Monthly Archives: August 2017

1 Samuel 24; 1 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 3; Psalm 39

There is something bigger at stake than removing a threat.

After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. (1 Samuel 24:1, NLT)

Saul leaves one fight to pursue another. Could his heart ever be satisfied? Would the threats ever stop tormenting him? Is he the hunter or the hunted?

David’s in a cave with a force behind him. They encourage him–a deliverance of a sort that could be settled in that instant. I watch David from the shadows and hold my breath as he reaches forward and cuts a piece of Saul’s robe. David’s conscience speaks to him–because there is something bigger at stake than removing a threat.

War and gore weren’t new to these men; they were both fighters and leaders–whether for better or worse. What was it fueling Saul? What was it holding David back? While this story reads like a suspense, today, I look past opposing forces and see the heart.

***

A garden untended in a summer gone too fast, and weeds are up to my waist in some places. I climb over the rocky bases and grasp and pull at thorny mile-a-minute, weak-rooted Japanese stiltgrass, and other varieties I know by familiarity than by name–ones that reach, embed, choke out nearby azalea and lilac. This year, I get half through and don’t finish. I think about emotions in a grieving process. I look at the weeds and how quickly they’ve taken over a space. Some being light, but persistent. Others, painful to touch. Some, likely poisonous and tormenting. It is work to remove them. I know the longer I neglect the process, the worse it will become.

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
    and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
    when the ungodly are around me.”
But as I stood there in silence—
    not even speaking of good things—
    the turmoil within me grew worse.
The more I thought about it,
    the hotter I got,
    igniting a fire of words:
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:1-5, NLT)

At best, a breath.

I got the proof for my parents’ grave marker yesterday–names and dates.

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:6-7, NLT)

My only hope is in you.

***

The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 3:1-3, NLT)

Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7b-8, NLT)

Lord, I turn to your word. It fills me and instructs me. It is a feast, and I celebrate the new bread of sincerity and truth.

Courtney (66books365)

Advertisements

1 Comment

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

1 Samuel 23; 1 Corinthians 4; Ezekiel 2; Psalm 38

Any story of David inspires me somewhere along my journey of faith.  One that has dramatically made a difference was calling on God and asking His input on any decision that I had to make.

David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” – I Samuel 23:2 NRSV

The entire act of prayer is one of humility – that is for sure – but the practice of listening and hearing God’s voice as David did – that was revolutionary in my life.

You can imagine when you walk in a room and declare that “I have heard from God.” A bit scary because it kind of slants the position of power in the room.  I learned quickly that what God shared with me was for my information and that I was to dispense what I knew in love.

For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? – 1 Corinthians 4:20-21 NRSV

And yet, there are moments, when speaking into the lives of others, especially when I am preparing a sermon to deliver to a wide audience on a Sunday morning – I need to remember to speak His Words – they are life, and mine are not.

 You shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house.  – Ezekiel 2:7 NRSV

This is actually important stuff – listening to God – what happens if He does not say anything?  One story comes to mind right away – Saul refusing to wait for Samuel to give him instructions and blessing for an upcoming battle.  He felt so threatened that he went ahead without waiting.  David comes back to me again and screams at me – wait, wait I say on the Lord!  If I am going to listen, I am going to have to wait for an answer.

But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. – Psalm 38:15 NRSV

Thank you Lord for your gracious patience as I learn to wait.  Your grace makes my journey of faith enjoyable, exciting and adventurous.  As I continue to learn so much from David’s walk with You, may the moments where I feel I have waited enough or too long, be just that, moments.  Instead may my heart rest on the fact that I trust You completely – so my hope is in no other. Amen

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 21&22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalms 37

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about wicked schemes.” Psalms 37:7 NLT

I have a hard time being still. As I sit here now, my mind is scattered and I can’t help but think of all the tasks I need to complete. But, his words refresh me. They remind me of his constant care.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord hold them by the hand.” Psalms 37:23 NLT

His provision.

Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” Psalms 37:25 NLT

His goodness.

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path.” Psalms 37:34 NLT

Sometimes I lose sight of his faithfulness and I start to compare my life to others. Instead of reaching out to others, I can become discontent. Doesn’t Paul say, that is acting like the world?

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 NLT

When I sit quietly in his presence, my hope is restored. I find myself living in gratitude for all he has done for me. His glory is revealed to me in ways that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.” Ezekiel 1:28 NLT

Dear Father, Strip my heart of anything that is not from you. Forgive me for when I look to lesser things to bring fulfillment. Everything I have comes from you. Help me to quiet my heart before you and rest in your presence. Amen.

The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.” Psalms 37:39&40 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 20, Psalm 36, Lamentations 5, 1 Corinthians 2

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to believers in Christ who pursue a relationship with him. No one is immune to sin’s far reaching touch and trials and suffering will continue until Jesus returns. As I began to mature in my faith, this realization struck me as a surprise. I felt like suffering was for those people who were not obedient or didn’t have a relationship with the Lord. I relied very much on my own efforts to be obedient and check off all the boxes to be a “good girl” but my formula for avoiding suffering didn’t work and neither does it for anyone else.

