Monthly Archives: May 2013

Num. 35; Ps. 79; Isa. 27; 1 John 5

I have always struggled with confidence.I am constantly comparing my “ugly” insides to someone else’s “pretty” outsides.  I question myself every day.  “Am I good enough?”, “Do I give enough?”, “Did I say too much?” and so on and so forth.  Every single day I struggle with this.  There is a fear that I am a failure.

I often forget what God has said about me – there are so many promises right in scripture that I need to cling to… I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps139) or God has a plan for me (Jer 29:11 – a little out of context but a promise nonetheless) and in our reading of 1 John today God tells me that I need to be confident in my salvation, in the fact that God listens to me and in overcoming my struggles with sin.

1 John 5:13 tell me that I can be confident that if I believe in Jesus I will have eternal life.  “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”  Verse 5 says that I can be confident because through believing in Jesus I am his child.  What a relief.  I do not have to stress about being good enough; I just have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is and I have confidence in my salvation – in that fact that I am his child (also see  Act 16:31 and Romans 6:23).

Not only can I be confident in my salvation, according to 1 John 5:14-15, I can have confidence in my prayers.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  Alright, so there is a little catch.  If I ask “according to his will” he will hear me (not give me – but hear me and consider what I am asking!).  I can be confident that God will hear and consider my prayer and that he will give me whatever I ask within his will.  God is all knowing and even though I believe that something is right for me right now – God sees the bigger picture and therefore might not answer me the way I want him to.  However, according to vs. 15 if what I am asking for is within his will then he will not only hear my request but he will grant my request.  At this, I need to trust his judgment and be confident that he is God.

Another confidence that I can be assured of according to 1 John 5 is that God is helping me overcome the world through him.  Verse 18 starts out saying “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin…”  Uh oh… there is a problem because I sin all the time and yet I believe that I am born of God…  The verse goes on to say “…the One (note – capital “O”) who was born of God keeps them safe and the evil one cannot harm them.”  I can be confident that God (my father) is keeping me safe.”  Verse 19 says that the “whole world is under the control of the evil one”.  Sin causes harm – maybe embarrassment, maybe punishment and this chapter says that sin may cause death.  There is nothing more that Satan wants then to embarrass me or punish me or to take my confidence in God away from me.  When I lack the confidence that God’s “got this” and turn to myself then I make myself vulnerable to falling into what the world wants me to do or be and not finding confidence in what God wants me to do or be.  When I struggle with this I can look to Jesus for “understanding (vs. 20) as He has already “overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I will always struggle with being confident in who I am. When I take my eyes off of God and look around at everyone else I struggle.  (Perhaps that is where vs. 21 comes into play?)  However, when I am basking in the presence of God, seeking to do what he has asked me (vs. 2) and holding onto the promises that he loves me (John 3:16), that he hears me and that he has overcome the world,  I can find peace and total confidence in all that he has made me to be. 

Amy W. (gueston66books)

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38-72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2034;%20Ps.78:38-72;%20Isa.%2026;%201%20John%204&version=NKJV

Numbers 34             Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries.’ These are the ones the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan. V.1-2,29

            The Lord God, the only Owner of all, has the authority and exercises His authority in giving inheritance to whomever He chooses. God’s commands are specific in detail. Who am I to not obey Him in using His gifts? How do ignore His spiritual, physical and intellectual gifts and not use them for His designed purpose and glory? When do I ignore the responsibility He has given me?  Where is the territory God has entrusted me to “rule” under His authority by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit? Do I hold myself and those assigned to me, such as my children, family, friends, neighbors, everyone I encounter, so to see, sense and be drawn to the Love of God by His Son Jesus Christ in order for their eventual surrender to follow the Lord Jesus? Do I live and speak the Word of God in love? How often do I pray for them? Lord, thank You for trusting me. Help me to honor You more.

Psalm 78:38-72                   But He (Lord God), being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them.  …  How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!  They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy, … For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. When God heard this, He was furious, And greatly abhorred Israel, …  He also gave His people over to the sword, And was furious with His inheritance. … He put them to a perpetual reproach.

               Lord God, I am grateful that Your mercies are new every morning. That You forgive my iniquities as quickly as I repent to You. Thank You for Your mercy on those who have not yet repented to You, by Your patience for them to come to You before their time here on earth is over. Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 3:9

            But chose the tribe of Judah, …He also chose David His servant, … To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

            Lord God, You sent Your one and only Son Jesus to be born of the line of King David, of Judah to shepherd Your people! Thank You merciful King of kings! John 10

Isaiah 26        You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

              As I see destruction around me, God’s judgment for rebellion, my heart and mind are safe because I trust in You, Lord God. Proverbs  3:4-6   Your love for me compels me to love them all.

            The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. … With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

My soul grieves for the unrepentant –

Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.

1 John 4                    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God … Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

              The culture these days is wrought with deceiving spirits. May I cling to Your Word (Romans 12:1-2) in my mind and heart to abide in You Lord God. John 15

            In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  

I rejoice in this!!

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  We love Him because He first loved us.

              I continue to proclaim, to serve, to pray. It is endless: the work and love that is involved in being humble under You King of kings! Yet You refresh me by the fellowship with Your children! The mind of Christ Jesus is powerful within them! Thank You Lord God for Your Son and all His people!

You are of God, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than He Who is in the world.   By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Bible Insights –

1- Exodus 19:5; Psalm 50:10; Joshua 1:2-9; Deuteronomy 28; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51; Psalm 46:10; Romans 12:1-2; John 15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Num 33; Ps. 78:1-37; Isa. 25; 1 John 3

Just a shift in perspective… WHAT a gift!

