Monthly Archives: March 2016

Deuteronomy 15-18; Psalm 115; Luke 9

At the end of the seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites.”  The Lord will bless you as he has promised.  Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”Deuteronomy 15:1-10 NLT

Somewhere along the way I bought into the lie that if I had more, than the more generous I can be. If only I had more money, time, energy…than I could stop to talk to that person who needs Jesus, make a meal for the mom who just had a baby or give to that person in need.  He calls me to be a good steward of what He has given me, but he also asks me to have faith that He will supply all my needs. I have seen His faithfulness in the past. Maybe He is asking me to trust Him for today, even when I feel like I have nothing more to give.

But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there…Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!” Luke 9:13-17 NLT

The disciples didn’t think they had enough food to hand out. I think that is where Jesus wants me, so that He gets all the glory. Than I am not boasting over what I did, but instead saying…But, look what Jesus did in my life. He gave me so much more, even when I didn’t deserve it. He loves me that much. I think about the times when I have given a meal away and He has supplied that back to me. Or, when I didn’t think I had the energy to minister to someone, He gave me the time to refresh in His presence. I can rest in knowing that He knows what I need.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness…Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands…And those idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them. O Israel, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless those who fear the Lord, both great and lowly.” Psalm 115:1-13 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for canceling my debt on the cross. Thank you for the promises in your word. I praise You for who You are. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Deuteronomy 10-14, Psalm 5, Luke 8

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep commandments and statues of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?” 10:12-13

From the beginning the God’s plan has been all about love in fact, it’s the greatest love story ever told.  It’s not about following every command because we could never live up to his standards. It always was and always will be about loving him and having faith in his promises. The people of the Old Testament put their faith in the promise of Jesus. The people of the New Testament put their faith in the fulfillment of the promise. Either way, it was faith not the rules and regulations that earns salvation. The commandments were simply for their good; for our good! God knew it would all too easy for us to get distracted and turn from him. He knew it wouldn’t take much for us to turn our head to the right or to the left so he reminded us to purge the evil and meditate on his Word day and night.

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.” 11:18-22

God’s Word should be at the forefront of our minds. Not just on Sundays at church or Wednesday night bible study but each and every morning, afternoon and evening. Every situation that comes up. To this day there are some who still have scriptures written over their doorposts as reminders. I look around my home and wonder if anyone would be able to tell what I believe in if they visited my home. Would it be obvious that I love the Lord? Are there things around my home that remind me and my children of the promise God made?

God’s command to love and serve him came with an incredible promise. We have the Creator of the universe’s promise of love and protection.

Be careful to obey all these words that I command you , that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. 12:28

I still have a hard time comprehending in my mind the amazing love my Lord has for me. That he would choose me…..it takes my breath away. God didn’t need me for any reason whatsoever but he chose me. I was hand chosen by God to believe.

 “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.” 10:14-15.

Thank you, Lord for choosing me to be called a child of God. Thank you that even though you didn’t need me, you wanted me. Lord, help to live everyday walking in your spirit and laying up your words in my heart.

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Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Deuteronomy 6:5

Worship Him with all that you are, with all that you have.

When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.  Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.  Luke 7:37-38

She stood behind him weeping … loving Jesus with all her heart. Cleaning his dirty feet with her tears and hair … loving Jesus with all her soul. Pouring perfume on his feet … loving Jesus with all her strength.

This woman loves Jesus much (as Jesus acknowledges in verse 47).  In this room full of men, she seems to be totally focused on Jesus.  I wonder, how did she even get in there?  She must have been a very determined woman.  A woman determined to worship Jesus.

She worships him despite the possibility of ridicule.  The Pharisee knows who she is and what she does.  Since she is known in the town, it’s likely that everyone in the room knows her reputation.

So I ask myself, how do I worship Jesus?   Do I worship with everything I am, knowing that I am forgiven much? Because I have been forgiven much. It doesn’t matter how good or how bad I think that I’ve been on any given day.  The truth is that when I look at God, when I see my Savior Jesus, I see that I have been forgiven much.  When I seek him and only him, when I keep my eyes off the rest of the room, I can worship with complete abandon.

Dear Lord, Reveal to me the depth of the chasm between your holiness and my sinfulness so that I can love you even more.  Help me to love you with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength. Amen             

Diona

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Deuteronomy 4-5; Luke 6

Trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts. Right before your eyes.

