Monthly Archives: April 2017

Leviticus 19; Psalm 23,24; Ecclesiastes 2; 1 Timothy 4

You anoint my head with oil ~ Psalm 23:5

What do you do when you’re thousands of miles away and you receive word that a loved one is close to the end and if you want to see her—this side of heaven—now is the time to act?  That’s what we were faced with and what we’re going through now.

Wednesday morning, before our long drive, before work, before the day began, I sat on the couch with my journal and I prayed, “Father, I’ve got nothing.  Please reveal Your Word to me. I need You.”  When I read Psalm 23, I saw an explanation of the oil in verse 5.  It said that in climates of extreme heat, oil mixed with fragrance is actually refreshing and invigorating.  As we run the race and stay the course for Christ, our anointed bodies are refreshed, invigorated, and better fit for action.  Holy Spirit is our oil and we are anointed to receive refreshment and be able to stay the course.

As we were resting—half way to Wisconsin—at my uncle and aunt’s house, I realized that God had blessed us—in provision and safe travel—and knew that He had anointed us with His Holy Presence, that we’d be able to stay the course—the driving, the visiting, the emotions.  Psalm 24:8 says, “Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.”  My Father, the King of Glory, has gone before us and walks ever with us, protecting us (we didn’t encounter any issues with weather), and clearing the road before us.

I read in Ecclesiastes 2 that without His presence, all is lost and it’s all for naught.  I’ll close with that, and with thanks to my Father for His ever presence, even in the hard times of life.

For without [God], who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and [joy], but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. ~ Ecclesiastes 2:25-26

Heatherpotts5

 

From the archives. Originally published April 15, 2013.

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Leviticus 18; Psalm 22; Ecclesiastes 1; 1 Timothy 3

Today is a good day! It is Good Friday!

I have to admit the verses I read for today brought on an entirely different meaning to me once I realized the significance of the day they were assigned to be read. On the Christian calendar, today marks the remembrance of Good Friday—the day Jesus was crucified.  There was nothing “good” about that day as it is recognized as the darkest day in all of history.   It is the day the Jews (those who believed) lost all hope that this Man, Jesus, was the Messiah prophesized for hundreds of years.  It was not good for his disciples who had given up everything to follow him. What were they to do now?  But God’s plan of redemption was being fulfilled before the eyes of creation.  No one saw the significance as it occurred.  It proves that God’s greatest works may not “look” the way we think they should.  On that day, God made a way for us to have direct access to Him by tearing the curtain of separation.

Psalm 22 contains verses that were fulfilled in the Gospels.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (see also Mark 15:33-34) NLT

Jesus says these words as he is hanging on the cross. In researching these words I came upon an interesting perspective.  I had always thought of these words as Jesus suffering separation from God (2 Cor 5:21) taking our sin upon himself.  But one commentary I read talked about Jesus pointing the people around him to Psalm 22, revealing the prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes, teaching even as he was dying.  If they read that scripture, they would have read these words that were written hundreds of years before Christ was born:

 16b They have pierced[a] my hands and feet.  (see also Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Acts 2:23)

 18 They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice[b] for my clothing.  (see also John 19:24)

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”  (Ecclesiastes 1)

 Apart from Jesus Christ, this is true. Only He gives meaning to life AND death.

I shared in a recent post that it seemed death was all around me. At that time, I was waiting for my brother to die. We had been told it was imminent but I don’t think we ever want to give up hope that a miracle can happen.  It was a wait that took me deep into a pit of depression.  In my eyes, it was meaningless.  The last few years as he slowly declined and then finally the pneumonia that took him–it all made me angry.  I was angry with this horrible disease that took away the life he could have had and the time we could have spent together.  I wasn’t sure what to do with that anger, so I held it in and isolated from the world as much as I could.  I went through the motions of life but it was all meaningless.

As I’ve read through these verses the last few weeks, I began to find comfort. When I first started reading the verses, Ecclesiastes 1 really spoke to my mood.  But this past week, as Easter approached, I thought of Jesus laying down His life for us.  He was willing to die, to suffer, and to sacrifice Himself.  Death had no victory over him.  John 12:24-25 says “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  I began to see anew that there is meaning to death.  Yes, we are separated from our loved ones but only for a while if they have believed in Christ as their Savior.  Yes, we miss them terribly and there is a void in our lives.  But death is not the end!  Jesus rose on the third day.  We are told by Jesus himself that he goes before us to prepare a place for us.  Why would he tell that to us if it were not true?

As I read through the verses in Leviticus and 1 Timothy, they are filled with laws and rules on how we are to live our lives here. Following Jesus gives our life meaning.  Living as he taught us to live gives our lives meaning.  Serving him gives our life meaning.  Getting to be with him when we die—that gives death meaning.   It is time to get busy living until he calls me to be with him.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I need Easter. He is Risen!

