Monthly Archives: May 2018

1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 42; Romans 8

Heading into a new month, I consider the goals I’m setting, but first, I lay down the things that are heavy on my heart. Fear. I list the things that I’m afraid of, and new questions emerge–what if? I shift my gaze and ask new questions–what is the next right thing, the next loving thing; what is God’s will for me in this situation? How can I honor God?

Solomon asked for wisdom to lead, and how blessed I am too to have a Father who doesn’t hold back love or wisdom, in fact, gives me his Spirit to intercede when words fail me!

I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:2,5-6, NLT)

I praise him, my Savior, my God.

I can walk in the Spirit. (Singing freedom!)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:5-17, NLT)

 

I’m not a slave to fear. I am a child of God.

Deeply, completely, eternally grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 2; 1 Chronicles 29; Romans 7

On David’s deathbed, he gives instructions to his son Solomon who will replace him.

“I am going the way of all the earth.  Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.  Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn.” (1 Kings 2: 2-3 ESV)

Then we see David’s passing and Solomon taking the reign.

Then he died a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor; and his son Solomon reigned in his place.” (1 Chronicles 29:28 ESV)

And like David died in the flesh, we too can die to sin when we accept Jesus as our savior.

Therefore my brethren you also were made to die to the law throughout the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:4-6 ESV)

Help us, Lord, to walk in your ways, keep your commandments and ordinances as David instructed Solomon to do.  Even though we are no longer bound to the law of Moses, things go better for us when we do follow it well.

Amen, Kellie

 

 

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1 Kings 1; 1 Chronicles 26-28; Romans 6

12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (Rom 6:12-14) NLT

I am celebrating an anniversary of sorts–it has been twenty years since I said “yes” to Jesus and He became Lord of my life. The process of going from that place to where I am now has been quite the journey. The transformation did not happen overnight; it was a slow, day-by-day, sometimes imperceptible change. I remember when I used to think a certain way, when I let sin control my life. It was a life lived out of desperation for love, acceptance, approval, and value. It didn’t matter what I did, or where I looked, those things were always elusive to me. There was no “one” or no “thing” that filled that longing. Until I met Jesus!

20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:20-23) NLT

I never really thought about “sin” all those years ago; I had my own belief about what was right or wrong. Looking back now, I see the life I led was done from a place of brokenness. I had been hurt and in turn I hurt a lot of people—myself included. That was never the way God intended us to live. It is the result of sin and a broken world. Because of it, there is a lot of shame for the choices I made. It has taken a lot of years of walking with God, believing he loves me despite the choices I made, and accepting that I am really forgiven to be able to let go of that shame. He really doesn’t want us to live under that bondage of the past.

When the book of 1 John says “We love because he first loved us” (4:19), I can honestly attest to that. As I let Jesus into my heart, as I let him love me, I wanted to change—I wanted to live differently. At first, I didn’t understand how he could love me so I had to go on faith that it was the truth. Once I really started to believe it, I no longer wanted to live the life of sin I had been living, I wanted the freedom that comes from being “slaves of God”. Little by little I’ve had to let go of the behaviors I had learned to survive “my way”. They were like a life-jacket to me. I was afraid to give them up. All along the way God has said “trust me”. When I wasn’t able to do that, he said, “I’ll wait.” As his love has been there consistently over the past twenty years, I have been able to walk through some really hard places, let him reveal and heal some ugly things inside of me, and release bondages that have tied me down most of my life. Now, I choose to live “under the freedom of God’s grace”.

I asked my nephew if I could share this picture of him and my brother. It is one that is precious to me. In my mind, I see it as a picture of me as a child, full of trust, leaping into the arms of my heavenly Father. I know he is smiling, he loves me, and is going to catch me. There is nothing else in this world that I trust more than that. He has filled my longings for love, acceptance, approval, and value. He has given me a peace within I never thought possible.

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Lord Jesus, thank you for taking all the broken pieces of my life and putting them back together again. I wouldn’t trade the last twenty years of my life with you for anything. They have been filled with pain and a lot of tears as you mended my broken heart. I know we aren’t finished yet but I trust you and your goodness. You’ve not asked me to walk through anything alone, you’ve given me strength when I had none, and calmed my fears. I whole-heartedly surrender to you. In your name I pray. Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4

Heart-Understanding of God; Justice; Mercy; Integrity

 13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

David sinned against the Lord- and thereby brought the Lord’s displeasure upon himself and the nation of Israel-

and when faced with three choices to be carried out against Israel as consequence- he chose the Lord, so secure in His Nature, Mercy, Character, and Love was he.

So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah[b] the Jebusite.

