Monthly Archives: July 2018

2 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 25; Psalms 53; Matthew 12

“Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart.” 2 Chronicles 25:1&2 NKJV

Amaziah did what was right, but his heart wasn’t in it. It makes me stop and think about my motives. The times when my heart wasn’t all in.  It may be easy to fake on the outside, but I can’t fool God.  Eventually the ugliness will seep out when I am not surrendering to him every day.

A word that I didn’t mean to say and can’t take back.

Yelling at my kids.

Thinking angry thoughts.

Jeslousy, envy, bitterness…to name a few.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-36 NKJV

I have prayed for changed hearts and have seen him answer. But, sometimes he is trying to change mine.

“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” Psalms 53:1&2 NKJV

Dear Father, I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to change me from the inside out.  Give me eyes to see others with a heart like yours. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings, Matthew, Psalms, Uncategorized

Jonah; Matthew 11

Matthew 11 is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6 [NASB]

John the Baptist was sitting in prison for doing what was morally right. He called out sin and was placed in jail for it and soon would be executed. In his mind it wasn’t turning out the way he expected. He didn’t see himself rotting away in some jail, but serving God. What a huge difference between the crowds that came to see him preach and now sitting in jail his life wasting away.

So he sends his men to Jesus to see if he is the real Messiah or whether they should wait for another. Jesus replies to their questions by reporting what he is doing. And then he shares with the crowd what an awesome person John the Baptist was. He didn’t scold him or deride him. Jesus praises his cousin John.

Later in the chapter he talks about the the Kingdom of God and he puts it this way (paraphrased), The Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing and forceful men and woman take hold of it. In other words the Kingdom of God is not for sissies. It is moving forward to strong people take hold of it and help move it forward. People like John the Baptist.

Soon John would lose his head. Although the church had not been born yet, John epitomizes this watchword of the church. The Church advances on the blood of Her martyrs.

I guess the question this morning to you is, Are you ready for the challenge. Will you join the men and women through the ages who have been forceful enough and even brave enough to give their lives in seeing the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Jonah, Matthew, Uncategorized

Joel; Matthew 10

Matthew 10 begins with Jesus sending the 12 disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. After instructing them on how to act, he transitions to warning them of the dangers they will face.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:16-18 ESV

Jesus’ warning of persecution rings just as true for many Christians today as it did to his disciples and the other early Christians when the they were seized and killed for their beliefs. However, God promises that He will be with me through all trials and persecution I may face.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26,28-29, 32 ESV

Jesus tells his disciples not to fear or bend to the will of those on earth who persecute or even kill them, but to instead fear God, who ultimately cares for them. God showed His power and care for the disciples when He poured His Spirit upon them at Pentecost, the event of which seems to be foreshadowed in Joel Chapter 4.

“And it shall come to pass afterword, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see vision. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29 ESV

Dear God, thank you for sending your Spirit to strengthen me. Thank you for reminding me that I should not fear persecution but should instead trust in You for You alone can save me. Please help me trust in You and look to You for guidance. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 24; 2 Kings 12; Psalm 50; Matthew 9

9When Jesus was leaving, he saw a man named Matthew. Matthew was sitting in the tax office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew stood up and followed Jesus.

 10Jesus had dinner at Matthew’s house. Many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with Jesus and his followers. 11The Pharisees saw this and asked Jesus’ followers, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

12Jesus heard the Pharisees ask this. So he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor. Only the sick need a doctor. 13Go and learn what this means: ‘I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13

In my reading today, I was intrigued Jesus’ words to the Pharisees, especially the words “faithful love”. Looking deeper, I learned that one of the definitions of the original Greek word eleos is “covenant loyalty”.

When Jesus said the phrase, “I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices…” He was referring to a passage in the prophecies of Hosea, that continues, “…I want people to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”

From the beginning of the earth, God has always wanted relationship with His children. He demonstrated that with Adam, when He walked with him in the cool of the day. He demonstrated that all through the Old Testament, with His relationship with Abraham, Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and many more. And, through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, He reestablished the possibility of a face-to-face relationship with Heavenly Father through Holy Spirit.

 8I do not scold you for your sacrifices.

You always bring me your burnt offerings.

9But I do not need the bulls from your stalls

or the goats from your pens.

10Every animal of the forest is already mine.

The cattle on a thousand hills are mine.

11I know every bird on the mountains.

Every living thing in the fields is mine. Psalm 50:8-11

He didn’t need the animal sacrifices before Jesus came to the world, because those animals already belonged to Him. He accepted the sacrifices because the blood sacrifice was what temporarily allowed man to be close. Just like He didn’t need the temple to be repaired by King Joash and the priests and He didn’t need any of the new “stuff” bought by the received offerings.

What He wanted then and continues to yearn for today is for me, for all of His children, to seek His face, to desire to know Him, to walk in relationship with Him all the days of my life. It doesn’t matter that I have sinned, that I need(ed) a hospital. He has loved me in the midst of my sin and will forever invite me into His presence.

