Monthly Archives: January 2015

Exodus 7-9; Psalm 105; Ephesians 1

God hates slavery whatever form it takes. When the people he called his own were bent and broken by their Egyptian masters, he heard their cries and altered the rules of nature to bring about their freedom. It wasn’t enough for the Israelites to cry out to God and beg him for freedom. When He delivered, they had to act quickly, pack their bags and head off for a new life and an unfamiliar destination.

In the western world, sometimes slave masters are less obvious. Maybe I am serving a certain standard of living, a perceived sense of control, the good opinion of others, a dysfunctional habit. Those masters are all rooted in sin and lead to death. When I serve any master but God, I turn from the one who loves me, sings over me, delights in me. Why, (smack palm to forehead) do I do that? But the good news is that God never turns away from me.

Once again, God altered the rules. He broke the power of sin and death through his beloved Son’s death on the cross and resurrection:

In his love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  Ephesians 1:5-8

Like the Israelites, I am called to fulfill my end of the deal by leaving my former masters. Freedom usually involves risk and new destinations (sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical). I may stumble and fall when I leave what has held me captive; on occasion, I may even look back and foolishly long for the certainty that chains brought, but by God’s grace I continue to turn back to follow the one who promised me life abundant (John 10:10).

Lord Jesus, Thank you for freeing me from that which held me prisoner. Show me what it means to follow you today.

Klueh

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Exodus 1-3; Galatians 5

Passages in Exodus tell of oppression and slavery; of Moses–set apart, saved, chosen; of relationship with God, his direction.

Moses who calls out, “Here I am!”

When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

Here I am!” Moses replied. Exodus 3:4, NLT. (emphasis mine)

And later wonders, “Who am I?”

11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11, NLT. (emphasis mine)

This is what God said:

12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” Exodus 3:12, NLT.

Sometimes if a calling seems clear, uncertainty and insecurity slow a pace and cloud a vision. An enemy can take up residence in thought or stand just close enough behind and say, “You’re not ( … ) enough.”

In 2011, I stood outside of a house and looked out upon a snowy landscape. I said to God, “If you want us here, I trust in you to make it happen.” Today, I worship him from that very place where he delivered me physically, emotionally, spiritually. Throughout the journey, I often wondered who am I? I learned throughout that God was with me, and that he is (…) enough.

These words are the reminder I need.

Thank you, Lord.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 49, 50; Galatians 4

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:19-20

I can think of many times in my life when the enemy, working through other people, has tried to harm me in some way or another, whether physically or emotionally. In the midst of the experience it is hurtful and frustrating. It often leads to feelings of hopelessness and a total loss of control. In my flesh, the aggravation distracts me and I tend take my focus off of God, putting it instead on the circumstances that surround me.

When I realize that I have stopped looking to God, which sad to say sometimes takes longer than I’d like to admit, I know something has to change. I must put my eyes on Jesus. When I refocus on what matters I am more able to look objectively at what is really happening, and more often than not I can see God working through the difficulties. I can feel His hand on me guiding and comforting. I experience His grace and mercy and peace. He gives me wisdom for the situation and encouragement in the trial.

But sometimes it takes longer for me to see. Sometimes I fail to look to God until the situation has passed and I only see the truth through hindsight. I am grateful that hindsight is 20/20. It allows me to see the whole picture, the big picture. It allows me to see exactly where God was using the state of affairs to teach and grow me and it allows me see where He was carrying me through when I felt like I was all alone. It allows me to see the good that God produced from something horrible in my life and made it turn out for the best.

I truly believe that everything that I go through, even the bad experiences, are going to be used by God in moments of my future for the good of myself and/or someone else. I know that every challenge I survive gives me experiential knowledge that I can pass on; it gives me authority over an area of struggle and allows me to stand in the gap for others.

The enemy wants to kill and destroy me, but God redeems and restores everything in my life, using the enemy’s plans to harm me and brings something wonderful out of the ashes of my life.

Yesappa, Thank You.

 

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

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Genesis 47-48; Psalms 25; Galatians 3

Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Mannasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” Gen 48:17-20 NKJV

Joseph was upset that his father was blessing his younger child. He tried to move his hand. Maybe he thought that his blind father had made a mistake? But, his father was clear that he was going to bless Joseph’s younger son first. How many times have I tried to control things with my own hands? Jumping ahead of what God has in store? Trying to change how things play out in my life? Instead of surrendering all to my Father, because he knows what is best? This is when I find that my eyes are on myself and not on God and His plans for my life. In these times I find myself in a tangled mess and the only way to get out is to look to Him.

My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses!” Psalm 25:15-17 NKJV

Thank you Father for the freedom that I have in You.

But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal 3:11, 28-29 NKJV

I want to surrender all to You Lord.

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You…Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me You r paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation.” Psalms 25:1-5 NKJV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 45-46; Psalm 108; Galatians 2

Have you ever felt that Satan was out to get you and your family?  Or when you are at your most vulnerable state that the chaos of this world hurls more bullets and bombs? It is as if the onslaught of a great wind is knocking me down sideways when I walk and waking me in the dead of sleep with the raw voice of impending disaster. Deliverance seems to be the theme of my life these days, and my prayers are pleas for God to deliver me and my family from first one thing then another.

Even before my daughter died last November, the events leading up to her death were traumatic and emotional.  Now it seems harm is crouching behind every cracked door. For instance, yesterday morning I nearly was involved in a multiple car crash on the interstate. If I had not left my house later than is my custom to do, I would have been on the interstate instead of looking at the traffic backed up to from exit to the next. Later that day we drove in snow and sleet that started at the same time we were able to get on the road for a trip out of town.  Then in the middle of the night when my husband and I were sound asleep in a hotel room, several men in the next room woke us with loud shouting, threats to kill us, and forceful shoving on the door of our room.  We spent the next two hours barricaded behind our door waiting for the police to make an arrest so that we could flee this dreadful scene.

