Monthly Archives: October 2020

2 Kings 12; 2 Timothy 2; Hosea 3, 4; Psalm 119: 121-144

2 Timothy 2 comes to me gently. The verses come to me with kindness and wrap round with hope.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

I ponder. Personal struggles rear before my mind’s eye; fresh imprint still shaped upon the contours of my heart.

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself. (verse 13)

Psalm 119, a prayer for my heart:

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity get dominion over me. ESV

Let no iniquity get dominion over me. I think on how I have been mastered by some; I think on how I have fallen prey. I think on how, through Christ, I can rise again.

2 Timothy:

 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,[d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. ESV

I have writhed in the hand of uncertainty that permeates so much of these days. I have struggled, and I have strived. Nothing good comes from it. It is the Lord’s faithfulness that keeps me; it is His grace that calls me back, draws me to my senses, restores me, offers hope. The beauty of the cross is much but one thing I ponder, always we can begin again through Christ. Begin again.

Your testimonies are righteous forever;
    give me understanding that I may live. Psalm 119:144 ESV

Lord, a fist has clenched my heart and gripped my mind, and in that place, I am far from You. Your truth brings me back and restores with kindness, grace, and hope. There is no one like You! Forgive me, Lord and let me be a vessel for You. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

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2 Kings 10, 11; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalm 119:97-120

28 In this way, Jehu destroyed every trace of Baal worship from Israel. 29 He did not, however, destroy the gold calves at Bethel and Dan, with which Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to sin.

30 Nonetheless the Lord said to Jehu, “You have done well in following my instructions to destroy the family of Ahab. Therefore, your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.” 31 But Jehu did not obey the Law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. (2 Kings 10:28-31, NLT)

A nightmarish scene. Merciless slaughter and destruction. He moved through the area with purpose. Taking in the scene with the eyes of a spectator, I’d say he gave it his all. But reading the words that follow, seeing the unseen, I learn that he didn’t. I am frozen by the subtlety of sin that takes refuge in a heart.

14 “But then I will win her back once again.
    I will lead her into the desert
    and speak tenderly to her there.
15 I will return her vineyards to her
    and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
    as she did long ago when she was young,
    when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.

23 At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
    and raise them for myself.
I will show love
    to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
    I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’” (Hosea 2:14-15, 23, NLT)

Jezreel–God plants–and the fruit transforms generations. I am touched by his tenderness, his faithfulness, his grace.

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:5-7, NLT, emphasis added)

Lord, I sit with your words today in deep contemplation. I don’t want to sleepwalk through my life, thinking I’m doing my best and then realize how much I held back (or how much I held onto). Help me to fan into flames the gift you’ve given me, to live in the power, love and self-discipline of the spirit you’ve given me.

105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 9; 1Timothy 6; Hosea 1; Psalm 119:73-96

2Kings 9; 1Tim.
6; Hos. 1;
Ps.119:73-96

1 Timothy 6:2c-10 These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

I don’t know about you, but I have known people who fit this description above. Paul must have known some of my friends. And when you think that the above description fits those outside the household of faith I have news for you, many are in the household. Many know Jesus as their personal savior, but have gotten sidetracked by the riches of this world. And for them it has ended in ruin.

Our affections need to be focused on Jesus and the riches He brings our way. Riches that include eternal salvation, good relationships meaning for life and eternity and yes sometimes physical riches in this world. The latter comes as a by product not because we focus on it. Also what moe likely comes along is trouble and difficulty and persecution. However with our focus on Jesus and His will for our lives we have a person we can trust in who has overcome the world.

So what are you focused on today? Are you focused on Jesus and what he can bring you? Let’s see what happens when we do.

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2 Kings 8; 1 Timothy 5; Daniel 12; Psalm 119:49-72

Psalm 119:49-50 – Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this:  Your promise preserves my life.

58I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.

There have been times in my life when the only thing I had to cling to was God’s promises. Those promises got me through some of my darkest days. I remember specifically one occasion where my heart was breaking. I cried out to Him in my distress.  I was driving down the road, tears pouring from my eyes, as I was listening to a Christian radio station.  The song playing had evoked such emotion of a recent loss.  At the end of the song, the DJ started reading scripture.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  Those words were like a soothing balm to my heart.  There are verses I draw from to give me courage when I need it.  They give me hope when I have none.  His word assures me of his presence.  I am not alone.

67Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Affliction is not something I would ask God for in my quiet time—or any other time for that matter. Yet, so much of my journey with Him has been learning how to live my life as He calls us to live rather than how I did it on my own.  He has used those trials to teach me. God’s decrees are there to protect us not inhibit us. It took me awhile to understand that.  My sinful nature wanted to do what I wanted to do and out of it came a lot of pain for many people.  Nevertheless, God redeems those years even as we live through the repercussions of our sin.  His word has given me direction.

71It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

By studying the Bible, I am in the process of learning how to truly live and find joy in any circumstance. For instance, when I was unemployed for over a year, I learned trust.  When my mother was very ill and in the hospital so much, I learned patience.  When everything in my life seemed out of control, I learned to surrender.  When no one else was there to listen to me, I learned to pray.  Those times were not fun by any means, but I can look back and see how He used them to teach me.  They deepened my faith.

Lord, you know there are times I forget what you’ve told me but you are always gracious to remind me. I remember a song with the lyrics, “your loving kindness is better than life”.  Thank you for always being there for me, for loving me as you do, and for teaching me how to have a better life.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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2 Kings 7; 1 Timothy 4; Daniel 11; Psalm 119:25-48

The Christian life is work.

Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I Timothy 4:15-16 ESV

I Timothy 4 speaks of training, devotion, not neglecting, practicing, immersion, progress, keeping watch, persisting. All of these habits are part of a life of following Jesus.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!

Psalm 119:34-36 ESV

However, it is far from being an independent work we do. Psalm 119 makes clear our reliance on God’s activity in our lives with words that include teach me, give me, lead me, incline my heart, turn my eyes, confirm your promise, and turn away reproach.

He acts, we respond. He instructs, we commit. He leads, we progress.

Faith is not a spectator sport. Our faith grows as we engage in His Word and we work hard to fully surrender. We cannot say we believe and sit back and “let God do the rest.” He did everything to start with.

Lord, let me not be complacent in growing at a snail’s pace or not at all. Raise my awareness to lethargy and lead me in a life of full obedience and subsequent joy. Help me to keep a close watch on myself and guard carefully the oral and written words I teach. May my life be immersed in Yours.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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