Monthly Archives: August 2013

I Samuel 16, Romans 14, Lamentations 1, & Luke 21

My world. No, it’s Your world and me in it.  How do I get this confused? You would think after walking so many years in the Light of Christ that the concept of being an alien in this world would be a solid belief, yet I find myself sunk deep in the muck of my desires, permeated with the details of being involved in all that goes on around me.  I could never be a Mother Theresa.  Not because I don’t care for the disenfranchised, but where would I find electricity to plug in my hairdryer; how could I afford makeup, and there would be no need to wear sexy boots.  Don’t get me wrong; I would spend a week or even a month roughing it on a mission trip or helping a friend or family member.  I might even give up a weekend to help a stranger move or feed a crowd.

But I fear there is something missing in my DNA when it comes to full-fledged, sold out, surrendered body, soul, and mind to the things of God.  I worry that I am more like King Saul than his replacement, David.  Saul could not seem to do everything God commanded because he was self-absorbed. God finally told Saul to step aside and let another take his place.

So in my effort to prove I have a heart that beats only for God (so I can be like King David), I have swung the hammer of law to crush the liberty of others.  Just ask my daughter or my ex.  It has seemed more important to be righteous than to be gracious.  Oh, and giving grace can feel soooo very gracious.  Yuck!

Like Jeremiah in Lamentations wrote, “The yoke of my transgressions was bound; they were woven by His hand and thrust upon my neck; He made my strength fail.”  Yet, I thank Him for that.  There is this side of me that longs to be led serenely trusting Christ’s words and revelation. Though I may not have a natural ability to follow the God of my life, I am urged to keep submitting to Him.  Because of this desire, I believe His Holy Spirit spurs me on to love in the midst of external turmoil or the humiliation of internal weakness.  Christ tells us that He is coming again and that we need to rid ourselves of any hindrance to recognizing His appearance. If the destruction of my world is necessary to the salvation of my soul, then so be it.

 

Janet

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1 Samuel; Romans 13; Jeremiah 52; Psalm 31

Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another,  for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.  Romans 13:8

GRACE.  It’s been my watchword lately. Grace is God’s love at work among us.

Grace is at work as I stand in line at Walgreen’s. The woman next to me tells the man behind her that she is pregnant by immaculate conception. Jesus has told her that if she is sinless, she will have twins. Ooo, a mix of mental illness and bad theology. He replies with acceptance and gentle respect, “I have always known you to have a beautiful heart.”  She smiles back. Grace is at work.

I am humbled. The burden of a letter-of-the-law, stone cold heart that can ruthlessly judges others as well as myself often brings me to my knees. What is true for the woman at Walgreen’s is true for me. Whether our theology is just a hair or maybe miles off, the acceptance and grace of God demonstrated by others invites us home to a place of healing. It is then that the law Jesus came to fulfill is satisfied in our lives.

The older I get, the more quickly life seems to speed by.  There is a greater sense of urgency to have the grace of Jesus rule moment by moment. I pray that I am more aware of the grace and love of God at work in and around me and less distracted by who gets it right and who doesn’t. Come Lord Jesus, come.

Kathy

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1 Samuel 14; Romans 12; Jeremiah 51; Psalm 30

There’s a Hebrews verse that has spoken to me over the years. In Romans 12, I hear Paul from the sidelines, “Run your race!”

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT.

Run your race.

 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability …speak out, serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, show kindness (and do it gladly). Romans 12:6-8.

Run your race.

Really love. Hate wrong. Honor each other. Work hard. Keep praying. Romans 12:9-13.

Run your race.

Bless those who persecute you. Live in harmony. Never take revenge. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:14-21.

Run your race.

The running is sweaty and messy and painful and ugly … but sometimes the view is beautiful; and the breeze is refreshing; and you meet new friends along the way; and you know that you aren’t alone. Or forsaken.

Run.

Father God, I don’t know the course, but you do–and it is good and pleasing and perfect, your will. Even on the hardest days, where would I ever want to be but in your will? Thank you for loving me the way I am, in progress. You created me–the messy parts and the beautiful parts and the quirky parts. I want to keep my eyes fixed on you, Author and Perfecter. Help me to throw off the things that hold me back from living the life you’ve called me to.

Courtney (66books365)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1 NLT.

 

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1 Sam 13; Rom 11; Jer 50; Psalm 28,29

My pastor said something in church on Sunday that stayed with me… “We supply the faith. God supplies the fruit.  We are responsible to be faithful.  God is sovereign,we yield the results to Him.”

There are times when I am confused, overwhelmed, feeling stuck. But, I am reminded that in those times, when I want to pull back, is when I most need to press forward into Him. Knowing that He is sovereign and has a good plan for my life…

The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is my covenant with them, When I take away their sins…Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:26,27;33-36 NKJV

Thank you Jesus that I don’t deserve anything you have done or do for me. But, you do it anyway, because of your great love for me…

To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications. When I cry to You, When I lift my hands to your holy sanctuary…Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him” Psalm 28:1,2&7 NKJV

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters, The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:1-4&11 NKJV

Thank you Jesus for who You are and for Your faithfulness in my life.