Father, today as we remember the price Jesus paid for us to be with You, let us not take it lightly. We need to remember he willing allowed his body to be abused and broken beyond what most of us could ever endure.  For this, we eat the bread.  We need to remember the blood he shed to atone for our sins.  For this, we drink the wine.  He died the death we deserve.  But then he rose!  Hallelujah!

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Leviticus 17; Psalms 20,21; Proverbs 31; 1 Timothy 2

In this day, everything seems public. Social media and reality TV have made the private things famous. But as I read about the virtuous and capable wife in Proverbs 31, I know there was no TV crew following her around, spying on and magnifying her every move. The things that were done in this woman’s life were largely done in private, not in front of an audience. She’s always seemed larger than life to me when I’ve read about her in the past, but as I began to study her and her character, she is not a superstar. She is a servant at heart.

There are no adoring fans around her while she’s spinning her wool.

She’s not in it for public approval for stocking her pantry or getting up before dawn to plan out a day.

She’s savvy, crafty, generous–and true to how she’s wired, making the most of her time, talent and treasure.

And her fashion? Yeah, she’s got dresses of fine linen and purple; but she’s also clothed in strength and dignity.

A friend invited me into a 31-day character study of Proverbs 31, a book called Famous in Heaven and at Home by Michelle Myers (not compensated to mention this book). It took my attention off all the to-do’s and revealed the heart behind it–one of kindness and love.

My days can feel overwhelming if I look at all the items to check off on my list. But if I consider the why behind the what, the burden lifts and there is joy and contentment. Why am I doing the things I do? To love my family and friends. To honor God.

Lord, always help me to keep a right perspective when approaching my tasks. Then I will see the hidden treasure. Help me to be true to who you’ve made me to be–not seeking approval of man, but finding freedom and joy and abundance in living my life for you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Leviticus 16; Psalm 19; Proverbs 30; 1 Timothy 1

Sometimes when I concentrate so much on my friendship with God, I forget I am made holy only through the blood of Jesus.  For God is a holy God and for the people in the New Testament and in the Old Testament who forgot that, died.

The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died. – Leviticus 16:1 NRSV

This Old Testament example must have made Aaron scared to even enter the tabernacle to serve God.  He had to come to a place where he understood that holiness was given to him in order for him to serve, but it did not cancel his sin.

I hear people say that we do not need the Old Testament anymore – but look at the words they are missing that declare God’s Word…

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. – Psalm 19:7-9 NRSV

The Scriptures are just that – holy – of more benefit to me than the air I breathe.  I need God’s Word to see His holiness, to see a way out of my sin.  It provides a direction that is true – a fountain of lasting hopes.  By them I discover my need for a Saviour.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. – Proverbs 30:5  NRSV

I found this promise is echoed in the New Testament too – His Word is holy, His commandment is holy and just and good.

This is really important to me – I know that Jesus is the Word – and in Jesus I have hope.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope – 1 Timothy 1:1  NRSV

The Old Testament still wraps it up nicely – I am Holy, and besides me there is no saviour.

Lord God, Father, You are holy, You are true.  Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to be a Saviour to all who want to follow You.  May Your Word continue to strengthen me, guide me, lead me and may I yield to You in all that You ask of me.  I love You – thank you for seeing no sin in me because of Jesus and for accepting me into Your presence to be loved and to love You right back.  I want to be holy as You are holy.

evanlaar

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Leviticus 15; Psalm 18; Proverbs 29; 2 Thessalonians 3

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” Proverbs 29:25 NLT

Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what I think other people are thinking that I get stuck. I start to wonder if I really heard from God or, “Was I just making that up?” Because the devil wants nothing more than for me to be bogged down in the trap of laying idle.(2 Thess. 3:11 NLT ) Inmefective, gathering dust…just like my paint brushes. I recently entered an art contest for a ministry called Hope Heals.  They are having an art auction to help disabled families come to their camp. Whether my piece gets picked or not, it gives me a purpose to pick up my paint brush again.  To complete a task and watch God weave something beautiful from my own pain. I am reminded that God is always doing a new thing in my life. He wants me to remember his faithfulness and be obedient to what he would have me do next.

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 NLT

As I reflect on everything he has done in my life, I am thankful that he doesn’t let me stay where I am. He is constantly calling me onward into a deeper understanding of Him.

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me…He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.” Psalm 18:17&19 NLT

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” Psalm 18:30-33 NLT 

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:1&2 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. That you delight in me, in me! Help me to get that past my mind and into my heart. I am so grateful for the hope I find in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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