David must have wondered, “Why me, Lord? I thought I was anointed King. Why is Saul pursuing my death?”

Jeremiah must have wondered, “Why us, Lord? I thought we were your chosen people. Why is the temple destroyed?”

You can fill in the blanks with your own situation, trial or period of suffering. I praise the Lord for his true word that provides me with reminders of his faithfulness to his people throughout all generations. One of the most difficult things about trials is that I often don’t understand why or see the good. When this happens, I must remember the truth of God’s word and his promises. I must remember that he works all things together for good (not necessary my personal good). Obedience plus faith is not the formula to avoid trials but does help us through the hard times.

God’s true word gives us knowledge and wisdom to deal with our day in and day out struggles. When we turn to the Lord, walk daily in the Spirit and trust in him, he reveals to us the things we need to know at the time we need it.

Speak to us, Lord…..

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”- these things he has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

When we seek God’es true word, we remember his enduring love…….

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.” Psalm 36: 5-6

Dear Father, thank you for your word that brings truth to our souls. Holy Spirit, speak to us in our times of trial, when it’s hard to see the good or understand your ways. Remind our hearts that your love is never ending. Amen.

 

kateredding

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 19; 1 Corinthians 1; Lamentations 4; Psalm 35

God is doing a work in my heart that I cannot do for myself. Only God bring about the softening and the willingness to love. Because I hold onto the hurt and resentment. I tell myself to forgive, yet I count every wrong.

“To the church in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:2-3

I am one who is sanctified in Christ Jesus. I am one who is called to be holy. I call on the name of my Lord Jesus Christ.

“But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” 1 Corinthians 1:24

Christ is the power of God at work in me. He is the instrument of God’s power doing the work of change in my heart. He is healing. He has cracked open my hard heart to allow forgiveness to flow in.

Christ is the wisdom of God at work in me. He is the instrument of God’s wisdom changing the way I see and the way I think. I cannot reason myself into letting go of bitterness.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Only through the power of Christ Jesus can I grow more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving.

Dear Lord, You are my Savior, my Redeemer. You are Power and Wisdom. You have set complicated relationships before me. Help me to see those in front of me with your eyes. Help me to love them as you do. Only you can loose the bonds of resentment and ill-feeling. Renew my heart so that I can serve cheerfully. Let me be your servant to show your grace and peace. Amen.

Diona

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 18; Romans 16; Lamentations 3; Psalm 34

Saul Becomes Jealous of David

After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike. When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” (1 Samuel 18:1-8 NLT)

Saul first loved David, but then, as time wore on and David grew more victorious, he became jealous of him. When I normally think of a king, I never imagine that he’d be jealous of someone who has less than he has. But actually, David possessed much more than Saul did; but it had nothing to do with possessions. David had a full heart for God, and God blessed him for it. Saul had an empty heart.

The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. (Lamentations 3:25-26 NLT)

God gave David many victories over things he could’ve easily given to Saul. But he wanted someone to pursue a relationship with him, not just leave him behind when the request was fulfilled.

Dear God,

Please give me strength, and show me the way you want me to go. I want what you want, not what I want. I am so thankful for all you’ve blessed me with. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

2 Comments

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

1 Samuel 17, Romans 15, Lamentations 2, Psalms 33

1 Samuel 17

26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

What a difference perspective can make. Most of the onlookers saw only a giant, David, however saw a mortal man defying God. I bet he was thinking Goliath was a target too big to miss. He knew he would not be alone when he faced Goliath. God would fight with him. He looked at his situation from God’s point of view. Who or what are the “giants” in your life? Viewing these impossible situations from Gods point of view helps us put giant problems in perspective. Once we see clearly, we can fight more effectively

Romans 15

4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

The knowledge of the scriptures affects our attitude toward the present and the future. The more we know about what the Lord has done in years past, the greater the confidence we have about what he will do in the days ahead. We should read our Bibles diligently to increase our trust that God’s will is the best for us.

Lamentations 2

7 The Lord has rejected his altar and abandoned his sanctuary. He has given the walls of her palaces into the hands of the enemy; they have raised a shout in the house of the Lord as on the day of an appointed festival. 

Our place of worship is not as important to God as our priorities in worship. A church building may be beautiful, but if it’s people don’t sincerely follow God, the church will decay from within. The people of Judah, despite their stunning temple, had rejected in their daily lives what they proclaimed in their worship rituals. Thus their worship had turned into a mocking lie. When you worship, are you saying words you do not mean? Do you pray for help you don’t really believe will come? Do you express love for God you don’t really have? Earnestly seek God and catch a fresh vision of his love and care. Then worship him wholeheartedly.

Psalms 33

4 For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

All Gods words are just and true- they can be trusted. The bible is reliable because, unlike people, God does not lie, forget, change his words or leave his promises unfulfilled. We can trust the Bible because it contains the words of a holy, trustworthy, and unchangeable God.

God Bless

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized