Monthly Archives: February 2020

Ezekial 11-12:21; Luke 14; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 15

The season of Lent is upon me. It is a time for me of thoughtful and sorrowful delight that leads to a mighty crescendo of exiquisite, life-infused joy on Resurrection Sunday.

I delight because of the precious sacrifice and offering of Jesus and his appointed, divine days. I sorrow with the weight of sin and grief and death and loss. How grateful I am for Jesus! How I love Easter! It is hope and life to me.

I took some excerpts from different passages that spoke to my heart from today’s reading. They do not all line up with Lent and Easter- though 1 Corinthians 15 certainly does- but I will just share a bit of what impacts my heart today.

Ezekial 11

Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.

17 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.

18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.

19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. ESV

This passage is so precious to me because when I was a young girl- before I came to Christ, a beloved mentor shared with me about the heart of flesh and the LIFE that Christ brings into our selves dead apart from him. I love that God gives me a heart of flesh- a soft tender heart that yearns for Him and loves His Word. I love when I don’t yearn for Him or long for His Word, I can ask Him to grant this to me. I want to be filled with wonder that God would call me His own, and He mine. I need grace and the Spirit for this. In addition, I love the first part of this section where the Lord says He will be a sanctuary. Ah! I have been thinking a bit on how the home can be a sanctuary for the people I love. I love that God Himself is a sanctuary for me, for us.  God gives; He is an extravagant giver. He is to be praised and adored.

Luke 14

10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” ESV

This section in Luke spoke to me because of various circumstances in my life. It is good- it is right to let the Lord lift one up. Be not as one who lifts up self. I need this timely word. I need to stay small and humble in heart and mind while still pursuing what is right, what is excellent, what is good.

And now… the mighty resurrection chapter which just makes my heart sing this beginning Lent season. What words of triumph and hope! What blessed reality!

I quoted so much of it- but I could not help myself.

1 Corinthians 15

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;[e] the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall[f] also bear the image of the man of heaven. ESV

 

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

How miraculous will be the day when we are all changed- and what ultimate hope of amazing glory 1 Corinthians 15 sings over us all. We shall put on the imperishable. There are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies- and it is the Lord who clothes us.

O Jesus, thank You for going to the cross to rise again for all and swallow up sin and death forever!

Easter is coming! Praise Be!

 

Lord, forgive me all the ways that pull me from You- and help me to understand. Help me to love You and seek You and long for You. Help me to be a vessel of love to my family and those You have placed in my life. I am astonished in Your mercy and life. Give me a heart of flesh that is sensitive to sin and wrong-doing and quick to repent. You show me the way. In Your Name, Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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Exodus 10; Luke 13; Job 28; I Corinthians 14

What is in front of me–a stubborn leader, a swarm of locusts, a thick darkness. What the Lord reveals:

“I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10:1b-2, NLT, emphasis added)

He has a reason for the resistance. (Display, display, know–He shows so I know. Father God, give me a Kingdom focus.)

A group of believers is murdered. A tower falls taking lives with it. A leafy tree looks healthy but is fruitless. A woman is afflicted 18 years, held in bondage by Satan.

“Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” (Luke 13:2-4, NLT)

Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:7-9, NLT)

24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. 25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’ (Luke 13:24-27, NLT)

He has a message, a warning. Tragedy strikes any time–prepare your heart. Perhaps success (or failure) isn’t so much what others see, but the fruit of what we leave behind. Evil separates.

Panning for gold, smelting metals, seekers looking to the ground sifting dust for treasure and missing real riches. Look up. Look around.

23 “God alone understands the way to wisdom;
    he knows where it can be found,
24 for he looks throughout the whole earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 He decided how hard the winds should blow
    and how much rain should fall.
26 He made the laws for the rain
    and laid out a path for the lightning.
27 Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it.
    He set it in place and examined it thoroughly.
28 And this is what he says to all humanity:
The fear of the Lord is true wisdom;
    to forsake evil is real understanding
.’” (Job 28:23-28, NLT)

Lord, I set aside the rush of the day to sit with your word. Help me to see your kingdom at hand and to honor you in my thoughts and actions.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 9; Luke 12; Job 27; I Corinthians 13

Why do people ask me to pray for them? Pharoah begs the prayers of Moses.

