Monthly Archives: May 2011

Deut. 4; Ps. 86,87; Isa. 32; Rev. 2

Psalms 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.”

Psalms 103:8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”

Psalms 86:15 “But Thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”

Throughout the psalms, the psalmist wants to iterate that God is gracious.

And the Father’s character is consistent in the parables of Christ.

There once was a father with two sons. One disrespected his father, took his inheritance and used it to fulfill his own desires. The other stayed close to home and hoped to please his father by doing good. He often wondered why the father favored the lost son.

But the father lovingly reminds the faithful son, “All I have is yours.” 

Andrew Murray (Deeper Christian Life) comments: 

Thank God, He has given us His son; and in giving Him, He has given us all things that are in Him, He has given us Christ’s life, His Love, His spirit, His glory.

When tempted to complain when life doesn’t shake out exactly how I wanted, I have to preach to myself that I have a gracious father. I have a father who has given me all that I have undeservingly and out of His love.

He is gracious.

– christiancourier517

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Deuteronomy 3; Psalm 85; Isaiah 31; Revelation 1

I am so excited to be able to kick off the book of Revelation.  This book of the Bible is so mysterious, yet it possesses so many amazing glimpses of eternity.  As I read it, I am filled with the hope of my eternal future.  Revelation reveals God’s power, and it also paints a picture of the splendor of Heaven.  My imagination goes crazy as I try to picture the vibrant colors, fragrant smells, and glorious songs of praise.  Doing so makes life on this earth seem so dull.  In Heaven, believers will be truly alive and able to experience the fullness of life.  We will no longer see dimly.  Wow… I can’t wait!  But while I am here on earth, I need to be focused on sharing the love of Jesus with those who do not know Him.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard a trumpet… (Revelation 1:10)

This verse really struck me.  John, exiled to the island of Patmos, was alone.  He was isolated from other believers when he received this revelation from the Lord.  Verse 10 tells us that John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.”  What an incredible example to me of John’s faithfulness.  Even though he was alone and separated from other believers, he still remained connected to the Lord.  John was found in worship and in the Spirit even though no one was looking.

When I think about my own life, I fail miserably in this area.  I mean, I have it all.  Our home is filled with dozens of Bibles in various translations.  I have a plethora of Christian “self-help” books.  I have access to the internet which contains a host of Biblical information.  Even my iPhone has the Bible app on it!  At any given moment, I have at my disposal basically everything I need to draw near to Him.  What I am lacking though, is a willing heart.  I am in need of a huge heart transformation.  John had nothing with him, but he was able to choose to live in the Spirit.  What a remarkable model of a Christ-follower who perseveres in his relationship with his Lord.

God, I pray for a radical change in my heart.  Please give me the desire to draw near to You all of the time.  You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Great I Am.  And You love me completely, knowing that I mess up so very often.  I want to be like John and walk in Your Spirit daily.  Ignite a fire in my heart, Lord.  I want to be recklessly in love with YOU!

Amen.

Suzie (suzielawyer)

 

 

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

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.  For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you…   Jude 3-4…

This is it, the final epistle.  One chapter, a mere 25 verses remain before scripture shifts to a blazing finale of prophecy.  In such circumstances, only a topic of the utmost importance will do.  Jude wanted to write about the salvation we share, but God overruled him.  What is on God’s mind?  A warning to protect the salvation we share, a warning to beware of the corruption of the Gospel from infiltrators within the church.

My thoughts immediately jump to men like Harold Camping.  The Bible says that no man can know the day or hour or Christ’s return.  Apparently God didn’t count on the keen intellect of Camping to piece together the clues and figure it out.

Jesus continually commanded us to fear not.  However, there was one occasion when He changed His tune and told us in no uncertain terms to fear.  He was warning of Hell, and He spoke of it often, even using it as a motivation to turn to God.  No matter.  Pastor Rob Bell openly questions the whole doctrine of Hell.  Pastor Gregory Boyd decries those who use it as a witnessing tool.

In the Bible, God promises His followers trials and tribulations during their earthly life.  No matter.  Pastors such as Joel Osteen amass huge congregations and national followings by teaching that God actually promises to pour out wealth and success on His earthly servants.

I won’t pretend I know enough about any of these men to be certain that they qualify as modern-day targets of Jude’s letter.  However, it’s plain to see that aspects of their teaching legitimize such questions.

There are two thoughts in the closing verses of Jude that I’m particularly grateful that God has included.

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.  Jude 22-23

Even as this book blasts apostates, God’s heart dwells on those they’ve misled  from the true Gospel.  He commands us to reach out in mercy to them.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- Jude 24

Jude reminds us that it is the work of Christ that matters.  He alone keeps me from stumbling.  He alone will present me without fault.  I might exercise my will to follow Him, but even this is only as He enables me to, and I take great comfort that my future is secured because of His work alone.  If I had any part to play, I’d eventually blow it.  He won’t.