“The Lord saw it and relented…” David was right to trust His Mercy. To Trust His Nature and Character.

17 David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd,[c] have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

David’s integrity shines forth. He beseeches the Lord for mercy for Israel. He takes full responsibility. He desires to spare those who are guilty “by default”- guilty because of a choice he sinfully made. He cries out before the Lord for His people.

Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

David goes to Araunah’s threshing floor in obedience to God. He goes to stay the Sword of the Lord. Araunah offers him everything, and David refuses. He insists on paying full price.

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

Aranuah shows respect and generosity to his King. David responds with integrity, respect, and honor. His obedience to the Lord is from his whole heart, and with everything that he is. An offering bears a cost. The cost is holy.

I have often felt that a gift that cost me nothing- either in money, time, or thought- is no true gift at all.

Lord, I pray you grant me truth in the inner man so that I can walk with integrity. Help me recognize my responsibility and own it fully. Sin is deceitful and misleading. Your light leads the way securely.  Help me please You with my offerings and have a tender heart to You and those You entrust to my care. Amen

 

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2 Samuel 21-23; Psalm 18; Romans 3

I’m reading The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare with my youngest child. There is a scripture quoted in it repeatedly:

35 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. (2 Samuel 22:35, NLT)

I paused in my 66 Books reading today, because that scripture appeared in 2 Samuel and Psalm 18. I took a longer look at David’s men, described in 2 Samuel. Of his elite three, I noticed qualities of strength, loyalty, perseverance, and courage.

Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:9-12, NLT, emphasis added)

I consider the army I thought would have been with me in my greatest battles. I remember the names of the elite who stayed.

He trains my hands for battle. He readies me for difficult tasks.

The Lord does bring about great victories. He’s looking for someone to stay (when they’re tired, to hold the ground when the army flees). Oh, times of testing reveal so much (I cast my cares upon him.).

True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him,

“You will be proved right in what you say,
    and you will win your case in court.” (Romans 3:3-4, NLT)

Lord, I fix my eyes on you. You are the source of my strength. You are my hope. You are true.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 34; Romans 2

I have changed jobs/ministries over the past 30 years 6 times and as I enter my 31st year of ministry, I start my 7th place of ministry.

Everytime I find myself in transition, I dream of being asked to come back.  I dream that they will realize how much they miss me or need me and quickly find a way to bring me back.  I say dream because it never did happen. I kind of get what David went through when his own family members were not calling him back to serve as their king.

Say to the leaders of Judah, “Why are you the last tribe to think about bringing King David back home?  He is your brother, your own relative! Why haven’t you done anything to bring him back?” – 2 Samuel 19:11-12  CEV

One thing has happened though – somewhere along the way, maybe after 1 or 2 years of being away, I will hear things.  Sometimes they are direct and sometimes indirectly I will hear that it was wrong for them to let me walk away and they should have fought harder to keep me.  The reasons are really good reasons and most have to do with my character and walk with God. God tries to show me that He is my protector, He guides me and when it is my time to go, it is my time.  My character has nothing to do with it, He just wants to protect me and put me in the right place of ministry for that time.

If you honor the Lord,
    his angel will protect you.
 Discover for yourself
    that the Lord is kind.
    Come to him for protection,
    and you will be glad. – Psalm 34:7-8  CEV

Makes me think that maybe I forget to invite God back into my life after going through some of these life-changing transitions. Actually, this last transition was the worst. I had to leave a ministry before God opened the door to the next place.  His goodness was all I had. I turned to Him in ways I would never had done if I was in a safe place.

You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of his patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him? – Romans 2:3-4  CEV

Father, thank you for loving me even if when there are times I am not thinking of You.  Thank you for caring and protecting me even though I may feel I am not in a safe place.  Each step I take, I take with You.  So looking back, I see You moulding my character, making me into a better leader.  Basically, challenging me to lead others into Your incredible and life-changing presence.  I thank You for giving me this ministry. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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2 Samuel 15-17; Psalms 3, 63; Romans 1

“A messenger soon arrives in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.” 2 Samuel 15:13&14 NLT

David knew what it was like to be pursued by an enemy.

“O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side” Psalms 3:1-6 NLT

David knew Who to run to.

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” Psalms 63:1-8 NLT

Sometimes I forget that there is any enemy seeking after me every day.  He wants to take me down.  Get me distracted, paralyze me.  He knows my weaknesses. And will take me off guard when I least expect it.  But, my praise defeats fear.  And he will flee when I call on the name of Jesus.

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Romans 1:16&17 NLT

Dear Father, I pray that I would run to you like David.  Help me to replace my doubt with faith.  And to remember that you already have the victory.

Amy(amyctanner)

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