Yesappa, Thank You for wanting to be in relationship with me. Thank You for providing the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus that allows my sin to be forever washed in the blood. Thank you for loving me before I even knew Your name. Help me to know You better, to know Your heart, Your will, and Your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

From the archives. Originally published July 27, 2016.

Leave a comment

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

2 Chronicles 22-23; 2 Kings 11; Psalms 131; Matthew 8

Ahaziah, son of Ahab, did what was evil in God’s sight so he was killed.  Then his mother, who was in counselor in doing wicked deeds, took over for him.

“Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 22:10 ESV)

By hiding the king’s son for seven years to keep him away from his grandmother, they were able to make Joash king and get rid of Athaliah.

Then they brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony.  And they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said “long live the king!  When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the Lord to the people.  And when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration,” (2 Chronicles 23:11-14 ESV)

As I write the scripture listed above, I’m picturing KIng Jesus sitting on His throne, with all the believers praising Him and Satan realizing he had been defeated.

And the people said, “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalms 131:3 ESV)

The Centurion hoped in the Lord and the Lord used him as an example, as well as explaining how we are lost without Him.

“Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.  I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:10-12 ESV)

May we hope in the Lord from this day forward.  Amen!

Kellie

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2 Kings 9-10; Psalm 49; Matthew 7

 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matt 7:6) NIV

The thing about wisdom is you have to experience life, and a lot of making mistakes or getting things right, to gain it. Studying scripture over the years–the more you read it and the more you experience life following its teachings–can give you a deeper understanding of the meanings of Jesus’ words.  Sometimes it just speaks to you at a particular season of life when God is teaching you. Right now, my small group is studying the book of Genesis. It is a book with which I am fairly familiar. Yet chapter 3, the entrance of sin into the world, has spoken to me quite profoundly this time. The shame and blame that were the first fruits of sin are lessons God is using as we are working through some issues together. They have to do with people who have had influence over me throughout my life. Some of the verses in today’s readings spoke to me of warnings God has given us that there are people who don’t have our best interests at heart.

In a lot of ways, I have gone through life as a naive child. There are people who have come into my life that I have trusted, and entrusted, with pieces of me that are sacred. My hopes, my dreams, even the things I am most ashamed to admit are pieces of me that are sacred. There have been occasions when I experienced those parts of me that are sacred being trampled on and used to tear me to pieces. I did not have the wisdom to understand Jesus’ words.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from his thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matt 7:15-20) NIV

I did not always know how to recognize the “false prophets” I encounter. Their sheep’s clothing can be pretty convincing. Even in a church environment, it is sometimes difficult to tell what kind of “fruit” they bear. Some of the most beautiful plants have fruit that is poisonous to eat if we aren’t familiar with the plants. I have had to learn to trust God’s leading and the Holy Spirit’s promptings when new people enter my sphere of influence. It is okay to be friends with them, but they are not people I should take advice from or share my heart (those places that can be wounded). Being a small group leader for women’s bible studies has given me occasion to come in contact with a lot of women. With some, I immediately experience a heart bond; others have elicited a “danger, danger” response. I’ve actually had to speak to church leadership as I found myself questioning their beliefs as they shared in group. I wanted to make sure I understood what I thought to be the Truth was actually the Truth.  Their words have reminded me that while something might be true, it is not necessarily the Truth (as we saw in Genesis). We always need to be in close connection with God when we are out in the world and very careful not to lead others in a way that doesn’t align with His Word.

Luckily, I have a God I can trust with every part of me. I don’t need to hold anything back from Him! He guides me down the path of righteousness, steers me away from anything that might harm me, and heals the places others have wounded. Experience has shown me I can trust His Spirit will prompt me when something is not quite right.

But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. (Ps 49:15) NIV

I am not always going to get it right. As a woman who has been greatly healed by God, I tend to share some of those stories of his redeeming work in my life that involve tender places. The thing is, someone can twist those words any which way they choose and it can’t hurt me. I know what He has done in me and for me. I also know I can go to Him when I have chosen poorly with whom to share. He will bind up those wounds and send me back out to keep fighting the good fight.

Heavenly Father, I know there are wolves out there ready to devour me and many others. I ask to be able to recognize them for my own safety and the safety of those you have placed under my care. Continue to guide us in your Truth so we will not be deceived. In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Matthew, Psalms

2 Kings 7-8; 2 Chronicles 21; Matthew 6

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34 [ESV])

This chapter of the New Testament is filled with many things of which we as Christ-followers need to be reminded. This chapter alone would be good subject matter for a week of devotions. Matthew covers the following topics in this chapter:

  • Giving to the poor
  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Worry
  • Doing good to others
  • Anxiety
  • Treasures in Heaven

And then he adds the concluding verse. If we focus on those things listed above we will have plenty of things to do to occupy our minds and lives for today. We won’t have time to put more worries in our little worry boxes. We will be so focused on what we need to do today that tomorrow will take care of itself.

How do you spend your days? Do you worry about what’s coming later in the week or next month or year? Do your thoughts go to issues you have no control over or ability to change. In reading through this chapter there is enough to occupy our minds and actions with for today. Let’s begin focusing in the here and now. Tomorrow comes way too soon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Matthew, New Testament, Uncategorized