Monthly Archives: October 2017

2 Kings 13; 2 Tim.3; Hos. 5, 6; Ps. 119:145-176

 We can always ask…

You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truth. Psalm 119: 151-152

When I was growing up, I remember the kinds of prayers we used to say… very traditional and the same at dinner. This isn’t said with judgement or disrespect… it was just how it was. As a child, I learned that was just the way you prayed… thanking God for the food before us and asking for Him to provide it always. Over the years, I’ve come to know God for so much more than the food we eat. I’ve learned that even if we gave up everything else, including sleep, there wouldn’t be enough time to extol the greatness of our God!

As I read through verses 145-176 of Psalm 119, I was blown away at the intimacy of this prayer… the reader is lulled into the place where David is speaking out to God using words from his heart, not out of some rote, check-list mindset. WHAT am amazing model of how we should come to God! This was a man who truly knew who he was speaking to and about!

Consider my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget Your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your Word. Psalm 119: 153-154

The wonderful news these verses in Psalm 119 affirmed what this season in the Word is being made clear. That we have the ability to ask our Heavenly Father for anything. Sometimes the answer is No. But not just “No”… sometimes the answer is No, with a promise… that in those moments when the answer is No, God’s grace is sufficient! We may not understand the reasons for His denial, but His grace is sufficient.

I want to know God and His Word so well, that when I approach Him, my request is less about me and more about Him… recognizing Him first, and my desire last… knowing, and trusting, that my God shall supply all my needs (not my wants) according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

This book that I’ve had access to for so long really does have the answers to life, with practical approaches to life in good times and bad. God is pure spirit, and as such, should be approached with intentional spirituality. God’s will for our life is so much more than forcing us to be molded into some spiritual box. Rather, our prayers should be a reflection of the love and grace that He offers us each day.

Father… Your Word is amazing example of hope for the broken. And while trusting in You and Your word should be easy, it’s proving to be a lifelong process. Thank you for Your love, patience, and Your abundant undeserved grace, without which we would remain broken things. Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms

2 King 12; Hosea 3; Hosea 4; Psalm 119:121-144; 2 Timothy 2

I just returned from a funeral and a brief foray spent at my childhood home. Some things become crystal clear:

Psalm 119:

127Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way. ESV

Does my life reflect Your preciousness Lord? Do I treasure You and Your ways above gold, fine gold? How can my life reflect a love for You?

129Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.

132Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me. ESV

The unfolding of Your Words gives light. You impart understanding to the simple. Steady me, O my Lord. I love this prayer: let no iniquity get dominion over me. O Lord, let no iniquity get dominion over me or those I love- those who are under my care; my watch.

Help me understand what it means to walk with You in this season.

2 Timothy 2

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. ESV

The Lord gives understanding to the simple. I need understanding Lord! -and I am grateful that I can ask You for it and You promise to grant it. This directive speaks to my heart. My aim should be to please the Lord. My focus, the orientation of my heart, the direction of my life should be to please God. There is a submission here, in these verses, … as I read in context.

 22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. ESV

This weekend I was with many people who do not treasure the truths my heart holds dear. These directives speak to me. There are many commands in this passage and they instruct a focused heart. Avoid quarrels and controversies. Be kind. Patiently endure evil. Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

The changing landscape of our culture provides every opportunity to live these verses and to walk in the light of the Lord and in His love.

We are deep in the throes of college admissions for our oldest son, and as we prepare to launch our beloved out into the world- there are so many unknowns on the horizon, it is frightening.

There is uncertainty. “Keep my steps steady according to Your Promise…”

Lord, I pray You be with our extended family… with those for whom this recent loss is fresh, raw, and life-altering. I pray you protect my own personal family and guide us through these unknown days. Help us to walk in love and in the light. Make our relationships strong with one another, held in Your grace. Let me treasure You above gold, fine gold.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books

2 Kings 10; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalm 119:97-120

Trusting in God can be easier when there are fewer choices. The people of Israel abandon their Creator God who led them through the desert for a god who offers false promises of fertility and abundance. Before long, they blend in with the culture; name alone distinguishes them from their neighbors. Baal is chosen over Jehovah.

