1: 14, 17-19

Fear with reverence helps us remain obedient to God.

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:10

Fear or faith. That which we believe in, we hold dear and close. That which we fear, we avoid. What is our response to Jesus?

After Jesus sent a legion of demons into a herd of pigs, that subsequently plunged into the sea, the people wanted Jesus to be far from them. Those with faith, like the woman with the bleeding issue pushed through their fear to get closer to Jesus.

Where is my faith? Sometimes I do the same thing as the disciples. I look at what Jesus does and I am astonished by all the miracles around me. Sometimes I want to be close. Sometimes I don’t want Him to look at me. I’m afraid he will see my sin.

My faith should remind me that I have nothing to fear anymore because his precious blood covered my sin once and for all.

Thank you Jesus.

yicareggie


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