Monthly Archives: June 2020

Deuteronomy 28:20-68; Psalm 119:25-48; Isaiah 55; Matthew 3

41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees. (Psalm 119:41-48) NIV

I grew up going to church. It’s what I did on Sunday. I wish I could say we did it as a family, but my brother, sister and I were sent off each week. I learned about Jesus, I learned all the children’s stories and sang songs about Jonah and Noah. There was the picture of Jesus with all the children gathered around him. I was taught the Lord’s Prayer, the doxology, and the Christian Creed. When I was confirmed, I received my first bible. I still have that bible. But I never opened it.

Fast forward 30 years. I had taken my children to Sunday School, had them baptized, and went through the motions of being a Christian. Then my life fell apart (for the first time). Just about the time I pulled myself back together, BOOM! Round two! You see, the operative word there was “I” pulled myself back together. I “pulled myself up by the bootstraps” and bulldozed my way through the pain. You really can only do that for so long before the explosion. “I” was not the answer, so I went searching.

That was when I met Jesus for the first time. Yes, I had lived my entire life with the head knowledge of Jesus but I had never let him into my heart. I had gone to church ever since I could remember and had never heard about having a personal relationship with him. He pursued me. He won me over with his unfailing love. I said yes and started a journey to a new and better life.

The longer I followed him, the more he taught me. The more he taught me, the more I realized how much I wanted freedom—the freedom he died to give me. In order to do that, I had to learn to obey his law, his precepts. I could no longer straddle the fence and live partly his way and partly the way of the world. I hungered for his word. I knew healing was in it. Freedom from shame comes with knowing who you are in Christ. His word and his presence are my constant companion.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:10-12)

There are so many layers to God’s word. Just when I think I’ve mastered a verse, he shows me a word I hadn’t noticed before. It takes on a deeper meaning. It draws me closer to him, my heart is filled with his unfailing love. I can’t even begin to recount the number of times I prayed with a problem, or a complaint, or a broken heart, only to open the bible to the perfect verse that corrected me, directed me, encouraged me, or enveloped me like a warm blanket. And if I missed it or didn’t want to hear it, he has never failed to send exactly what I need, exactly when I need it, until I finally get it. God is so patient with me. Through the journey I found peace. I found joy. I sing along with the mountains and hills of his greatness.

Lord, I can never thank you enough for captivating me with your love. You have shown me what real love looks like. Your infinite patience has shown me how I should treat others. I want to point to you as my source, show others what a life of freedom looks like, and then watch you change their life as you did mine. There is nothing that brings me greater joy than to see you at work in someone’s life. There is such enthusiasm when they share their story. It is the same light that shines when I tell mine. I am blessed because of Jesus. In his name I pray, Amen

 

Cindy (gardnlady)

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

Deuteronomy 27-28:19; Psalm 119:1-24; Isaiah 54; Matthew 2

God’s word lays out a pretty clear path for us to follow. What we should do, what we shouldn’t do, and the consequences that we can expect.

Many people’s understanding of scripture stops there – a list of “dos and don’ts.” A little digging proves this to be a very superficial interpretation of God’s directives.

And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deut 28:2 ESV)

Of course, some people are just chasing the prosperity gospel, and others are looking for a reason to discredit or marginalize the Bible’s message.

While Deuteronomy might contain a number of the rules and the accompanying consequences and blessings that ancient Israel received to set them apart from other nations, the rest of the Bible shows us the deeper function of the law.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
    who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with their whole heart,

You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.

I will keep your statutes;
    do not utterly forsake me!

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you. (from Psalm 119:1-11 ESV)

We are not on our own in following scripture. God’s word will shine the light on the best path and keep our way pure. Through meditation, delighting in his word, remembering it, longing for God and time with Him, then our steps become more sure. He walks this path with us.

but with great compassion I will gather you. (Isaiah 54:7b)

but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)

God knows that the law is beyond our reach as sinful humans. That’s the whole point. We can’t do it on our own. He doesn’t expect us to, and He made a way.

The precious and awesome miracle baby born in Bethlehem as written about in Matthew 2, showed us a better way that would be paid for with His own blood.

Father God, thank you for making clear how we should live and love. Help me not to build and altar and go on my way, but keep bringing me back to your word, your example, your commands. Thank you for your sacrifice that was enough when I could never be. Thank you for your compassion and love and may it overflow through my life to those around me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Deut. 24; Ps.114,115; Isa. 51; Rev. 21

Over the past three years, life for my husband’s family has been rough. From unexpected deaths to tragic car accidents and everything in between, it has been a roller coaster. We have walked through very quick boughts of cancer where we fought hard and lost. Most recently, another cancer diagnosis on top of another family member’s serious motorcycle accident, has left us spending many days and nights in shock trauma and several other hospitals. Job loss, military deployment and simply day to day life has been difficult. After decades of seemingly wonderful blessings of good health and protection, the walls have come crashing down.

Just a few minutes ago I arrived home after taking the children to visit their 82-year-old great grandmother in the hospital. Her time left on earth is coming to a close and we were saying our goodbyes and praying for the Lord’s peace and comfort.

