Monthly Archives: April 2017

Numbers 7; Psalms 42-43; Song of Solomon 5; Hebrews 5

I understand longing. It’s this unseen force that calls me to seek out God. I feel it when I wake up in the morning. It’s this desire to know and be known… to understand and be understood, especially when life is swirling with activity, noise and distraction. It’s wanting everything make sense and be well in spite of the injustices of this world. It’s longing to be wrapped in the beauty and presence of God himself.

David captures it, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” Psalm 42:1-2.

Solomon describes that poignant ache, “I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and was gone; My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but did not find him; I called him, but he gave no answer.” Song of Solomon 5:6

When David doesn’t sense the presence of God, he becomes distraught, “My tears have been may food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?” Psalm 42:3   

 

Jesus understands all our yearnings, hopes and dreams. He, sinless and one with God, knew the unobstructed presence of God and gave it up on our behalf. Paul writes of the pain, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10 

In the end, Jesus offered up his life as a prayer, as THE sacrifice. He embraced obedience, tore himself away from God and submitted his life to the rules governing sinful people. His sacrifice broke down the wall of Death that stood between us and God.

So the yearning continues. I feel that magnetic pull towards the one who made me, loves me and gave his very life for me. Emotions, cares, disappointments and my limited understanding of reality may seem to put a veil between God and I, but ultimately, that veil is just a mist. One day, because of Jesus, I will see him face to face and all that yearning for him will be satisfied. The joy that I get a taste of here, will be complete.

Until then, David tells me what to do, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 43:5

Lord, keep hope fresh in my heart and a song about you on my lips today. Make your joy complete in me in ways only you can do.

Kathy

1 Comment

Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Uncategorized

Numbers 6; Psalm 40, 41; Song of Solomon 4; Hebrews 4

I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for a great love story. The sappier the better. It usually goes something like this. Two people meet. They fall in love. But something gets in the way. A heart is broken. But then, somehow, against all odds, they finally get back together and live happily ever after. It never gets old to me.

It is not something I often think about – but the Bible is a passionate love story. A love story beyond all love stories. A redemptive love story.

Adoration, passion and intimacy are modeled poetically for us in Song of Solomon (NIV).

9You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
    you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
    with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
    How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
    more than any spice!

We love God but it is often hard to know how to adequately love him back. How could we ever give back to Him? As David says in Psalm 40 (NIV):

5None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

But much like a wife longs to “just be” with her husband, what God wants most is our presence. Our whole being. Not doing something. Not producing something but just being wholly, completely, with Him.

Close your eyes as you listen to this song and listen to Him as He bids you to draw near.

Lord, Thank you for loving me. For claiming me as your own, even though it came with such an incredible cost. Help me to “just be” with you.

Ann (naturelady)

 

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Uncategorized

Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song 3; Hebrews 3

Why is it we have this false belief that because we are believers, walking with Jesus, we are going to live this problem-free life? There are things that are going to come at us, shake our very foundations, and leave us dazed and confused at something we never saw coming.  One moment we are flying high.  We are serving God; all our relationships are strong and healthy; life is good.  Then, BOOM!  Everyone’s boom is different.  We get called into our boss’s office and are told the company is downsizing and we have no job.  One moment we’re laughing with our spouse and the next we’re calling 911 because they’ve fallen to the ground unresponsive.  We go to the doctor for our annual physical and he finds something suspicious in his examination.  We get a call that one of our children has been in an accident and is on the way to the hospital.  That solid ground we’ve been standing on has started shaking and we have a split second to decide how we’re going to respond.  David talked about this.

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth;  the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.[b]

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

We can choose to put our hope in the Lord just as David did. God alone is our firm foundation. He is our solid ground.  He is the only security we truly have.  When our world is crumbling around us there is nothing else we can cling to because there is nothing else that can’t be destroyed.

How do we do this? We get to know him, spend time with him, commune with him, and trust him.  We have to know God’s word and his character.  When I was a new believer, I struggled with trusting God.  I wasn’t even sure how to do that—how do you learn to trust?  I really sensed the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart:  Trust comes with time and consistency.  Wow!  That is exactly how you learn to trust!  When someone or something is consistent over a period of time, you learn to trust.  God is faithful.  Always.  The longer we walk with him we see that faithfulness in our own lives.  Sure, we’ve read in the bible how he’s been faithful in other people’s lives, but we get to see it in our own life.

Heb 3:12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

So . . . these trials come into our lives. And maybe we don’t weather them very well.  Maybe you find yourself struggling with believing God is good.  That is exactly what Satan is waiting for.  He is just waiting for the opportunity to say to you:  “Did God really say . . .?” because he wants to deceive you and question what you thought you knew in your heart.  That doubt can take us into a pit of despair!  This is why it is so important for us to be in community with other believers who truly know us. We must allow ourselves to be transparent.  In those moments of weakness, we need them to remind us of God’s faithfulness, of his goodness, of his promises.  We need to encourage each other daily. Our voice of encouragement needs to be louder than the lies.  I love the wording in this verse, “as long as it is called “Today” because every day we wake up is today!  So there is never a day we don’t need encouragement from God, from His word, from our fellow believers and to do likewise to others.  Look around at the people God has brought into our lives.  Who needs encouragement?  I guarantee someone does.  We are talented actors, showing the world everything is okay—on the outside; but inside, we’re a mess.  If you pray and ask God to reveal someone who needs encouragement, you’d be surprised who he brings to your mind.

Our world as we know it can be changed in an instant. We will never be immune from it this side of glory.  What we need to survive is something unshakable in a world that can be so easily shaken.  Jesus is the answer.  That is where we start.  Call out to Him, ask Him to be that stability, that immovable object in your life.  Then, encourage others to do likewise.

Have you ever noticed that whenever there is a big storm brewing, the newscasters always start telling you how to be prepared ahead of time in case it hits? The wise thing to do is take heed of their advice.  Maybe the storm will hit, maybe it won’t.  Maybe you’ll have an earth shaking trial in your life, maybe you won’t.  Isn’t it better to be prepared?  You can’t lose by putting your hope in the Lord!

Lord, thank you for being immovable; trustworthy; the Person I can always count on. I can cling to you no matter what.  You are unshakeable in a world that is easily shaken.  I pray for those who are struggling even today, Father, that someone will encourage them.  They will bring your light into their dark place.  If there is someone in my life, let me help them grab on to you for dear life as we cannot survive without you.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.  In His name I pray!

 Cindy (gardnlady)

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 4; Psalm 38; Song of Solomon 2; Hebrews 2

I listen in on David’s heart song:

“My iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too many for me.”

“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

“Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me!  Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!”

Psalm 38: 4, 15, 21-22

Fast forward 1,000 years and that salvation,
the beloved of Israel, that all humanity was waiting for,
has a name…

JESUS

for he will save his people from their sins.*

Fast forward another 2,000+ years and find me…
I’ve messed things up royally. again. because of my foolishness.
I groan. My heart is in tumult.  I cry,

“Lord, all my longing, all my sighing is not hidden from you.
I’m broken.  I wait for You.  My heart throbs.
My strength fails, the light of my eyes is gone.”

I definitely should have paid closer attention.

“…he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”*

Now, I look.  I see that great salvation, I see Him.  Jesus, my help, my salvation.
I listen and I hear.

“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”*

Oh Lord, I am coming… stumbly, humbly.
Help me to remember; to see You.
I long to be with You, to love you,
to see your face and hear your voice;
for Your voice IS sweet, and Your face IS lovely.

amy in peru

* 1. Matt.1:21 * 2. Heb.2:18, * 3. Song of Solomon 2:10

From the archives. Originally published April 27, 2010.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Numbers 3; Psalm 37; Song of Solomon 1; Hebrews 1

These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar – Numbers 3:2 NRSV

I wonder how Moses felt seeing the sons of Aaron given lineage to the house of Levi while he had nothing to pass down to any of his family. As I just entered my 55 year and entitled to my first seniors discount at my local pharmacy, I look back at my life and see the hand of God.  I am sure Moses saw the same.

Do not fret…Trust in the Lord…Take delight in the Lord…Commit your way to the Lord…Be still before the Lord… – Psalm 37:1-7 NRSV

I had a pastor that loved Psalm 37 and preached it often.  So my life was shaped by  these truths and the promises are real. The relationship I have experienced with God is one where worry and anxiousness are replaced with peace, where faith grows so much through each encounter with Him that trust becomes second nature, where I look forward to spending time with God just to enjoy His presence, to understand that where I am He wants me to be His and to take time not only to do the talking but the listening as well.

Ah, you are beautiful, my love;
    ah, you are beautiful;
    your eyes are doves.
 Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved,
    truly lovely. – Solomon 1:15-16

Jesus has made that happen.  I was introduced to Jesus when I was 14 years old having attended a Sunday School class only for the third time.  I knew who He was, no one ever told me why.

But in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son,[a] whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.  He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains[b] all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high – Hebrews 1:2-3 NRSV

Lord, I find it easier and easier to call you my Lord as You engage into my life and where everything in my life matters to You.  As You make my life matter, more and more I realize that all that really is important in this life is knowing and following You.  May my heart never find itself in a place where I take You and Your presence for granted.  May I share my inheritance with those who do not have the same hope, may my testimony set people free, may Your grace always sustain me, may You be glorified and praised because of what You have done in my life.  You are beautiful, my love…

evanlaar

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Uncategorized

Numbers 2; Psalms 36; Ecclesiastes 12; Philemon 1

“I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. Consider this as a request from me-Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison…He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” Philemon 1 NLT

I don’t know what I would do without my brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like Paul was sending Onesimus to Philemon, God has been faithful to put people in my life. A mentor in my path when my world was shaking…friends to do bible study with and dig deeper into God’s word. I pray that I can be that for others. I pray that my kids would have deep friendships and mentors to encourage them in their faith. There is nothing that brings more joy to my heart than to watch my twelve year old daughter worship God. She sits in the front row at church raising her hands in surrender, not concerned about how she might look to others. It took me all of my 41 years to reach that point. But, I am thankful that God is still working on me.

“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky…Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken.” Ecclesiastes 12:1&2;6 NLT

Thank you Father that it is never too late to turn back to you. You have good plans for my life. Help me not to look back in regret, but forward in hope. I love you. Amen.

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 36:5-7 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under Ecclesiastes, Numbers, Philemon, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 1, Psalm 35, Ecclesiastes 11, Titus 3

“I don’t believe in heaven and hell. I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life – the only thing I know to exist – to be wasted.” (Celebrity quote)

Although there have always been naysayers and critics of God’s true word, I feel like we are living in a culture that is more self dependent and selfish than other times in history. The days of common moral values are gone and people are out to get everything they can. It’s truly a dog eat dog world and why not? Aren’t we all entitled to the American Dream?

Slogans are so common you could finish these off without me typing the words. Slogans such as “Live everyday like it was your last” or “Create your own happiness”. We are conditioned to believe that we are responsible for our happiness and our own good fortune and outcomes.  We are quick to take credit for our own accomplishments and good works but can just as quickly turn around and blame God when “bad things” happen.

Even in Solomon’s day he knew there was a balance between good works, enjoying life and being accountable for one’s own actions. We are called to live each day to the fullest but who are we living it for is the real question that differentiates good works for the kingdom of God rather than for selfish and prideful gain. Solomon’s wise words also come with a warning:

So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.[b]

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

10 Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain[c] from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. Ecclesiastes 11:8-10

Yes it is important that we live each day to the fullest but it is only by the grace showed to us by Christ and the washing of our sin with his blood that any “good” work is seen by God as righteous.

 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7

The irony in the celebrity’s quote above is that the very thing he is trying to avoid (wasting life) is exactly what he is doing by living for himself and his own glory. Without Christ, everything is meaningless. May our enjoyment and blessing of each new day be evident in the our good works, done not for self pleasure or advancement in to heaven but in gratitude to our Savior who gave his all for our sin!

Dear Jesus, than you for your blood that washes over my sin. Thank you for dying in my place so that when the Father looks at me he see’s your righteousness. Holy Spirit, help me to live each day joyfully devoted to good works that bring you glory. Amen!

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Ecclesiastes, Titus, Uncategorized