I am continuously amazed at just how much I receive back when I listen to my Father’s words. As an engineer, the thought of getting more out than you put into any system defies logic and proves problematic mathematically. And yet, doesn’t our Father do that in so many areas of our life? Create a miracle from the weeds in our life? The question is once we experience the miracle, are we mature enough to recognize our Savior as deserving of all the glory, or do we take all the credit for doing something wonderful through our own effort?

For the past several weeks, I’ve been serving alongside other men at the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore on Monday evenings. There, we’ve been working with a group of 60+ men from all walks of life who have been struggling with addictions of all kinds. These men desire a different life, but as with many things in life, change is slow. Often times for me, at least, I get frustrated with the change process, wanting the results in my own time and not God’s time. I had been more discouraged of late because I so wanted something, anything, to show that my presence on all those Monday evenings was worth it. So, I started to pray “God… please help me to know that what I’m doing matters…” and still nothing. Did God really hear what I was asking? Then, I began to think… if we ask God for patience, does He give us patience, or does He give us a chance to be patient? If we ask God for courage, would He give us courage, or would He give us opportunities to be courageous? If we want/need to know the worth of serving, would He offer us words of affirmation and good feelings inside, or would He offer us meaningful opportunities to serve in obedience to His word so we could truly experience the love He expressed to His disciples in John 13:1-17? Perhaps my perspective on the issue was a bit off… perhaps changing my perspective was part of where the answer could be found…

That night, my brothers and I served at Helping Up Mission by washing the feet of over 60 men. Next to the birth of my 2 girls, it had to have been one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to witness. It broke all of us… to be in a place to serve others just as Christ did to His disciples, broke us! To experience the divine nature manifested in God’s children (1 John 3:1-18); in their being like Christ (1 John 3:4-10); in loving my brother (1 John 3:11-18); that through practical obedience we can have reassurance and confidence (1 John 3:10-14); that answer to prayer depends on obedience (1 John 3:22). My heart was filled with such incredible joy and satisfaction that words do not do justice to the gift that I had been given that evening… that my perspective was off, and by changing my perspective away from being ME-centered to simply serving in obedience, I was able to honor my Lord and as a benefit, become filled with a love inside I had only read about up to that point, and I am so thankful!

The men of Helping Up Mission who participated in this event that night still speak of what happened in that small room. I know it was something I’ll never forget and continue to look for more opportunities to honor my Lord as I seek not to please myself, but rather to model my Lord who came to serve others through opportunities to love each other unconditionally in obedience (Ps. 78:7, Isa. 25:1-5). Men… for those of you who want to experience this amazing love, consider washing your wife or fiancé’s feet… what better way to express your love and to honor and respect her, to demonstrate a humility of the heart and character by kneeling in front of her, and to communicate to her that you will be there for her through not only the good, but through all the bad things of life. God is SO good!

Amen!!

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms

Numbers 32; Psalm 77; Isaiah 24; 1 John 2

  • Sin and disobedience. In Numbers, Moses is mad–and he reminds the people what their disobedience cost them … desert wandering for forty years. The promised land is before them, don’t shrink back. Do what you say you’ll do.
  • The psalmist feels abandoned. But then he remembers all God has done. He remembers that God brought them out of slavery. God even held the waters apart and made a way for them that they didn’t know existed.
  • Isaiah shows the wasteland and the decay of sin. But still, I hear the worship song rising up.
  • First John 2, encouragement not to sin. But if we do, we have an advocate who pleads our case.

Disobedience. It holds back from God’s blessings. It isolates and wastes.

But I love that God makes a way–through his own son, and who would have ever imagined?

All kinds of things call and divide–people who want to lead astray with lies; the world and temporal values; my very own cravings that will fade away.

Life is found in Christ.

He is the way that God made, the one who saved us from the slavery of sin. God’s Spirit lives in me, to speak truth into my life–that I can know God, have fellowship with him, and please him.

26 I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. 27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. 1 John 2:26-28 NLT (emphasis mine)

Lord, I’m so thankful that I can call upon you any time of day and be near you. I’m finding more and more, that as the days seem crazy–peace comes not from an accomplished to-do, but time with you. I want to be open and obedient to your promptings. You are my provider, my strength, my friend.

Courtney (66books365)

Listening to: Endlessly.

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Num. 31; Ps. 75, 76; Isa. 23; 1 John 1

“We praise You, God, we praise You, for Your Name is near; people tell of Your wonderful deeds. You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity. When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm”” Psalm 75:1-2 NIV

These words are hard to speak with any measure of enthusiasm when things are not going well.  When the world seems to be spinning out of control or when tragedy strikes I have trouble believing it.  When things happen like what occurred on Monday in Moore, Oklahoma many begin to wonder just how much God is in control.  It causes us to question how God could allow such things to happen, especially when it involves the loss of children.  There have been other times in my life where I have lost friends or family and this is where my heart was taken.

But honestly, I can’t have it both ways.  Yes God is sovereign and all things happen because he allows them too, but free will has determined that life is going to be unpredictable and often messy.  When man first sinned in the garden, we decided that we wanted to do things our way and the fall has brought with it many consequences.  This includes the storms of life which take many forms.  God does not leave us to ourselves though.  He wants to walk through all of these things with us and draw us to Him.

For me, music has always had a special place in my heart and allows me to put things in perspective.  God speaks to my soul through great songs.  So I would like to share this song with you all because it has helped me.

God, help us to have faith.  Help us to praise you no matter what.  Help us to be the church to a lost world.  Help us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the broken.

Allen (allen4myfamily)

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