Monthly Archives: September 2017

1 Kings 2; Galatians 6; Ezekiel 33; Psalm 81,82

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:2-4

This is a question I have asked before: how long until the wicked are judged? Why is it that good people die and evil people live on? However, in Ezekiel 33:20 the LORD answers:

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

Even though sometimes it seems like the wicked run rampant and unpunished, God sees their ways and will judge them.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

God tells us to not grow weary of righteousness, even though the wicked may prosper and life might be hard.

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8

Even though the wicked may prosper in this life, in the end they will reap only corruption while the followers of God will reap eternal life. Times of trouble will come in this life; however, God tells us that He will protect and deliver us.

“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I delivered you; Psalm 81:6-7a

God will protect us and guide us, even if things do not make sense at the time of the struggle or when the wicked seem to go unchecked. Our strength is in the LORD, not in ourselves and even though things do not make sense all the time, we can still trust Him and lean on Him.

Dear God, thank You that You help and guide me. Please give me faith to follow You even when it feels like the world is falling apart and I struggle with many burdens. Help me to cast my burdens and cares upon You and trust You, for in the end I will be free of my burdens and the wicked will be judged for their sin. Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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1 Kings 1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Christ has set me free! Sometimes I forget that.  There are hurts and habits from my past that Jesus has healed and changed.  I have to admit that my mind can sometimes go back to those places.  I remember what it was like to be a slave.  I remember what it was like to carry the burden alone.  Jesus called me to Himself.  He wrapped his arms around me and held me.  It was as if he said, “Child, you don’t have to do this life alone.  No more striving; let’s do this together!”  Oh the freedom that comes when we give it all to Him.

 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.

I love Jesus. I love how he relates to me. When I accepted him as my Savior, I truly felt free. There was a drive in me to know him and how God intended life to be lived—which was not the way I was doing it that was for sure! In my mind, I had a lot of catching up to do.  I was so grateful to him for he truly pulled me out of the muck and the mire.  He set my feet on firm ground and I took off running.  I was studying the bible, praying, having quiet times, and learning so much. He sent people into my life to encourage me, teach me, and pray for me.  I was running the good race.  Then someone from my past, before Jesus, showed up in my life again.  That person “cut in on me” and tripped me up.  That yoke of slavery was lurking.  The persuasion is subtle, the words can seem true; yet you know they aren’t Truth.  There is that “Y” in the road.  The world beckons one way.  Jesus stands there with his arms open the other way. I run to him. His word is truth and can be trusted.  As a popular Christian song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back.”  The race continues.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

 As I watch the news, I see the evidence of this statement. I see people “biting and devouring each other” and the destruction it is causing is growing.  We have an enemy that has set out to steal, kill, and destroy us—and we are helping him.  It grieves me to see Christ followers caught up in the lies. I have to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and not any of the screens (TV, social media) that try to persuade me or I could easily be caught up as well.  Paul is warning us about this through the entire chapter.  We are to be led by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

I can only humbly serve another in love by knowing how Jesus served others. He modeled an example for us in the story of the last supper when he washed the feet of the disciples, including Judas fully knowing he was about to betray him.  I want to love my neighbor but they are not always nice to me.  I want to react to them out of my flesh but Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, not only give them your shirt but give them your coat as well.  So I have felt convicted to begin to pray for ways to reach my neighbors—my immediate neighbors.  I have no problem going to a rescue mission, a woman’s shelter, or even Africa to serve.  However, I have not reached out to my next-door neighbors.  I trust God will show me how to show love to them.

Heavenly Father, the battle is real. I must continually look to you for my direction and the strength to continue the good race.  Sometimes it feels more like an obstacle course than a race but I have your Word and your Spirit to help me over the hurdles.  Show me how to love my neighbors.  Teach me how to love like Jesus.  In His name I pray, Amen

 

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

One of the things I love most about fall is the smell of a wood smoke coming from the fireplace. The warm colors from changing tree leaves, a crisp air and a long-sleeve shirt, a hot mug of something sweet and soothing, these are things that make me feel wrapped and grounded.

This fall, I’ve had to institute some strict personal boundaries for time. This calendar year has taught me many things, and one is that things come at a price. What was the cost I’ve been paying? Cost to my core responsibilities, cost to time with my husband, cost to my health, cost to a sense of presence with my family … and oddly, while some activities were service for the Lord, my relationship with God seemed lost in the noise of all the busy.

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24, NLT)

My relationship with God was slowly shifting from intention to convenience. The mindfulness of his presence was being muted and obscured by the din of busyness and obligation and overwhelm. I lost grasp of Peace and the One who grounds me–even while I was trying to serve him.

In a season where everything jockeys for first place (isn’t that every day?) … when I evaluate and reevaluate how I spend my time, talent, treasure … when I see a plate that’s heaping and heavy … oh, what is the cost?

“That girl with the cape is cheating somewhere.” (p 147, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst, Thomas Nelson Books)

It is a discipline. Learning and discerning when to say no and when to say yes.

I welcome the cooler temps creeping into the forecast, the wood stacked along the driveway anticipating a season’s first burn, the pumpkin spice everything–but nothing will ground me more than intentional time with the One who knows and loves me best.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of first things, for redirecting my heart towards you. Please help me to order things in my life. Help me to be a better steward of the time, talent, and treasure you’ve give me.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 23; Galatians 3; Ezekiel 30; Psalm 78:38-72

I heard the story of Benaiah in my first class at Ontario Bible College now known as Tyndale University. Howard Hendricks told the story of how he was the best of the thirty mighty men of David. Wow – to be like him – what faith.

Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightest warriors – 2 Samuel 23:22 NLT

Stories like these though can mess me up. Sometimes I think it’s all about me and forget that even when I am not told that God was with him in battle, He was. That is why I get mad at myself for not remembering that my walk with God is only made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit not by anything I have done.

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. – Galatians 3:5 NLT

One thing I keep learning – nothing happens by chance. God will direct the affairs of earth and in doing so receives all the glory and honour – I need to learn to stand out of the way.

Then they will know that I am the Lord. – Ezekiel 30:26b NLT

So my day is not filled with exploits, I am thrilled from time to time when the Holy Spirit sees fit to use me, but if I could say what the psalmist says —

He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands. – Psalm 78:72 NLT

— then I would be thrilled to follow Jesus.

Lord, fill me everyday with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be used by You, cannot serve without You. Be glorified even in the small matters of my life – Amen!

evanlaar

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2 Samuel 22; Galatians 2; Ezekiel 29; Psalms 78:1-37

Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law…For when I tried to keep the law it condemned me. So I died to the law-I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-so that I might live for God.” Galatians 2:16-19 NLT

So often I lose my focus and take my eyes off of Jesus. I become more concerned about what I think I should be doing, than I am about loving and trusting him. My thoughts turn inward on myself and away from God. It leaves me empty and uncertain. Sometimes he uses seemingly small things to draw me back to himself. This past Sunday my daughter lost the car keys before church. It woke me up to the reality that I was more concerned about getting to church than the state of my heart. My obedience needs to stem from a heart that is only satisfied in him. Otherwise I will continue striving and end up nowhere.

You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. “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 is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:28-33 NLT

In the midst of the mundane, I can forget that my obedience is affecting generations to come. Which reminds me of my constant need for him. I pray that my kids would see me seeking Jesus…growing into their own faith with a deep desire for him.

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded his ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them- even the children not yet born- and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” Psalms 78:4-7 NLT

Thank you Father that your love for me does not depend on what I do. Help me to follow you with a humble heart who yearns for you. Thank you for your faithfulness. Help me to be intentional with the time you give me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Samuel 21, Psalm 77, Ezekiel 28, Galatians 1

Pride. A virtue or vice? It is used so frequently in our day and age. In the positive, “I’m so proud of my family….”, “Take pride in your work”, “Do your parents proud.” These all seem like wonderful things but when is it

Pride stands in the way of seeing our own sin. It makes us feel better about ourselves than we really are. Pride puffs up our spirits with a false sense of security in ourselves or the people and processions we surround ourselves with. It leaves us feeling alone, stressed, successful or like a failure. It’s all up to us.

Ezekiel prophesied the words of the Lord to the king of Tyre who had become so proud and was being warned of the consequences of his pride.

1The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God:

“Because your heart is proud,
    and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of the gods,
    in the heart of the seas,’
yet you are but a man, and no god,
    though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
you are indeed wiser than Daniel;
    no secret is hidden from you;
by your wisdom and your understanding
    you have made wealth for yourself,
and have gathered gold and silver
    into your treasuries;
by your great wisdom in your trade
    you have increased your wealth,
    and your heart has become proud in your wealth— Ezekiel 28:1-5

I think of my own pride. How do I rely on myself? What do I look to to provide me with security? Is it the things I have accomplished, the money in the bank, or the good job that I have today? My pride tells me I am in control and all that I have is because I worked hard. My pride lies to me daily, wanting me to believe I have something to do with my own success (or failure).  Alternatively, when things are not going well, I am tempted to feel like a failure, like I’m not enough, like I missed out on something I should have done. Either way, it is pride. Self reliance. Self dependence. Self.

The truth, is that God gave me the ability to be successful. It is by the Lord’s mighty and outstretched hand of grace and mercy that I even have breath at this very moment. At any moment those things that make me proud of the life that I have built or the things I have accomplished could vanish. When I sit and meditate on God’s incredible grace to me; it is by grace, through faith that I not only believe but am saved, I am humbled.

I remember, like the Psalmist:

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
    the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

16 When the waters saw you, O God,
    when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
    indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
    the skies gave forth thunder;
    your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
    your lightnings lighted up the world;
    the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
    your path through the great waters;
    yet your footprints were unseen.[c]
20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77: 11-20

 

 

Sweet Jesus. Thank you for your Word that is sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces my pride and reminds me of your great and mighty works and your even greater mercy and grace. I look to you, Jesus as my source of hope when I am tempted to place faith in myself. You alone rescue. Amen.

kateredding

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2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekial 27; Psalm 75, 76

We serve an awesome, all-powerful God. His power is evident as I read today passages. He has sovereign control.  He holds all in his hands.  He has victory over enemies.  He sends out his power through Christ and the apostle Paul.

He is judge.

You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.

When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.

To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’

And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.

Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak with outstretched neck.’”

Psalm 75:2-3

He demonstrated his power in defense of Jerusalem.

At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,

Both horse and chariot lie still.

You alone are to be feared.

Who can stand before you when you are angry? Psalm 76:6-7

He demonstrated his power in the judgement against Tyre.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre.” Ezekiel 27:1-2

The power of Christ is at work through the apostle Paul, as he carries out his mission to spread the gospel.

He (Christ) is not weak in dealing with you, but he is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you. 2 Corinthians 13:3b-4

Dear Lord, The extent of your power is often hard to understand. Help me to see how your power and love, your judgement and grace, are all tied together.   I place my trust in you. Amen

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