Monthly Archives: November 2011

1Chronicles 28; 2 Peter 2; Micah 5; Luke 14

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”  Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’  “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’  “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.  Luke 14:15-20

Fresh off a time of Thanksgiving and celebration with my family, I am reminded of how often I am “too busy” to partake of the blessings God has prepared for me.  I allow life’s pressures to keep me from resting in Him, or even more, partying with Him.  God is inviting me to an amazing celebration.  And it’s not a celebration for some uncertain time in the distant future.  It’s in the here and now, as the kingdom of God is at hand.

Lord God,

Help me to slow down.  In my pride, I assume that I must constantly be at work to meet the needs of others.  Allow me to enjoy the party you have prepared and invite others to join in, rather than struggle to create my own sorry excuse for a party.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

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1Chron.26,27; 2Pet. 1; Micah 4; Luke 13

“Partakers of the divine nature” is

my favorite phrase in all of scripture. I’m in. 

I’ve been picked for the winning team. I’ve been invited along for the most epic adventure of all time. I get to participate in the process of my own spiritual growth through the miraculous revamping of the Holy Spirit. 

We’ve discussed the majesty of God in nature, the magnanimity of His creation and what this speaks towards His character and power.

The Psalmist (8) captures this sentiment:

3 When I consider your heavens, 
   the work of your fingers, 
the moon and the stars, 
   which you have set in place, 
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, 
   human beings that you care for them?

When the enormity of God and His glory are glimpsed, the next logical thought is, “Who am I?”

Who am I that You would make the heavens, make me, care for me, and invite me to participate in the renewal of my soul? I would be crazy to say no. I would have to be out of my mind to miss out on the opportunity to see my existence turned from life to death, from sin to  victory, from ugly to beautiful by participating in God’s mysterious and wonderful divine nature.

Jesus, I’m in. 

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

“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.  Don’t be afraid, little flock, because Your Father delights to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:31-34)

Our family has so much.  There are days when I look around my house and am actually sickened by the sight of all of the “stuff”.  Over time we have accumulated so many things that we thought that we needed.  A few times a year, I whirlwind around the house, organize and load up the excess, do a drop off at Good Will, and then vow never to buy another thing!  In fact, after returning from a missions trip to Haiti this summer, I had determined to never buy another useless item.  Yeah, so ask me how that is going…

And now, we have entered in to the Christmas season.  Walking through Target the other day, I noticed the stacks of toys on the shelves piled up very high above the height of the steps.  Once again, I found myself vowing that I would not cave into societal pressure to buy my kids more “stuff” that will end up at Good Will in a few months.  Yeah, so ask me how that is going…

Clearly Jesus tells us to sell our possessions and give to the poor.  God wants us to choose priorities that are designed to reap inexhaustible heavenly dividends.  These are what should be the treasures of my heart.  Yet I am so sucked in to this world.  Sure, we have adopted families at Christmas, donated to charities, served at shelters, and we have even gone and helped the people of Haiti.  But I still find myself frustrated at my weakness to give into the temptation of the lies that tell me that things will make me happy.  I know the truth.  I know what God has to say about material possessions, but I am still so easily swayed.

Thankfully God is full of grace.  He knows where I am weak, and He knows when I fail.  But praise God!  He loves me anyway.  AND I think that He has placed a stirring in my heart.  Obviously I have a long way to go in this area.  But I do know that I am beginning to move in a new direction here.  The things of this world are so temporary, so unfulfilling.  God is working on my heart and beginning to transform me into the woman who He wants me to be.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for loving me so much and for being so patient with me.  Forgive me, Lord, for having a heart that clings so tightly to this world.  I praise You for being willing to grow me into a woman after Your own heart.  I love You, Jesus!

Suzie (suzielawyer)

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

Luke 11 has a lot to say about prayer.  It begins with the Lord’s Prayer.  It continues with the story of a man making a persistent request of someone in no mood to grant it.  Its final teaching on prayer uses the analogy of a human parent granting a child’s request to help us understand God’s desire to answer ours.