Life. Is. Hard.

We all go through seasons in our lives that take us up and down. Whether your experience was car accidents and failing health or something else, I’m sure you have suffered at some point in your life. But the Lord reminds us that he is always near. He always has been and always will be. Our sufferings and hardships draw us closer to him.

During the hardships while Israel was in captivity, they needed reminders of Gods’ power and his faithfulness. They needed to be reminded of all the trials the Lord had brought them through. We need the same reminders today.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
that I might bless him and multiply him.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

“Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
nor be dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
and the worm will eat them like wool,
but my righteousness will be forever,
and my salvation to all generations.”  Isaiah 51

Life won’t necessarily get easier but through our hardships we can draw closer to the Lord and rely on him and most of all remember that his promises will come true because of his proven faithfulness over time. There are times when all I can do is cling to the last part of verse 8, “my righteousness will be forever and my salvation to all generations.”

Gram has been a very special lady in the lives of everyone she knew and even those she didn’t. She loved Jesus and his Church and cared for anyone and everyone around her. She was a hard worker, creative, fun-loving, deeply committed to her family and “Gram” to all. Though our hearts will mourn over our loss, we will rejoice in her healing and full restoration to health when she passes into the arms of Jesus.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21

Thank you, Lord for the time you give us to love one another and live these few moments on Earth with ones that we love. Lord Jesus, be near to the broken-hearted. Holy Spirit, bring peace and comfort to those suffering today and remind them of your faithfulness.

Kate (Kateredding)

From the archives. Originally published June 19, 2017.

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Deuteronomy 23; Psalms 112, 113; Isaiah 50; Revelation 20

He turns curses into blessings.

These nations did not welcome you with food and water when you came out of Egypt. Instead, they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in distant Aram-naharaim to curse you. But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you. (Deuteronomy 23:4-5, NLT)

He tells me the way to go, because he loves me. I can trust him.

Such people will not be overcome by evil.
    Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news;
    they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
They are confident and fearless
    and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
    They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
    They will grind their teeth in anger;
    they will slink away, their hopes thwarted. (Psalm 112:6-10, NLT)

He is protector, provider.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
    determined to do his will.
    And I know that I will not be put to shame.
He who gives me justice is near.
    Who will dare to bring charges against me now?
Where are my accusers?
    Let them appear!
See, the Sovereign Lord is on my side!
    Who will declare me guilty?
All my enemies will be destroyed
    like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!

10 Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys his servant?
If you are walking in darkness,
    without a ray of light,
trust in the Lord
    and rely on your God.
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light
    and warm yourselves by your own fires.
This is the reward you will receive from me:
    You will soon fall down in great torment. (Isaiah 50:7-11, NLT)

He has the final say.

Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4, NLT)

How I live matters. Lord, help me to be obedient to you. Help me to stand up for what matters to you. Help me to stand strong in opposition. Help me to set my face like stone, determined to do your will.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 22; Psalm 110,111; Isaiah 49; Revelation 19

I start reading quite a few “one liners” if you will, and this one catches my eye.

“Women are not to wear men’s clothing, and men are not to wear women’s clothing; the Lord your God hates people who do such things. – Deuteronomy 22:5 GNT

It caught my eye because it immediately brought to me to a place of prayer. I felt a bit like Moses standing in the gap knowing that it was my place to stand and pray for a people that needed me to care. Here is another that caused me to pray.

The Lord said to my lord,
    “Sit here at my right side
    until I put your enemies under your feet.” – Psalm 110:1  GNT

This one made me pray for myself, that I might be the person who will meet God one day, face to face, and He will know me as I am known, and see Jesus there instead of my sin.

What a sense of relief to hear His voice welcoming me with joy.

Sing, heavens! Shout for joy, earth!  Let the mountains burst into song!

The Lord will comfort his people;
    he will have pity on his suffering people.

 So the Lord answers, “Can a woman forget her own baby

and not love the child she bore?
Even if a mother should forget her child,
I will never forget you.
Jerusalem, I can never forget you!
I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

Kings will be like fathers to you;
    queens will be like mothers.
They will bow low before you and honor you;
    they will humbly show their respect for you.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    no one who waits for my help will be disappointed.

Then all people will know that I am the Lord,
    the one who saves you and sets you free.
They will know that I am Israel’s powerful God – Isaiah 49: 13, 15-16, 23, 26  GNT

 And the encouragement keeps coming as the work of Jesus is described so gloriously.

She has been given clean shining linen to wear.” (The linen is the good deeds of God’s people.)   Then I saw heaven open, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True; it is with justice that he judges and fights his battles. The robe he wore was covered with blood. His name is “The Word of God.”  On his robe and on his thigh was written the name: “King of kings and Lord of lords.”- Revelation 19:8, 11, 13, 16  GNT

Father, I know you when You look at me You see nothing other than the righteousness of Your Son, Jesus. May I be faithful in sharing Your plan of redemption to others who need to know. Thank You for Your Word that has never failed me. You are restoring me – thank You. 

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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