Monthly Archives: November 2010

1Chronicles 18; James 5; Jonah 2; Luke 7

this voice is the one I’m listening for…

the one that speaks to fish, and to widows and their young men. the voice that commends great faith and great messengers. the one that says, ‘your sins are forgiven.  go in peace.’

the voice that spoke to the fish who then vomited Jonah onto dry land.
the God who says, ‘do not weep’ and ‘young man, I say to you, arise.’

a voice brimming with authority… a voice spilling over with tender compassion.

that voice.

“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
John 10:2-4

I’m listening and waiting for the voice of my Beloved Shepherd.

He who has been forgiven much, loves much… that’s true.

O Lord, it’s so loud, there’s so much noise.
So many voices vying for my attention.
Sometimes they drown out the quiet,
‘your sins are forgiven, go in peace’.
But I’m sticking right behind You…
Help me to fine tune my hearing to
Your beautiful, winsome calling,
Your irrefutable commanding,
Your tenderest whispering,
Your voice saying my name.
Oh sweet Jesus, I long for the day,
when I’ll sit at Your feet
and listen to Your voice. all. day. long.
Thank You for speaking to me today through Your Word.

amy in peru

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1 Chronicles 17, James 4, Jonah 1, Luke 6

Luke 6:45 (NIV)
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

I am reminded of a cartoon image of a dog with a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel sitting on the other.  The dog is about to chase the cat.  The tiny devil whispers “do it” and the little angel is whispering “don’t do it”.  (I can’t really remember how it always turned out.)

My mouth.  The overflow of my heart.  Eeek!

For me, it is a daily struggle to feed the good voice and starve the bad voice.  How often, does my human side want to make the snide comment?  Get the “last” word?  Sarcastically remind my husband or daughter or friend that *I* was “right”?  Some pretty yucky stuff overflows some days.

Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your goodness, your patience, your kindness.  I know my words are an overflow of my heart, allow them to be sweet, encouraging and loving.  Never selfish, divisive or cutting.  Remind me, on those bad days…to take a minute to stop and ask you to fill my heart (and mouth) with your words and your attitude.

Karen

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1 Chronicles 16; James 3; Obadiah 1; Luke 5

A Spirit of Thanksgiving

“And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the LORD God of Israel.”  (1 Chronicles 16:1 NKJV)

David’s love for God is so inspiring to me.  Throughout David’s life, he demonstrated so beautifully his incredible heart for God by: (1) always remembering what God has done for him and for the nation in his prayers and his words,  (2) demonstrating to others how awesome God is by telling them about God, and  (3) showing the glorious riches of who God is by allowing God to use his life for the purpose of bringing glory not to himself, but to God.

Here in 1 Chronicles 16, an incredible and moving event took place in Jerusalem.  The Ark of the Lord has just been brought to Jerusalem and David appoints certain Levites to minister before the Ark, for the sole purpose of continually giving praise and thanksgiving to God.  David then prays a prayer of thanksgiving that is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt prayers ever recorded in human history (1 Chronicles 16:8-36).

David’s offering of praise and thankfulness is public for all the world to see, even today, as we have the privilege of reading his recorded words in the Scriptures.  He is putting God in His rightful place, singing to Him a beautiful love song, thanking Him for His majesty, His provision, and His unfailing mercy, goodness and love.  Words of thanksgiving come pouring out of David’s heart, affirming the goodness of God for all to see.

“For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised”.

“Honor and majesty are before Him;  Strength and gladness are in His place”.

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever”.

These words choke me up.  They choke me up not only because they are beautiful words of love but also because I so desire a heart of thanksgiving like David has.  Far too often in my life, praise and thanksgiving are reserved only for holidays, celebrations and when things are going well in my life.  In the absence of gratitude, I often find myself in a place of complacency and independence, taking way too many things for granted.  In short, I become spoiled, living as if I deserve every blessing He has given me.

This makes me wonder just how much more beautiful my life and my relationship with God would be if praise and thanksgiving were a regular part of my daily routine no matter what circumstances I am faced with.  I find that in those times when I have a thankful heart, my mind is removed off of myself and my own little problems and needs, and they are instead focused instead on something far greater than just me.  The more time I spend seeking His face, remembering His works and His promises, proclaiming the good news of His salvation day to day and His wonders among all peoples, the more I love Him.  The more I love Him, the more my life will show it.

Oh God, you are so rich in mercy and goodness.  There is none like you!  You are great and greatly to be praised!  You are to be feared above all gods.  Honor and majesty are before you!  Strength and gladness are in your place!

Lord, I pray that you give me a heart like David’s.  Help me Lord to see every single event, every single person, every single moment through the lens of your perfect and unfailing love.  Teach me to love the things you love.  Teach my heart to break for the things that break your heart.  Give me a heart of praise and thankfulness, not so others would look upon me and declare that I am anything special, but instead so that praise and adoration is ascribed to you and you alone!

Lord, it is my hearts desire for my praise to be genuine and sincere.  I want to give you all the glory.  Take over my surrendered heart and use me.  Take this existence and use it to show the world of your love.  Help me to not waste even one second of this time you have blessed me with on this earth.

I love you and I want to make much of you!  Thank you for loving me all the time!  Unfailingly!