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;  for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.    Luke 11:5-8

I can easily relate to this image, especially since my firstborn arrived on the scene.  Persistence is not something she needs to learn.  If there is something she wants from me, she’ll keep asking until I either give in or I manage to convince her that my mind is set and it would no longer be wise to keep pressing the matter. (I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’ve gone with the former, reinforcing her instincts.)  Therefore, I can certainly picture the truth expressed here with a man who reaches the point where he will give a neighbor anything asked of him just to make him go away!

The thing I don’t like about this picture is that it leaves the obvious impression of God answering our requests simply so we’ll stop bothering Him.  I know God is bothered by some of the things I do and say and think, but I don’t like to think He’s ever bothered by me.

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”   Luke 11:11-13

I’ve heard more than one sermon on verses 5 through 8 before, though I hope I never again hear it discussed in isolation from verses 11 through 13 as I have in the past.  Here, the image of God trying to get us to leave Him alone is destroyed.  He is far more than a tired friend annoyed with our requests; He is a loving Father who delights in providing for our needs and any desire that fits into His plan.  He delights in giving His children gifts, and the Holy Spirit is His best gift of all.  If persistence will make a friend grant a request, how much more will persistence make a father listen?  If an evil father desires to give good gifts to his children, how much more might we expect from our Good Heavenly Father?

I might take exception to the fact that this passage calls me an evil father, but I ironically proved Jesus’ point with my earlier admission that I sometimes treat my children’s’ requests like the man in verse 8.  Thank God that He, however, is Good.

Michael   (mmattix)

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1 Chronicles 22, 1 Peter 3, Micah 1, Luke 10

Parenting – My son, “You will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses… Be strong and of good courage; do not fear … Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare …  there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.” 1 Chronicles 22 

Marriage – Husbands, …dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife…that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3

Rejoice! Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” Luke 10  

www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Chron.22;%201Pet.%203;%20Micah%201;%20Luke%2010&version=NKJV

1 Chronicles 22                Then David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” … Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So David made abundant preparations before his death. Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: “…but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, …. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; …

               He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’  Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare …  there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.”

                 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying,  “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build … for the name of the LORD.”

How is the temple of the Most High God within me? Clean and built well on the Foundation that never fails? Ephesians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 6:19

QuestionHave I inquired deeply of the Lord God Almighty what His Will is for each of my children? Matthew 7:7-12 Have a sought God’s answer, waited and implored until He answered? Have I responded to the Lord God Almighty in accordance to His Will? For what am I preparing for my children to accomplish now and after I’ve gone to heaven? How am I preparing, enabling and empowering my children to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in gratitude, passion and whole heartedness – by Jesus’ Holy Spirit and Word? What resources have I poured into my children and given to them physically to equip them to fulfill God’s Will for their specific lives and for God’s purpose and glory? What loss will I suffer if I am not a good steward of my children? 1 Corinthians 3:15, Romans 14:12  And how am I serving God with His Vision in my eyes and heart for my other close relatives, friends and siblings in Christ Jesus? What am I doing today for God’s goals?

Response – I have done much, repeatedly. But most importantly is earnestly living by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word and Praying in all manners for my children. Fasting, praying and being diligent to not let go of Jesus Christ’s priestly garment’s hem. And for many others, too.  Colossians 4:12, James 5:16, 1 Timothy 2:1,8, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Peter 4:7, Ephesians 1

 1 Peter 3               Wives” … may you have “chaste conduct accompanied by fear. May your adornment be  … the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”     “Husbands, …dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife…that your prayers may not be hindered.”          Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;… that you may inherit a blessing. …  For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” …sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

                    Kindness, gentleness… the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, is needed in Every aspect of life, including sanctified marriage. (Galatians 5:22-25) Sharp repercussions are given by God if we do not live by the Holy Spirit. Prayers will be hindered and the Face of the LORD will be against us. (v.7,12)

              So what makes hearts so hard to not repent and be changed by the living Word? Why does pain continue so needlessly? Lord God, may my husband and I live Your Word for You. Please enable the impossible!! For Your purposes in our children’s lives and outsiders, and for Your glory alone! Amen.  Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27; Luke 18:29-30; John 15:7-8; John 15:16-17

Micah 1               Let the Lord GOD be a witness against you,  The Lord from His holy temple. For behold, the LORD is coming out of His place;  He will come down And tread on the high places of the earth. The mountains will melt under Him, And the valleys will split …All this is for the transgression of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. …All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces,  And all her pay as a harlot shall be burned with the fire; …  For her wounds are incurable. …  But disaster came down from the LORD … For the transgressions of Israel were found in you.  