Dear God,  lead me away from false teaching, make me an effective advocate for the truth of your Word, and let me always remember your promise that I am entirely and forever secure in You and by You.   Amen.

Michael  (mmattix)

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

They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness;  Psalm 82:5

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, Isaiah 29:18-19 

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

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut.%201;%20Ps.%2081,82;%20Isa.%2029;%203%20John%201&version=NKJV

 Deuteronomy 1

             “Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God”  Moses reminds the Israelites of their distrust of the God Who protects and provides for them faithfully. Their distrust results in disobedience to the Holy One. Their disregard for His commands and comforts causes them to live in wilder-ness and not in the Promised Land. Lord, may I honor, respect, and adhere to You above my own thoughts and ways, and those of others – every moment!!

 Psalm 81-82

              “Sing aloud to God our strength”,  Who took care of His people in and out of Egypt. Who removes our burdens, and frees, calls, delivers, answers and tests us in His mighty Love and Wisdom. Yet we can be sooooo hard hearted. Never accepting Him and His Words and instead substituting our own thoughts and imaginings. God admonishes us: There shall be no foreign god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the LORD your God,… Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” v.9-10.

         How can we refuse God? Yet day after day, moment after moment we do. God respects our free will. “But My people would not heed My voice, …would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels.” V. 11-12 Romans 1:18-32, Romans 12:1-2

             The broken heart and deep desires of God are voiced: “Oh, that My people would listen to Me,… would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, And turn My hand against their adversaries. …and I would have satisfied you.” V. 13-16  Matthew 11:28-30, John 4:13-15, John 6:35-40, Matthew 23:37

             How many times do I not call on my Deliverer? That I do not heed and follow His precepts and ways to accomplish His Grand Scheme in delivering and sanctifying my family members? And for those He puts in my path? When I do not intercede in prayer with His passionate Heart on their behalf? (Psalm 82:5) When I do not speak of His Righteousness and Great Mercy through His Son Jesus Christ for full redemption, comfort and hope? – Or do not go to God for each minuscule eternal hope of God’s desire to be fulfilled for His glory alone? May I unceasingly open my mouth wide for God to fill it! Psalm 37:4  

Isaiah 29      

Four parts –

1- For God’s people who reject God: “Woe, distress, heaviness and sorrow, you will be punished by the LORD of hosts.”

2-  “Pause and wonder! … be blind! For the LORD has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes”  WHY? They “honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me”       No fear of the LORD. Instead, “their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men”. They consider their Maker ignorant. “shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “ He has no understanding”?

3- Men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel.” Jesus arrives! So “the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD”

4- Because of Jesus Christ, “They will hallow My Name, …And fear the God of Israel. .. will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.”

              People pleasing, tradition, ritual, fear of man are all eternally deadly substitutes for a real, eternal, vibrant and living relationship with God directly to and through the Lord Jesus Christ. God walked on this earth and died for each of us personally to prove that He is the Only Way. My heart must be involved with God through His Son Jesus Christ with no distractions or substitutions. His perfect Love casts out my fear of man. Only Jesus Christ teaches Fear of the Lord.

1 Timothy 2:5; Matthew 6:5-15; Jeremiah 7:16-20; Jeremiah 44; Mark 7:8-9; Colossians 2:8; Proverbs 29:25; Luke 12:4-5; 1 John 4:18

3 John 1

               God contends with me: May “your soul prosper” and you “walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  … and be “fellow workers for the truth.”

                  I am warned, even in the church there are persons “prating against (true Christ followers) with malicious words. And… not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.” –  “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”

            God’s Word is Truth. Jesus Christ is the Word, the Way, Truth and Life. I must walk IN Christ Jesus. I long to and must be steadfast and faithful to the One Who saved me. Never to be persuaded to do otherwise by “well meaning” religious folk. I am Never to be swayed to fall into the side ditches of the narrow path so to worship other than in God’s Spirit and Truth. I am not to imitate those who practice religion with false pretense and deception.

                  I will not be persuaded to shut out God’s Voice through His Word and starve myself by not reading the Bible frequently, because I “should have gotten enough on Sunday morning”. Instead, I choose to wrestle with God, like Jacob, so that I will walk under God’s influence, power and command every moment of my life. Please, Lord Jesus, may it be so!! I desire You and Your will most! I love you! 