The king sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and my people and I are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord! We have had enough of this thunder and hail! I promise to let you go; you don’t have to stay here any longer.”

Moses said to him, “As soon as I go out of the city, I will lift up my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the Lord. – Exodus 9:27-29 GNT

I am starting to get a bit bolder and tell people to pray themselves. However, I will go home and pray for even those I have little hope for, and I continue to pray and speak into their lives with tough love. One thing is for certain. If you find someone who knows how to pray, I mean the prayer of Moses opened and shut heaven, I get why it is so tempting to ask them to pray. But let’s not forget, Moses prayer could not subdue the hard hearts of men.

If I am plugged into God, I think I will react differently because my life will be a prayer that will overflow in my situations. No matter what those situation will be or where I find myself – school, work, or home – the Holy Spirit can give me the words at that time.

For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. – Luke 12:12 GNT

I do not need to be anxious then. When I live on mission I will get the message I need.

Father, I want those You have called me to serve to find the joy they are missing in You. Just talking with You can change a person’s life forever. While they are on that journey, help remind me to pray for them. Even if I get discouraged, I know You never give up because You have never given up on me. While I may be amazed at how You answer my prayers, there are times I know that all I can do is lift myself and others to You. I trust You. Holy Spirit, if You have to yell at me, yell at me. I want to walk where You want me to walk. While it is so much easier to not care about people, that would not reflect Your character or Your love. If I am going to be like You, I need to pray. Help me and remind me. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

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Exodus 8; Luke 11; Job 25,26; 1 Cor 12

“One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak.  The crowds were amazed, but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons.  He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.  He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.  A family splintered by feuding will fall apart.  You say I am empowered by Satan.  But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive?  And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists?  They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.  But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.” Luke 11:14-20 NLT

I can get so caught up in what I can see that I forget there is an unseen world around me.  It is a mystery to me that can be hard to wrap my mind around.  But, it’s a subject that keeps coming up.   And when I feel like God is wanting to teach me something, I’m paying attention.  Especially when my husband came home from bible study and said they talked about spiritual warfare. He wanted to go through each room in our house and pray out demons in Jesus’s name. So, we did.  We felt silly, but obedience sometimes does.  I wish I could say that I sensed the oppressive spirit lifted out of our house right away. And while we didn’t see any demons leave, I know they did.  Because there is power in Jesus’s name.  I’ve come to realize that I have to keep calling on His name. And ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

“So, if  you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”  Luke 11:13 NLT

“Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us.  I don’t want you to misunderstand this.  You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along by worthless idols.  So I don ‘t want you to misunderstand this.  You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.  So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:1-3 NLT

Thank you Father, that you already have the victory over the enemy of my soul.  Thank you for your promise to give me the Holy Spirit if I ask.  That I am more than I conqueror through you. Help me to live in that truth every day. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Exodus 7; Luke 10; Job 24; 1 Cor. 11

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.””

Luke 10:18-20, NIV

It feels so good to get excited about wins in life. I remember back in high school when our band got second at a state competition. That was a first for our school and we were ecstatic!! It felt amazing!! I remember our band director celebrating with us. I also remember going to school that following Monday and getting back to practice. We had done amazing…and we needed to keep working.

I love the encouragement of the Lord to the 72 He sent out in His name. He rejoiced with them. He affirmed the power they have in Him. I love that we have a God that rejoices with us. He empowers us to live in His name and then he affirms that work and encourages us.

Jesus doesn’t stop at encouragement. He cautions the 72 to not stop and to continue on towards the goal…eternity with Him. Their new power is not the most important thing. It’s not the end goal of a relationship with Jesus. Eternity is.

Dear God, let us not loose sight of you in the midst of the work you are doing through us. Let us not get so caught up in the work that we neglect our relationship with you. Thank you for being a God that celebrates with us. You are so good!! Amen.

Mandy (mkaybaldwin)

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