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Luke 17

I can say this about them: They really try to follow God, but they do not know the right way. Because they did not know the way that God makes people right with him, they tried to make themselves right in their own way. So they did not accept God’s way of making people right. Christ ended the law so that everyone who believes in him may be right with God. Romans 10:2-4 (NCV)

Samuel answered, “Don’t be afraid. It’s true that you did wrong, but don’t turn away from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Idols are of no use, so don’t worship them. They can’t help you or save you. They are useless! For his own sake, the Lord won’t leave his people. Instead, he was pleased to make you his own people…You must honor the Lord and truly serve him with all your heart. Remember the wonderful things he did for you! 1 Samuel 12:20-22; 24 (NCV)

All people in the core of their beings are searching for more. We desire to fill a gap in our lives that nothing in the world can satisfy. All of the things we seek out to satiate the desire for wholeness can never be compared to the fullness that is found in God.

In my own life, though I was raised in a Christian home, I didn’t truly understand what was being offered to me. I thought I was following God because I memorized scripture verses, went to church, to Christian school, I did my ‘obligatory’ Bible studies…I even said a sinner’s prayer, or two.

I used to believe that following God was about the rituals, the stand up, kneel down, stand up, sit down liturgy. I used to think that if I didn’t have a ‘quiet time’, didn’t read my Bible every day, didn’t  a, b, or, c…that God was going to be angry with me, that I was going to end up in hell, after all. I used to feel judged by the ‘big man in the sky’ for every little thing I did, or didn’t do. When I sinned, I figured I wasn’t worthy of His love in the first place, and no matter how hard I tried, I would always be a failure.

But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. Romans 10:14 (NCV)

I was searching for that something more, knowing that I felt empty and frustrated that I couldn’t find what I knew was out there.

During a divine encounter, a friend assured me that no matter how long I had been separated from Jesus, all I needed to do was believe. All I needed was to turn around and ‘see’ His arms outstretched, waiting for me to run into them; to trust that His mercies are new every morning.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NCV)

I chose to run toward Him. I chose to believe. I chose to lay my life before the Living God who IS Love and in that moment, I experienced grace. My perception was forever altered, my understanding of relationship with Christ redeemed just as my spirit was restored and my mind was renewed.

Christ is my friend, someone who I want to spend time with and who wants to spend time with me. My bond with Jesus is rooted in freedom, my value established by His sacrifice. Our connection is sealed with joy, jam-packed with love. In my human weakness, I am made strong; in my human failings, I am made perfect. I am in Him and His kingdom is within me.

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”

Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Everyone can experience fulfillment in Jesus. Everyone can experience His grace and His mercy. Everyone can experience His love. Will you join me in freedom?

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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

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1 Sam. 11; Rom. 9; Jer. 48; Ps. 25

Who wants to know a secret?  Who wants to be a trusted confidant?

While it’s not exactly on my résumé, I want to be thought of as someone who is safe enough to be trusted—I think we all would like to be thought of as “safe enough.

I believe God is looking for someone who can be trusted with a secret.  I believe He is searching for honorable, humble, and trustworthy people who long to follow His decrees and follow in His ways.  Those who get up early in the morning just to spend the first part of their day with the Father, I believe those are the one He’s searching for.  And when He’s found them, I believe He comes down from heaven and whispers His secrets into their hearts.  Secrets about His Word that He reveals to them by opening their eyes to the scripture as their eyes have never been opened before; secrets about His people and where He’d like them to go; secrets about how to love on His people and where and how to share His Name.  Secrets are shared between friends.  They are shared between confidants.  They are shared between loved ones.   They are shared between Father and sons and daughters.  They are shared between me and God.

Thank you, Father, for trusting me with your secrets.

The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant. ~ Psalm 25:14

Heather Potts5

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1 Samuel 10; Romans 8; Jeremiah 47; Psalm 23,24

Then Samuel took the flask of oil and poured it over Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance?” 1 Samuel 10:1

Saul was called to lead, he was prepared by God, he was anointed.  Samuel announced Saul as king.

Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Marti’s clan was chose,.  Finally Saul son of Kish was chosen, But when they looked for, he was not to be found.  Do they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said,  Yes he had hidden himself among the baggage. 1 Samuel 10:21-22

So why does he hide?  Did he fear that he was not capable of these responsibilities that God prepared him for? Do you think Saul doubted his abilities or God’s ability and wisdom?

Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched.  But some troublemakers said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts.  But Saul kept silent. 1 Samuel 10:26

Isn’t this typical that all leaders face criticism.  As Christians we stand out in a crowd,  we face criticism and there are many who despise us because of our faith.  Does that weaken our faith, make us fearful, less confident.  Does it deter us away from our task of speaking Gods word or instead does that make us that much stronger?

What then shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up  for us all- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Romans 8:31-33

I hope this post comes to mind the next time God calls me to lead.  I’ve always been told that God qualifies the called and that he doesn’t call the qualified.  But I’m human, my confidence buckles under criticism.  On second thought my confidence is non existent when it comes to leading.  And then I feel like a failure.  But then I have His word to set me upright and equipped for all challenges.  Just like those Weeble toys.  If we are grounded in His word, we will not be pushed down by our critics or our enemies.

This might be the first time I’ve ever thanked God for being bottom heavy!  Reference Romans 8:28  Yep, that might be stretching it a bit.

I’ll close with Psalms 23:5

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Cindi (rustiqueart)

from the archives, August 18, 2011

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