Psalm 138:2; John 1:14; Genesis 32:24-31; Hebrews 11:21; Matthew 4:4; Romans 12:1-2; John 17:17

 

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

I didn’t expect to find Jesus in the pages of a book comparing child attachments with peers versus parents pre- and post-World War 2. There was no mention of His name in the chapter discussing the weakness and wounding that takes place when children derive their value and esteem from peers.

In contrast, the parent,

“When the parent is the compass point, it is the messages he or she gives that are relevant. When tragedy and trauma happen, the child looks to the parent for clues whether or not to be concerned. As long as their attachments are safe, the sky could collapse and the world fall apart, but children would be relatively protected from feeling dangerously vulnerable.” Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate.

I saw Jesus there, out of context. When I tie my identity to this world, my job, what others think of me, if I am not tethered to or held up by Christ the Cornerstone, I am dangerously vulnerable to weakness and wounding. When Jesus is my compass point, I find Him completely out of (and within) context. He permeates every part of life.

Isaiah writes of the armies of Assyria and Babylonia, but I see Jesus reflected:

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:    “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Isaiah 28:16 (NIV)

When I wonder what the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant” sounds like, I halt at His presence:

“17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

 19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:17-19 (NIV)

Lord, you are the compass point. You are the One who was and is and yet to come–a sure foundation. (I can stand on you.) You are justice and righteousness, the plumb line. (I can discern what is true or false by holding it up to you.) You are the truth that lives in us and will be with us forever. (Sweet salvation.) I find you out of context and in the least expected places … your reminder and reassurance still that you hold it all together.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 35; Psalms 79; Isaiah 27; 1 John 5

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

This is my new favorite verse.  I like the verses that pack a punch with the least amount of words.

While in the car traveling from point A to point B sometimes I travel in silence. No radio. Just my thoughts running through my head. My mental list of what needs to be done that day. Tomorrow. Next week. I talk to God. I pray and often times my prayers a mesh of asking for forgiveness for that thought I had this morning, the angry word spoken to one of my children or a plea to help me be a better help mate to my husband.

Occasionally I listen to a Christian radio station, I go between music, a sermon or a theological discussion. Today was the discussion. Believe it or not, it was a discussion about the idols we place in our life. So when I finished reading 1John 5 it was surprising to read that last verse.  Probably wasn’t much of a surprise to God though.  He often uses common thread to make his point with me.

So I sit here writing my contribution to this blog with sound confidence that the theme of my post will be about the idols we put before God.

Whew…I felt the fire raging in me when listening to this panel of men discussing some of the things they considered idols.  However, I had the rest of the day to chew on their words and now my mental list has changed.  Changed because…my daily list was the idol. It came before God. I was shocked when this was revealed to me. God is so very clever.

I could burden you with my other revelations of what I put before God throughout each day, but by now you are probably making your own mental list of your idols. What also sends me to my knees are the things that one would never consider an idol.  Obvious idols are money, jobs, cars, clothes, social status.  But what about our kids? What about our spouse? What about our ministry?  Seriously?  a ministry can be an idol? If it comes before God…then yes.

Heavenly Father thank you for the reminders that you place in my day, that keep me focused on you.  You know me so well, you know my weaknesses.  Forgive me.  Help me to remember to begin every day with a “feet first” mentality. Not my feet…Your Son’s feet.  Begin my day at His feet, then leave my list at His feet.  Amen

Cindi

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Numbers 34; Psalm78:38-72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

Scripture:

Isaiah 26:3&4 3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.

4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (NIV)

Observation:

These are easy words to read. God’s promise of perfect peace is found in these two verses. Yet many of us miss this truth. Our minds are to be steadfastly trusting in God. Our trust needs to come in God who is our eternal Rock. It is quite simple and straight forward. In fact there’s not much to record in this observation section because perfect peace comes from training our mind to trust in God and His person every time we encounter obstacles or concerns in our lives.

Application:

What is hard about these two verses is applying them to our daily lives. If you are like me you woken in the middle of the night at least once this past month worrying, fretting about some circumstance in your life that confronts you. You think through options, you rehearse words that need to be said and all the time you watch the clock tick by in the night watches. Yet when this happens to me, I only find rest when I give it back to God and ask for His resolution and power in those situations. This doesn’t count the many times during the day when issues confront me and I trust in my own ingenuity to solve an issue instead of keeping my mind focused on the love and power of the God of the universe. It’s so simple we don’t think it will work for us many times.

Prayer: 

Father God, I prayer for a clear mind that trusts You and focuses on the promises about your care and peace that we find in Your Word. Help us today to keep our minds focused, stayed on You. Bring us victory in those nagging circumstances and issues that sap our strength and divert our attention away from You and those we love. I pray these things in the strong name of Jesus. Amen!

dmbaldwin


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