Monthly Archives: February 2017

Exodus 11,12:21; Luke 14; Job 29; 1 Cor.15

Those were the days when I went into the city gate and took my place among the honored leaders. The young stepped aside when they saw me, and even the aged rose in respect at my coming. The princes stood in silence and put their hands over their mouths. The highest officials of the city stood quietly, holding their tongues in respect. “All who heard me praised me. All who saw me spoke well of me. For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help. I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy…When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them” Job 29:7-13, 24 NLT

Job is yearning for the past. When he was esteemed and honored my his peers. As I read through these verses, I keeping seeing the word ‘I.’ “I did this”, “I did that”….I think about how many times  I can be forgetful, like Job. And my heart is filled with pride. I fail to remember that I can’t do anything in my own strength. It is God who is with me and He gets the glory for every good thing in my life. Looking back at God’s faithfulness is good for my soul, it can spur me forward and give me the encouragement to press on. But, sometimes if I stay in the past, I get stuck and it hinders me from living my life in the present. I miss out on the blessings that he has for me right now.

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me-and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT

Recently I was asked to paint words of remembrance of someone who died. I didn’t know them, but I was told that it would mean a lot to the family. I thanked God for allowing me to use my talents in that way.The verse that I painted spoke hope into my life. I knew that I couldn’t take the credit, because it ministered to me as well. God is continually showing me that he sees me and that is enough.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 NLT

Dear Father, Please forgive me for my pride. Help me to remember that everything I have comes from you. I pray that I would steward my life well and not waste the gifts you have given me. I pray that I would use them for your glory. Amen.

Amy (amyctanner)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

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Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Even without a sense of humor, I can enjoy a good knock knock joke from time to time and even know a few to share with others. It’s been a new thing in our house recently with my boys receiving a joke book. Interestingly, not long after receiving the book we read together from Luke about the person knocking on the door to heaven and wanting access. You never know what the Lord will use to get some great conversation going, although this topic was no laughing matter.

Their questions in relation to the door, the master of the house and the people knocking were ones I have asked myself many times. Would the friends and family in my close circle be able to enter through that narrow door? But Jesus flipped that question around from “would a few be saved? To “would YOU be saved?”. Though it is important to think of others around us that may need to hear the good news of the gospel, it’s important to resolve this matter in our own hearts first. Taking it a step further, we discussed who Jesus was really addressing: the churched. Much like today, there are many people who attend church and say they believe in Jesus. Are they merely acquaintances of Jesus or do they have a relationship with him?

So, it was my turn their questions around. Boys, the gate is narrow and the door will close once and for all. There won’t be second chances or bribes. No explaining or any amount of whining or crying will change the outcome. Will you be on the outside knocking or in the inside, safe and secure?

25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Good people, church goers, volunteers at the helping up mission and the people who find the cure for cancer are all great people may not be entering through that narrow gate but the imprisoned, evil and yes, even politicians may be entering may. It’s not about what we do or don’t do but who we place our faith and trust in.

This may seem backwards but boy are we thankful that our loving Father created a way to eternity with him. The boys and I ended our time thanking the Lord and praying for others around us that may not know the way just yet!

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Exodus 9; Luke 12; Job 27; 1 Corinthians 13

It’s so easy for me to become stagnant.  To go about my usual routines – washing dishes, doing laundry, preparing meals, cleaning the kitchen again.  Getting the kids where they need to be.  The never ending and often repetitious list of chores and errands to manage my home and family.

Some days I grumble through it all.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  Luke 12:48

That is a whole lot of “much.”  God has given me a husband to be a blessing to.  A home to be care for.  Children to train up and develop in character.

It is good for me to periodically reflect on what I do with what I have been given.  And the attitude in which I do it.  Do I pour love into everything I do?  Even if I feel like no one sees it?

The passage in Corinthians is so often repeated that my eyes skip it my first reading through, even second:

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It seems to me an impossible standard … to love this way.  Even in the boring, in the repetitious, in the inconvenient, in the exhaustion.  The simple truth hits me that the only way to love is to consistently and persistently rely on Jesus.

Where much is demanded, love is demanded.  Where much is asked, love is asked.

Dear Lord, You have entrusted so much into my care.  Help me to remember that you see all that I do, even when no one else notices.  I cannot truly love in my own power.  I can love only in Your Power.  Pour forth your love into my heart so that it overflows into my home.  Amen

Diona

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Ex. 6; Luke 9; Job 23; I Cor. 10

Why is it that so many times we want to follow the Lord’s leading but change our minds?  We know the right thing to do but choose the easy way out instead. This happened over and over with Pharoah when Moses tried to get him to let his people go.  Each time there was relief from a plague that God had sent, he went back to his old ways.

15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:15 NASB)

    But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Ex. 8:19)

    32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go. (Ex.8:32)

The Lord offers us an invitation to ask Him for our heart’s desires.  He will give us what we need, and quite often, what we want.  Maybe we don’t believe it’s true because it seems so simple.

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; [i]knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

There is nothing that our God cannot do for us if He so chooses.  His power is immeasurable.  We can only begin to comprehend.

The pillars of Heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke.  

    He quieted the sea with His power,

    And by his understanding He shattered Rahab.

    By His breath the Heavens are cleared;

    His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.

    Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;

    And how faint a word we hear of Him!

    But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” (Job 26:11-14)

He uses the church to make up the body and help one another.

 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body.21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, [m]it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we [n]deem less honorable, [o]on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no [p]division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is [q]honored, all the members rejoice with it. (I Corinthians 12:18-28).

Lord,

You are more powerful than we can even begin to understand here on Earth!  Help us to choose to do Your will even when it’s not the easy choice.  Help us to ask for our heart’s desires, letting you show off your majesty for us with blessings.  And help us to appreciate how you’ve made us all in Your image with a purpose for Your body of believers.

Amen!

Kellie

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Exodus 7; Luke 10; Job 24; 1 Corinthians 11

Many times in my life I end up not taking on challenges based purely on the fact that they are exactly that, challenging! God requires us many times to get out of our comfort zones and to trust Him. In each of the readings today we find people having to do things that are far outside of their comfort zones.

Exodus 7

Moses & Aaron having to confront Pharaoh with an audacious demand.

2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.

Luke 10

The 72 followers of Jesus sent out to preach and demonstrate that the Kingdom of God had come near to them.

3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Job 24

Job having to wrestle with evidence that the wicked seemed not to be punished by God
1“Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. 4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
1 Corinthians 11

Paul having to reprimand the Church at Corinth.

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 
Obedience to God will often require this of us also. No matter how uncomfortable God’s call to obedience may be, we must know that He always strengthens and equips those He calls.

God Bless

Neil & Tom

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Ex. 6; Luke 9; Job 23; I Cor. 10

 It’s February.  So as I type this, I lay in bed under a bunch of blankets.   The heat is turned up and there is a cup of coffee at my side.  I’m warm and cozy.  It’s 19 degrees outside.  I DREAD those first 5 minutes driving to work before the car warms up.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”   Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”   Luke 9:57-58

I love spending time with my family. During the most ordinary of times, while watching television or having dinner, there is no place I would rather be than with my family.  So, naturally I give priority to my family on significant occasions such as weddings and funerals.

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”   Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”    Luke 9:59-60

I’m a planner.  I can see myself doing something momentous for the Lord, but it would have to be well planned. For example, if I was headed off to a mission field, I would need the time to make sure all my affairs were in order at home, before I left.

 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:61-62

This is a tough passage!  I’ve studied it myself and researched what many commentators have said hoping to find the loophole.  The bottom line is that Jesus is telling me that my comfort, societal norms, and my preferences are of little value compared to following him.  The work he has set out for me is urgent and requires great personal sacrifice.

Am I listening?

Lord,

I confess that I struggle with the cost of following you.  Provide me a glimpse of the treasure that lies ahead of me that I may more willingly leave all behind to follow you.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

From the archives. Originally published February 23, 2011.

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

I’ve heard it said that God’s word is rhema; that is, “It is a word that signifies the action of utterance (my emphasis),” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhema. Not superfluous, surface, or meaningless words. So I submit that neither can we listen passively; rather we should be active listeners expecting God’s word to bear fruit. It is usually easy, at least in America, to hear God’s word spoken, written, paraphrased, and even misquoted. Childhood songs like “Jesus Loves Me,” or “This Little Light of Mine,” are tunes familiar in many homes, daycare centers, and after-school programs. And though I take the words directly quoted from the Holy Bible to be true, I am not always likely to grasp the fullness or the revelation of those words because of familiarity, disassociation, or resistance.

Eliphaz lacked ears to hear God’s heart for loving one’s neighbor as he loves himself. Quoting Scripture, Eliphaz instead talked the entire time; accusing, pronouncing judgment, and mocking suffering Job, who sought to only speak truth. How often, I too have thought, “I’ve got this,” and used the Sword of the Spirit to slash away at imagined demons in the mist only to find wounded innocents in the clearing.

Jesus said in Luke 8:10, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’” I wonder how many of the over 800,000 words, reportedly printed in several versions of the Bible, (words are like seeds), have found root in my own soul’s soil. “The ones by the wayside hear, but the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts. The ones on the rock hear and receive with joy, but have no root and are tempted away. The ones among the thorns hear but the word is choked out by cares, riches, and pleasures of life. The ones who hear with a noble and good heart keep the word and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:11-15).” Without revelation, I stumble over chapters and verses that do not seem relevant to my modern-day world. Yet, how amazing to hear someone preach on the same passage of Scripture in a way that illuminates God’s will and exponentially increases my faith.

I think my worst error in experiencing the active voice of God is resistance. I may listen to, understand, and even set out on my calling from God. Then I behave much like Moses early in his mission. God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. Moses heard these words – “Tell Pharaoh, ‘Let My people go.’” Yet when Pharaoh did not listen to Moses, but ordered more hard labor from the Israelites, Moses complained to God, “Why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” Just a little resistant? Not a burning bush, not having Aaron by his side, not even given miraculous powers could stop Moses from complaining. I, too, find myself questioning why I struggle in the midst of doing God’s will.

I want to be like the Apostle Paul. He writes to the Corinthians that since he received God’s calling to be a minister of the gospel, he listened to God, and with overwhelming passion, ran “with certainty.”

Lord God, You are a God of great compassion. Forgive me for listening half-heartedly, for failing to seek Your deeper truth, and for resisting Your calling. More importantly, open my ears to hear Your voice and embolden me to do Your will. In Christ’s name.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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