35 He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it.” Deuteronomy 4:35-36, NLT. (emphasis mine)

39 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39, NLT.

These chapters are full of commandments.

The training field is real life.

Jesus speaks to his disciples:

“22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.” Luke 6:22, NLT.

He says when that happens to be happy, to leap for joy.

Sometimes it’s hard to make the connection between hatred/exclusion/etc to joy.

He says:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” Luke 6:27-28, NLT. (emphasis mine)

I slow down and listen. This life, a training field. I read–

“40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” Luke 6:40, NLT (emphasis mine)

A training field, a holy ground.

47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:47-49, NLT.

Lord, you are God both in heaven and on earth. I praise you! You are sovereign. Mighty. Awesome. An enemy schemes to distract me from you. Help me to keep my eyes on you: author and perfecter of faith–teacher–God. You show me these things, so that you can speak to me from them.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 1-3; Psalm 39; Luke 5

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,  listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping.”

I was in that place—begging God to hear my weeping.   My life had fallen apart and I had hit rock bottom.  I cried out to Him and He heard my cry.  He gently picked me up and set my feet on the narrow road, that one Jesus asks us to walk as we follow Him.  He asked me to take up His yoke for it was light—it was so much lighter than the one I tried to carry on my own.  That road has not been without pain, but God has used it to teach me to trust Him.  I tried to detour a time or two but the fear of losing the closeness to Him always brought me back.  His love and mercy have won my heart and I am His for all eternity.

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

Yes, that verse could be the story of my life. I got a call last weekend from a woman who is in that place described in Psalm 39 of crying out to God.  My heart broke for her as I listened to her story.  It was my story.  She is in the same place I was seventeen years ago.  I tried to share with her all that God has done in my life.  He has healed deep places of brokenness.  He has shown me true love.  He has given me purpose.  He gave me new friends.  He has been with me and I have lacked nothing.

Sometimes I forget all that He has done for me. I can get into that place of feeling sorry for myself, feeling alone and forgotten.   In Deuteronomy, Moses was reminding the Israelites of their journey.  It had not been easy.  Because of their fear and doubt, they were called to wander in the wilderness for forty years.  In chapters 1-3, he would talk about one of their trials, or one of their battles, and then remind them how God showed up for them, provided for them, and fought for them.  He reminded them of God’s faithfulness.   My story is no different than theirs.  He has walked me through trials, provided for me, and fought for me.  But sometimes I need to be reminded.

The phone call I took last week was as much for me as it was for the woman I was trying to encourage.  You see, a few hours earlier I had shared a struggle with a friend and she prayed for me and with me that I would know I wasn’t alone.  In speaking of my own journey, I shared God’s faithfulness.  It was a reminder to me that I am not alone or forgotten.  I have a God that loves me so much He sent His Son to die on a cross for me.  He loves me so much He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside me.  He loves me so much that He entrusts me to share His story with others.  How I love to share that story.

Oh Heavenly Father—sometimes all I can do is smile as I see you answer prayers in my life. Usually they are totally different than I picture the answer to be.  But there is not a doubt it is from You.  I can feel your closeness, your caring, your goodness.  Thank You that You are always with us, that You hear us when we weep.  Nothing goes unnoticed by You.  Your compassion envelopes us as You hold us close to Your heart.  We are loved with an everlasting love. You have given us all a story to tell.  May we never grow tired of telling Your story.  I pray this in Jesus name.  Amen  

Cindy (gardnlady)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpfsZZ9X5n8

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Numbers 34-36; Luke 4

Looking back over my father’s life, I’ve never known a man with more passion for life. Whether it was his family, his job, working in his garden, or fishing, his attitude embodied the very essence of how he wanted to live his life and his attitude was what he is most remembered for. One day, I had an opportunity to ask my father why he enjoyed fishing so much… his response was that it was a challenge to understand the mind of the fish he wanted to catch to ultimately catch as many fish as he could. While I was preparing for today’s reading, it suddenly occurred to me that Satan uses the very same tactic… learning all he can about each of us just so he can catch as many of us as he can.

As Christians, we’re called to be ‘fishers of men.’ What most of us don’t realize is that Satan is in the same business of fishing for us. The unfortunate reality is that Satan would love nothing more than to lure us in and hook us. We have all been bombarded with temptation… even Jesus Himself was tempted. Only Jesus was never hooked!