Later at the restaurant, the waitress asked how our morning was going, and I said, “Not too good, but I’ve already been through the worst thing that could happen.” She was kind with her apology, but said, “No, things could always be worse.” At that point I tried to reconcile the treacherous road of calamity in the flesh that tries to refute the belief that God is in control, that He loves me, and that my prayers for protection will be heard.

Unfortunately, I could not find the words to pray this time. Instead, my mind raced through the Scriptures copied here:

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

Genesis 45:8 “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

Genesis 46:2-4 And God spoke to Jacob in a vision in the night, saying, “I am God…I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph [Jacob’s son] will close your eyes.”

Psalm 108:4 For Thy lovingkindness is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reaches to the skies…be exalted…that Thy beloved may be delivered.

What I do not know how to pray I do know how to believe.  That is, belief does not originate with my prayers – prayers which may or may not be according to the Spirit of God.  But God’s word, infallible, irresistible, and irrefutable, stands solid regardless of what I cannot see or feel.  Therefore, I will close my eyes and rest in His assurance that He will deliver me.  I pray His Word over you, too!

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Genesis 43-44; Psalm 24; Galatians 1

Joseph was abused and sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by an owner he faithfully served and then forgotten in an Egyptian prison. Joseph chose to see God delivering him from dire circumstances and enjoyed the favor and blessing of God through Pharaoh. When his brothers found their way back into his life, he struggled with the trauma of years past and entertained the option of taking revenge. Spoiler alert: he chose to accept God as being the One in ultimate control of his life, not his older brothers who abused their power by egregiously wronging him. Forgiveness won. God won. What was true for Joseph, is true for me.

I wish I could say that I have been that wise in my life. I can think of more than a few times that I have held onto a hard knot of anger towards others who I thought had wronged me. My mind would get to the scene of the offense and I would hit PLAY, STOP, REVERSE, PLAY repeatedly. Sometime during the craziness, I realized that perhaps I was ultimately angry at God for allowing the whole situation to take place. When I confessed the anger, God graciously forgave and soothed my aching heart.  I had held onto the pain and had seen the power others had to wound as being greater than Christ’s love for me. In truth, the power of God’s love for me wins every time in every situation.

I think Paul understood this to an even far greater extent than I. Perhaps that’s what enabled him to suffer harsh abuse and yet continue to preach the love of God. Knowing and trusting in God’s sovereignty freed him to honestly say,

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10.

Knowing that God was sovereign allowed David to wonder,

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors that the King of glory might come in.

Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of Glory.

 Psalm 24:8-10

Holy Spirit, I confess that I can be quick to hold onto anger and am unforgiving. Teach me to forgive as you forgave. May I rest in your sovereignty and love. Help me to forgive as you forgave. May I be more concerned about following you than what others may think, say or do.

Klueh 

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Genesis 41-42 and Mark 16

Genesis 41 & 42 spoke of Joseph having Faith and Hope in God no matter what he was going through.  Joseph trusted and still had Faith and Hope in God, even after being sold into slavery by his brothers and being in prison in Egypt.  Because he kept that Faith, Hope, and Belief in God; he still told other prisoners the meaning of their dreams and gave credit to God for the discernment.  Pharaoh believed Joseph’s dream interpretation.  Pharaoh said that Joseph had the spirit of God in him and placed him in charge of all of Egypt, and gave him a wife who gave him 2 sons.  God picked Joseph up out of the bleak situation and restored him to a respected and wonderful life.  Joseph could have used his new found power to get revenge on his brothers when given the opportunity, but he showed wisdom and generosity, forgiveness, and love.  He gave to his brothers the best even though they had betrayed him and sold him into slavery.  He offered forgiveness, generosity, and love.  It rendered him a peaceful and blessed life.

Wow, would anyone say that I have the spirit of God in me?  I want that to be a character trait of my life.  That will take some humble time in front of God.  Focus is my word for the year.  Guess that is a good thing to Focus on.  I want to use mercy, love, and forgiveness like I use air.

 

Mark 16 spoke of the miracle of Jesus rising from the dead.  Jesus wanted everyone that had seen Him to preach and tell others about Him:  To share the gospel all over the world and lead others to know Christ.  In verse 20b, (NIRV)“The Lord worked with them.  And he backed up his word by the signs that went with it.”

verse 20b,(AMP) “while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied (it). Amen (so be it).”

Both of these scripture passages are speaking to me directly about my life:  Practically screaming to me!  I feel broken in relation to my children as all of them are at different stages.  I have a 25 year old daughter who has made some choices that were not good and who’s trying to get back on track with God and I need to forgive again, and love.  My son is 22 years old and we have had a disagreement on things and is also having to sit out a semester of college due to finances.  I need to keep reaching out to him in love.  My youngest child who is 15 and we seem to be butting heads daily.  My prayer is that I show them God’s love every day and let them see Christ in me.  My husband is in need of a job and these past 2 years have been extremely hard.  God has given me partnership in a new business and this year has been great;  each day my goal is to share God’s love with others and especially my family, and God will give me what I need to get me up out of this terrible pit of financial despair and restore hope and renewal for my husband and our family.  Trust, Hope, and Faith in God is what will get me through and lead me to restoration and peace.

Debi

(guest on 66 Books)

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