                  When will God’s people realize their offences and harlotry against the Lord God Almighty Who made them for His delight and glory? When will they awaken to the HONOR it is to be called into an intimate relationship by God? When will they repent and turn away from idolatry in loving the created rather than loving the Creator? When will they soften their hearts and mind to the One Who heals, restores and gives limitless Joy, Hope, Wisdom and Peace? When will True Worship of the Holy One replace titillation of the temporal? When will I and my family take God’s Word as TRUTH and live it by God’s Holy Spirit? Oooohhhh, the agony of watching evil being chosen by children? Oooohhhh no wonder God is called “Long Suffering”!! Your agony Oh God is far greater than mine!! Lord Jesus, please keep me on a short leash, close to You!! I want my Joy Full!! Matthew 23:37, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; John 15:5-14

Luke 10                the Lord appointed seventy others … “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray

                  Lord God Almighty, send workers out today! Bring a harvest of souls in great numbers!! May the souls you save bear much fruit for another large harvest for You!! And continue the bounty until You return!!

                     May Your workers heal the sick and teach Your Word! Protect them from the enemy of their souls.  Please have them remember Your Words: “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”  (Do I equate this with my family members? Please Lord, may it be so.)  

And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven…. rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” … In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.

Can I not also REJOICE in the Holy Spirit GIVING THANKS to God?!! Happy ThanksGiving!!

He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.

                     What an HONOR to be called and used by the Lord Jesus Christ!! How can I not be acutely aware of this?!! Every day I rejoice the gospel for Jesus Christ made me His New Creature (2 Corinthians 5:17 ) !! 

“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ … which of these three do you think was neighbor … And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

                 I must be like “He who showed mercy.”  Lord God Almighty, You have abundantly blessed me in the Riches of Christ Jesus. All encompassing: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and … Philippians 4:19. Please bring to my mind now when I have been selfish and short sighted. Please re-train me for Your Perspective and Ways so I will not sin again. Please forgive me Lord Jesus Christ. (Psalm 51). Increase my capacity to Love You on Your terms and by your Holy Spirit and Word. Thank You!!

“Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” … And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

                 Worship is the most important thing I can give You Lord. To hear your Voice and do Your Will. John 10:27-30 Fill me Lord Jesus! Amen!!

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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1 Chron. 21; 1 Pet. 2; Jonah 4; Luke 9

I didn’t have the context down. Falling behind in reading. I picked back up to today’s passages. I read in 1 Chronicles 21, David did something he shouldn’t have, something about head counts. And there were consequences, because don’t all actions carry some sort of consequence? God tells Gad to give David his pick of punishment and I wince. But it’s David’s response …

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”1 Chronicles 21:13 (NIV)

His response is like a punch.

For David, the hands of men meant months of being swept away, their swords overtaking him. Perhaps to the point of death. I read this at a table with coffee mug in hand, and I get something with his words. I think to myself, “not into the hands of men.”

Not to grudges. Not to revenge. Not to unforgiveness. Not to spite. Not to cruelty. Not to torment. Not to hatred.

1 Chronicles 21 opens with Satan inciting, and he does it still today. He does it in communities, in homes, at holidays. He incites God lovers to sin, and men to grudges, cruelty, hatred.

Father, how You love so deeply and show mercy. Your hands, Your hands, let me fall into them. I’m sad at the reflection of this condition of man’s soul, grieved at the lack of mercy. Lord, when Your Spirit lives in me–let Your mercy show. Help me to replace grudge with mercy, spite with kindness, hatred with love.

Courtney (66books365)

 

 

 

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1Chronicles19,20; 1Peter 1; Jonah 3; Luke 8

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 3-9

Abundant Blessings this Thanksgiving Day,

Cindi

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