My father taught me that to catch fish, we needed to a.) fish where the fish were and know the conditions where we’d be fishing, b.) we needed to know what the fish were feeding on, and c.) we needed to be patient and persistent. Interestingly enough, Satan uses the same tactics when he’s out fishing for souls… once he arrives on the scene, he figures out what lure will work and begins to use it. And since Satan is not in any hurry, he is as patient and persistent as is necessary to win over more individuals!

Something I’ve realized is that Satan is most likely to tempt us when we’ve had or are getting ready for a significant spiritual experiences. The Bible, in Matthew 4, records that Jesus was tempted directly after He was baptized. Jesus had received the approval of His Father who said “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” Who are we to think that we, too, won’t be equally tempted. In Luke 4:1-13, Satan also increases his temptation strongholds when there is physical weakness. During times of physical sickness or when the body is in a weakened state or when hungry or tired, temptation is stronger. Look at how Jesus was tempted after not eating for 40 days. And lastly, Satan seeks to isolate us so he can do his best dirty work. When Jesus was in the desert, He was alone, without the disciples present. But He prevailed…

Just like finding the right lure maximizes the potential of a great yield of fish, so, too, does the devil use anything he can to lure us into sinning against God. Doing so works to fracture the relationship we have with God. So how do we resist Satan’s temptations to overcome the lies and deceit? Look to Jesus and what He did… knowing the Bible and what it stands for is key! One of Jesus’ best defenses against Satan came in 3 simple words… “It is written.” Not only was Jesus the Living Word of God, but God’s Word lived in Him and He was strong and overcame evil with His Father’s Word!

One of the best prayers of defense come in Ephesians 6:10-12… “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, of the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Father, we pray that we may remain alert and that with Your protection and divine providence, we will have the strength to stand ready to confront evil when it arrives knowing that You will never leave us. Amen!

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Numbers 30-33; Psalm 35; Luke 3

Luke 3:4 One crying in the wilderness…Prepare the way of the Lord… Who is the one crying and how must one prepare to receive the Messiah? The Gospels record the messenger as John the Baptist, the audience was the chosen people of God, and the message was repentance. Lately, I have felt as though this message is being preached to me anew. I stand with a crowd of believers, much like John the Baptist preached to, who were raised in the knowledge of God. Yet, without a doubt knowing that I am saved by Christ, I still am puzzled by this voice proclaiming repentance, and I find myself asking, “What shall I do?”

According to historians, life for the Jews in this epic time of Christ’s walk on Earth was one of servitude. Judaic communities lived a life of poverty and brevity at the unmerciful hands of Romans and labored under an impoverished spirit of fear and distance from God at the collaborating hands of the Jewish religious leaders. I ponder the similarity of the political climate then and the so-called, religious freedoms we have today. Of course, we are not rounded up, jailed, or impaled at the whim of a despot simply because we are Christians. I am disturbed however, by the more insidious silencing of Christian voices by the few who often are approved by our own executive, legislative, and judicial leadership. I also wonder if our spiritual leaders today are stepping as gingerly as I on the thin ice separating faith from politics. Will the plunge be a baptism with the Holy Spirit or with fire?

Interestingly enough, John the Baptist’s answer to “What shall we do,” was pragmatic and specific to the one asking the question. So what am I asking? Certainly, it makes little sense for me to ask that others change more to my own opinion or understanding. Even more crazy would be to ask that I be given some miraculous power to change the laws of the land with a ball point pen. No, the call to repentance was not given to me for that other guy, so I must make another sweeping examination of my need be changed. What has crept into my daily routine distracting my attention from meditating on God’s word? When have I missed an opportunity to speak truth in love, and why have I backed down in the face of dissension? More specifically, who have I shortchanged or taken advantage of – yes, when driving, when standing in line, and when reaching for the last sale item on the store’s shelf? This self-examination is not an effort in preparing me to be good enough for the Lord’s mercy and grace. In fact, this work in my heart is not even of my own doing, but comes about through the work of the Holy Spirit given to us by Christ Jesus.

Repentance that answers the question, “What shall I do,” serve as a reminder to self to practice a changed heart in keeping with unending gratitude to the King of Kings.

Psalm 35:9, 10 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?

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