In a zeal, Jehu takes up the sword and wipes out Baal worship only to later turn away from the Lord to pursue other gods. The cycle is repeated over and over again. Israel has this way of wandering from God when given half a chance. And what does God say of his people?

“She didn’t not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold that they used for Baal.”  Hosea 2:8

Longing for his people, God is a patient, forgiving lover:

“Therefore, I will now allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as when she came out of the land of Egypt. On that day, says the Lord you will call me, ‘My husband,’ and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baal from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more….And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:14-17…19,20.

This cycle of belief and disbelief is exhausting. At least the Israelites embraced their false gods openly and honestly. Me, my heart sneaks away under cover and sometimes, I don’t even realize how or where my heart has wandered. That’s irrelevant to God, He pursues. His Holy Spirit claims ownership of my heart. He is there to strengthen and fan into flame even the slightest flicker of faith. Read Paul’s words to Timothy:

“For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through he laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:6-7.

God’s will is not accomplished through my ability to get things done and done right. It’s by His grace, power and purpose that the work is completed. This is great news to this  Type A personality who quickly fatigues. I can rest in God’s sufficiency for “I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.” 2 Timothy 1:12.

Lord, you are my hiding place and shield. My hope is in the truth of your word, not in my efforts or abilities. I long to love you with my whole heart,  yet know that I get distracted. Holy Spirit, have your way in and through me and let me rest in your all sufficiency. Thank you that your love never lets me go. Amen.

Kathy

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Kings, 2 Timothy, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hosea, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

2 Kings 9; 1 Timothy 6; Hosea 1; Psalm 119: 73-96

Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.” 2 Kings 9:13

2 Kings 9 begins with a prophet appointing Jehu king over Israel. The Lord chose Jehu as Israel’s king because of the great evil of Jezebel, queen of Israel, and Ahab’s sons. Jehu takes over the kingdom and kills Jezebel, fulfilling the words God spoke through Elijah that Jezebel would have no burial. The Lord used Jehu as a device for carrying out His purposes and Word; however, Jehu was still a sinner. The Lord later tells Hosea to name his newborn son Jezreel saying:

“…in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the king of the house of Israel” Hosea 1:4b

The Lord was able to use a wicked man like Jehu to carry out His ultimate plan.

“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live” Psalm 119:76-77

Psalm 119 speaks of God’s steadfast and unfailing love. The Lord chose to symbolize this love when He told Hosea to marry Gomar, a prostitute. Hosea’s marriage to Gomar represents God’s relationship with Israel. He loves them even though they have gone astray and been unfaithful. However, the Lord tells of a time when Israel will follow Him:

“And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people” it shall be said to them “Children of the living God” Hosea 1:10b

“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11b-12

Since God has saved me and called me His despite my unfaithfulness, I should pursue the things of God and live to please Him.

“Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice because I have hoped in your word.” Psalm 119: 73-74

Dear God, thank You for loving me despite my failings and mistakes. Please help me follow You and obey Your words and teachings. Amen. 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2 Kings 8; 1 Timothy 5; Daniel 12; Psalm 119:49-72

Psalm 119:49-50 – Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this:  Your promise preserves my life.

58I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.

There have been times in my life when the only thing I had to cling to was God’s promises. Those promises got me through some of my darkest days. I remember specifically one occasion where my heart was breaking. I cried out to Him in my distress.  I was driving down the road, tears pouring from my eyes, as I was listening to a Christian radio station.  The song playing had evoked such emotion of a recent loss.  At the end of the song, the DJ started reading scripture.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  Those words were like a soothing balm to my heart.  There are verses I draw from to give me courage when I need it.  They give me hope when I have none.  His word assures me of his presence.  I am not alone.

67Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Affliction is not something I would ask God for in my quiet time—or any other time for that matter. Yet, so much of my journey with Him has been learning how to live my life as He calls us to live rather than how I did it on my own.  He has used those trials to teach me. God’s decrees are there to protect us not inhibit us. It took me awhile to understand that.  My sinful nature wanted to do what I wanted to do and out of it came a lot of pain for many people.  Nevertheless, God redeems those years even as we live through the repercussions of our sin.  His word has given me direction.

71It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

By studying the Bible, I am in the process of learning how to truly live and find joy in any circumstance. For instance, when I was unemployed for over a year, I learned trust.  When my mother was very ill and in the hospital so much, I learned patience.  When everything in my life seemed out of control, I learned to surrender.  When no one else was there to listen to me, I learned to pray.  Those times were not fun by any means, but I can look back and see how He used them to teach me.  They deepened my faith.

Lord, you know there are times I forget what you’ve told me but you are always gracious to remind me. I remember a song with the lyrics, “your loving kindness is better than life”.  Thank you for always being there for me, for loving me as you do, and for teaching me how to have a better life.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2 Kings 7; 1 Timothy 4; Daniel 11; Psalm 119:25-48

Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. 1 Timothy 4:7-10, NLT.

I wonder what people think when they hear the word godly. I heard a perspective somewhere before, and it changed my whole perception on the word–that godliness is a pursuit of God. It isn’t perfection. It is a heart that seeks God.

If this year has taught me anything, it is to make space for God. At times I’ve felt pulled in too many directions, and I’ve had to enforce new boundaries. It has brought a lot of peace. But moreover, it has given me footing to be intentional in my walk with the Lord. Every day, His Word refreshes me, strengthens me, gives me hope.

25 I lie in the dust;
    revive me by your word.
26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
    Now teach me your decrees.
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
    and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow;
    encourage me by your word. Psalm 119:25-28, NLT (emphasis added)

It’s easy (for me) to feel guilty for not meeting someone’s expectations–for saying no to a friend for getting together; delaying a request to perform a task; declining an invitation; even to stepping down for a season from serving at church. Surprisingly, the cost of trying to do it all took me away from my time with the Lord. And not so surprising in hindsight, the Lord said no for me with car troubles, other mishaps, and illness.

Lord, I want to be true to the calling and gifting you’ve placed in my life. But I know that apart from you, I wither. Thank you for grace in all things I’ve declined so that I can say yes to you.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

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

2Kings 6; 1Timothy 3; Daniel 10; Psalm 119:1-24

Our small group is studying on how we can take God at His Word. Amazing as we share our stories from the view of Believing, Feeling and Doing.  I have to admit, cannot believe that Job lived his life and did not blame God like this quote from one of Israel’s earlier kings.

 While he was still speaking with them, the king[d] came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I hope in the Lord any longer?”               – 2 Kings 6:33 NRSV

I love my small group as they are a living testimony to me of how I should live out my walk with God – they make the Word of God come alive to me because they have lived it.

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that,  if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.                 – 1 Timothy 3: 14-15  NRSV

God is doing something in my life.  He is calling me to have a stronger trust relationship with my wife, He has called me to repent as to the intensity of my love for Him – love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and He has asked me to allow Him to be part of my work.  He wants to give me discernment and words of wisdom and understanding as I interact with broken people.

In the third year of King Cyrus of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The word was true, and it concerned a great conflict. He understood the word, having received understanding in the vision. – Daniel 10:1  NRSV

The basis of our scripture in my small group study is Psalm 119.  There are 51 descriptive words used by David to describe his feelings for God. This verse below fascinated me above the others – praising God when I learn how He wants me to live.  Summarizes the verses I mentioned today.

I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous ordinances. – Psalm 119:7   NRSV

Lord, there is nothing that makes me feel more alive than having You involved in my life and calling me deeper and deeper into a relationship with You.  You are amazing – when I think I have my life all together You gentle show me how I am leading as opposed to being led.  You are so gracious and kind as You lovingly show me the errors of my way.  I love You so much – thank You!

evanlaar

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Timothy, 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Daniel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized