Monthly Archives: February 2013

Exodus 6, Luke 9, I Corinthians 10, & Job 23

Who is this Unchangeable God of the Bible? 

Exodus 6:  The first time I met Him, I was awestruck; stopped dead in my reckless wandering through youthful ignorance.  He was some supernatural Protector, God Almighty, but He quickly faded from my view.  Like the wandering Israelites in the desert, my eyes returned to the dusty path I trudged.

Then He came to me again sieved as I was through narrow circumstances; this time knowing it was my time, no other would do.  He became the great I AM.  My head bowed, kneeling, I poured out years of pain and shame, never lifting my eyes for fear of seeing God’s disapproving gaze.  Yet, never able to turn away.

Luke 9: Led on by gentle shepherds, years took me through peaceful places, a soothing journey with my young family, to the Christ of God, and I thought, “He is like me; He knows me, this Son of Man.”  Jesus Christ unraveled my dread of God Almighty and taught me to call Him “Father.”  Adopted, I could dance and sing and spread cheer and charity.

I Corinthians 10: I could have drawn you His picture.  But then, just as J.I. Packard wrote in Knowing God, images mislead men and images dishonor God, “for they obscure His glory.” My mind had created the God of my dreams.  I liked Him a lot, but He was not always easy to understand.  He did not seem to care as much about me later in life.  He would not give me the things I thought were promised, no, obligated by Him.  In fact, I suspect He took away some of my most prized possessions.

Job 23: Now, no longer is God the comforter of self-centered me; He has changed back to God Almighty; then again, maybe He has always been Unchangeable God.  It is I who has waffled in complacency and ruffled my own feathers with terminal expectations.  Dead in my circular wanderings, if not for the defining, revealing, inviting gaze of this God, Unique, that calls me to change.

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Exodus 5; Luke 8; Job 22; 1 Corinthians 9

Being with my husband in a crowd is a wonderful thing.  He is at least a foot taller than I am and outweighs me by a hundred pounds. He has a fantastic view of where he is going and people step aside to let him through. When in crowds, it is best to simply grab hold of the back of his shirt and let him lead. He moves through crowds like a hot knife in butter and I follow, shirt in fist.  Not once, has Jim turned around to tell me to let go.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,  but no one could heal her.  She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.  Luke 8:42-44.

Not being tall in stature or large in size,  I sympathize with this woman.  It is easy to blend in and become part of the herd.  What would it hurt to have a little hope and anonymously reach out to just touch Jesus’s cloak?  Who would know? And maybe, just maybe,  she would be healed.  Changed.  Haven’t we all prayed that prayer and dared to dream?  When Jesus asks who touched him,  Peter offers the reality check of the pressing crowd, but Jesus persists. He desires so much more for this woman.

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her,  “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”  Luke 8:47-48.

Knowing that she had no right to do what she did and outright fear brought her knees to knocking, but did not prevent her from stepping out of the crowd and falling at the feet of Jesus.  Her reward was great.  Jesus honors her and calls her daughter and sends her on her way in peace.  My heart aches for the same gifts from Jesus and he has never disappointed.  When I feel alone,  confused and not sure of my way,  I pray and in my mind’s eye,  I don’t just reach out and touch the cloak of Jesus,  I grab it,  just like I grab Jim’s shirt when we are in a crowd.  Not once has Jesus told me to let go.  Not once has he lead me down a wrong path.  He continues to fill my heart with peace,  even when I don’t know where I am being led.  For this, I will always be thankful.

Kathy

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Ex. 4; Luke 7; Job 21; I Cor. 8

Moses was concerned, doubtful, worried–what if they don’t believe him? What if he got tongue tied? Can’t you send someone else?

But it’s God who empowers. It’s God who changes hearts.

He can turn a staph into a snake, and water into blood. He can take a leader’s heart and make it hard.

Later, these signs would not immediately sway a Pharaoh’s hardened heart, but in this chapter, it’s love that brings about worship.

29 Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together. 30 Aaron told them everything the Lord had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. 31 Then the people of Israel were convinced that the Lord had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. Exodus 4:31 NLT, emphasis mine.

In Luke, Jesus has been healing and raising the dead, and John asks, “Are you the one?”

But it’s the woman bent over the Lord’s feet, pouring out perfume and tears that underscores: it’s love that brings about worship. He knew her many sins and didn’t turn away from her. In fact, he forgave her.

Paul tells in 1 Corinthians 8:1B: It is love that strengthens the church.

The prettiest words, the best arguments, the fanciest decorations, the strongest resistance–no, no–exclusion, judgment, grudge, spite–matching T-shirts, Facebook pages, Tweets in 140 characters or less–they don’t touch love. I can’t Photoshop it. I can’t Pin it. I can’t sell it. I can only give it away.

It is the heart’s hearing of concern and the seeing of someone’s misery. It is the presence in a sinful life repented, and a forgiveness of wrongs. Oh, I can come up with any number of reasons and excuses to deny it and dispute it (it’s too hard;  it’s complicated; do you know what they did; I don’t even like them)–but the barest essence of a life lived in faith is love.

What would your relationships be like if you treated every individual as a potential friend? This comes from Gary Chapman’s book Love as a Way of Life. I think of hurtful relationships, and can’t love shine there? God gives me opportunity to forgive and to love, and I can turn away and say, “Can’t you send someone else?” Like he used Aaron as Moses’ spokesman, he can use someone else for his glory.

But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it. Luke 7:35 NLT.

Lord, empower me, please, to serve you in the places you put me. Love draws people to you, to worship you. I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone getting to worship you–as my withholding of love or forgiveness is not a witness of my faith, but rather of my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Exodus 3, Luke 5, Job 20, 1 Cor 7

Marriage is not a place to “stand up to your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.” 1 Cor 7 MSG

Before Allen and I had kids we were a part of a group in our church for young married couples. During that time we wrote a legacy statement…After 16 years of marriage I still have it written on a pretty bookmark that our leader gave us. I don’t always look at it and will forget about it from time to time. But, I came across it the other day. It helps me to remember what is important to us….

Our Legacy – What we want our children to remember us for… That we always had time for them. That they were more important than our schedules or material possessions. That we loved them and each other with a love that comes from God. We were humble and admitted our need for Jesus. That we kept short accounts with each other and forgave each other and taught them about forgiveness by this example. They could come to us and know that there was nothing they could do that would cause us to stop loving them. We were real and authentic towards each other and them. We always had faith that God would provide for us. That they would think about us when they heard this verse, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1a

Time, love, forgiveness….

My 4 year old Ian told me that they talked about forgiveness in pre-school and than he asked, “Do you forgive me?”I think about how easy it is to forgive that adorable smiling face of his. But, how hard it can be to show forgiveness toward my enemies. Even to where I can“Count myself blessed every time someone cuts me down or throws me out, every time someone smears or blackens my name to discredit me.” Luke 6 MSG

Am I giving that kind of forgiveness…the same undeserved forgiveness that Jesus showed me?

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. Love generously…I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never-I promise-regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst.” Luke 6 MSG

Dear Jesus, Thank you for your forgiveness towards me. Help me to remember how much I have been forgiven, so that I can love and forgive others with the forgiveness and love that You show me.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 6

Now a man from the family of Levi married a woman who was also from the family of Levi. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw how wonderful the baby was, she hid him for three months. But after three months she was not able to hide the baby any longer, so she got a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar so that it would float. She put the baby in the basket. Then she put the basket among the tall stalks of grass at the edge of the Nile River. The baby’s sister stood a short distance away to see what would happen to him. Exodus 2:1-4 (NCV)

 

When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Take the boat into deep water, and put your nets in the water to catch some fish.”

Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish, and we caught nothing. But you say to put the nets in the water, so I will.” When the fishermen did as Jesus told them, they caught so many fish that the nets began to break. They called to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full that they were almost sinking. Luke 5:4-7 (NCV)

Just then, some men were carrying on a mat a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and put him down before Jesus. But because there were so many people there, they could not find a way in. So they went up on the roof and lowered the man on his mat through the ceiling into the middle of the crowd right before Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke5:18-20 (NCV)

The first sermon I ever preached was about faith. It was a message about the need to stop trusting what we see around us, the fear, the uncertainty of the world, the discouragement of circumstances, and put all confidence on God. It was about putting a foot out into the unknown, into what is not seen or understood, and taking a leap of faith.

There was a time in my life not so long ago where I moved in that place of faith almost effortlessly. I took each moment by moment ready to do anything I felt Holy Spirit leading me to do, whether it made sense to me or not. Even though flickers of doubt or worry might flit across my mind, the strength of my faith in that time squashed those notions like mosquitos.

I took giant leaps of faith, some of which lead me to walk away from the life I had dreamed for myself, attend ministry school in a different state, and eventually move to the other side of the planet to reach out to the lost in India. It has been more than I could imagine.

But, I’ll be honest.

Recently, I have been struggling with faith; not with my faith in God, but in my faith that I will be able to rise above my frustrations, my situations in life. I’ve been struggling with the doubts that I have about who I really am in Christ and whether He really does have a good future planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11). http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jer%2029:11&version=NCV

In my weakness, I have pondered all the things one thinks about went the enemy is trying to win on the battlefield. I’ll admit that I have listened to the lies whispered in my ear. I can say that I have felt very defeated, especially in the areas of joy, hope, and peace.

As much as I am able, amidst the demands of life with two small children, I read and study the Bible, I pray, and I worship the King. I realize that all I am able to do is hold on tight to what I believe to be the truth, whether I am feeling it or not. I grasp onto the knowledge that the conditions of my life are much better than many of the circumstances of the people of the Bible.

I know that my Defender lives,
and in the end he will stand upon the earth.
Even after my skin has been destroyed,
in my flesh I will see God.

I will see him myself;
I will see him with my very own eyes.
How my heart wants that to happen!
 Job 19:25-27(NCV)

It is very interesting to me that as I am writing, I am remembering promises that God spoke in the Bible and remembering that they will not come back to Him void. I am remembering that truths that He has whispered to me with His still, small voice. And, I keep hearing the words to the song “My Redeemer Lives.”

…you were washed clean. You were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11 (NCV)

I might not be in the same place as before. My leaps of faith may look more like hops. But, if nothing else, I can hold on to the truth that He will never leave me nor forsake me because I am His, washed in His blood that was shed at Calvary.

I know that I can’t do any of it by myself, but I can trust that He will help me when I ask.

Yesappa, Help me! Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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