Monthly Archives: March 2020

Exodus 35; John 14; Proverbs 11; Ephesians 4

Then Moses told people of Israel, “The Lord has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.  He is a master craftsmen, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze.  He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood.  He is a master at every craft.  The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiders in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers.  They excel as craftsmen and as designers.” Exodus 35:30-35 NLT

There are times I doubt my calling as an artist.  It is encouraging to know that the Lord chose Bezalel and others for these specific purposes.  I think of when I was asked to paint during a worship service at church and I said no for years.  I kept thinking, “Why would an artist, who creates while they are alone, want to stand up in front of people and paint?” I let fear stop me.  But, when I finally stepped out in faith even when I was afraid, God used it to shift my perspective. To show me that it wasn’t about me.  That it was about worshipping him.  One Sunday I had two members of my church tell me that my painting meant something different to each of them.  I was amazed to see how the Spirit was moving in their hearts and mine. I always want to remember how he took that step of obedience and mustard seed faith and multiplied it for his kingdom.  So, that he gets the glory and I don’t think it’s all about me.

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:2&25 NLT

How am I using my gifts to unify the body of Christ?

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  For there is a one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians 4:1-4 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for always being with me. Help me to live a life worthy of your calling.  I praise you for who you are.  I pray that I would look for opportunities to serve others.  Amen.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Ex. 34; John 13; Prov. 10; Eph. 3

I looked to the past for the key. But because of the estrangement and the years, I had no answer. How many generations did it go back? One. Two. Three? More?

“Yahweh! The Lord!
    The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
    and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
    I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
    I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
    even children in the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 34:6b-7, NLT

I wanted something different for my children. I told them of a better way. I told them of the woes to come if they continued on a path. They saw my struggle. How could I impress upon them the power of love when my own heart was guarded? The question haunted me.

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35, NLT

God breaks strongholds. He takes impossible situations and he brings good out of them. I sat at my sister’s hospital bedside days ago. I spoke encouragement to her, told her she is a fighter. In a moment of clarity, she said to me, “God is always fighting for us, and he lets us think we’re the warriors!”

Her words are treasure. I laughed and cried with joy at her insight. Oh, God, you are mighty. Dear God, you are good.

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT.

The power of love, at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus, through all generations. Forever and ever. Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

From the archives. Originally published March 23, 2017.

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Exodus 31;John 10;Proverbs 7;Galatians 6

My anxiety has been in full gear recently.  I struggle with worry and various things that come up during the day can trigger it.  I can feel completely normal, then hear about something and will be totally filled with fear.

 
But God doesn’t want fear to fill us when unexpected things happen in our life.  He tells us hundreds of times in His Word not to fear.  I think this means He expects that we will fear, but wants us to rely on His strength instead.  He wants us to focus on the fact that He is in control no matter what.  It is safe to pray “Thy will be done.”
From our readings today, these verses stood out to me.

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.” Exodus 31:15 ESV  No matter how busy our lives get, taking a day to rest is necessary.

Keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:2-3) ESV  We need to be constantly focused on living how he teaches us.  Guess you could say He knows we are forgetful.

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I come that you may have life abundantly.” (John 10:10) ESV  The Enemy wants us to be bound up in fear.  But that robs us of our joy.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in good season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) ESV  Do the right thing.  Check on a neighbor.   Encourage a friend.  Count your blessings.  Pray for one another.

 

The following verse from Nahum is not from our readings but how I would like to end. He is faithful to us. Show Him that our trust is in Him, not the things of this world.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7) ESV

 

~Kellie

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Exodus 30; John 9; Proverbs 6; Galatians 5

I read of the ransom in Exodus. Every man was required at census to pay a ransom to purify his life and to make himself right with the Lord. It didn’t matter if he was a rich man or a poor man. There was a cost each one paid.

14 All who have reached their twentieth birthday must give this sacred offering to the Lord. 15 When this offering is given to the Lord to purify your lives, making you right with him, the rich must not give more than the specified amount, and the poor must not give less. 16 Receive this ransom money from the Israelites, and use it for the care of the Tabernacle. It will bring the Israelites to the Lord’s attention, and it will purify your lives.” (Exodus 30:14-16, NLT)

Because of Christ, my ransom has been paid. The penalty of sin is death, and he suffered that death for my sins. Oh, he has brought me to the Father’s attention, and the indwelling Holy Spirit will purify my life. This is Christ’s love.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:24-26, NLT)

The blind man from birth did not know that his whole life would change when he met Jesus, that the years leading to that point served a purpose, and that in one moment, he would be the subject of change that would glorify God (to this very day).

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:3-5, NLT)

People who had known him as a blind beggar weren’t even sure he was the same person. (His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” John 9:8-9, NLT.) And others still, whose hearts were hard and unteachable, refused to acknowledge the truth.

39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”

41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” (John 9:39-41, NLT)

Every morning when I run, I keep my eyes on the road in front of me to watch for rocks and branches that could trip me up. So much more, now, Lord, I watch the path.

But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. (Galatians 5:5-10, NLT)

Lord, help me to take inventory of my heart. Help me to live by the power of your Spirit. When troubles come, they reveal where I’ve put my faith, what I’ve prioritized. You have called me to freedom. Let me walk in it.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 29; John 8; Proverbs 5, Galatians 4

For seven days make atonement for the altar and consecrate it. Then the altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will be holy. “So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.”
 Exodus 29:37,44-46 NIV

We stand on the shoulders of giants.  It has been said many times but we truly are a product of the experiences of our family for generations past and we lay that foundation going forward.  Aaron laid the foundation for the Church of today in consecrating himself for God in service.  How blessed we are that so many over the course of generations and thousands of years have dedicated themselves for this holy purpose!  God resides with those who dedicate themselves to Him.  How am I giving of my life to ensure the future of His Church?  It is such a great practice to offer a time of dedication to the Lord, each month, season or year.  I need to use some time in this season of uncertainty to dwell on what is sure, God’s faithfulness.    

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8: 6-8 NIV

How I marvel at the patience of Christ!  When others come offensively at us, how hard is it to not provide a knee-jerk reaction?  He helped others take an introspective look and then kept quiet.  He let the Holy Spirit do its work.  In these days, stressors can come at us from all angles but let us take a deep breath and be intentional with our words and actions, especially in response to others toward us.

For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.  For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.  Proverbs 5: 21-23 NIV

The passage of Proverbs 5 begins with the practical side of warnings against adultery, very important in looking at the culture of infidelity that pervades today.  For better or for worse, the Lord knows our hearts.  We are always getting a little better or worse with each passing day in every aspect of our walk with Him.  It is very difficult to stay the same.  I am at my best when I take a daily examination of my day, the way the Lord “examines our paths”.  Taking a critical look at how we best served the Lord, and when we didn’t, over short periods of time, can help us realize patterns to change, avoid getting in ruts of sin which hold us back but also build on successes. The latter every bit as important as the former.   

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
Gal 4:6,7-18-20 NIV

It is hard to think of a much more drastic transition than from slave to child.  Neither identity is chosen.  The unconditional love of a parent regardless of what a child may do versus the constant negative connotation of the ownership and punishment of a slave.  When we truly know our identity in Christ, we open our hearts to the unconditional love that is offered.  The Father who would do anything for us but also pushes us on in love to be better.           

Dear God,    Be with me this week to take the long view in my walk with you.  Mold my actions and conversations to build up your Church for generations to come.  Start with the simple and help me to think big.  Use your son(daughter) in passionate but patient, humble service.  Amen.

John (johnmohler0403)

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