In your precious Name, the Name above all Names, majestic and beautiful Jesus Christ, my Lord.

John (johnd7264)

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1 Chronicles 15, Amos 9, Luke 4, James 2

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

James 2:14 – 17 NIV

__________

Almost every morning, I listen to Mercy Me’s latest CD The Generous Mr. Lovewell while packing lunches and making breakfast for the kids. The history and thoughts behind the making of the CD can be found here under Biography/Artist.

“The message of committing to extravagant selflessness and faithful optimism threads its way through every song.” *

So with thoughts and aspirations on how to love my neighbor and be available to those around me as the hands and feet of Christ, enters my scripture passage from James 2 and it’s message of Faith and Deeds. Faith by itself isn’t enough. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19)

How often do I call myself a Christian by my faith, yet fail to live a Christian life in deeds? How often do I put my own desires ahead of someone’s true needs?

__________

Lord,

I want to be available to You and doing your deeds for those around me. Please open my eyes to the needs of others and help me to love them because of your unending, undeserving love of me. May the words of this song be our prayer and aim as Christ-followers. “We will be Your voice calling. We will be Your hands healing. We will be Your feet walking into a broken world. We will be Your chain breaker. We will be Your peace maker. We will be Your hope and joy. We will be Your LOVE.”

Your blessed beyond measure daughter,

Beckie (look2thehills)

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1Chron.13,14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3

Do this.

Do that.

Don’t do anything.

My mind has been a teetering jumble of what-ifs and wonderings. I called a friend, who recommended one thing. I asked my husband, and he recommended the opposite. I found myself drawn to both sides, and at the same time unable to do a thing.

I laughed out loud when I got to James 1 and read about considering trials joy. Wasn’t I finding myself in the middle of one right now? What timing! But then I stopped laughing. Because I did find myself in the middle of a trial right now. I also found myself in these verses. And there’s nothing funny about it. Reading on, I toggled between translations of NIV, NLT and The Message. Each one drove the point home a little harder. All emphasis mine.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. NIV James 1:5-8

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. NLT James 1:5-8

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. The Message James 1:5-8

I’ve been “worrying my prayers.” I’ve been keeping my options open. And my loyalty is divided. I didn’t seek God in the issue at all, even though I thought about it a few times. I wanted to hear a voice; I wanted an answer NOW. It’s no wonder I find myself tossed about by various opinions.

Thank you, God, for your perfect timing–these verses waiting for me this morning. A quiet house so I can hear you clearly. Thank you, that I can ask of you now, and you will give generously without finding fault. Seeking you for advice.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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1 Chronicles 11, 12; Hebrews 13; Amos 7; Luke 2

I have a tendency to read Scripture with my virtual elbow cocked, ready to send a nudge the direction of a friend, familymember or acquaintance I think needs to hear. I never really let it fire. No emails, phone calls, notes of suggestive prayers. I don’t even post the inspiring verse on Facebook hoping “God leads” that person to the message. I just think it.

In the process of honing in on the unlucky object of my thoughts and judgments, I miss my message.

Almost did it again today. As I thought of how best to weave Hebrews 13:17 into tomorrow’s Bible time . . . “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Doesn’t every child need that reminder?

I had another thing coming. My path fell more in line with the rebellious Israelites in Amos 7:8, “And the LORD asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ ‘A plumb line,’ I replied. Then the Lord said, ‘Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.'”

God quickly grabbed my attention. So, how do I measure up today? Not my kids, not my spouse, not my neighbors or anyone else, but me. God’s got the plumb line and you know it is straight, clear, and pure. As it hangs there showing plainly the imperfections and slant in my person I realize that I need to spend some more time examining myself.

Confessing, giving thanks, releasing, submitting. Usually reading the Bible is all about God, but today it is all about me. Bringing myself in line with Him.

Thank you, Lord, for a clear standard and a clear call to follow, and for the continued grace when I need to once again be brought back in line. ~Amen
Erin (5intow)

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1 Chronicles 9,10; Hebrews 12; Amos 6; Luke 1:39-80

I run a small business.  Every year around this time, I seek to rise above the frantic pace of operations and take stock of:

 where we have been
 where we are
 where we are going 

As the story of our company is written, I notice a recurring theme:

PERSEVERANCE

 At critical times in our brief company history when

 clients weren’t satisfied
employees were frustrated
the bank account was empty
hope was dwindling 

we needed to make a decision that the vision was worth the pain and press forward.

At those times, I could take comfort in the words of the writer of Hebrews: 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us – Hebrews 12:1

 We are “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”.  These are those stalwarts of faith that have already run the race and are now cheering us on!   I like to think that this cloud of witnesses is joined by those encouragers in my life without whom I may have long ago given up the race.  I thank God for these precious Christ-followers.

We are asked to “throw off everything that hinders us.”  Yes, in this life there will be trouble – be it injustice, disease, or the largest recession in eighty years.

And we are warned of  “the sin that so easily entangles.”   As if life is not difficult enough with the trouble that comes at us, we all know that we make it more difficult because of the trouble that is within us.

In my life, as in my business, perseverance would not be “worth it” were it not for the clear image of the finish line:

 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

Lord Jesus,

When I am close to despair, thank you that I can fix my eyes on you and gain an eternal perspective that allows me to persevere.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

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